Mommy Cries Too


Warning: This post has controversial and potentially disturbing content surrounding suicide, psychic trauma, and child abuse. Reader’s discretion is strongly advised.

It started as a whimpering, jaw tight with a lip curled over. Soft, pattering, high pitched little noises, not much to even notice over the ambient noise. The realities of what played out in front of these oceanic colored eyes, glistening with anticipating tears, struck hard, and relentlessly roared inward and outward. The sheer force gusted forth a sharp wail, the same violently held hostage in the same dusty box of voices moments earlier.

Thoughts, voices, dialogues, monologues, scenes, words, swamped and overwhelmed this consciousness. Bits swarming together and fashioning a patchwork quilt for the minds eye to finally behold. Nowhere to turn, the newly formed blanket enveloped every last portion. Inescapable, imprisoned in truths, half-truths, past, present, and future. Sobs and tears erupted like a furious geyser, spattered with guttural words.

Why?

I can’t make you happy.

Please, stop crying.

Mommy cries too.

. . . dissolving nearly as soon as they came into reality.

The tiny voice murmured indistinguishable speech, only heard through the hitches. His presence shifted, but only once removing himself to procure a gift. Eyes squeezed shut, tears slithering though hands to fall where they may. Again, he joined the wailing, wolves howling in the night. He fashioned himself as a koala, and held tight.

– – –

Curled on the bed in sullen agony, with lead curling in tendrils up and down each limb. The tiny voice said, “Juice?” A raw, numb voice replied, “Go get your cup.” “My cup, my cup,” he repeated for a scant few moments.

A frustrated cry, and a strike on the back. Another. Laying there, absorbing the blows in hopes they would soon cease for good. Another, then a few in succession. A pause. A warm circle in the direct center of the back, a scrape of teeth.

A memory flashed, and I shot right up. Without thought, I slapped him on his right cheek, but in a nanosecond held back, but couldn’t entirely stop the motion. His face pucked, tears welled and spilled from his eyes, and he screamed. I pounced.

“We do not bite! We do not bite! We do not bite! We do not bite! No bite! No biting! No! We do not bite!” I belted until I ran out of air.

Stop! Before you hit the X in the corner, and do your mandated reporting, read this. This is an isolated incident. I has never occurred before. I had no malice or ill intention for my child. This was a snap reaction that I am now extremely cognizant of. So please, at least read the rest of it before you contact authorities.

We both were there, staring at one another, gasping for breath. He threw himself into my arms. I enbraced him for a second, only a second, and put him on his bed. I stood and sighed, “We both need a time out.”

I started for the door, and his screams grew wilder. I turned to look, and he was now curled in the bed, hysterical. Poisonous daggers jammed deep into my heart. His pain was mine, but the urgency for me to abandon him was too great. Stay and harm him, or leave and harm him?

I sat down at my desk, and lit a cigarette. As I exhaled, I choked back more tears. Sinking, cigarette smoke swirling around me, all of the menacing thoughts rose to prey on my guilt to intensify my pain.

I am a bad mother.

I am. Another monster in a history of monsters. What was the flash in my mind that drove me to these horrific actions?

He was enraged, tearing through the house, screeching. I became smaller than small, for I already was small. I clutched my plastic cup, hoping I could disappear. I was in the basement, and the elephants trumpeted and stampeded back and forth, trampling throughout the house.

When his feet hit the cement floor, his eyes fixed on me. He made a run for me, and I dashed for the stairs, for the safety of my parents, a room with a lock, anything. And in that stairwell, he lunged on me. He sunk his teeth hard into the center of my back and I let out a blood curdling scream.

I screamed and screamed, tears pouring out. It had been the worst pain I had ever experienced up until that point. My parents were removing him from my back before even addressing me or my wound.

My father helped me to my feet and my mother was nowhere to be found. The pain intensified anytime I moved.

And all he could say was: “It doesn’t hurt that bad.”

 

I made a painful realization. I cannot remember a childhood before eleven for a reason: My parents let my autistic brother brutalize me.

It’s no excuse. None. This is no feasible And as I furiously dragged on that cigarette, I determined that my son, my family, would be better off without me.

It could be done with ease. I would call into work and tell my boss I couldn’t make it in. I’d neglect to tell my parents, and my son could be safe with them. And, I’d empty the Vicodin bottle with the Wellbutrin bottle into my mouth, and wash it down in one big gulp.

Then, I’d prepare my note. I would not want to leave this world without at least a few words to as a testament to my own failures, not anyone else’s.

My sister called, before that train of thought could steam along into action. Sometimes, there is a such thing as divine intervention. She rarely calls that late in the morning. While idly listening, I mustered the courage to face my son. I nervously peeked into his room.

My little boy was sleeping, with the angelic, peaceful look all children have while slumbering. Eased for a moment, but then sinking again. I knew I would not be able to apologize before I left for work.

He may never know how incredibly ashamed, guilty, monstrous, and sorry I feel. He may never know how much I hate myself for seemingly not loving him enough to stop myself. I won’t try to justify it. The only thing I can see is the traumatized look on his face, the tears glistening as they poured down. And all I want to do is to walk to a bridge, any bridge in Pittsburgh will do, and leap from that great height to plunge into water that would guarantee near instantaneous death if the fall didn’t do it first.

This is not a testament. I am miserably, but safely at work. This is my aching, broken heart pouring out. This is my confession.

 

Note: There was a lot of hesitation about posting this once it was written. If you have harsh reprimands, please keep them to yourself. I’m in a very fragile state right now.

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16 thoughts on “Mommy Cries Too

  1. Hi Luna,

    You were right this truly was a controversial and potentially disturbing post. and one that I did not enjoy reading but am glad I did. I think what is important is that as difficult as it was for me to read it must have been much more difficult for you to write.

    I have little doubt that some will read it and judge but I have to tell you that I have no care for knee jerk reactions based purely around society’s acceptable norms and any over reactions right now. Likewise I have less care for what people may think of me for commenting to your post in the positive.

    I think you are incredibly brave and I commend and respect you for your honesty and openness.
    The pain in what you have shared is deep and raw and so very personal and it is my fervent prayer that the healing will come and will be powerful.

    Please know that you have my respect and my prayers.
    Kind Regards,

    Kevin.

    • It has brought me to the painful realization that there is an awful, awful reason I can’t remember life before eleven. I don’t remember what changed when I was eleven, but I often cite twelve as being the onset of BP symptoms. I do remember a time when I was fourteen when I had to do a take-down on my brother when he cornered me in the bathroom. I held him to the floor until he stopped trying to get up.

      Now, realize, I pale in comparison to my brother. He has always had at least 50lbs on me (now it’s closer to about 130 or so). He has always dwarfed me.

      Maybe it’s because I started jouurnaling at that time.

      But, the inevitable conclusion is that I need to get an appointment with a therapist. I don’t know what I could possibly say about it. I can’t really remember a whole lot when I try. I’m going to guess that is the nature of PTSD.

      I felt like this was extremely important to address. We all do things we are not proud of. This was completely unintentional. It was a snap reaction. But, being a child of a man who has PTSD from the war, I know about triggers. And that’s exactly how this kind of thing starts. My dad got help, but I was 15 at the time. I am going to put a permanent stop to this before it even has a chance to happen again.

      More than anything, I want other mothers (and parents), especially those with mental health issues, to know that no parent is perfect. Sometimes we screw up, and sometimes we screw up big time. I know this has happened with other parents. And I want them to know that they didn’t ruin everything and permanently damage their children because accidentally lashed out once.

      For me, it served an important purpose. It brought my past trauma to the surface as a serious problem that needs addressed now. It has lit a fire under me to get my kid back into behavioral therapy. And finally, it functions as a constantly, painful reminder to do everything and anything to keep this from happening again. I will not perpetuate the cycle of violence to another generation.

      Finally, this narrative is out there for other parents who may be laying hands on their children to see it in print. See it for real, for what it is. To experience the pain of it outside of themselves. And hopefully, they will be inspired to seek help too.

      • I can very much relate to this as I experience similar difficulties. I spent a fair deal of time racking my brain concerning this and indeed early last year I wrote to all my siblings about it – to varying degrees of failure .

        My therapist did give me one piece of advice that was a little successful and that was not to try to remember my childhood or to search for those items that I have since consciously or sub-consciously suppressed but to try to remember things that could indirectly trigger those deeper often more threatening memories.

        Favorite childhood smells, dinners/meals, candy/sweets, pets, toys, sounds/tunes/songs, clothing, places, days out.

        She, (my therapist) advised great caution in doing these things. but the theory is that often it is the strongest less threatening memories that are more easily accessible and which can often link to deeper, suppressed memories.

        I know first hand the struggles involved in this and want you to know that you are in my prayers.
        Kind Regards,

        Kevin.

        • Thank you so much Kevin! It’s really hard for me to remember anything with any clarity. I remember my Pappap, and how he used to give me $2 bills for good report cards. I never realized that they were more than money. He collected them. Outside of him, there’s bits and pieces here and there.

          Even good things like that make me sad. My Pappap died a long time ago. When I was eleven, as a matter of fact. Something happened there. I remember his funeral as the first extremely clear, unfragmented memory I have.

          I’m going to do some personal work with your advice. Thank you for all of your thoughts and prayers. This is really hard for me.

  2. I feel like I want to say something, but I don’t know what to say. I love the honesty of this post and the bravery behind it. I think that most parents probably regret a knee-jerk reaction at some point. I think it is significant, though, that you realized that it was a sign of a potential future problem and are seriously contemplating how to prevent it. Therapy might be worthwhile. I wish you the best of luck.

    • I knew a lot of people weren’t going to leave any response. It is likely to be jaw dropping, speechlessness. And a lot of silent, judging eyes.

      I’m not going to cover up the darker side of things. It doesn’t give people the real idea of my life. I don’t often feel regret in my life, but that was one of those times when I wish I could have gone back in time to change that.

      I really wanted it to be out there for other parents who may have experienced the same. I was really sitting there, riddled with suicidal thoughts. And I may have actually done it if my sister hadn’t called.

      This has to be addressed. But then, that paranoid fear creeps in. The judgements in the real world have dire consequences. If I open my mouth about this, what is the likelihood that they will take my child away? I assure you, he is not in any danger of harm. I still hurt too much when reading this, reliving over and over in my head.

      I love my son. I love him enough to do everything and anything to see to it that he’s happy, healthy, and safe. And I will.

  3. Just remember, every mother on the face of this earth makes mistakes and has regrets, so please know that you are not alone. Your honesty and courage has inspired me, and has opened my eyes to some things that are going on in my life right now. And please know that the love you have for your son is what shined through above all the other emotions in this post, so much so that I felt it in my own heart….

    • That is so reassuring, thank you so much! I love T.D. more than anything else. I need him in my life more than the air that I breathe. And the pain of this incident still rages throughout me.

      My son is fine, running around, smiling, having a fantastic time. He doesn’t cower. And, I am still his preferred parent over his father (I am the primary caretaker). In a way, it seemed to be better to have a separation afterward. I came home from work, and he was mad at me more than anything. After a few tickles and hugs, he was fine again.

      Time heals wounds. Mine will take longer, time moves slower for me. He seems like he can forgive and forget. Maybe he has forgiven me, but the question still stands: When can I forgive me?

  4. Your post resonated with me! My growing up was filled with seeing my brothers get the belt from my dad at the insistence of my (bipolar) mother. I did all in my power to be a good little girl to not get any punishment (although I was yelled at enough and my mom even threw a whole stack of dishes at me when I was back talking and not doing the dishes fast enough). I remember getting so mad at one of my brothers because he was relentless with his mouth. I got to the point of scratching his back so hard to make it bleed. He’d just laugh some more and my anger would spew out in words.

    Fast forward to parenting my 2nd child who was/is so much different than my other 3. He could not be broken. I perpetuated the yelling in my home because that’s what I grew up with. I encouraged my husband to spank and discipline. I would get so mad at my son that I slapped him and pushed him when he was a little boy. I was so very remorseful and apologized with tears many, many times. I eventually learned how to parent more effectively. My son is now 25 and the most loving, caring, empathetic child I have. We joke about those difficult times. I’ve given up the guilt and know now that I was doing the best I knew at that time.

    You recognize why you went ballistic with your son…what the trigger from the past was. I have no doubt that with more therapy to work through those difficult times that you will realize that you HAVE broken the cycle. Give yourself credit. You ARE a good mother. You LOVE your son more than life itself.

    • Oh Shelly! Your response made me cry! I mean good tears, tears of relief, tears of release of all of that heaviness of guilt, shame, sorrow. . .

      At least there is one other person somewhere that knows. It helps to know that my son will be okay. It helps to know I’m not a dangerous, violent child abuser. I’m a human. No mother is perfect. No child is perfect. And we live in far from a perfect world. And other mothers have been through this.

      Thank you so much. I feel like I can relax a little and maybe forgive myself a bit. Maybe I didn’t ruin everything. Maybe we can all be okay.

  5. Parenting is not easy… we all have regrets that can be brutal memories for us.
    I am glad you wrote this, as I am sure it was painful and difficult to publish. It was a learning experience for you and no doubt you have learned.
    Don’t beat yourself up… you adore your child, otherwise this would not have hurt you so. 😦

    And I am glad the meds were not used. Stay strong friend… and forgive yourself.

    • I would have thanked my sister for her accidental intervention, but it was so close to her birthday. I didn’t want her to have any shadows hanging over her weekend. She has bipolar disorder as well, so I’m sure she would have understood. But she would have worried too.

      I’m relieved to have so much understanding and support. I told my mother, father, and husband about it (minus the suicidal indeation part). They were all extremely understanding and forgiving. My son seems to forgive me. And now, with all of this support, I think that I might be able to forgive me.

      Thank you so much for your incredibly kind words. It helps me forgive myself and plot a game plan for diagnosis, treatment, and recovery. Because clearly, there’s been something terrible locked away for a long time. But my son does not need to pay for someone else’s mistakes.

  6. I have not read any of the comments posted here thus far, but just want to let you know I have prayed and will continue. I cry with you at this very moment. You are a strong woman. And yes parenting is hard enough even without the difficulties of the BP and autism. You won’t be the first or the last good parent that snaps. Forgiveness of yourself will come.

    I too but in a fit of deep melancholia have had bridge jumping feelings of late which I wrote of just two days ago in my journal. These were brought on by different distressing events than yours, but approaching the same outcome.

    I agree, it was a difficult post to read, and am glad you are following up on the comments posted (I just read through them) and that you are putting in place strategies to prevent its recurrence.

    We are all rooting for you and love you.

    • Unfortunately, if a person wanted to jump off a bridge, Pittsburgh would be the place to do it. You have to cross a bridge to get anywhere around here. I’d likely not do it for several reasons. Besides the obvious, (I love my family, etc), and this is kind of demented but funny, I don’t want to do it and get press coverage. Because you know someone would see me, and there is my grieving family in the limelight. Or, I live and I’m I’m imfamous in the city as “That yahoo woman who jumped off of (insert bridge name here), and botched a suicide!” And then, I will have to move out of town. Far out of town. (This is a fact. It has happened before. We rarely have bridge jumpers, surprisingly).

      Thanks for being here for me. After some quality time and setting out strategies with C.S, and through all of your support, I’m doing better. T.D is perfectly fine. We have devised a co-parenting system, with ABA guidelines for addressing behaviors in all of us. We agreed that I need to get in with a therapist, but we’ll have to find one closer to home. That might be tricky, because my Pdoc is really far away. But there are multiple offices. There might be someone closer who can work my Pdoc. And finally, we are working with friends and family to establish set “alone times” for us.

      Those are the main problems. It seems like now that I have a lot of the BP symptoms under control, we’re unearthing a lot of other things. We’ll just have to see what pans out.

      Thank you for your support. I do feel a little better, though I will always have this painful memory to remind me.

  7. I am not sure what you have access to in the way of autism assistance. Maybe you already access this I have not seen it mentioned. In our area there is respite for parents with higher needs children. This might help too. Anyway, just a thought.

    • I don’t think we have respite care. But, I know there are other programs I’m on a waiting list for. DART, wrap-around, it’s all in the works. But, these things take time, unfortunately.

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