A whole lot of Nakedness, and the Odd Truth.

‘You do realise, that by ignoring the issues, by closing your eyes, sticking your fingers in your ears and singing La La La! They aren’t actually going to go away right?’

‘I am not three, Irish one.’

‘I am aware of that, oh befuddled one,’ he sighs  ‘And please stop referring to me as the Irish one. Doing it on your blog is one thing but in person? I feel like a piece of meat.’

‘Ok,’ I respond trying not to laugh, and attempting to craftily change the subject ‘when are we going on the London Eye? I won it for us you know, with my hard work! So when do you fancy going?’

‘Nice try.’

I sigh. ‘Go on then, what do you want to discuss?’

‘Well, so tell me then, what day are you returning once again, to work?’

‘I er, I er, um, ar, Oh look!’ I shout, pointing at the television my mouth falling open aghast ‘Angeline Jolie has no clothes on!!’

And while his head swivels at the speed of light towards the odd children on Waybaloo that have clearly been dubbed but I will never understand why (Naked Angelina Jolie? Seriously Irish One? On Cbeebies?) I make a run for it in to the bathroom and switch on the shower.

It isn’t that I am not aware it isn’t going to happen I just don’t want to talk about it you know?

I am like Julia Roberts in pretty woman, not a whore, I am not a whore just to clarify here, although on some days I do wish… never mind, but I like to ‘fly by the seat of my pants.’

Some things I just don’t like to face.

Like bills.

I hate facing bills.

Which is why they usually only get paid when a man knocks at the door holding a spanner and asking me where the electricity meter is.

‘Why?’ I ask aghast.

‘I am here to cut you off’ he speaks solemnly in a broad Boltonion accent.

‘But why?’ I inquire again aghast ‘I deserve light.’

‘Because you haven’t paid missis, and if you don’t pay, you get to live in the dark.’

At which point, just as everything is about to be emerged in to obscurity I will reach for my debit card, face up to the fact we can’t cook Thomas the tank engine pasta shapes by candle light and make a payment.

It isn’t laziness, or irresponsibility (although I suppose it is a bit) and it isn’t because I don’t have the money, or because I am stingy and would rather spend my money on shoes than electricity (although clearly I would. I saw some lovely heels today in Topshop…)

It is because, well, it is because… I don’t know why but I blame Spain.

Yes the whole country.

I grew up over there and brilliant country that it is, the general rule for living seems to be ‘why do today what you can clearly put off until tomorrow?’ And seriously, I was brainwashed.

This excuse unfortunately didn’t wash with my therapist when I visited him last week though, and when I pointed out of the window and screamed that Jennifer Aniston had just turned up butt naked and waving a cucumber about, he didn’t even flinch. (Damn it, he is gay, I KNEW I should have gone for brad Pitt.)

But it seems most people currently, want to ask me things I am not ready to answer or to think about even, and in all honesty, it is driving me insane.

‘Do you blame yourself for the last year?’

‘What do you mean?’

‘Do you regret the way things have gone since Addison was born?’

‘Regret it?’

‘Yes. Do you wish you could have behaved differently?’

‘I have a feeling you are trying to trick me here.’ I respond looking towards the door.

‘I can assure you I am not, I am just trying to find out if you blame yourself?’

‘Look!! Brad Pitt with no clothes on waving a jar of hummus about!’

‘Nice try, answer the question.’

‘Why do you want to know?’ I sigh, looking everywhere but at him, anxiety creeping out as my legs becoming possessed by Michael Flatly.

‘Humour me. I’m your therapist.’ He smiles.

‘Of course I regret it,’ I say quietly looking down at my open palms staring back up at me ‘and of course I wish things could have been different, who wouldn’t in my position? I don’t remember the way I felt when I first saw my son, I don’t recall feeling love, I don’t remember huge chunks of his life, people tell me I was happy, that I was a great mum, but I don’t remember him as a tiny baby or me even, I can’t even look at photos from that time, I missed out on so much, of course I regret it. I mean, no I don’t regret it,’ I stumble as I see him latching on and about to go in for the kill ‘I just wish things could be different.’

‘Lexy?’

‘What?’

‘Why are you crying?’

‘Oh,’ I exclaim surprised, wiping my eye ‘I didn’t realise I was.’

‘You are. Do you blame yourself?’

‘I guess I do yeah.’ I shrug ‘but who else is responsible if not me?’

‘Why does anybody need to be held responsible? Postnatal Depression is an illness, you need to grieve what could have been, that is true, but it needs to be let go of, maybe it is time to stop punishing yourself, as it is getting you nowhere.’

‘Right,’ I smile slightly ‘except it is.’

‘It is.’ He confirms nodding slightly. ‘You are right it is. How could I have missed this? It is allowing you to remain static in a nonsensical circle of self-harming and avoidance. Blaming yourself for things that are out of your control feels comfortable to you doesn’t it?’

‘That’s right.’ I laugh.  (Although he is mistaken, everything is within my control. EVERYTHING!!)

‘Why are you laughing?’

‘Because if I don’t I will break.’

‘It isn’t funny Lexy. It is heartbreaking.’

I laugh almost sarcastically, annoyed. I am angry with him. Indignant. What does he know? This isn’t heartbreaking, this is life, he isn’t a mother, he doesn’t know, he has no idea of the pressure, heartbroken? I am not heartbroken I am nothing! I am a big fat sodding failure.

‘I am not heartbroken’ I spit out at him. ‘I am nothing.’

He looks deep in to my eyes, a look of shock on his face.

‘You are nothing?’

‘Nothing.’ I confirm. ‘So let’s just change the subject.’

He is silent again.

‘Who is allowed to call you worthless?’ He continues, ignoring my pleas to move on.

‘No one’ I say annoyed that he should even suggest it. I am not worthless, much.

‘Who is allowed to shout at you?’

‘No one.’

‘Really?’ he says an amused look playing on his features ‘I don’t believe that.’

I just look at him blankly. I am not in the mood.

‘Ok,’ he tries again ‘who is allowed to call you worthless?’

‘No one!’ I almost shout ‘of course, no one!’

‘Just you then?’

‘What?’

‘You wouldn’t stand to be treated like this off anyone else, and I am damn sure you wouldn’t dream of inflicting this behavior on anyone else, so why is it ok to do it to yourself? Why is it ok to call yourself a failure, a nothing, a piece of shit?’

I don’t answer for a long time, defiant.

‘How can you regret something that isn’t your fault?’ he asks chin jutting out towards me breaking the atmosphere.

I look up at him solemnly from my chair in the opposite corner of the room ‘it is my fault though’ I disagree with him, ‘that is what you don’t know’ and I lean in to him, trying to make him hear. ‘I could have been different if I had tried a bit harder. Look at all those other mothers, they did it.’

‘Ah.’ He nods ‘So you chose to be this way?’

‘No.’

‘So then?’ he sits back in his chair, and slaps his knees lightly in exasperation.

‘But I allowed it to happen’ I shout louder than I intended to. ‘If I had been stronger, not so selfish, not an evil selfish bitch then maybe…’

‘Did you try and stop it?’

‘Yes.’ I whisper quietly, alarmed ‘of course I did.’

‘And what happened?’

‘You know what happened, can we move on?’

‘So, again, did you choose this?’ he repeats himself.

‘No. I didn’t chose it but…’

‘Would you change it if you could?’ He interrupts me.

‘In a heartbeat.’ I nod, wiping another trespassing tear. ‘Just for Addison. I would live through it a hundred times to keep him here, but it is just not fair on him, to have half a mum, he didn’t chose this did he?’  I am faintly aware of my face being wet again.

‘No and neither did you. Did you?’

‘No.’

‘Can you regret something that isn’t your fault?’

‘I don’t suppose you can, but you can regret not trying harder…’

He sighs, not the answer he is looking for.

I cannot let him win this point, I am not ready to.

‘Do you love your son?’

‘Yes, but not as much as I should. Not as much as all those other mum’s love their children. I see them and they look brilliant, while I am on the outskirts, failing to be…’ I trail off.

‘Can you measure it?’ He asks kindly

‘No’ I sob again ‘I can’t. I am a failure.’

After a few minutes of silence, only broken by my sniffing and trying to hold back the tears he draws the session to an end.

‘That is enough for today.’

‘Ok.’ I nod mutely, glancing at the clock, wiping my nose.

‘Before you go, I want you to think about something and next session we can talk about it. Ok?’

‘Ok.’ I say glumly about to stand up.

‘I want you to write it down.’ He directs and I immediately reach in to my bag and pull out my notebook and pen.

‘Ok’ I say pen poised.

If your child became poorly with an illness out of his control, how long would you punish him for?

And if you wouldn’t punish him for being ill, write down all the things you would do.

Write down five reasons why it is time to stop punishing yourself.

I put my book away, stand up and smile. Bastard.

There is no way I will be able to answer those questions without admitting it isn’t my fault and he knows it.

‘Bye James, see you Wednesday.’

‘Bye Lexy, and oh, one thing…’

‘What?’ I ask, turning to face him from the door.

‘You do love your son enough.’ He smiles up at me ‘you have nothing to worry about there. You aren’t a failure, not at all. And contrary to what you believe, you love him more than you will ever realise.’

My heart skips a beat.

‘How do you know?’ I ask hopefully.

‘Because every time you talk about him you cry.’

….aaaannnnnndddd this is why avoidance is probably a bit poo. (That and the fact I potentially won’t have running water in a couple of days…)

Because ever since he said that, anytime I look at Addison, I cry.

Of course I love him enough, I always have.

Maybe it is time to stop punishing myself? Ourselves?

But I am still not paying the bills, or ringing the council tax people, or even discussing my return to work…

One step at a time yeah?

‘Look! Mr Bloom with no clothes on!!’
(I wish.) 

31 responses to “A whole lot of Nakedness, and the Odd Truth.

  1. Brilliant, as usual, Lex… except for one huge detail.
    Spain is NOT like that.
    You are still being conservative (HA!! Bet no one has said that to you in your life! Trust your oldest friend to do so :-))
    Spain is more like “Why put off until tomorrow what you can leave until the day after mañana?¨
    And I still think I’m being magnanimous.

  2. Pingback: A Mini Breakthrough | I Want My Mummy

  3. Pingback: The Top 20 Writers on Postpartum Depression in 2011 | PregoPedia.info

  4. Pingback: A Mini Breakthrough « BooandMe

  5. Thank you so much for this post. I had a very similiar conversation with my therapist. I told myself many of the same things – I am worthless. I am a terrible mother. I don’t deserve my husband or my two girls…When I had my homework and read these off to my therapist, I began to cry. She told me don’t say anything to yourself that you wouldn’t say to your best friend. Thank you for insightful and humourous posts. Having lived in Spain for 6 months, I felt this comment was spot on “The general rule for living seems to be ‘why do today what you can clearly put off until tomorrow?’ ” I need to remind myself of that when talking to my colleagues over there. They are just in no hurry unlike my hyper Type A American self.

    • YOu are not worthless or a terrible mother and you do deserve your husbamd and you do deserve your two girls but you know that now right? Well just in case ill remind you. :0)
      Where in spain do you live? I would love to go back… x

  6. Thank you so much for posting this. I have been struggling with PPD and Anxiety for 17 months. And have blamed myself day. I carry so much guilt inside me that it could eat me alive. Thank you for letting me know that I am not alone.

    • You are most definitely not alone missis. Self abuse is one of the hardest things to crack i reckon. He is so right, we wouldnt treat anyone else like this so why do we do it to ourselves? Thank you for reading and for commenting. x

  7. As a sufferer of postpartum depression I have to say this is one of the most insightful, beautifully written and supportive pieces I’ve ever read. I know only too well how the guilt at not having that all encompassing feeling of bliss when you have your little one. I only wish more people (including celebrities) would talk more about this, instead of constantly telling us how blissful having a baby is. It’s bloody hard and for some of us it seems impossible. Perhaps we would feel less of a failure if we knew we weren’t alone.

    • Thank you so much for all those beautiful words which i still struggle to believe you are using to describe my blog. You have made me smile today so thank you as it doesnt happen all together that often at the moment. I couldnt agree more about the celeb types who hammer on about how great it is and how perfect and how they just knew life made sense now.. blah blah blah.. I recently watched a celebrity who shall remain nameless on morning television explaining how hard her PND had been and how much she had been through and how she fought as hard as she could and was now feeling so much better. How old is your baby? the presenter asked. 3 months was her reply. Its bullshit. It’s all for selling more magazine stories and in the meantime it leaves us real life honest mothers trying to live up to expectations that just arent realistic. Winds me up. Anyway. Thank you for reading and thank you for being you. I am off to go check out your blog x

  8. Stop making me cry, you.

    How do you do this? How do you write so beautifully about something that is pulling at you from every direction? I am so proud to have been one of your readers from early on…you’re amazing.

    • Says you. Missis blogess extrodinaire. I love you to bits you know that? thank you so much for being one of my readers and for sticking through it with me. I honestly couldnt have done it without you guys holding my hand.
      So…. when are we going to house swap eh? x ;o)

  9. I’ve got tears streaming down my face. He’s right every damned time isn’t he?

  10. You are amazing. This made me cry because it could have been me having that conversation. I often blame myself for everything, even when I know it’s not my fault. I know I need to let that go, but it’s hard. Thank you for this.

    • Let me assure you that if you could see me now, sitting here with yoghurt down my top and last nights regurgitated bottle all over my crotch you would hesitate before using the term ‘amazing’ but nevertheless i shall accept your compliment gracefully and then go shower! Thank you so much. I am sorry i made you cry but i am glad that it helped you see, as it did me, that it isnt our fault. ps i am now following you and your friend xxx

  11. You are awesome…..don’t know what else to say. xxx

  12. LexyWoo those words from James hit me out of nowhere. I inhaled deeply and found myself crying! That moment, good lord.

    You love him more than anything, it’s clear for anyone to see. You don’t have to keep trying to make it up to him, you’ve done nothing wrong.

    This is one of your best posts, and I hope that the session’s helped that much as well?

  13. This post was just brilliant. I believe I have had that exact conversation, or some derivation, with my therapist, and my husband, and myself. Yet I still blame myself… Ugh!
    Thank you!

    • Yup me too. It’s easy to hear but harder to put in to practice. Thank you for letting me know it is not just me, for reading and taking the time out to comment, it means the world x

  14. Lexy I just give a big squeeze, I often look at LPV and think we haven’t bonded enough, I worry that he sometimes doesn’t stop crying when I pick him, that my voice doesn’t soothe him, that he loves his dad more than me. I keep hoping that when we leave Dubai I’ll be the happy bubbly mammy i always hoped to be. but I am a good mammy & and you are too.I think your one of the bravest mammies I’ve haven’t had the the pleasure of meeting.

    • OH MY GOD i can relate to this so much. When i want to soothe addison and he just wants his dad, yeah i get it completely. But that doesnt mean you havent bonded and it doesnt mean you arent an amazing mammy. I am thinking of you lots recently and following your journey. One day soon i hope we can meet and give each other big hugs! From one recovering mammy to another. x

  15. I think, out of all your posts (and I have read every one despite not commenting) this one moved me the most. Because this is ‘the moment’. You know the one, where things suddenly look different. There is no going back from this point. Well done you for hanging in there.

    • It is isnt it. Thank you so much. I didnt see this untill you just pointed it out. I know now dont i?
      Thank you missis , for reading and for the immense amount of support you have offered me since this began, it has never gone unnoticed or unnapreciated x

  16. Oh darling, it is time to let it go. One day at a time, find that 1 positive thing to focus on, and u will get there. And yeah Mr Bloom naked would be good!!!

  17. Oh honey…
    Can I tell you something?
    This post?
    Helped me so much today.
    Really.
    I was diagnosed bipolar AFTER enduring ppostpartum depression for 3 years (bipolar runs in the family so I’m not saying that you’ll ever get it and I don’t want to scare you) and this year has been my worst with a almost suicide attempt. This year above any, I’ve blamed myself for my behaviour and how I’ve “ruined” everything. Even now, during this weird episode I’m going through, I sit an wallow over how much of a hell I’m creating.
    Looking at it in the perspective of Mr. James….I can see it differently. I can’t control it. If I could I would.

    Thank you so much for being so open and candid about your appointment. Really. Thank you.

    • Missis, Can i tell you something now?
      Thank you for leaving this comment. I had been wracked with insecurity about whether to post something so personal and was umming and arring and riddled with anxiety when i popped on to check the stats (wondering if i should take it down) when i read your comment and was instantly in tears.
      I may have helped you by sharing this story but you have helped me more than you will ever know by sharing this comment, because it told me i wasnt alone too, and that if you , after all you have been through, can say this speaks to you, then i know i am not going mad and that he was right.
      So thank you too. LOTS. x

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