• Tue, Nov 13 2012

I Almost Disowned My Mother After Delivering My Son

disownI had gone 39 years without having a major fight with my mother. Sure, when I was a teenager, we fought. But that was more of an annoyance for me – clean your room! Don’t steal the car again! Do your homework! Whose cigarettes are these? But we always made up and I usually talked to my mother almost daily as an adult. That is until the day I came home from the hospital with my newborn son, after spending three days in the hospital, following a c-section.

We had the blowout of all blowouts and for a few days I actually contemplated disowning my mother.

One of my other friends also had a major blowout with her mother the day she came home from the hospital after giving birth, and she hasn’t talked to her mother in over a year now. My friend and I talked about our fights with our mothers and wondered why oh why did they have to start with us on the worst day possible. Not only are you completely hormonal after having a baby, you are sleep deprived, and coming off drugs, and really, there are better times to get mad at your daughters. Another woman I know also recently got into a huge fight with her mother, who she used to talk to daily as well, and now they barely talk or see each other at all. This woman is 46 years old.

I won’t get into exactly what my mother’s problem was with me (only to say there was a litany of complaints.) I was so upset, bawling my eyes out, that my fiancé had to take the phone away from me and tell my mother that now wasn’t the best time to talk to me. Perhaps my mother did have some valid points. However, it was the timing and what she said – some things were so harsh and hurtful – that I wonder if I can ever forgive her and my father (who backed up my mother) completely. We still talk now, but not every day. The conversations are stilted and awkward, and the visits are few and far between.

My mother’s complaints about me, no matter how valid, could have waited for a better time, perhaps a week later since apparently her problems with me have stemmed back for years. Why not wait to tell me her issues with me when I’m rested and feeling better? Not right after I had major surgery? Also, when you are an adult, you realize that issues are a two-way street. While she yelled at me for things that she thought I was at fault for, I yelled at her for things she was at fault for. As an adult, you are stronger and can argue more coherently than when you are a teenager. No longer can you just say to your mother, “You’re a bitch! I hate you!” because that is childish.

You can reach this post's author, Rebecca Eckler, on twitter.
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  • Blooming_Babies

    Over the years I’ve had big blowouts with both my parents, you just have to grow up and accept that you’re parents are just flawed people. I do believe family is a privilege not a right.

  • To Celebrate Women

    All I can say is I hope things get better soon. Good luck.

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  • http://fairlyodd.net Frances Bean

    Your parents were in the wrong, whatever their issues with you were. That’s terrible. I can kind of relate, only it wasn’t after I gave birth. My area was seriously effected by Hurricane Sandy and we’ve been without power or gas for going on 16 days. This is when my mother in law chose to start in on me for a ton of bullshit. I will never speak to her again. I think some people just feel more confident to kick you when you’re already down.

    • rebecca eckler

      Thinking of you xo

    • SandiMommy

      God bless you.

  • Eliza

    My mother and I had a big fight the day after I gave birth as well and we hadn’t had any fight like that for a while. She actually got into an argument/fight with my aunt who was with us at the same time. She seemed to be more hormonal than I was. Later she explained to me that she felt she was having the same postpartum depression feelings and anxieties that she had after her deliveries. I know that’s not really a good excuse, but I had not seen my mom so upset as she was in a long time. I don’t know why your mom picked that time to hash out everything going wrong in your relationship, but my mom must have had the same feeling!

  • Berker

    I didn’t realize it was so common to have a fight with your mother so closely after birth, but now that I think about it, I remember my best friend getting in a fight with her mom while she was in labor. Her mom left in the middle of her labor to go to the movies because she “didn’t feel needed.” My (completely uneducated) guess would be that it has to do with the shift of focus, from your mother to your own baby. Now you have your own to look after so your mother does something to create an emotional connection, even if it’s a negative one. Very interesting.

    • rebecca eckler

      I think I agree with this!

    • Julie

      This is exactly what I went through with my mother after my daughter was born. My mom is extremely sensitive and my entire life I would emotionally strain myself just trying not to hurt her feelings. I’ve learned to take it easy on myself now that I’m older and to focus on my own happiness but I don’t go out of my way to upset her… it just happens.. anyway, after my daughter was born I went through exactly what you just described and on top of everything else, we had to deal with a 4 week NICU stay. If the attention wasn’t on my mom, she threw herself a little pity party and I just didn’t have the energy, physically or emotionally, to deal with it. Shit definitely hit the fan.

      I do think that things seem worse at those times though. You ARE extremely hormonal after giving birth and it’s hard to just take something with a grain of salt. I’ve been dealing with my mom’s temper tantrums my whole life. The way she was acting probably wasn’t *much* different than her normal self but because of the stress I was under, the whole situation was amplified.

      Also, I think sweeping it under the rug is a bad idea. Rebecca, you say it was easier to do so, but do you really think it was? Because after you say that, you mention how awkward family gatherings are now. Don’t you think that talking about it and coming to some kind of understanding would make things easier in the long run, rather than just putting a band-aid on it so you don’t have to deal with it in the moment? It sounds like you’re upset about the changes in you relationship with your mom, so it would probably be worthwhile to try to do something about it. And it would be beneficial for your children’s sake too- as they get older they WILL notice that something is not right between you and your mom. At least, I would think so. Good luck! As much as my own mom drives me nuts from time to time, I’m thankful for every single time we’ve worked things out.

    • Bringer of Storms

      Julie, I think you are a very wise woman.

  • Jessie

    My mother is dead, and I’d give anything to have her back, fights and all (and we’d get into those!). Point is, if your mother is ALIVE this Thanksgiving, quit throwing yourself a pity party and try to fix things before you regret not doing anything but play the blame game. If you can’t do that, get some professional help and try to move on.

    • jsterling93

      So you advocate being treated like garbage because after all it is her mom? I am sorry you lost and miss your mom but it isn’t always the daughters responsibility to suck it up and let someone treat them badly just because it is their mom. The writer doesn’t need therapy. Her mother does. She needs to examine why she felt the need to attack her own child after they have just given birth.

    • EditKitten

      Just because a person is your mother does not mean you have to deal with abusive behavior. I’m sorry that you lost your mom. But that shouldn’t lessen the issues other people have with theirs. Telling people to just “get over it” because you think your pain is greater is a bit insensitive.

    • http://www.facebook.com/courtney.wooten Courtney Lynn

      I was going to say something to this effect, but you nailed it!

    • lab5815

      I understand where you’re coming from, because its been 13 years since my mother died and i miss her tremendously. But its not as easy as just get over it- 13 years after her death, i still remember and hurt over things my mother said to me to hurt me (including fights going back to middle school and including fights while she was dying). Its a weird dynamic to love someone and want so much to please them and have their approval, but to also know that they are ticking timebombs who could go off for any little reason.

  • chickadee

    I am so sorry — my mother was the opposite. She had zero qualms about squabbling with me about any- and everything when I wasn’t in labor (which was most of the time, by the way), she would forgive anything. After the baby was born, I had a get-out-of-jail-free card.

    That lasted until the baby in question was about a year old….

  • SandiMommy

    I too had an argument on the day my son was born – in the hospital – about how my husband was basically an asshole. She proceeded to explain all of his shortcomings. I explained that if I have to make a choice between him and her, she would not like the outcome.
    We talk but it is very difficult to forget that my memory of first and only son was ruined by my mother!
    She still manages to run her mouth to this day.

    • rebecca eckler

      That’s one of my issues too. It’s that that DAY of bringing home my son, that memory, is ruined. Thanks for sharing, xo r

  • C.J.

    Tomorrow a close friend of mine has to say good-bye to her dad after a long battle with cancer. After I got the call today I thought of this article. I sincerely hope you are able to patch things up with your parents. Although your mother was obviously wrong to start an argument with you right after you had a baby, I hope you are able to forgive your parents. Obviously you will not forget it but I hope you will be able to put it behind you at some point. I am not by any means suggesting you should just suck it up and get over it, or that all the responsibility to fix the situation is yours. I also don’t think you should sweep it under the rug or pretend it didn’t happen. What your parents did was very hurtful. Especially because they are your parents. Parents do stupid things sometimes too, I hope your parents come to realize this. Life is too short to for this kind of thing. Unfourtunatly there are no easy answers but I wish you all the best in being able to heal your relationship with your parents.

  • quinn

    A few similar things happened between my mom and me. When I told her I was pregnant she flipped out about how it would effect her and make her look. I was 25 and dating a nice lawyer who is now my husband, and I had finished college and had a career, but I wasn’t married, so she couldn’t see past how it made her look. Then at my wedding I wasn’t paying her enough attention so she threw a fit and cursed me out in front of the whole wedding party. After I had my baby she again got mad and had a big blowout with me because I didn’t make enough concessions for her and I didn’t want her to be in the delivery room with me, I only wanted my husband. I have noticed that on my biggest occasions where the focus is on me, she can’t stand it and must fight with me. We talk regulary, and she lives close by now, but I would rather keep my mouth shut (as much as I can) rather than have to spend my life fighting a losing battle. I have learned to ignore her need for attention most of the time, but underneath I would really love to shake her and tell her that the world doesn’t revolve around her.

  • erica

    Seriously?!? The only thing your mom should have been talking about the day home from the hospital was “How are you? How is the baby? How can I help?” Anything else is inappropriate.

    I don’t know what these ‘issues’ are but certain things can be worked out and certain things are just personality traits. We don’t choose our parents/children’s personalities. They just are. So some ‘issues’ might just be better to sweep under the rug because they can’t be fixed. That’s something you’ll have to decide.

  • http://www.facebook.com/courtney.wooten Courtney Lynn

    I don’t even need to know what the issue was but nothing is so important that you needed to be bothered with it after a c-section. I was just there myself in May, already so screwed up from hormones and shitty hospital staff (some, not all) that anything like that would have put me over the edge! I hope your mother does see the error of her ways and that you are able to patch things up.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=592188905 Bran Chesterton

    2 years ago, I told my conservative parents that I fell in love with a woman. I felt like I worked harder than I ever have before trying to be sensitive to my mom’s issues with homophobia and her religion. It came to a breaking point and I couldn’t do it anymore – I felt drained and numb and hurt, and emotionally I didn’t have the energy. We stopped talking for many months. I was angry, but I realized that the energy I was saving on being hurt and sad, I was spending on being angry, avoiding her, or explaining to myself why it was okay to cut her out of my life.

    Recently, I broke down and told her how much I missed her, and missed feeling close to her and talking to her like we always did. That awkwardness you spoke of – that had been haunting me for the past 2 years. I hated hearing her talk to me in a different tone because I was gay. We spoke and we cried, and I learned some things I didn’t know, and she learned some things too. I’m still very hurt that she believes my family isn’t real or can’t be Christian, but at least we have each other back and the road ahead is brighter.

    The comments that talk about losing your parents and then wishing like anything that you had been closer may seem insensitive, but they aren’t meant to be. It is a gift to always be able to pick up the phone and reconcile at any time if we wanted to; a gift a lot of people don’t have. That in itself is something to be so thankful for, even if we don’t want to or can’t take advantage of it right now.

    I sincerely hope everyone with parental issues can eventually work through them. I’m still working on it, but this Thanksgiving I’m thankful that I listened. It made all the difference for me, and maybe it can for others!

  • Ashley W.

    I had the blowout in June of this year with my parents. We started to move past it about mid September. Still, things were barely the same and I wondered constantly if they ever would be. Once we started talking again it was once every week or two, versus the almost daily talks we used to have, and we didn’t small talk anymore, there was always a reason to talk, something to be decided, family plans to make, etc. I thought we had so much time to fully work things out and get back to where we had once been, or at least close to. My parents came over on Halloween to see the kids and pass out candy so my husband and I could both take our daughter and niece out. I had no idea that that would be the last time I saw my mom walk or talk. I got woken up at 6am on Nov 2, not even 36hrs later, to news that my mom was in the hospital. I flew up there and we waited on pins and needles all day, for my mom to pass at 7 that night while I held her hand.

    The point to all this is that no matter how hurt anyone is, if there’s a chance to reconcile in anyway, you should always take it. I truly thought I had all the time in the world, and while I’m so happy my mom and I did reconcile, I will never, ever forgive myself for not trying harder or faster to make amends. I love my mom more than I can ever say and I’m devastated and terrified that she died without knowing that. Cherish every moment you have with those you love, and let them know that even if you’re upset with them, you love them.

  • Not That Rebecca

    Yup. Even if every single thing your mother said to you was factually true, saying them to you then is about as kind and acceptable and productive as punching you in the nose while you were in labour would have been.

    Worse, possibly – in labour you had some drugs and endorphins to dull the pain :P

    Sorry.

    In terms of sweeping under the rug – eh, that’s underrated. Your goal is to have a functional, stress-free relationship with your mother, primarily because she and your kids are a huge part of each other’s lives, right? That’s probably best served by gritting your teeth and holding your tongue at times, than by having further knockdown-blowouts that may or may not even clear the air.