My children bounce into my bedroom this morning. Their eyes brimming with pride as they excitedly say, in chorus, Happy Mother’s Day.
For weeks I’ve been having nightmares though. I’m tired and just want to sleep but I hug them each and thank them for the abundance of gifts they have presented me with.
Every year is the same. Nightmares taunt me at this time of year. Nightmares of the hell I survived to be here today. I lie to myself and try to think that my mother did the best she could.
I changed my name to Abigail, haven’t seen her in four years but every Mother’s Day she haunts me in my sleep. I can never escape that place.
In my nightmares she starves me, locks me up, beats me, constantly tells me I’m not good enough and laughs as I mistake someone taking advantage of me as love. Not too different to what it was really like.
I look in the mirror and I have her high-cheek bones and other similar facial features. If I grow my hair long, I look more like her so I keep it short. I change my first name because every time someone says my ‘real’ name I cringe and hate myself that little bit more. I hope it hurts her that I’ve rejected her and the name she gave me. I hope it hurts that I’ve taken her grandchildren away from her.
I’d like to forgive her for everything she did, but I can’t. My GP knows the horrors of what she has done to me over the years. She knows all of it. She knows more than my husband. More than anyone else. There are too many things she has done to me that I can’t tell anyone except for her. Last visit she shook her head at me and saying ‘you are remarkable and people who go through what you have end up so broken they can’t work and are on disability pensions their whole lives.’
I’m embarrassed by a lot of it and I wonder what made her hate me like she did. Why was I so unloveable?
I once advertised on Gumtree for a mother. I just wanted what other people had. I just wanted to feel like I belonged. I just wanted someone to hug me and tell me that I was good.