The news about the baby has still not settled in me. I know when I go for therapy tomorrow, J will expect me to talk about how it feels. And I’m not sure where to even begin on that. Those emotions are so knotted up, I can’t quite figure out how to unravel them.
Like a lot of people, I absolutely love babies. My friends are popping them out all over the place at the moment, and it makes me so happy to be with them. It’s amazing and heart warming to meet these new, precious little people. I love seeing my new mum friends interacting with them and adapting to all the changes.
I visited a very good friend this weekend who has a six week old baby girl. We kept finding ourselves sitting in a comfortable silence and just staring at her as she slept. It was calming to be with them. And holding that little bundle in my arms, watching her yawn and stretch and gaze at me with her huge eyes, I couldn’t help but feel happy.
But all of this is so bittersweet at the moment. Because in the back of my mind is my nephew. He’s not even a week old yet. He’s innocent and he’s part of my family. But I’m never going to know him, because his father is my abuser. His father is the person responsible for the pain I’ve endured these past years. His father has left me broken, tormented by nightmares and flashbacks and plagued by my own destructive sense of shame and self-loathing.
Just over a year ago, I cut my brother out of my life (the letter I wrote to him is here). I chose to remove him. I decided he was nothing to me. I stopped telling people I even had a brother, because as far as I am concerned, I don’t any more. That was tough, but it seemed right, and the struggle that ensued with my other family members felt worth it. Eventually they settled down to the idea that the family would no longer be complete. Those festive gatherings would never happen again as they had in the past.
The baby has thrown a spanner in the works of my recovery. He’s destabilised those boundaries. And he’s left me totally isolated from the people I love. I’m isolated because I can’t hear about him. When I spoke to my mum at the weekend and she mentioned in passing that they’d all got together for lunch, I can’t describe how I felt. She barely touched on it, but the thought of them gathering to meet the baby and celebrate wrenched my gut. My insides felt twisted. I can’t label that sensation. It was just horrible.
In preparation for therapy tomorrow, I’m attempting to put names to the complex and confusing feelings this child has brought up in me. Predominantly, I think my new nephew has created a sense of grief in me. I feel like the moment he was born I lost him. I lost what he could have been to me and I lost the feeling of connection with my non-abusing family members.
On top of that, I’m furious. This all feels like a massive injustice. And I’m jealous. Jealous that my brother and his child have the closeness of my family that I crave so much. And mixed in between all of that is a desperate and pervasive loneliness. I know I’ve got friends I love to support me. And my wife is close by and cares so deeply. But right now, I feel totally alone and stranded in my swamp of toxic emotions.
Photo: Cassandra Rae, Creative Commons.