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I guess it was inevitable. The entirety of my pregnancy was spent trying to keep information from getting to my estranged mother. Mostly it was out of a wish to avoid stress and drama, but also out of a cowardly avoidance to confronting a lot of the issues I’d been trying to work out in my weekly therapy sessions.

Still, as much work as I did on myself, I became sadder and sadder that I’d eventually have to put the rage and resentment into words that would somehow reach her. I felt cowardly, because I wanted to feel the authentic feelings I had, but didn’t have the courage to tell her exactly how I felt, knowing how hurtful it would be to hear. How do you live with yourself knowing that you hate the person you’re supposed to love, and you can’t bear to say it to them. So instead you choose silence.

I’d managed the entire pregnancy in what I imagined was her ignorance of it. If she had any knowledge, I never heard any of it. But as fate would have it, by the courtesy of uncooperative Facebook privacy settings, the cat was let out of the bag by my own husband. A telltale “like” showed up on some of his other pictures, posted around the same time, so it was pretty obvious that she was now aware.

If I had any doubts, a phone call came the next day from my brother who was living with her. We hadn’t spoken in nearly as much time as I’d been estranged from my other. It was a difficult conversation, one I hadn’t expected. By the end, we had discussed without judgment the way things were, and why. He seemed to understand, as only someone who lived through the same hell as I did could. I hated that we had to spend so much time in limbo, not communicating, not really knowing how the other person felt.

I hung up with him and broke down in tears. It was both a release and an acceptance that the last two years of my life had been an orchestration of my own design. It was not something that I enjoyed, but it seemed like a necessity in order to survive, not unlike the way I coped with my home life growing up. I also wept for my son, who would be deprived a “normal” or “healthy” extended family, at least from my side of things. It wasn’t fair, but it is the way it needs to be.