Today we had a party in our house. My husband, the children and I danced and celebrated the love we all share. We had the music so loud, we did not care about the neighbors. If there is anything Nino brought into my life, he came to understand me and bring out the best in me. He came to complete me and today he took my hand and echoed the words of the song Read All About It by Emily Sande…
You’ve got the words to change a nation but you’re biting your tongue
You’ve spent a lifetime stuck in silence afraid you’ll say something wrong
If no one ever hears it, how we gonna learn your song
So come on come on, come on come on
You’ve got a heart as loud as lions so why let your voice be tamed
Maybe we’re a little different, there’s no need to be ashamed
You’ve got the light to fight the shadows so stop hiding it away
Come on, come on
So here I am now, writing this article. Today I am celebrating because even though it was my due date today, Charo is now 10 days old and my midwife came at home to discharge me.
A lot of emotions went through me today. I have done it! I feel completed and redeemed. If there is anything that makes me choke with emotion, it’s my children. My life has been a life of pain, loneliness, and loss. I am that woman who has always walked a lonely, dark walk and never understood why. I am that woman who has always been misunderstood even by the closest people to me. I am that woman who never thought I would ever reach home…
My ex-husband used this to try and get my children taken away from me. He used my deepest pain to try and break me even more. For one whole year, I was in and out of court fighting just to keep my children. I had already lost my house and my marriage and he wanted me to lose my children too.
There is one weapon he used against me throughout the court proceedings. You see my ex-husband came from a very big family. In court all his family would be there, sometimes over 20 people, and his church members too. I always went alone. So he told the court that my family hated me. He told the court Jean does not even get on with her own mother. He told the court that Jean does not get on with her own siblings. He told the court that Jean has no friends or relatives. He told the court that Jean has never maintained a single relationship in her life. How can she possibly be a good mum, even her own mother can not stand her.
The hardest part of it was, what he was saying had truth in it and in a court of law, it worked against me even though it wasn’t supposed to. Yes I had no one. Yes I came to court alone to fight for my children because they were all I had. The court saw I had no support system and my ex-husband had. My ex-husband knew all my weaknesses and he used them all against me. I wished my mother would be with me to prove to my ex-husband and everyone else that she loved me, but it never really happened. Secretly she celebrated with my ex-husband and anyone who abused me. Yes, it sounds unbelievable right? Hmm.. Each time I took a break in court, I would go into the toilet and cry. The humiliation. The self-blame. I would pray that God would see me through, He was all I had the entire time when I was in the darkest valley.
The moment my ex-husband painted a picture of me that I was unlovable and therefore was incapable of loving my own children, it made even the judges take his side. On the final ruling, a different judge came, and ruled everything in my favor and protected my children even from my ex-husband. This different Judge was indeed God-sent.
But since then I was in fear. Fear of being exposed by my ex-husband to the world. He always wanted to tell the world that Jean’s mother doesn’t love her. He has always wanted to prove that Jean is unlovable even to her own family, and somehow he saw this as justification to abuse me.
But never again will I ever be accountable for not being loved by the only woman who was supposed to give me unconditional love. Even though I may be the only woman in the world like this, I refuse to let it be my burden.
I have spent my whole adult life trying so hard to reach out to my mum, but I always end up bruised and in much more emotional pain. I am constantly mocked, discouraged and told what a horrible person I am. I am told I have bad luck and more. I have spent my adult life wrestling what I have been made to believe by my mother. When my ex-husband called my family to say I was crazy, it was my mother who believed him first. She gave my ex-husband all ammunition to abuse me and laugh at me, even to the world.
In Africa it’s taboo to be hated by your own mother. I have always been threatened with the scripture, “Honor your mother and father” to those I tried to share my pain with. But if the truth is forbidden, I want to be the woman who will complete the same scripture by adding “IN THE LORD”.
When I announced Charo’s birth, one of my blog readers wrote to me and said I was Mother Earth. My heart melted, I did not know that the love I have for my children can be felt by those who do not know me. All my children have their imperfections, but none of my children will ever be accountable for being imperfect. I will never withdraw love to a child because I believe they are strange or weird. I will never hate my own child for their looks. I will never destroy my daughters confidence by telling them that they are ugly. I will never divide my children against each other. I will not mock my child’s ambitions or dreams, no matter how silly it may sound to me. Even if the whole world be against my child, I will stand by them because my love for them is unconditional. My children will never buy my love, they have it from me regardless of who they are.
I want to thank my mother for not being there for me. I thank her for not understanding me. I thank her for not understanding my weirdness, or why I love to write. I thank her for not understanding my dreams and passions. I thank her for dismissing my pain and feeling. I thank her that she has never allowed me to cry on her shoulders. I am a mother hen today because I walked in the darkest road alone which has helped me to understand the true meaning of love.
As a daughter of an unloving mother, I also want to dedicate this blog to women out there like me. We may only be a handful, but we exist. We may not be allowed to talk about it, but today I have. I want the world to learn our song, even though they may not understand it. Today I dance with so much joy as my children surround me with love, and dancing for me also means writing. It’s never a daughter’s fault that her mother doesn’t love her. Even though this is an unspoken truth, today my readers can know that there exists “Conditional love” from mothers. But I choose to love my 5 children individually and unconditionally.