The Haunting Scars of My Childhood

In response to: 1984 You’re locked in a room with your greatest fear. Describe what’s in the room.

Though I have more than one fears and maybe each of them can be labelled my greatest fear depending on my immediate circumstances but recently one of my greatest fears have been on my mind.  People commonly use the term “my biological clock is ticking ” to express their desire and readiness for a child. A I ascend the age ladder, I see friends that I have gone to school with who have accomplished similar goals are now starting their families – by different means. And though I am jealous of the marriages/ stable relationships what fuels my fear is the thought of having a child.

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I imagine that if I’m locked in a room when i come to the realization that I am pregnant, the room would suddenly start closing in on me. I’m sure that I would be seeing doom approaching like a vortex trying to suck me in. I imagine that despite the gloom of such a room, I would not want to leave it, because i would be crippled by the perpetual fear of what would they think?

The fear that I speak of has its genesis in my experience as a child growing up. when I was maybe seven years old, my eldest sister who was thirteen at the time decided to experiment with sex which resulted in her becoming pregnant.  Three years later she was pregnant again. Thereafter, my other older sister also became pregnant – she was about 16 yrs old.

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These pregnancies were not met with the warm expressions of joy and congratulations for the new addition to the family but were met with ostracism, disappointment and some amount of physical violence met out to my older sister from my father.

By the time I got to the age of 18, my older sister who first became pregnant had five children. Even though by now she was an adult, each time she announced a new pregnancy, she was met with a renewed resentment from my father and sometimes he would go for years without even talking to her.

Though I was walking the straight and narrow and avoiding boys  – as best as I could – the “sins” of my sisters surely haunted me all throughout my childhood and have developed into one of my greatest fears as an adult. Though consciously, I know that I have surpassed my fathers expectations and that regardless I am now an independent adult, free to do whatever I want with my life, I still can’t avert the feeling of disappointment and alienation associated with the birth of my sisters children.

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Even my sister who is a year older than me, was met with the same indifference when she became pregnant with her first child at age 19 and even the ones after. She recently became pregnant with her second child and became the inspiration for Bundle of Joy, which is an expression of the despair and hopelessness that I have been cultured to feel towards my sisters being pregnant. And leads me to the questions am I really any different from them? Will my child be treated any differently?

The first step in rehabilitation is accepting that you have a problem, and though I am aware that these negative feeling were born (no pun intended) of the not so delightful circumstances that my wonderful nieces and nephews were created from, and though my current circumstances are far from similar, I still can’t shake the fear and the gloom of pregnancy.

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* the pics featured are of a few of my nieces and nephews – hope their moms don’t kill me.

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