I want my Mommy!!!!

by Laura

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I thought about my mom. I thought about if my daughter was told she was clinically depressed, I would want her to tell me so I could love her up and help her. But I had been estranged from my mom for so long. She would call me about every 3 months just to make sure I was okay. The calls were always hard on both of us. If I was feeling especially pious, I would usually end up arguing with her and saying some negative thing to her. But most often we were just sad and talked about nothing important. I hardly talked to her about her grandkids because it was too painful for her to hear. Almost every time we spoke, I would get off the phone and beg my husband, “Can’t we handle this situation with my moms differently. I mean, they hate God because of us. We are not being good witnesses for Christ here. Why can’t we just love them like Jesus loved the woman caught in the act of adultery?” He would respond that Jesus said to the woman caught in adultery to “go and sin no more”. We had basically said that to my moms regarding their relationship but they still lived together, still loved each other, still stood up for women’s rights and equality for everyone. They were a threat to our children in our eyes. Who knew what they might say to our kids? After most conversations with my mom, I would argue with Dale about keeping our kids away from her and then I would back down and let him have his way figuring that he knew what was best.

And I would cry. I missed my mom so much. It was horrible. I would fight with myself inside over the feelings I had toward my mom( I loved her and missed her deeply) and the responsibilities I felt I had toward my husband (to be submissive to his will) and my kids ( to protect them from evil influences which I considered my moms to be because of their lifestyle). Eventually my Christianity would win out and I would again put up the righteous wall that I felt was necessary to protect my children. When I look at it now, I am amazed that I let my husband do my thinking for me like that but it seemed perfectly right and reasonable at the time.

I was alone in the house, just diagnosed with something that terrified me and I knew what I wanted. I wanted my mommy!!!

I called my mom and shared with her the news my doctor had given me earlier that day. I told her how ashamed I was, how scared and how I felt like a total failure. She did what any loving mom would do when their child is hurting. She encouraged me, told me that there was nothing horrible about being depressed, that it was okay for me to take the medicine, that it would probably help if I talked to a counselor and above all, that she loved me and that everything was going to be okay. What a rare opportunity for my mom to be allowed to support and help her daughter in a time of need and pain.

A while before my diagnosis, I had gotten together for lunch with a dear friend of mine who happened to be a pastor’s wife. She and I had a long friendship and I respected and loved her very much. I had been talking with her about my husband’s strange actions and ideas and how it all was affecting me. At this lunch meeting, my friend shared with me that she had been seeing a therapist for some stuff that was hindering her in her life. I was stunned! I mean, how could she, this pastor’s wife, this Godly woman who was looked up to by so many, need a therapist? She was a Christian, for crying out loud! I was very judgmental toward my friend but kept my thoughts to my self. We talked about journaling and how she thought that it would really help me to be able to work through all the pain I was experiencing. Then she dropped a bomb on me and told me that she was taking medication to help with her depression!!! OMG!!! This was almost too much for me. I just could not believe my ears! Again, the same things went through my mind. How she must be some kind of weakling, a failure that hides it well, a fake on the outside. I am ashamed to confess how amazingly judgmental I was all those years I lived in the Patriarchal/Quiverfull world.

I went home from that lunch really thinking less of my friend than I thought possible. I am sickened now at my attitude toward her but then I felt totally justified.

After my diagnosis, I remembered my attitude toward my friend and I called her. I confessed to her how horrible and judgmental my thoughts had been toward her after that meeting and I apologized and asked for her forgiveness. She was wonderful and forgave me instantly. She has been such an amazing support to me through all my trials since I left my husband. She told me once that she always thought of me as a butterfly that had been dragged through the mud. I had no idea that she saw me that way but I think it is a pretty accurate description.

I looked through my bible searching for the answer to whether or not I should take medication. Every verse I came across seemed to be God telling me He would take care of me, I needed to trust him and so forth. So I wouldn’t take the pills. Our doctor friend confided in my husband that she thought half of our problems would disappear if I would just take the meds. But I would not. And things were horrible…

Laura’s Story:

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11 | Part 12 | Part 13

More from Laura:

  • aimai

    Laura,I just wanted to give a huge cyberhug to you and your mother(s) for all you’ve been through. I’ve got two daughters, and I love my mother, and she loved *her* mother my grandmother. I think that strong bond, that deep love, that “I am always there for you” love between a mother and her children is something that patriarchal christianity and judaism is simply envious of. There is no way the patriarchal g-d can match up with the power of the love of a mother. When Abraham goes out to sacrifice Isaac he does it without telling his wife because he knows–and we know–that there is no way in hell she would let him sacrifice their child. What does that say about the man, the father? what does it say about the religion that exalts his act of faith and submission over the simple, sensible, “no” of the woman? The “no” of Lot’s wife who turns back out of sympathy and regret?aimai

  • SL

    I’ve been following your story for some time. The first question that always occurs to me is: how does someone raised by Jewish lesbian women end up this way – in an abusive patriarchal Quiverfull Christian marriage? I just can’t wrap my mind around it. Vyckie’s story makes a lot more sense: her childhood seems to have been fraught with considerable dysfunction – abusive stepfathers, a mother wishing to wash her hands of her school-age daughter so she herself could get married etc. I can much more easily see Vyckie falling prey to abusive religion. You, on the other hand, appear to have had supportive, liberal, open-minded parents who moreoever were not even Christian. So what went wrong, exactly? What could your mothers have done differently for you not to have traveled down the path you did? Was your marrying Dale the ultimate form of teenage rebellion? (After all, what better way to rebel against mothers who are liberal, Jewish feminists than to marry an abusive, patriarchal Christian man!)

  • Arietty

    Laura my hope for you is that someday there will be beautiful photos of you, your mom and your children all together.:) :) :)

  • Lorell

    I had a pastor say from the pulpit that drugs were ok for chemical imbalance depression. Other depression should be treated by not thinking of yourself so much, or by accepting Christ into your heart, which would fill the “Jesus shaped hole in your soul.”This man treated his own alcoholism with said Jesus, and admitted to still having a problem with pornography. He had his wife handle all the computer passwords.Depression is anathema all over Christianity, not just the patrio and fundie branches. Sigh.BUT.I want you two to know that you are inspiring and fascinating. If you can get yourself out of that cage mostly intact, you can do anything. You both amaze me.I am addicted to this blog. I check it 3-4 times a day for new posts. You also seem to have brought out some of the best bunch of commenters around.I hope donations are good. You might think about selling advertising.My best to youLorell

  • Jadehawk

    Mothers are an amazing thing, aren’t they? we daughters do horrible things to them, hurt them, rebel against them, distance ourselves from them, and make them feel like they’ve failed, because we don’t know any better. and yet they’re there when we need them! But I think in the life of every daughter comes a moment when they realize what they’re doing and “come back home”. From the picture, I’m going to guess that you’ve finally found your way back, I’m sure your own daughters will eventually find their way home to mommy too :-)

  • Charis

    Laura,I had a similar internal battle over AD meds. Complicated by my husband's strong judgment of anyone using them and my alcoholic father's spending my entire childhood taunting my mother as "sick sick sick" because she had suffered major post-partum depression and been hospitalized for a year following my older brother's birth. It helped me to look at AD's as "brain vitamins", to restore chemicals that had been depleted by constant stress. I wasn't on prescription AD's very much, but I still take St. John's Wort.aimai,very interesting perspective on those biblical accounts (Abraham & Isaac, and Lot & wife)Jadehawk,That is comforting (your comment about mothers and daughters). Not that my situation is as distant as Laura's, but I do feel that their father's long term role model of disrespecting me and taking me for granted often shows up in the children's attitude toward me. And I hurt for Laura that the children just don't understand how hard it is to be seen by them too through their father's disrespectful, demeaning perspective. At times, I have wanted to "run away" myself.

  • Laura

    Dear SL, You hit the proverbial nail on the head when you answered your own question. I was a very rebellious teenager. My moms said they didn’t want me to date my ex husband and that was all I needed to encourage me to do it! Although, I didn’t marry my ex to spite my moms. It was more to spite my ex, if you can believe that! He had asked me to marry him twice and I said yes and then I said no. Finally he got exasperated and asked again and I told him, ” I can’t marry you. My family would kill me.” He responded, “You care more about your family than you do about me.” In side I said, “The hell I do! FINE…I’ll marry you.” And I did. Sort of cut off my nose to spite my face. I never could handle being challenged like that. It made me want to prove that person wrong in the worst way. And at barely 18 years old, I didn’t have the maturity to think through the bad decisions I would contemplate. I just did things. I was a very strong willed individual. When I got involved in Christianity, it was like having a new family without all the difficulties. They all thought I was wonderful and I liked that. Not that my moms didn’t feel that way too but I had been a bit of a trial to them to raise up what with sneaking out my window at night and running away and so on. I had a clean slate with these people and I wanted to look good. I really think I was rebelling against my ex husband trying to tell me what I would and wouldn’t do as opposed to rebelling against my moms. Not to mention that we really were only culturally Jewish. Nothing more. So religion didn’t play into things in my mind. I was pretty well an agnostic.

  • Jadehawk

    charis, I really really believe that when girls still live at home, they develop the weird “i don’t wanna be like mom” attitude, but real life eventually catches up to them and they learn why their mom is who she is.when i was a teen, I couldn’t wait to get away from my mom. we argued every day, about absolutely everything, even the tiniest stupid things. I ended up running so far away that I ended up on the other end of the world (I moved from Germany to California, that’s almost 9000 miles away from mommy). a few years of living in the real world and making my own experiences is now bringing me closer (well, mentally. I still live 7000 miles from home) to my mom.it takes time, but I’m sure it’ll happen to Laura’s children and to yours as well.

  • Maria Fergus

    Laura, I want to comment to support you and Vyckie because I feel such a connection. But.. I am a nursing student and unless I am studying, my brain is mush these days. So, I’m just saying “Hi”, I support you. Also, when will we hear from your other mom ?

  • Morgan

    i just want to comment that in a way, you shouldn’t feel too bad about not taking the drugs..i mean, it seems that it was your life that was making you miserable, not necc. a chemical imbalance. (although they can occur together, and going through a rough time can cause a chemical imbalance, and meds can help us get out of a bad situation). But the sadness i don’t think was being caused by your brain, but was a normal response to the awful abuse you were dealing with.

  • nina

    Laura-I love you,sis! How can the hurting find healing? How can those burned by fundalmentalism go on, leaving the bitterness behind? I hope your story can tell us…

  • Anonymous

    “The first question that always occurs to me is: how does someone raised by Jewish lesbian women end up this way – in an abusive patriarchal Quiverfull Christian marriage? I just can’t wrap my mind around it.”That’s a common misconception about domestic abuse. The truth is that it can happen to anyone–including strong-willed women raised in stable home environments. Kristin

  • Anonymous

    I’m always puzzled by Christians who refuse medical treatment (like anti-depressants), because I think of the following joke:Man is sitting on top of a house in a flood. The next door neighbor comes by in a boat and offers him a lift, the man says “No, I’m waiting for God to provide”. The police come by in another boat and he waves them off saying, “God will provide”. The National Guard comes in a helicopter and the man waves *them* off. The man drowns. In Heaven, the man asks, “God, why didn’t you save me?”. God says, “I sent you TWO boats and a HELICOPTER! What more did you WANT?”I’m glad you found your way out.

  • Anonymous

    I’m always puzzled by Christians who refuse medical treatment (like anti-depressants), because I think of the following joke:Man is sitting on top of a house in a flood. The next door neighbor comes by in a boat and offers him a lift, the man says “No, I’m waiting for God to provide”. The police come by in another boat and he waves them off saying, “God will provide”. The National Guard comes in a helicopter and the man waves *them* off. The man drowns. In Heaven, the man asks, “God, why didn’t you save me?”. God says, “I sent you TWO boats and a HELICOPTER! What more did you WANT?”I’m glad you found your way out.

  • Carrie

    My dear friend, Laura,Funny how I could see the judgment from Dale, but never could believe it coming from you. I saw love and mercy in your heart and I was drawn to that. Yes, I took anti-depressants for a few years, and they helped me get through a rough time, but I found unconditional love, respect and acceptance to be a major healing factor in my life. And yes, I knew you had a problem with my taking meds, but I also saw that you were hungry for help, and I was willing for you to look down on me for a while, in hopes that maybe I could make getting help a little more acceptable to you. Yes, I saw a therapist when things were rough in Minnesota and then again after we moved to Connecticut. Ya know, things aren’t so rough now, but I love the learning and growing I do when seeing a therapist, so I just found me another one. Ya know what I love about your writing? You aren’t bashing Dale. You are telling your story. Once you said in comparing me to Dale that I am the one who loves like Jesus. Wow! No one could pay me a greater compliment. It also made me realize that know you that Dale’s god is his own invention. His god is not the real deal. My prayer is that you will be able to sort out the real God from Dale’s god, that you will become aware of the times that God carried you through when the going was so rough. Today is your birthday and I am celebrating for you are a very special friend to me. I, too, used to feel that I was “good”, that I was superior to others and would bestow my wisdom on them. I realize now that we are equals, that I have much to learn from those I used to think of as beneath me. I love you, Laura. You are precious to me!