UNDER THE HALO – THOUGHTS AND IMPRESSIONS OF AN ANGEL – WRITTEN BY: KELLY GRACE
Scrolling through Facebook the other day a meme caught my eye. It was a picture of an ultrasound with twins, and the caption read “Pregnant women are so sensitive. My sister told me she was having twins and I said, ‘at least you’re finally having two children with the same man.’”
And then I thought about it. My Mom had two children. Not with the same man. While there is nothing out of the ordinary about people having half siblings, and women having children by more than one man is more common these days than 50 years ago, it is still not necessarily widely accepted. The fact of the matter is the face of what is a “typical” family has changed. Some women CHOOSE to be single moms and do a damn good job at it., and with divorce being more commonplace, women are more likely to divorce and remarry young enough to have children by a second husband, if they even marry their partner.
This is my life now.
My Mom did not choose to be a single mother. My mom did not divorce and remarry and have me with a different husband. My mom had an affair. My mom would have been whispered about behind her back. My mom would probably deny my paternity to save face, just like a lot of women who are mothers of NPEs of my generation.
And therein lies the problem. Society’s tendency to have double standards when it comes to men and women and their procreation habits is what causes a significant number of NPE Mothers out there to lie and deny when faced with the truth of their child’s paternity. It takes a brave woman to own up to being an NPE mom when your children when you would be looked down upon by society for being a “loose woman”.
I can remember these women from when I was a child, the ones talked about in hushed tones, the ones whose children we pitied because of their mother’s scandalous behavior.
My mom is one of those women.
I am one of those children.
This is my life now.
Far worse than being pitied for being an “orphan” because my mother died when I was a child, far worse than the looks people used to give my stepmother for having to raise another woman’s intractable child that she did not want, are the looks given to those urchins whose mothers were thought – not even proven to be – “loose women”.
No wonder these women will not divulge their secrets even now. They are still being judged, and we are still judging.
I think this is what my sister is afraid of. She does not want me to out my mother as a NPE Mom because then she’s one of “those women”. An adulteress. A seductress. A temptress. It’s difficult for any of us to imagine our mothers as sexual beings, but placing your mother into a situation like mine, where she seduced a man because she wanted to have a child, I have a hard time with that. Yet and still, 50% of her DNA flows through my veins so, the idea shouldn’t be that much of a stretch to my imagination.
While I am pretty “out” in the NPE community, my friends will notice I don’t say much about being an NPE on social media. The reason being is even though they don’t pay a heck of a lot of attention to me, I still have a ton of cousins who are my friends on various social media platforms. My in-laws and my sister’s in-laws know more about my story than my own blood. With them, my mother has achieved saint-like status since her death 44 years ago. People remember her as kind and generous and loving – all of which she was, I’m not denying any of that. But no one can tell me anything negative about her. If I got 50% of my DNA from her, all my negative traits could not have come from my biological father. Not when I see them reflected in my aunts, uncles, and cousins.
They are still being judged, and we are still judging.
A quick chat with my sounding board (the other Angels) tells me that while my mother may have been whispered about behind her back, her middle-class status would have offered her some protection. Those mothers on public assistance have it much worse, they are openly scorned, and their children shunned. Except that some of the “bravest” women that come forward and say “I have no idea who my child’s father is” tend to be those from a lower socioeconomic stratum. I’ve had women admit “I was on drugs, I partied too much, etc.” as the client in lieu of the child. Their reason for being there is simple: they believe the child has the right to know where their DNA came from, and they aren’t going to make them pay for their Mother’s choices a minute longer. These women immediately win my respect and admiration, and maybe I work a little harder to identify the man who fathered their child.
But maybe we as a society need to be a little less judgmental towards women, because maybe, just maybe, it is our collective faults that Angels like myself have so many clients whose Mothers stone-wall, who we call “narcissistic”, who will deny, distract, and dissemble rather than admit the truth that DNA reveals, just to retain a little dignity. If we treated NPE Mothers with compassion and understanding, maybe their children could get the answers they seek without the pain and heartache those with “uncooperative” mothers have faced.
Missed the previous Volume, read it here!