On Monday, I published a report entitled “OITNB Reminds Us Having Moms in Prisons Really Hurts Prison Kids.” This is part 2 of that report… OITNB Reminds Us What Happens When Mom Goes to Prison Read Part 1: OITNB Reminds Us Having Moms in Prisons Really Hurts Prison Kids When mom goes to prison, being separated […]
A former ward of the New York Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS), Tiffany McFadden, is up against the injustices suffered by incarcerated persons. She says prisoners suffer at the hands of correctional officers. So, she’s starting campaigns to deal with damage suffered by prison families. According to an opinion piece McFadden wrote for […]
One thing I know for sure, is that it is definitely not easy being a #PrisonDaughter. This is especially true when you’re the adult daughter of a prisoner. In my case, the inmate is my mom. She was arrested in February 2004. At the time, it was the hardest day of my life. The Lives […]
In a TODAY report, we learned about Kayla, a 7-year-old girl whose father was incarcerated when she was only four. She wanted to spend a lot of time over the summer with her father. But, life isn’t that simple for this prison daughter. Kendal Felix, Kayla’s father, was convicted of kidnapping and murdering Brooklyn landlord […]
I only agreed for Granny’s sake. After all, why would I want to see my mother? I’d only visited her a few times since she’d gone to prison and each time I’d left with a quiver of unease in my bones. I didn’t see how this time could be any different. With Granny at my […]
Every so often, I get a letter from my mom which contains a newspaper clipping or other information related to fertility. My mom has wanted to be a grandmother most of my adult life. Now that I am 40, she’s going through a panic about me starting menopause recently.
I have always wanted children, all my life. I could never seem to be in a relationship that I felt was loving enough to bring a child into. So, I’ve pretty much put it off until now. But, having a family of my own is definitely still my biggest dream and daily prayer to God.
Now, things are complicated even more by the fact that I am in love with a man prison. (See my blog, “The Prisoner’s Fiance” for details.) He still has a couple of years to go, while I continue to go through menopause. My mother truly fears that this choice may cause me to never be able to have children.
I’ve started researching the different fertility options that I may have. I am still researching and going through consultations, but it looks like I’ve pretty much made a decision. I plan to have my eggs frozen. That way, if all of my eggs are useless by the time my boo gets released, we will still have the option of using my frozen eggs to make our family.
Because he has been my best friend for two decades, he always knew there were some type of fertility issues for me. Now that we’re in love, he is more than happy to go through whatever procedures we need to in order to have children together.
I guess the only question will be, “How many eggs do we use at one time”? Knowing my mother, she will say “Use them all”! But, Lord knows I don’t want to be “Me & Him + 8” or “The New Octo-mom.” LOL! LMBO!
It’s amazing how some days can bring on such memories. Not having my mother here in my life makes even the good memories sad sometimes. Most days, I stay busy, so I stay strong. But, some days, it takes all I have to fight the tears and pain in my heart.
I spent so many years being my mom’s parent because that’s what she needed at the time. Now, when I see her in those prison blues, I realize she was always stronger than I gave her credit for. I was her enabler. And being an addict, she was all for it. As long as I was there to pick up the slack, she never really had a reason to get herself together and handle her own business.
According to wiseGEEK.com, “Most often the term enabler is associated with people who allow loved ones to behave in ways that are destructive… The term enabler is also part of the larger definition of codependency. Codependency at first arose as a definition of adaptive behaviors a person might make if he or she lives with someone with substance abuse or severe emotional problems. A codependent tends to remain so, because he or she adapts to or ignores the behaviors of the ill person. In fact, the codependent often becomes an enabler because it allows one to be involved in fewer conflicts.“
That is the most accurate description of the relationship my mother and I had before she got clean in prison. After a tragedy like this, every loved one involved starts to question themselves, their role in the person’s demise, and what they should or should not have done differently. Then, the self-guilt begins.
As I began to travel deeper into my spiritual journey, it became clear that I needed forgiveness to move on with my life. I needed to forgive my mother for her bad decisions. I needed my mother to forgive me for not being able to “save her” in time. I needed to forgive myself for being her enabler, her codependent.
I prayed on this for probably four or five years before I came to the conclusion that I would not be able to forgive myself until I figured out why… why was I so weak in this situation, when I am so strong any other time? In time, I figured it out. It was just as stated above, the codependent often becomes an enabler because it allows one to be involved in fewer conflicts.
That’s the bottom, selfish line. It was always easier to just “whatever.” It was easier to keep the peace than to fight for my mother’s life. That’s where I needed to forgive myself. Although codependents are enablers because they love the addict, it is still the easy way out. It makes the enabler’s life easier. But, it does nothing to truly help and save the life of the addict they love so much.
Now that I understand my decision to enable, and my reasons why, I can forgive myself and move on. I have grown spiritually over these years. God has given me the strength to not only learn how to put my love for myself first, but to endure all with strength, love and understanding.
I understand now, Mommy. You were never mad or disappointed in me. You were a practicing addict. And, your addiction didn’t love me. But, you did, you do, and you always will. I will love and support (but, not enable) you for the rest of our lives. I love you, Mommy!