Monday, July 09, 2007
Burden of Proof
Then I contemplated that it might be best to say nothing - let it all die down with no comment. Not only is that not my nature, but it is hardly the nature of TWC. I can't recall a time when I have said nothing - even when saying nothing would have benefited me more than saying something. The curse of the assertive chick, we call it in my family.
And yes, I have talked with people who are dear to me about this. Each confession becomes a part of me - I feel protective about each person and the space that I create with them. I may not love what they say, but the space in which they say it is intimate to me, for me.
I suppose the only thing I can say is that I regret it. I regret that it has happened here, but I do not believe that it is the norm. I honestly do believe that 99.99% of these confessions are real and true at the time the person wrote them. That is not to say that I do not believe that we are reading unmitigated 100% truth, for there are always multiple sides to every story, but that it not what we are here to do - judge if one thing is more true than another.
I have not been shy to talk about my postpartum depression. I have not been dishonest when I said that I considered killing my child, for I was very ill and in the depth of the depression it felt as if I was trapped in something so terrible, so inescapable that I had no choice. It was her or me. While I did not reach psychosis, I did skim it. I idly planned. I day dreamed. The thing that held me back was my fear of being caught - not the wrongness of the action. I thought "Perhaps if I crash into a tree, then no one will know that I meant to kill her...but if she dies..."
When my therapist and I finally began to unravel what had happened to me, the saying out loud of that thought was earth shaking. I was saying the worst possible thing a mother could ever, every say. I cried through many sessions as I came to grips with the real-ness of what I had thought, what I had more than once dreamed about. I still get a little teary as I look at the on-the-verge-of-adolescent girl laying at the foot of my bed. I am grateful for therapy and modern anti-depressants for returning her mother to her.
I can believe that someone could plan and/or cause the death of their infant. I can believe that they could be very ill and have made a decision that, in a different time and place, they regret deeply. I can believe this, because I was very nearly that person.
Perhaps this willingness to believe that people have places and things which lie under the surface of the faces we show the world allows me to treat each confession as real without many questions. Perhaps my burden of proof is low because I have been to places inside myself which I never believed were possible, and certainly did not fit into my image of myself as smart, successful, confident wife, mother, daughter and woman.
Perhaps this makes me naive. I prefer to think of it, instead, as being very receptive to a wide range of life experiences.
So, I will not block. I will not censor, I will not edit. I have faith in the community of confessors and readers. I defend this space that we have created together, but I will not police it.
I apologize for the time it took me to respond. It took some time for this to come together for me and I wanted to be sure of what I wanted to say. Keep sending in confessions. Only we can determine what we want this space to be.
Originally published on 4/20/07 on TWC