Since the Day You Were Born

A few days after I came home from the hospital after giving birth to my first child, I had a nightmare. My husband was downstairs, but I didn’t feel like I could call on him for comfort about this particular dream. So, I called my grandmother. When my family had heard what I named my son, I was disowned again. But I knew that I could sneak in a call to my grandmother and she would answer the phone.

In the dream, I was pushing my son in a grocery cart. He was big enough to sit in the child seat, but was still an infant. His body split open from the top, and there was a female infant inside him that took his place. It was terrifying.

My grandmother listened to me and made comforting noises. I was able to go back to sleep.

The next day my mother called me. I was very surprised, because just a few days ago she had asked me why I was trying to kill my grandfather by not naming my son after him and had sworn to never talk to me again. She said that she was calling to tell me the meaning of my dream. Clearly my grandmother had told her about my nightmare.

My mother said that the dream meant that my child had died in my dream because I didn’t deserve to be a mother.

I felt the bottom drop out of my world, and I was in freefall. Everything was dark. I don’t remember how the conversation ended or whether or not I actually passed out.

Desperate, I called the woman who had been my mother’s best friend when they were children, and who was now my second cousin by marriage. The families had spent a lot of time together, but we weren’t really close. I had no one else.

When I asked her how my mother could say such a thing, she said, “Your mother has hated you from the moment you were born.”