I Didn’t Hate My Daughter – I Hated Myself!
Written by Ross Hunt for his blog, Isablog.
This has been a massive week for me on a personal level.
If you’ve read this blog before you might have heard me say that I hated Isabelle when she was born. There are so many places that have that headline. I’m obviously not going to list them all.
But for a long time I thought it to be true, and whilst recording a video to talk about the last few days, which saw my letter to Isabelle hit the media outlets, I realised something.
I Didn’t Hate My Daughter, I Hated Myself
Something changed in me on Saturday when I recorded the video. I was simply talking openly, going back over the night when my friend jumped in front of a car and subsequently died. That moment, as you would expect, has changed my life. These days anytime anything serious is happening I go back to that place when it happened. I hadn’t really realised this until I was in the middle of recording this video.
Of course, I kinda knew that I did this, but I don’t think I thought about it that deeply. Maybe that’s why I sometimes joke about terrible things and sometimes laugh when I shouldn’t. It’s a defence mechanism to try and avoid a serious situation.
I also hadn’t made the connection that when Isabelle was born I was mentally back reliving the worst moment of my life.
Me with my daughter Isabelle – I’ve always said that I hated her, but maybe I hated myself
Did I hate my daughter, or just myself?
Just as Isabelle was coming out she brought the cord down first. I’ve talked about it way back in the early days of this blog. It’s something called cord prolapse and it’s apparently quite dangerous. So of course we were rushed down to theatre. As Rachel was being swarmed with doctors, midwives and whoever else, I was sat to the side wondering what the hell was going on. I didn’t want to be there. But of course I stayed, holding back tears the entire time.
Instead of being in this amazing moment watching my daughter being born. I was back in my past. Back in a world of guilt, blame and depression thinking of my friend dying.
It was a juxtaposition of the worst moment of my life, and one of the best ones. That horrific moment in my life bled into my current situation. And unbeknown to me, it was affecting me and preventing me from wanting to connect or care for Isabelle.
I Didn’t Deserve What I Had
A deep feeling that I didn’t deserve what I had filled my mind for a long time after the birth. Everything I ever wanted was right in front of me. Isabelle, the daughter I had wanted since 2011. My wife, who I had been with since 2008. We had the house of our dreams, everything was going as good as we could possibly hope for. Yet I somehow hated it.
Looking back, I don’t think I hated Isabelle. I hated myself. And I hated the fact that I had everything whilst my friend could never have any of it. All of that was partly because of me. I projected all that self hatred onto Isabelle. She was a glowing example of something amazing that I had that my friend never could. And all I did was see these bad moments and feelings when I looked at her.
Of course, I know what happened wasn’t all my fault. I’ve talked about that in therapy. But whatever way you want to cut it, I have a place in the responsibility of what happened. In ‘An Inspector Calls’ was any one of those people the sole reason the woman killed herself? No. But the whole point to that book, at least I’m guessing from GCSE English, is that they were all partly responsible for her death. And that’s the same with my friend. I was partly responsible. Perhaps at times I took on too much guilt. But these days I think I’ve accepted that guilt. Well, perhaps not fully I guess. But there’s nothing I can do about what happened, it is what it is and I know that.
A Change in How I Feel
I suppose I just never really thought about that hate towards Isabelle until the making of this video. Something just clicked as I was recording and I recognised the connection.
I don’t know what it was, yet suddenly I just looked at Isabelle differently. Don’t misunderstand me on this one, I did of course love Isabelle before Saturday. It’s probably impossible to explain. I’m basically trying to talk about some conceptual, intangible emotion that’s been changed in some weird way.
I don’t know if this will last. As of right now I’m looking at Isabelle with more love than ever before. Like I said, I loved her anyway. It’s just like I’ve gone from loving her 7/10 to loving her 9/10. Will I drop back to 7/10 in the future? Maybe. But I now know it’s possible to hit a higher love. Queue Steve Winwood. Terrible joke. I’m sorry.
Looking forward, I hope this can be another leap in my relationship with Isabelle. I know depressive moments will come back, however, these days I know how to deal with these far better than ever before. These past few days would have made me far worse a couple of years ago. Not any more. I am much better at dealing with things as they arise, and part of that is down to the blog. It’s made me more open and that’s been great for me. I highly recommend others do the same. You don’t have to do videos or even write. Just find someone you can always talk to. For me, that’s my wife. And it always will be. But the camera another ‘person’ I can open up to!