The reason why my brother thinks that I’m responsible for our mother’s death is because of the stress that she experienced because I was an unwed mother. I refused to legally bind myself for the sake of social status or stigma, no matter how much my mother begged me. She even threatened me with a false fear that my father would kill her because of my disgrace. I carried that outrageous worry throughout my pregnancy, that’s the legacy she gave me during my child’s birth.
“Don’t tell anyone about your baby! No one needs to know, not your sister or brother or any of their children. No one has to know. It’ll be our secret.” I kept my pregnancy a secret to respect her wishes and only after giving birth, I finally told my sister that I’d had a baby. I cried hard, the hormones and the suppressed sadness came flooding out.
I developed an ulcer from coping with the stress of my mother’s anxiety. I think that’s when my mother developed an ulcer too, we had exactly the same symptoms. I suffered for a year, as a first time mother with an undiagnosed ulcer, but recovered after I took a heavy dosage of antibiotics. I repeatedly told my mom to get treatment for her ulcer based on my recovery. I also told both my brother and sister to get her treated for an ulcer. I emailed my brother articles about the symptoms and treatment but he ignored it. No one listened to me. All of my life they never listened, my opinions were always dismissed, but I was usually right.
My mother received vitamins and probiotics by an incompetent doctor, which did nothing to treat her ulcer, (10 years it grew undiagnosed and I believe it became cancer). In 2016, I again told them to treat the ulcer, I was shocked that she was still living with that same pain, (ulcers are excruciating, it’s not a minor thing), I realized this when I visited my family with my child for the first time. My mother acted both proud and ashamed of him. She questioned why he was introverted and compared him to the illegitimate child of my father’s older sister, (who I think had killed herself because she was an unwed mother).
In Korea the shame of being unwed is probably comparable to being a prostitute. My aunt had a nervous breakdown when her lover abandoned her after getting her pregnant. She was my father’s favorite sibling, she took care of him, losing her was a huge loss. She was very beautiful and kind, but her life was ruined with the scandal. Her child was judged and mistreated by the relatives that despised his birth. But my child’s life is nothing like his and will be nothing like his. I wouldn’t have brought him to this planet if I thought his life would be miserable. My child is a pearl, a blessing, a gift from the universe that makes the second half of my obstacle ridden life, truly worth living.
Independent motherhood is a freedom that my brother, mother, sister, father, aunt, and all the Christian ministers can’t understand. My child has both me and his father in his life, he has our devotion and attention. He is a happy, well-adjusted, wonderful person. All of their judgements were a waste of energy that I am now permanently shedding. I should never have accepted the scapegoat/black sheep role, I never fit the labels that were placed on me. It’s taken nearly all of my life to deeply realize this, but at least I finally accept it.
Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers, thank you for bringing us into the world.