An Embarrassing Accident

parent-newborn-portraitI was an accident. I didn’t realize it until I was 20 years old. All my life I’d heard stories about how I was born a couple of months premature, but at 6 lbs., 11 oz., I’m pretty sure I was an average weight for a full-term, Filipino baby girl. I’m 5’1″, which I believe is an average height for a Filipina, while my younger sister is 5’0″. She weighed less than me when she was born, and even though I was only 8 at the time, I’m pretty certain she wasn’t premature. Eventually, I put 2 and 2 together.

I was living with my parents when I was 20, and I asked my paternal grandmother, who lived with us, if my mom was pregnant when my parents got married. She said to talk to them. I asked her repeatedly, and she kept saying the same thing. I became more suspicious. My grandma ALWAYS answered my questions, whether it was about our extended family, or what was for dinner.

As we were sitting down to supper, I asked my mom. Instead of answering, she smacked me in the eye with a large serving spoon. Hurt (literally) and angry, I stormed into my room and slammed the door. Minutes later, my dad entered. He confirmed my suspicions, and said that he and my mom were already engaged when she got pregnant. He admitted that his father, a doctor, offered to put them in contact with someone who could provide “an out,” but according to my dad, they didn’t take it because they wanted me. Besides, the Philippines is a very Catholic country, and my mom was devout. They were married in December 1968, and I was born in July 1969.

All my life, even into adulthood, my parents fought — about everything, They argued because my mom wanted my dad to go to church, which, if he did, was always tardy and stood in the back. If one of them had an opinion about something, the other would surely disagree. They blamed each other for their kids’ misbehaviors. You name it.

After learning the truth, and based on my parents’ relationship, I always wondered if my mom resented my dad for getting her pregnant, thus “forcing” her to marry him. My parents eventually divorced when I was in my early 30s. I imagine they didn’t do it sooner because again, my mom was a devout Catholic.

My mother and I did not have a good relationship (which I hope to write about in the future), and I often wondered if she resented me because I was unplanned. And she could hold a grudge: 2 years ago, when she was in the end stages of Multiple System Atrophy (MSA), my dad wanted to see her to say good-bye. She refused.

I believe that a lot of the difficulties between my mother and me stemmed from the accident. Throughout my life, even when I became an adult, she often called me an embarrassment. I guess in her Catholic-inspired worldview, her getting pregnant with me before marriage was, indeed, an embarrassment.

Has one or both of your parents ever felt you were embarrassing?

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13 thoughts on “An Embarrassing Accident

  1. Yes. My father. I am his only daughter and because I wasn’t girly, I embarrassed him. It is hard growing up feeling that way. Creates self-esteem issues and self loathing.

  2. when I started reading it I wanted to write “what a beautiful accident”
    then I read it till the end. I don’t know what to say.
    I have heard a lot of times kids being an accident that does not effect the feeling their parents have for them. if they fought it was by no means your fault. they were adults they have their own reasons.
    won’t comment on the rest.
    and I will still say what a beautiful accident. 🙂

    1. Thank you so much! I never thought of myself as a “beautiful accident.” What a wonderful, different way to look at it. <3

      1. parents sometimes say horrible things and most of the times they don’t mean them. but we all have different stories. me and my mom bonded in her last years. rest of the life we were never too friendly. but it never meant we didn’t love each other.
        blood relations can be so complicated at times.

        well. you are a beautiful accident. forget the rest 🙂

  3. I read and re-read your story just to make sure I got the facts straight. Maybe I’m coming from left field but she doesn’t sound embarrassed at all. Perhaps there is something I don’t know that confirms that she was embarrassed, perhaps stemming that she was a devout catholic? She was probably mortified and thought she could keep this “little secret” forever, but you had to go and “uncover” it, which is just a very unhealthy way of thinking about it. My oldest sister was also an “accident”- my parents were married I think summer or fall of ’77 and she was born January ’78. My mother had that same kind of resentment that she “had to marry” our father and everything that happened in that marriage and it got so extreme that she blamed him for forcing all of us to immigrate to the USA in 1988. Based on the stories my sister recalled to me, my mother would often go into my sisters bedroom at night after arguing with my dad and told her all kinds of horrible things. And I think she meant all of it because she (my mother) is a horrible, emotionally manipulative person. It took me until my mid to late twenties to come to terms that she was a bad person but she was also my mom. And now we are civil and I call or text on all the “major days” (new year, Christmas, Mother’s Day, birthday). But I had to accept that as my “closure”, which is something my sister can’t come to grips with. She wants a magazine-cover loving mother-daughter relationship which is impossible to have with this woman. I can’t even imagine to put myself in your shoes having your own mother refuse to talk to you even in the end, but I would only try to apply the same logic as I do with my both parents (they are both horrible for different reasons):

    1. I can’t change who they are and without change the relationship cannot improve.

    2. It’s probably taboo for one to speak poorly of their parents especially if you’re Asian, but for me to come to terms I had to allow myself to be honest and stop caring about people judging me for speaking about it, and

    3. It’s useless for me trying to yearn for something I can’t have (two non-manipulative, non-fucked up parents) and find piece in my own “tribe”. My little family is my husband and my dog. This is good enough for me.

    I know it’s easier said than done, and I wish you the best in finding your peace with your mother or your memories of her. Sorry if I come off insensitive about your situation in anyway, I am simply drawing from my personal experience and I understand if you disagree on this point of view since to some it may seem extreme. Thank you for sharing this with us.

    1. I think you’re right about her wanting to keep that “little secret.” She was constantly telling me how embarrassing I was, among other things. My therapist and I believe she had narcissistic personality disorder, which I’d like to write about in the future.

      I’m sorry you had a harsh experience with your parents. It sounds like you’re dealing with it well.

  4. I’m not sure if embarrassing is the right word, but I definitely wasn’t “planned”. I don’t think a lot of pregnancies are planned. However, it’s not the child’s fault and I don’t think anyone should ever take any negative feelings about that out on anyone.

  5. Great post! I’m so sorry about the relationship with your mom, but I know I embarrassed my mom when I was in my late teens, then in my 30’s. Over something stupid, but I was humiliated by her at that time.
    We are, however, very close now and have been.
    My father and I always had an estranged relationship. But, he passed away from cancer due to SMOKING. Go figure, right?
    Again, excellent post! 🙂

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