For only few weeks, Harriet decided to consult a psychologist because of strange nightmares but also in order to express herself freely, to have an external opinion about her life, her feelings and her apprehensions. His name is Mr Richardson.
The first time Mr Richardson saw Harriet, she was totally lost and puzzled, he felt curious about her distress call when she confessed she didn't love her last child...
Harriet was in the waiting room of Mr Richardson's office. It was just before her first consultation with him: she felt at the same time anxious about her decision to tell a "stanger" all her troubles but also relieved to confide in somebody who wouldn't judge her and who would try to help her. Actually no one seemed to understand her at home and she needed so much to escape a bit from her world that she didn't turn back. When Mr Richardson opened the door, she saw a serious man, rather big with a soft and welcoming look. The room was floodlit and decorated in a sober style. Harriet sat down and Mr Richardson pleased her to talk about anything she wanted and almost her feelings. That day, Harriet thought about the dichotomy between her life and what she had dreamt of.
"To tell the truth I feel so lost and unhappy these days ... I actually have four children and one gremlin at home" she said sighingly.
The psychologist could see how difficult it was for her not to shiver when saying these words. He simply replied:
"Take your time Harriet, I'm here to guide and help you, don't worry. When you say one gremlin, what do you mean exactly ?" he asked calmly.
"Oh I'm just talking about my last child Ben ... you must think I'm heartless to talk about him so nastily but I hate him, can you guess such a terrible feeling?" she answered in a deep voice.
Mr Richardson tried to hide his frown, perplexed:
"I don't guess it but I'm sure you'll explain me the reasons of this reaction"
"You're right otherwise you will think I'm a fool ... Everything was so simple and perfect before his birth, I was an elated woman, housewife and mother. It was just as if I were in a dream and suddendly woke up and even woke up to reality." Her eyes were totally glistening.
He looked at her and thought she was a bit naive but didn't said it loud:
"However you know Harriet there are always ups and downs in life. Perfect fairytales without shadows don't exist in everyday life. I am not criticizing you, I just say that it's not abnormal if you have problems."
"Okay I can admit it but in my opinion I had all the ingredients to be happy !" she retorted with conviction.
" Interesting ... can you give me some clues of this miracle solution ?" he asked kindly.
" It's not really a miracle solution it's almost my conception of ...
montage by Claire
She smiled dreamily and had a vacant look.
"Harriet ? "
" Sorry I was lost in thought" she justified
" You were talking about your conception... "
Harriet interrupted him:
" Yes my conception of happiness! I think having dreams and projects is the most important point: when I met David at this office party, it suddenly clicked : our hearts were beating in unison and we fancied to make projects. We got married as soon as possible. I was excited about starting a family, buying a big mansion (we found the perfect house so quick ! it was so amazing that we didn't hesitate and we bought it with a mortgage)" .
" At that time I was forward-looking, hopeful and in love."
Mr Richardson sounded a bit astonished:
" You're talking about your love in the past tense. Why ?
She snorted slowly and ruefully:
"Since the birth of Ben, I became estranged from David. He disowned Ben and me in a sense. He must think I'm the main responsible of the unpleasant situation of the family. I feel guilty everyday but I'd hope his presence would be a great comfort to me in this ordeal. Moreover it's not only my fault, he is also responsible (as far as I know each child has 2 creators: the father and the mother. I'm half responsible). So he has to take responsabilities for his actions instead of denigrating Ben and ignore him. By the way I remember when he visited our mansion, he said we would wait at the very last two years before having a child but he didn't listen to me and I became pregnant. What a liar ! He wanted so much to have children very fast. Unfortunately he didn't stop this and now the fifth child is a monster and it's not his real child contrary to Luke, Helen, Paul and Jane. I know it's difficult for him but he could try, just try to make an effort."
The doctor noticed that the name of Ben was present in all her sentences so he just tried to change the subject:
" Beyond Ben, are there other quarrels over other topics ?"
"Well, not really... It's always related to Ben, Ben, Ben and it's trying. There was a quarrel one day, I remember, when I was pregnant with Ben. I was at the end of my tether and I needed so much something joyful to forget my painful situation ... something like parties with the whole family, with joy everywhere. All in all we always used to organize great parties for events like Easter, Christmas. I can find refuge and forget everything when there are people around me, supporting me, making me laugh. A feeling of well-being !!" she explained a bit frustrated
(montage by Claire) Harriet wanted to organize parties in order to forget her sorrows. She thought that parties would bring more joy. She could represent Cleopatra or Marie Antoinette and David could be Caesar : they are symbols of a queen and a king. These queens enjoyed luxury and great celebrations. David went against Harriet's will, he knew he couldn't indulge her whims, they had financial difficulties so he cancelled Harriet's project (that is to say to inviter people at home).
" And what was the reaction of David ?" he asked curiously
" Much to my dismay he refused and said it was financially impossible. What a disaster, I counted on him and he said no... " she declared angry
" Was his argument about money not sufficient reason ? After all, with the crisis, a large family and only David working, it was sensible to react like that, don't you think ? "
" Money, money, family spirit is more important in my opinion and I thought people could contribute and give some money, on top of that David's father is rich, he could have also contributed."
" Harriet, it's not so evident, money is oft a taboo subject: people don't like to pay money when they are supposed to be guests and I think David was right: if you have money problems, he maybe just wanted to make you face facts ! you were maybe to much ambitious and you did things too quickly."
" What do you mean ? "
" For example, you said you got married fast, then you bought a house very very fast and you had many children in few years. Normally young people wait for years before buying a big house because it costs money ! And I know that aiming too high is not a solution for happiness. It's better not to be in a hurry. "
" But who's a man if he can't dream ? and if he can't realize his dreams ? "
" Dreaming is important but not too much; and if people fulfilled all their dreams, they would have no more goals nor real reasons for living."
" And so ? everybody makes mistakes...and I don't regret my choices even if it's too late: these years were the best years of my life "
Article written by Claire
In another session with Mr Richardson, Harriet explained the impression she had during the visit of the mansion.
“It was in a rainy afternoon, I was very excited, because I was dreaming of this day and it was like a fairy tale. I knew that my life wouldl be like this when I met David but I was very anxious about the fact that we were going right now to visit our new house; everything was going very fast. David was very happy so his happiness was mine too .This house was big ,a kind of mansion ,with a big living room and a kitchen ,then they were many rooms upstairs and finally at the last floor they was a big attic .I was very happy ,we were already thinking about our life in this big house, full of children. The house was now ours .Then David took me to our bedroom where the previous owners left a giant bed and we made love but I was not conscient because I knew that I was at height of my fertility and just before we decided not to have children before two years but it was too late, it was done”.
(montage by Claire)
Moreover, during this consultation Harriet spoke about her relation between Ben and herself too
picture chosen by Jason
Mr. Richardson: So now, Mrs.Lovatt, tell me more about that son of yours, the fith one.
Harriet: Yes, the boy...He's not like the others...I knew from the start, ever since he entered my womb, that something was not right...
Mr. Richardson: what did you feel during your pregnancy ?
Harriet: I was very disturbed. The pregnancy was very difficult and the delivery was very painful. It's true that I was relieved but… when I saw this baby he looked like a monster or a troll. I couldn't recognize me through him : he couldn't be my child ! My other children were more beautiful and normal. Ben was very ugly and strange. Since Ben's birth the relation with my other children and David became terrible and difficult.
Dr Richardson: Yet Ben is your child and you have to love him.
Harriet: It's very hard because I cannot love a monster!
picture chosen by Camille: even if Harriet and Ben have a complicated relation, there is a strong connection between them because Ben is her child they are related by blood.
Mr.Richardson: I see. "the beast within", as you described your pregnancy.
Harriet: This child was poisoning me from the inside. The agony I went through...it was his doing, his fault. It looked like...I'm sure he was doing it on purpose...
Dr.Richardson: Then it worsened when he came to birth, isn't?
Harriet: Home never felt so different, so strange to me. My mother, my husband, my children...it was terrible, life was terrible.
Dr.Richardson: And how did you felt towards Ben? What were your feelings? Did you consider him as your own son or did you reject him?
Harriet: Aw, it wasn't his fault you know...When I came to rescue the poor thing at the Institute, he was all white, white as a corpse. I had to help him. I also realized how fragile he is and that he is still a child...I'm his mother after all...
Dr.Richardson: Do you mean you couldn't bear being separated from him?
Harriet: I made him after all. He's like...
Dr.Richardson: A part of you. Even though you hate him, what he did, it's impossible for you to abandon him.
Harriet: Why is that doctor?
Dr.Richardson: You understand him very well because he's like you. You see, you both are outsiders. Ben is a mystery for everybody, this is because he lives in his own world. You are similar. You want to live in your world too.
Harriet: That's impossible. He's a monster! I'm not like him!
Dr.Richardson: You identitify yourself with him, but in the same time, for prejudicial reasons, you deny that he's your son. And it is this denial which makes you refuse to understand him. But at the end, you are the one that loves him the most, Mrs.Lovatt.
article by Camille (part in brown) and Jason (part in grey)
Tags : her, she, but, harriet, about
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