Alex Gee (25) and Charlotte (5). Alex also miscarried a pregnancy with baby Emerson in 2016.
Houston, TX | Photographed in Austin, TX
Alex shares -
"On being a parent with mental illness, from day one my biggest fear was always my child inheriting my disorders. When she began showing signs of her own struggle, swallowing my own fear, guilt, and shame was necessary in order to get her the intervention she needed. It's an ongoing battle, but it is one neither of us will ever face alone.
A metaphor in which every outcome is my daughter in therapy:
My daughter is the ocean,
And by that I mean she is deep, and perpetually restless.
And by that I mean she is fearsome and controlled by forces beyond this earth.
And by that I mean she is capable of
Sinking so many things with her power.
And if my daughter is the ocean, I am not the moon - I have no say In her rising tides.
No, If my daughter is the ocean, I am a ship in her harbor.
I am small, and at her mercy.
I tremble and question my own course,
Every time I set sail,
The salt burns my eyes
My daughter wails and swallows me whole.
Spits me out, bit by bit in hour-long sessions
With her new psychologist.
Maybe if things looked different...
So, My daughter is a sailboat and I am the harbor
I harbor all this resentment
For the times she has left me
For deeper, calmer seas.
My daughter feels guilty.
I am a sailboat and my daughter is the wind.
She throws herself into these sails,
Like it is her sole purpose to be my motivation,
She pushes me to go beyond
My own concept of a pink-and-orange horizon
And isn't that codependency beautiful?
I am the wind in my daughter's sails,
She is a small and steady boat
Most days I blow gently, guiding her
From the shore
Sometimes I become a tempest
And her wooden mast splinters
Beneath my howling words.
She spends the rest of her life being repaired by therapeutic voices
And kind hands.
My daughter is a fish,
She is little and helpless,
She has gills and delicate fins
There are predators I cannot protect her from
Because I am just the moon
And I have no hands the only thing I have a say in
Is when and how high the tide
Around her ebbs and flows,
Not whether or not she is
Caught in it.
My daughter is the ocean.
And I am the ocean,
And we are a sailboat
Being tossed and turned In our own windy gales
And 'us' is cracking wood, splintering deck
And there are no willing clinical carpenters
Or nautical navigators
Who take our insurance -
Because we aren't a metaphor,
We are a mother and child who are drowning.
Poem © Alex Gee