Transcript of 14th Session between Charles Balis, M.D. and Ms. Sylvia Bows, Tuesday, October 15th, 1996 at 4 pm.

Dr. Balis: Hello Sylvia. You know each time you walk into my office I'm impressed by how big you're getting. Thirteen weeks now, right?
Ms. Bows: Hello Doctor. You always know just the right thing to say. It is thirteen weeks and I think that I'm quite huge too. Each week I get a little bigger and a little closer to motherhood.
Dr. Balis: So have you come out of the closet, so to speak?
Ms. Bows: You mean have I spoken to Tom and my parents?
Dr. Balis: Have you?
Ms. Bows: Yes.
Dr. Balis: Would you like to talk about it? How did it go?
Ms. Bows: It seems that just like all things in life as soon as you begin to feel you have things under control the world shifts and leaves you without a firm foothold on reality.
Dr. Balis: So it didn't go very well?
Ms. Bows: Tuesday night, after I left your office, I went back to Rene's. As I got out of the cab and started to walk towards the door, my father walked towards me. He and my mother were waiting for me in the car.
Dr. Balis: Had either of them seen you recently?
Ms. Bows: I think last time was about seven, eight weeks ago? I'm not exactly sure.
Dr. Balis: And they did didn't know about the pregnancy?
Ms. Bows: I never told them. My father just kept looking at me. Or more precisely, at my belly. Finally I said hello. He looked up at me and said, "So it's true."
Dr. Balis: So they knew.
Ms. Bows: Apparently. But I don't know how.
Dr. Balis: What happened?
Ms. Bows: I told him that he was going to be the grandpa of a little boy. He seemed pleased. His expression softened somewhat. Then I heard a cry. We both turned around and saw my mother crying in the car. I started to walk toward her but he stopped me. He said that my mother hadn't been feeling well. That he is really worried about her. He said that I had made my mother sick.
Dr. Balis: What's wrong with your mother?
Ms. Bows: Nobody told me anything and I wish I had known.
Dr. Balis: Known what?
Ms. Bows: She's been having some heart problems. My dad told me that ever since my fight with Tom...they are calling it a mother's been feeling worse. They had to take her to the hospital a couple of times with chest pains. The doctor told them that she needs to cut down on excitement and worry in her life. He suggested that they sell the restaurant because running it might be too much for my mother.
Dr. Balis: You didn't know any of this?
Ms. Bows: No. I wasn't speaking to my parents. The last conversation we had was so explosive--them trying to convince me that Tom was only doing what's best for me--that I just stopped communicating with them. I felt that I needed all the strength I could muster to carry out my plan. I thought that once they saw me pregnant it would all be okay somehow. Anyhow, my dad and I walked over to the car. She looked so frail different than I've ever seen her before. She was always the strong one, bending everyone to her will. It was frightening to see her like that. I don't think I ever saw her cry. I felt like a little girl who did something horribly wrong and is now about to hear what her punishment is going to be.
Dr. Balis: Did you talk to your mother?
Ms. Bows: I told her that I have a present for her but it will take another five months before I can give it to her. She started to get out of the car. My dad went to help her. She looked like she lost a lot of weight. Her hands were shaking. She was looking up at me, her face wet and her eyes full of tears. I felt so horrible. I hadn't realized just how much I would miss her if something happened to her. I felt a deep void in my stomach and my knees felt week. She came over to me, with my dad helping her, and she hugged me. She didn't say anything. She just kept holding on to me. I was going to tell her that everything was going to be all right but somehow I just couldn't master the words. And dad was looking at me with such accusation in his eyes: "Look. Look what you did to her. It's all your fault."
Dr. Balis: What did you do?
Ms. Bows: I started to cry too. She looked up at me and started to comfort me just as if I was a child. She was telling me it was going to be all right. She was being strong for me. She kept telling me that she will make everything better, that she would take care of it. I kept crying in her arms and telling her I was sorry. Finally dad said that we'd better get inside.
Dr. Balis: Did you go up to Rene's apartment?
Ms. Bows: No they didn't want to. I went home with them in the car. I kept having this feeling of being a little girl. And them being the parents again. Not like they are now. As adults we all seem to lose the sense of protection, love, and a feeling that our parents are all powerful beings. But being with them that night, it was like dropping back into childhood. It was like being five again. Except that there was an underlying feeling of dread everytime I looked at my mom. It was as if I needed to recapture that feeling of being young quick before something happened to her. Like there's not enough time.
Dr. Balis: You think that your mom's health problem is that serious?
Ms. Bows: I don't know. I don't know.
Dr. Balis: You didn't inquire further about your mom's medical condition?
Ms. Bows: It wasn't appropriate then. I couldn't break the illusion of that night. It was like being in the Twilight Zone--all so surreal. At some point I even thought that if all this was a dream I wouldn't be all that surprised.
Dr. Balis: Did you talk to your parents later on in the week?
Ms. Bows: Later in the week Tom happened. So no. I just didn't have a chance. You know I didn't even tell them that I have twins? Somehow it just never came up again. They think I'm having a boy and that's it.
Dr. Balis: Are you going to tell them?
Ms. Bows: Actually I don't know. I'm worried that if I tell them about the twins, it would kill my mother. She is already freaked out. I think she looks at me and sees a dead grandchild and a life of insanity for me. I don't think she could handle the weight of knowing that I'm carrying two. She knows that the risks are high enough with one.
Dr. Balis: On the other hand, if she finds out about the twins in some other way...
Ms. Bows: I thought about that, Doctor. I'll have a miscarriage or go into early labor--the two are sometimes synonymous--and she'll learn that she might lose two grandchildren at once.
Dr. Balis: That's not exactly what I had in mind. Although that is pretty bad, I was thinking about finding out about the twins from other sources. Like Tom, for example.
Ms. Bows: I''ll talk to Tom about this. He won't say anything to hurt my mother.
Dr. Balis: So how did that conversation go?
Ms. Bows: As I said life is full of surprises. I had a plan. I was going to sit him down and tell him in the morning over coffee. Very civilized discussion. I'll give the divorce papers and he will start packing his bags to be gone by evening.
Dr. Balis: That is not a very realistic dream.
Ms. Bows: I know. But it would have been nice.
Dr. Balis: So what did happen?
Ms. Bows: I got to my house on Wednesday night. When I walked in, I thought that there was no one home. All the lights were off. There were no sounds. I was so relieved. I planned on going straight into my bedroom and shutting the door. I was going to get my self psyched for the morning confrontation. I was also going to get some rest. I'm a lot more tired now and I get very irritable and stupid when I'm tired. I get too tired to think.
Dr. Balis: Uh oh.
Ms. Bows: Well when I got home and there was nobody there, I just let go. It was as if I had been holding my breath all day and now it was safe to breathe again. I turned on some lights, got into my pajamas, and decided to make myself a snack before going to bed. I'm eating for three these days. The day before with my parents was so hard. I really needed the time to regroup and pull myself together again for the conversation with Tom.
Dr. Balis: Tom was home?
Ms. Bows: Yes, Tom was home. He was watching me go through my routine for getting ready for bed. When I finally made it to the kitchen and turned on the lights, he was waiting for me, sitting at the breakfast table. He must have been there for hours waiting in the dark for me. He asked me if I am ready to talk. I felt sick and my heart was beating so hard that I could feel it in my fingertips. I was not ready. I realized that I wasn't even ready for the planned conversation the following morning. I haven't said a word and he has won already.
Dr. Balis: There is not winning or losing. You are not playing a game, Sylvia.
Ms. Bows: No I'm not. But I felt like he had the upper hand again. I was going to give him the papers and yet he was the one in control.
Dr. Balis: Did you give him the divorce papers?
Ms. Bows: He sat there looking at me, not saying another word, just waiting for me to make a move. It was as if he was a snake charming me into immobility before he would strike. I thought time stopped. The watch on the wall was ticking so slowly. Finally I told him that I needed something to drink. He got up, helped me to a chair, and poured me a glass of milk. He waited for me to finish it and asked his question again. I had to talk right then on his terms. It just wasn't the way I planned it at all. I finally decided to just give him the envelope and wait to see what he was going to do.
Dr. Balis: How did he take it?
Ms. Bows: He said that I must have carried it with me for awhile. The envelope was becoming a bit ragged around the edges from being in my briefcase for so long. He said it very casually like he was expecting it.
Dr. Balis: It sounds like he was expecting it.
Ms. Bows: I did give him a number of hints.
Dr. Balis: Yes you did.
Ms. Bows: He looked over the papers and asked me if I was expecting for him to agree to all that. I said that I hoped he would. Then he looked up at me and stared into my eyes. I felt like a deer in a truck's headlight. I couldn't move or look away. Then he suddenly got up and walked away. When I got control over my legs and body again I went up to my bedroom and shut the door. In the morning, when I got up and went downstairs, Tom was gone and so were the papers.
Dr. Balis: That was Thursday morning. Did you speak with Tom after that?
Ms. Bows: I didn't see him Thursday night. I'm not sure he ever came home. Friday I packed my bags and took them with me to work. Rene, Robert, and I spent the long weekend together up in Sonoma. Robert had Monday off from school for Columbus Day. I wanted to do something nice for him. It's been very hard on him adjusting to a new school and new friends.
Dr. Balis: That was nice of you. Have you been home since you came back?
Ms. Bows: No. I'll go home tomorrow night. Last week was pretty hard on me. I decided to take a break from my immediate family.
Dr. Balis: The sooner you deal and face your obligations the easier your life is going to be.
Ms. Bows: I know. I need to have everything settled before I go on bed rest.
Dr. Balis: When are you planning on starting?
Ms. Bows: Dr. Malleson thinks that I might have to start on restricted activity in the next couple of weeks and go on full bed rest some time after that depending on how my cervix is holding up.
Dr. Balis: Would you like to move our sessions to a telephone format?
Ms. Bows: Not yet Doctor. I would like to continue coming to your office for as long as possible. I find being here clears my thoughts. I get a better perspective on my life from this chair than from any other location.
Dr. Balis: I'm glad our sessions are working for you. I also like being in the same room with you when we talk. Should we schedule our next session?
Ms. Bows: Yes. This same time next week would be fine.
Dr. Balis: Good. I'll see you then. That's October 22nd at 4 pm. Please take of yourself. And try calling your mom. I think it would be good for both of you.
Ms. Bows: I'll see. I'll see you next week and thank you Doctor. You are always good for me.
Dr. Balis: Goodbye Sylvia.
Ms. Bows: Goodbye Doctor.
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