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#1 of 15 Old 07-11-2013, 01:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Sorry this is long, but background is important, I think. I am 21 weeks pregnant and my EDD is November 21st.

The week before we found out we were expecting, my mom left my step dad (of 23 years) for another man (early March). I found out about the other man when she posted a fb status attacking my step dad and talking wonderfully about the new man. DH and I had been TTC for over a year and the whole time my mom gave indications that we shouldn’t think about having kids yet (ie. Saying “don’t get any ideas” around babies, telling us she knew that we weren’t ready,etc.). We will be married five years next month, own our second home that is more than suitable for a baby (five bedrooms, already baby-proofed for our dogs (to a certain extent, anyway), and have a healthy combined income. DH manages a large car dealership and I work for the municipal government as the coordinator of the planning department. We are 27 and 31, and I have a Master’s degree and my husband is college-educated. We live in a small rural town, in fact, DH, my mom and step dad all work at side-by-side businesses. It is stressful to run into people in the grocery store that think my mom is the victim in the situation.

My mom’s family immediately made it known that her decision would not impact our relationship, but it did. My grandfather is not speaking to me after telling me I was a selfish brat for not telling my mom first (before anyone else) that we were expecting. My three aunts and 19 year old cousin are also keeping their distance with no texts, phone calls, etc., even after being well aware of how upset I am by the situation. We were a VERY close family before this point, although my relationship with my mother has been very strained for the last few years as she is not a fan of DH and has been dealing with her own mental and addiction problems, while my younger sister has been in and out of rehab, with several suicide attempts (normally around the time something big is happening in my life).

My mom sent a message shortly after she left outlining all of the reasons why my step father is a bad person, and noting that the only reason she stayed with him so long was for my benefit as a child and teenager, and that she was selfless and suffered so I could have a “good life.” My step father is in his mid 60s, and is failing healthwise. My mom is 51 and going through a real midlife crisis. She divorced my dad when I was 3 and my sister was 2 and we had no relationship with him until our late teens (another horrible divorce). I still have a good relationship with my step dad (we are very close), although I’m starting to find that stressful and taxing as well. I am his only family member now. My mom’s relationship with my step dad was common-law, and he paid every single bill, down to a quart of milk, while all her income went to clothes, spa days, and a car payment (for a fancy car she just had to have). She has begun a vicious legal battle and has no plans to move out of her parents’ basement until it is over (except maybe to her new bf’s, whose wife died in January).

I have only had a few short visits with her since she left my step dad and have had to ask her to stop showing up at my work or DH’s office, often in tears. I am prone to anxiety and panic attacks and the extra stress of this has really impacted my mental state during the pregnancy. My strategy has been to ignore it as much as I can and focus on happier things, but that is becoming increasingly difficult. Just the thought of a baby shower is freaking me out. My gut instinct is to have a friend “throw” the shower with me and invite family, but not allow them to take it over. My MIL is throwing a shower that is destined to be a disaster (could write a novel on our relationship with DH’s family) and lives 3.5 hr away, so that will be a different set of people. Furthermore, I have no idea how to approach “family” time once our son arrives. We are planning a homebirth with a midwife (which family disagrees with), and want the first 2 days (if possible) home alone without visitors. We will now have DH’s family (which wants to stay over when the visit because they live far away), my dad and step-mom, my step-dad, and mom and her family, and none of them get along or interact well together. My step dad is often brought to tears thinking that he won’t be easily involved in his grandson’s life, and my mom thinks she will be the #1 grandparent. DH and I are taking the approach that we are a three-member (7 with the dogs) family unit and have to put that before anyone else, but of course that seems easier said than done. I’m not even sure what I’m looking for in terms of advice, but any support or help is so greatly appreciated. My best friend and I also had a falling out around Christmas, so other than DH, I have very few people to whom I can turn.
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#2 of 15 Old 07-12-2013, 09:13 AM
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Hi lsaut and welcome to Mothering. You certainly have a lot of emotional challenges to deal with and I'm sure it all feels very overwhelming. My best advice is to take it one day at a time and talk things through with your husband as much as possible beforehand. He is your person so lean on him for every single issue, every single day and move through it together. I think you're right in that you should put yourselves first but also make room for relationships with those who are important to you. 

 

I don't think your stepfather has to take a back seat now just because your mom left him. It's up to you to decide who is good as a constant presence in your lives and who you need to see only occasionally. You may need to have a talk with your mom about things so that you can tell her how you feel about everything. 

 

I think you'll find a lot of support here at Mothering. Try to focus on enjoying your pregnancy, even if you have to limit the involvement of some of your stressful family members. Check out our Due Date Club Groups and join the group for your due date month. It's nice to be able to share pregnancy with other pregnant moms. Good luck!


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#3 of 15 Old 07-12-2013, 11:51 AM
 
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I think you are on the right track by putting your family unit first (you, your husband and the new baby). Once you have your own kid(s) you will then have a complete and separate family unit that you and your husband control and one day, your kids will have kids and so on. Your relatives and your in laws are extended family, and it's okay to have limited contact. Over time, you will find support through like-minded parents and other friends. For the pregnancy, have you tried meditations and affirmations? Maybe some sort of Hypnobirthing or Hypnobabies program? Just something to get you in the right headspace to lessen the anxiety. There are plenty of things on YouTube. Just an idea!
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#4 of 15 Old 07-12-2013, 06:56 PM
 
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Hi Isaut,

I'm sorry you're having so much stress.  Pregnancy can be stressful enough and it sounds as if you need to draw some lines with your mother.  She might want to address her own issues before she tells you 'not to get any ideas' about personal decisions re: childbearing that involve you and your dh.  NOW would be a great time to set some boundaries.  Re: how you handle family?  You do what's best for YOU. You are the pregnant one and you need to look out for you and your baby.  If that means you cut your mom off for awhile or at least keep her at a distance, do what you have to do.  I relate as I've had to step away from the never ending family dramas in my world too.  Many women turn within and keep to themselves for the sake of peace.  Unless someone is supporting you at this time, you have no obligations to have them around.  Wishing you a peaceful pregnancy & enjoy the rest of it!  Don't let anything/anyone rob you of your joy!

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#5 of 15 Old 07-12-2013, 07:16 PM
 
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I can totally relate to how isolate dand alone you feel,  

 

My mom also went through a strange phase around her menopause completed where she abruptly divorced my stepdad and said it was a long time coming.  I think your mom is going through a crazy phase and you need to keep as much distance as possible.  At best.  My own mom is someboody I regret not cutting off and staying away from entirely over the past 5 years; it has only been hard on my pregnancies and created bad memories for both of us due to our conflicts. She makes family gatherings difficult because she refuses to be around my dad whom she divorced 30 years ago. I think this is incredibly selfish behavior to deprive me and her granchildren of a normal gathering when my dad has no ill intentions towards her and she chose to make a child with him after all.  

 

You need the people around you who are focused on YOU, who are willing to put themselves second, and who understand your needs.  If all you have in the end is a supportive husband, you are doing better than a lot of us.  Not that you shouldn't feel bad; but do think on the positives and try not to fix anything right now.

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#6 of 15 Old 07-15-2013, 08:59 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by demeter888 View Post

I can totally relate to how isolate dand alone you feel,  

 

My mom also went through a strange phase around her menopause completed where she abruptly divorced my stepdad and said it was a long time coming.  I think your mom is going through a crazy phase and you need to keep as much distance as possible.  At best.  My own mom is someboody I regret not cutting off and staying away from entirely over the past 5 years; it has only been hard on my pregnancies and created bad memories for both of us due to our conflicts. She makes family gatherings difficult because she refuses to be around my dad whom she divorced 30 years ago. I think this is incredibly selfish behavior to deprive me and her granchildren of a normal gathering when my dad has no ill intentions towards her and she chose to make a child with him after all.  

 

You need the people around you who are focused on YOU, who are willing to put themselves second, and who understand your needs.  If all you have in the end is a supportive husband, you are doing better than a lot of us.  Not that you shouldn't feel bad; but do think on the positives and try not to fix anything right now.

sounds so familiar in many ways. Truth is, I know what I need to do, but it is so hard after being so family oriented for so long. I expect the same from my husband's difficult family (ie to set boundaries), but they have always been difficult. This is all new for me and my own family. DH had a very troublesome childhood and we are very cognisant of the issues that plagued us as children, and want to do our best to minimize or eliminate those same issues in our lives.

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#7 of 15 Old 07-16-2013, 07:18 AM
 
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sounds so familiar in many ways. Truth is, I know what I need to do, but it is so hard after being so family oriented for so long. I expect the same from my husband's difficult family (ie to set boundaries), but they have always been difficult. This is all new for me and my own family. DH had a very troublesome childhood and we are very cognisant of the issues that plagued us as children, and want to do our best to minimize or eliminate those same issues in our lives.

 

I  come from a very poor family environment myself and I feel that the single most important thing for me is to not allow my fears to control my parenting decisions.  I try to make decisions out of love as I have seen anything done out of fear (even seemingly good things) usually backlashes.   An example is if I am afraid I will allow my son to watch too much television (I was raised by a television), it doesn't always curb the amount of tv he actually watches, it just makes me FEEL bad that we even have a tv in the house and then I act out how I feel.  In the end it is much more important for me to not have a laundry list of strict rules; if I approach him about these things out of fear/anxiety I feel it is teaching him his environment is not safe.   A better example would be my fear of him feeling ignored; but times come when I have to ignore him; if I allowed my fear to take over I would not be any better at parenting over all because I feel the most important thing he has to learn from me is how to feel about things that aren't perfect. Well, it's much more complicated than that and probably way off topic.

  

All the best on your efforts to find a peaceful environment and congrats for your expected.

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#8 of 15 Old 07-16-2013, 08:06 AM
 
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Hugs to you. It sounds like your family has some problems with boundaries. If you haven't read it yet, I recommend the book Boundaries by Henry Cloud. You are building a healthy family while surrounded by people that aren't as healthy as you are. This is a common issue among families, as grown children learn from the mistakes their parents made and learn to stop participating in and allowing certain types of dysfunction to continue. 

You are on the right track. You may need to put your foot down and insist on healthier boundaries with these people and force them to come to you on YOUR terms rather than continuing to please them on their terms. 


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#9 of 15 Old 07-16-2013, 08:28 AM
 
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That all sounds horrible. I would just focus on you dh and baby. Let every one go through their issues and you just focus on that. YOu do not owe anyone anything. I had to cut off my mom for months in each of my pregnancies because she is toxic. Sounds like your mom might be as well.After he is born believe me it won't be "How do I make everyone happy?" it will be "Are these people going to enrich my sons life and give him a safe loving environment" and if not then those relationships will fade on their own.
 

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#10 of 15 Old 07-21-2013, 11:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, everyone. I'm really doing some soul searching to figure out where to go from here. I have been absolutely miserable this entire pregnancy and I've cried more in the past five months than I have in my entire life. DH and I are rocky as a result and my moodswings are insane. I'm just at a complete loss for how to copy. Going to talk to my midwife at our next appointment - I feel like I'm letting my son down. If I'm dealing with prenatal depression I really want to be prepared for the possibility/certainty of postpartum depression... 

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#11 of 15 Old 07-22-2013, 01:51 PM
 
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Thanks, everyone. I'm really doing some soul searching to figure out where to go from here. I have been absolutely miserable this entire pregnancy and I've cried more in the past five months than I have in my entire life. DH and I are rocky as a result and my moodswings are insane. I'm just at a complete loss for how to copy. Going to talk to my midwife at our next appointment - I feel like I'm letting my son down. If I'm dealing with prenatal depression I really want to be prepared for the possibility/certainty of postpartum depression... 

 

It's always good to have a doctor's number handy in case the blues continue afterwards.  However, more often than not, and few people talk about this, motherhood brings amazing hormones and energy and focus.  I am excited for you as it sounds like you are more ready than you feel at the moment:-)  You will very lilely understand when he is here how amazing and fun it is to be a mom; it took my son being born for me to 'get it'.  All the best.

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#12 of 15 Old 10-08-2013, 07:34 PM
 
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I recommend the book Will I Ever Be Good Enough?  Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers as it sounds like your mother is pretty self-absorbed and manipulative.  I had serious problems with my own mother after having my children, and she made my pregnancy with my son SO DIFFICULT because of her mistreatment of me.  I had anxiety and panic attacks for my entire pregnancy which I attribute primarily to the ongoing problems she caused at the time.

 

I was in therapy the entire pregnancy and it's the only thing that kept me from going completely off the deep end.  I really cannot recommend it enough - do not let your mother do to you what mine did to me!

 

I'm pregnant again but we live 4 hours away now (best decision ever!) and I refuse to tolerate even the slightest bit of stress from her this time.  I'm protecting myself and my baby from that drama even if it means reducing or eliminating contact with her until the baby is born!


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#13 of 15 Old 10-11-2013, 03:07 AM
 
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So sorry you're going through such a difficult time!

 

Quote:
 After he is born believe me it won't be "How do I make everyone happy?" it will be "Are these people going to enrich my sons life and give him a safe loving environment" and if not then those relationships will fade on their own.

 

:yeah  My entire perspective on life changed after DD was born, even my relationship with DP. I see everything now from the perspective "how is this affecting DD's environment."

 

I don't personally have a similar experience (even though parts of my family won't accept my daughter but they live in a different country). But I also wanted to highly recommend a book that helped me a LOT in a several family relationships: The Dance of Anger. I've read it several times now because I love her approach of not controlling anger (and other negative feelings) but accepting and using them to change yourself instead of trying (never with success) to change others. It is hard, but most of the time I try to catch myself in a good place and think calmly about the times I get angry: "what can I do?" instead of "what did they do wrong?". Sometimes sadly that can be cutting that person off from your life for a while.


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#14 of 15 Old 10-11-2013, 09:56 AM
 
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 Your family sounds as crazy as mine. My best wishes go out to you.

 

For me, I have learned to distance myself. It is such a hard thing to do. But I really took a hard look at the relationships that where causing me the most stress and asked myself "Can I accept this person and their treatment of me as it stands today?" .  If the answer was no, then I slowly started distancing myself from them.  You don't have to completely burn bridges if you don't want to, though. Maybe after your mom's divorce drama is over and after you have had a chance to settle into your new family life, you can re-visit what kind of relationships you want with your family.

 

 

Also, I am probably in the minority here, but I would cut your mom some slack where her relationships are concerned.  No one, other than the two involved, can know what really is going on in a marriage.  Your mom may have reasons she isn't willing to share. Think about it, you said you and your Dh where kinda rocky right now, would you want your family analyzing your marriage and trying to figure out who was really "in the wrong"?   I can understand your being upset because you are so close to your step-father, but you don't have to pick a side. You can be supportive of both your parents, without agreeing with their behavior.  That's just my two cents though.


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#15 of 15 Old 10-11-2013, 10:08 AM
 
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I am so sorry you are going through this during pregnancy.  I just wanted to say that you should seek out help for dealing with this stress.  Stress is very toxic, especially during pregnancy.  I went through a really stressful situation during pregnancy and it literally almost put me into early labor.  I also carried a lot of anxiety throughout the rest of pregnancy and then had PPA and PPD after delivery.  Do not be afraid to ask for help, and talk to someone if necessary.


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