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#1 of 16 Old 04-06-2009, 06:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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*sigh*

Not sure if I'm looking for advice, looking to vent, or what. I'm just going a bit nuts thinking about this and trying to figure out what to do.

Um, my husband's mother doesn't yet know that I'm pregnant.

Or that we're married.

It's been probably two-three years since we've spoken to her. I have met her, but only a handful of times (Jason and I started dating over six years ago).

The situation with her is kind of odd. She is really not much of a mother in any sense of the word except biological. My husband was not abused, but definitely neglected for his entire childhood. She's never shown much interest in him and they have hardly spoken since he moved out when he was 17 (he's 35 now-- we have a bit of a large age difference).

When we got married, we'd debated about telling her and/or inviting her, but he really wasn't comfortable with it, and since it's his mother, I felt that it should be his choice.

Since I've been pregnant, I've brought it up with him twice-- once soon after we found out, and once about six weeks ago-- and both times he agreed that we would have to at least tell her, but he just seems really uncomfortable with it.

For all the craziness with him growing up, he's amazingly well-adjusted and wonderful person, and I have complete and utter confidence in him as a father. I don't think that this is something that he needs any therapy/counseling about (which I know he would NOT want to do anyway). He's moved on fine and is happy in his life, it's just this one area that he is still sensitive about, he really doesn't like talking to or thinking about her.

There is no other family in the picture (mostly because of her), he doesn't even know how he would contact his grandparents or if they are still living, and he only has one sibling-- a sister-- and their relationship is non-existent, they were never close.

Part of me, for a time, was thinking that if he didn't want to even tell her about the baby, that would be his choice. My attitude on it is that she doesn't deserve any part of his life, even if she wanted it (which her actions have consistently shown that she has zero interest). And while it is kind of sad, for me, to know that my daughter will not have much family on her father's side, my family MORE than makes up for it (I have an extremely close-knit, extremely large, extremely loving extended family-- our daughter will have more caring and loving relatives than she'll know what to do with).

But the thing is-- Jason knows little to nothing about his family history. And while I don't think anything can be done about our daughter lacking in actual family members on that side, I have two concerns:

1) I want her to know where she comes from. I've always loved knowing stories of my ancestors, and I regret that she may not have that from one side-- and what will I tell her, when she asks about daddy's family?

2) This is the BIG one-- medical history. My family is insanely healthy, we have no history of heart problems, breast cancer or other cancers, etc., etc. But I don't know about his side of the family. (And this isn't only concern for her, it's for him, too). I wonder if there is something I should be able to tell her for later on in life, like breast cancer history, etc.

It isn't an issue of really telling his mother so that she could be a part of my daughter's life, although if she wanted to, we could work on that being a possibility (although under no circumstances would she ever be babysitting or anything like that-- I would never want my daughter alone with her, and my husband agrees wholeheartedly on that point). It's more an issue of what my daughter has a right to know.

When I last brought this up with Jason, he was nodding as soon as I started talking... he said yeah, he'd been thinking about it, too, he just really finds it easy to put it off because he so doesn't want to contact her. He said half-joking "maybe you could call her and tell her"-- but in that way that was kind of an attitude of "yeah, I'm joking... unless you want to..." You know?

*sigh* I don't know why I'm even posting this, except talking it out makes me feel a bit better.

I know I've got to talk to him again about it, and figure out what we're going to do, pretty soon... not much time left before the baby gets here, and for some reason I think it's better to show up pregnant, than to show up with the baby already born.

I don't know.


Any thoughts?

Kelly (28), in love with husband Jason (38) and our awesome babies:  Emma 4/09, and Ozzy 8/10

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#2 of 16 Old 04-06-2009, 06:16 PM
 
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If it makes you feel better, my father took off at birth, and I know nothing about him or his side of the family, including medically, and so far, it hasn't been an issue.

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#3 of 16 Old 04-06-2009, 06:52 PM
 
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I'm not sure what to say. It sounds like your DH doesn't want to have any contact with his mother. If you contact her, you are opening up what could be a can of worms that you may not want to deal with. Are you open to the possibility that she may want to be a part of your lives?

We create our own reality.
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#4 of 16 Old 04-06-2009, 07:03 PM
 
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I would leave it alone if he wants no contact with her. For what it is worth, my mother was adopted and all records were lost back in the 50s, so we know nothing about her biological family - history, medical, nothing, and it hasn't made a difference in our lives at all. Her adopted family is crazy (drug addicts, abusive, beat their kids kind of people ) and we have limited/no contact with them either. Sometimes family is more trouble than it is worth. Just my 2 cents

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#5 of 16 Old 04-06-2009, 07:17 PM
 
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Wow, this is a tough one. I think you and your DH would need to really hash out the pros and cons of contacting her. I also think it's fair for you to say (if you do contact her) that you are defining some boundaries with her upfront. I don't know what the specific issues with your DH and his mother are, but if you and DH decide what's okay and what makes you uncomfortable about having a relationship with her ahead of time, I think it will make the process easier.

I understand your concerns medically and also historically. I guess that would be a big consideration for me, in weighing the pros and cons. My DH had very little contact with his parents for several years due to some childhood issues, as well as drug/alcohol/mental health problems, particularly with his mom. We do keep in touch with her now, and their relationship is what it is. She's not well, but we also don't set ourselves up to get hurt by her either. I suppose the best advice I'd have is approach with caution and be prepared.

Good luck with your decision!

~Erin~ totally in with Olivia! 5/31/09
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#6 of 16 Old 04-07-2009, 12:19 AM
 
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I feel like I agree with the majority. If he's not into having to contact her, and you really need it for your sanity, perhaps it would be right for you to call her.

I don't blame him for not wanting to call and tell her.
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#7 of 16 Old 04-07-2009, 01:09 AM
 
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I would write her a letter.
gets the info out, non-confrontational, opens less of a bag of worms.
i wrote my estranged father a letter asking for medical info, and it worked out perfectly.
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#8 of 16 Old 04-07-2009, 01:13 AM
 
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Kelly - I/we have a very similr thing as far as DH's family is a non existing part of our lives except his grandmother e-mails about once a month to tell us what she cooking poppa for dinner. getting medical history is virtually impossible. We dont even know if his mom is still alive or not. I feel very sad for our children becasue they dont have that connection on his side, I feel sad for him as well because i know it really does hurt him, especially having no contact with his dad.

As a couple people mentioned, instances of a parent not "existing" in the childs life, adoptions and such, often history is lacking. That is basicly how i've approched the medical history stuff for our children. it is tough on a mental level but medicly, if its somehting to worry about, a decent doc and diligent parents will get to the bottom of things.

Family history, could DH research it? rack his brain from childhood for any stories.info? My family has TONS of history and fortunately DH's maternal grandfather(who died when he was a teen) gave DH a TON of family history, roots etc which he loved and loves telling the kids.

Do be cautious in contacting DH's mom, it could be great, it could be awful.. likley it'll be somewhere in the middle My ex-husbands mom abandoned him at 5 days old but her family(who took him in and passed him around) kept her in contact with him as much as they could make her ... when she found out she was going to be "a grandmother" she suddenly was all about calling and visiting and just being annoying really when it came down to it. She liked to brag to her friends about her beautiful grandchildren and such.

It really did, and still does irk me to no end. we laid down HARD rules and honestly made visiting a pain. Now that the kids are bigger(12,10and 8 1/2) and not so "cute and cuddly" she has lost interest mostly, like a kid does with a toy or pet

>hugs< you definetely need it, you are in a tough spot and in all likleyhood will question whatever decision you both make. there are strong pros and cons to both sides.

Writing a letter is a great opening contact given the situation! That would give her the chance to stew over the news and decide how/if to respond. You might want to put a tracking # or a signature required thing on it, just to be sure she gets it.. then you wont have to wonder if she got it or not IF she doesn't respond.
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#9 of 16 Old 04-07-2009, 03:56 AM
 
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Don't feel pressured to tell her (if you decide to) while you're pregnant. For her, it would just give her an opportunity to meddle if she wants to. If you turn up with a kid already, she's less likely to tell you how it should be done (as far as family goes).

List all the reactions you think she may have: like not wanting to contact you at all, or wanting some kind of visiting rights to your daughter, etc. Would you really want her around just because there's a baby on the scene? Would your daughter be better off not knowing her at all, considering she wants nothing to do with Jason?

Remember, you're more emotional when pregnant. Is that a good time to decide at all?

And if you do feel the need to contact her, I agree with Bremen - a letter is a good idea. Something impersonal though. Not emotional. Just stating the facts and asking about family health.

Our baby boy, Kynan Glenn, born 6 June 09
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#10 of 16 Old 04-07-2009, 11:03 AM
 
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I agree with bremen. A letter could be a good way to communicate this.

I also agree with AustGirl...perhaps, right now isn't the time to tell her due to what other stuff telling her might bring up.

s. I cannot imagine being in your position.
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#11 of 16 Old 04-07-2009, 10:16 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelly1101 View Post
*sigh*

Not sure if I'm looking for advice, looking to vent, or what. I'm just going a bit nuts thinking about this and trying to figure out what to do.

Um, my husband's mother doesn't yet know that I'm pregnant.

Or that we're married.

It's been probably two-three years since we've spoken to her. I have met her, but only a handful of times (Jason and I started dating over six years ago).

The situation with her is kind of odd. She is really not much of a mother in any sense of the word except biological. My husband was not abused, but definitely neglected for his entire childhood. She's never shown much interest in him and they have hardly spoken since he moved out when he was 17 (he's 35 now-- we have a bit of a large age difference).

When we got married, we'd debated about telling her and/or inviting her, but he really wasn't comfortable with it, and since it's his mother, I felt that it should be his choice.

Since I've been pregnant, I've brought it up with him twice-- once soon after we found out, and once about six weeks ago-- and both times he agreed that we would have to at least tell her, but he just seems really uncomfortable with it.

For all the craziness with him growing up, he's amazingly well-adjusted and wonderful person, and I have complete and utter confidence in him as a father. I don't think that this is something that he needs any therapy/counseling about (which I know he would NOT want to do anyway). He's moved on fine and is happy in his life, it's just this one area that he is still sensitive about, he really doesn't like talking to or thinking about her.

There is no other family in the picture (mostly because of her), he doesn't even know how he would contact his grandparents or if they are still living, and he only has one sibling-- a sister-- and their relationship is non-existent, they were never close.

Part of me, for a time, was thinking that if he didn't want to even tell her about the baby, that would be his choice. My attitude on it is that she doesn't deserve any part of his life, even if she wanted it (which her actions have consistently shown that she has zero interest). And while it is kind of sad, for me, to know that my daughter will not have much family on her father's side, my family MORE than makes up for it (I have an extremely close-knit, extremely large, extremely loving extended family-- our daughter will have more caring and loving relatives than she'll know what to do with).

But the thing is-- Jason knows little to nothing about his family history. And while I don't think anything can be done about our daughter lacking in actual family members on that side, I have two concerns:

1) I want her to know where she comes from. I've always loved knowing stories of my ancestors, and I regret that she may not have that from one side-- and what will I tell her, when she asks about daddy's family?

2) This is the BIG one-- medical history. My family is insanely healthy, we have no history of heart problems, breast cancer or other cancers, etc., etc. But I don't know about his side of the family. (And this isn't only concern for her, it's for him, too). I wonder if there is something I should be able to tell her for later on in life, like breast cancer history, etc.

It isn't an issue of really telling his mother so that she could be a part of my daughter's life, although if she wanted to, we could work on that being a possibility (although under no circumstances would she ever be babysitting or anything like that-- I would never want my daughter alone with her, and my husband agrees wholeheartedly on that point). It's more an issue of what my daughter has a right to know.

When I last brought this up with Jason, he was nodding as soon as I started talking... he said yeah, he'd been thinking about it, too, he just really finds it easy to put it off because he so doesn't want to contact her. He said half-joking "maybe you could call her and tell her"-- but in that way that was kind of an attitude of "yeah, I'm joking... unless you want to..." You know?

*sigh* I don't know why I'm even posting this, except talking it out makes me feel a bit better.

I know I've got to talk to him again about it, and figure out what we're going to do, pretty soon... not much time left before the baby gets here, and for some reason I think it's better to show up pregnant, than to show up with the baby already born.

I don't know.


Any thoughts?
Hi There:
We have had some issues with my in-laws. Honestly I'd much prefer to never have them a part of our lives then to deal with the drama that my MIL and other in-laws like to cause. I can totally understand your motives especially as far as health history. But as someone who has issues (we too had gone 3 years without my MIL in our lives and that 3 years was bliss). When I was pregnant with my ds (with dh's blessing) I arranged a lunch for his family and all of us to meet, and honestly I wish I'd never done that, because having her back in our lives has been nothing short of a trial, so much so that I considered taking our dc and leaving dh because it got that bad for a time.
Dh and I are now on the same page and have set boundaries with her. We both feel she has very serious mental issues. Like you I have a huge and loving family so we are blessed that way.

Wishing you much luck whatever way it goes for your family.

~Melissa~ Policewife, Mom to 4 great kids. Organ donation has touched our lives.
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#12 of 16 Old 04-07-2009, 11:37 PM
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I'd let sleeping dogs lie. Especially until after you give birth just in case she gets a wild hair up her butt and decides to show up when baby is 3 hours old. I haven't spoken to my mom in 12+ years and at the doctor's office I just say we aren't in contact and I have no idea. All the family history in the world won't erase teh craxy memories in your head about the months before and after your baby's arrival. Wait until the baby is 1 and you forget everything 5 minutes later anyway.
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#13 of 16 Old 04-08-2009, 01:24 AM
 
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Originally Posted by the_lissa View Post
If it makes you feel better, my father took off at birth, and I know nothing about him or his side of the family, including medically, and so far, it hasn't been an issue.
Mine didn't even make it that long!

And I've wondered things like that too, but really, environmental/lifestyle influences have so much more pull than genetics when you're talking about health that you probably aren't missing some important factor in your baby's life (especially since you actually do have the direct link present!).

I can imagine I'd want to know those things too though, especially if I didn't know my dh's family because there's half of my genetics I don't know about either.

I hope you guys figure something out that feels right to both of you!

Sadie
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#14 of 16 Old 04-08-2009, 08:35 AM
 
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IME plenty of toxic/crazy people show up in my life without me issuing any invitations to join the party.

I totally see why it makes you crazy, but if you are blessed with a large and loving family on your side then your kids will have their emotional bases covered, and as PPs have said, medical mysteries can be resolved by a decent doctor and proactive parents in the rare care that they should crop up.

One thing you might try is getting a one-month membership to ancestry.com. If your dh knows his mother's name and DOB, you can ascertain whether or not she is still living using the Social Security Death Index, and you might be able to find a lot more info than that (marriage records, info on grandparents etc.) I have tracked down (or been tracked down by) several non-crazy, non-toxic distant cousins via Ancestry, and they often know a whole lot about family history and where people are now and who is and is not worth reaching out to.
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#15 of 16 Old 04-08-2009, 01:10 PM
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Just want to add, you don't need to join Ancestry to search SSDI, that one is free.

http://ssdi.rootsweb.ancestry.com/
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#16 of 16 Old 04-08-2009, 02:19 PM
 
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Originally Posted by scrappingmom View Post
... when she found out she was going to be "a grandmother" she suddenly was all about calling and visiting and just being annoying really when it came down to it. She liked to brag to her friends about her beautiful grandchildren and such.
My MIL was a little needy but harmless until I got pregnant with our first child. Please do not underestimate the bad behavior that comes out with grandchildren in the picture and its effect on you and your everyday life.

I can understand where you are coming from. But, you will find the words for DD when she is old enough to understand. You will carry on just fine without a medical history. And if there comes a time when these things become critical you can address them then. But for now, and know that I mean this absolutely and completely, do not invite trouble into your lives. If your husband had really wanted to make any contact you would be in a different position, but he doesn't seem to. Consider yourself lucky.
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