Blessingway joy, but family skeletons rise up - Mothering Forums

 
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#1 of 10 Old 10-10-2010, 08:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi all!
I left my last midwife appointment on top of the clouds, overbrimming with joy and excitement, because we are having a Blessingway/Mother Blessing for me in December, and I want to weave a personally deeply meaningful symbol of the corn husk doll into the ceremony... and to support that, my midwife took me out into her field and cut me armloads of corn so I'd have the green husks!

I already have the body-art-quality Henna that I use on my hair (best thing ever for restoring the shine and red of my youth, chemfree!) so they are going to paint my belly, and we'll have candles and the whole 9 yards!

Here's the rub: I was practically crying with happiness about all this, imagining my mother being there as a healing thing, because she's sore about not being at any of my births due to the negativity she can't help but inject... I am not risking having her there at this one, either, because in addition to negativity from her own traumatic births that she never overcame, she also has a problem respecting personal boundaries. I can't birth well with that kind of interference and will not risk it just to make her happy.

But I did think that being part of this would give her a deeply meaningful way to feel included, and possibly even form some positive associations with birth.

The thought of her there, in a good way, and my 6 yo DD too because she was there at her little brother's birth, and will be there for this one, was a wonderful image.

Until I called her, heart aflutter, to share the news.
The first thing she did upon hearing the date, was ask coldly why I couldn't change it so my sister could be there. I tried to be diplomatic, said "I'll think about it" but she wouldn't accept anything but a total promise, as an answer, and I wasn't willing to do that because I have no intention of my sister being there. She ended by being supremely ugly and hung up on me after I burst into tears. I was in quite a state, the rest of the day. Hormones, certainly. But my mother sure can stomp on a person's open heart. I am over it now, but have decided my mother's not invited. She's been trying to play nice to me since then, but I am guarded now, because each time I have been pregnant, usually nearing the 3rd tri, my mother wigs out for whatever reason, and has managed to cause me to burst into tears and be a wreck the rest of the day, for varying reasons, but each time, going on a personal attack rampage and being amazingly cruel. I just figure that impending birth really destabilizes her, and she needs to be nowhere near it, for both our goods.

But as to why I really don't want to consider having my sister there...the reason for that seemed obvious to me: would you invite someone, even if it was your own sister, if she was nearing 40, never married or had a baby, but did have at least 2 abortions that you know of, to a BLESSINGWAY?! My mother is fully aware of my sister's history, so it shocks me that she could be insensitive enough to pretend things are normal. No, I guess from experience, it shouldn't shock me.

TMI alert, and disturbing things mentioned!

There are skeletons in our past, and some very horrid reasons why my sis is living the life she is, concerning sexual abuse starting in our youth, and suffice it to say, I rebelled, and she did not, and spent her life until his death in her 30's living with and supporting him (the abuser), being driven to and from work by him because she never learned to drive, etc. She did go into a hospital when he died, but never disclosed the true nature of her relationship with him, so came out with other, unconnected diagnoses and lots of medication. She's doing better these days, stabilizing bit by bit into living her own life (without any normal relationships still, but otherwise normal), but still sees him as someone good instead of someone harmful, in her past, so she can't even begin the process of reinterpreting her own worldview.

We can't talk about it, because I was the enemy for turning against him, back then, and I cannot listen to any talk of him in a positive light from her, without getting very upset. Similarly, she cannot listen to any criticism of him without getting very upset. So we rebuild a relationship carefully after all these years, by NOT digging up skeletons.

A deeply personal ceremony honoring the sacredness of pregnancy and birth, would not be a good thing to have her attend, I don't think. At best, she'd be uncomfortable and not "get" it, and at worst, she'd destabilized, if her deeply buried feelings about her abortions and looming lifelong childlessness, were touched and brought to light at my Blessingway. That kind of catharsis might be good for her if it happened (or might drive her to the brink again!) but it would certainly ruin what needs to be a joyous occasion for me, either way.

I still fully intend a joyous Blessingway, sans mom or sis.

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#2 of 10 Old 10-10-2010, 12:04 PM
 
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I think you're right to want to protect yourself. Sorry your mother was such a pill!

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#3 of 10 Old 10-11-2010, 10:42 AM
 
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You have absolutely done the right thing, embracing your feeling that their inclusion would be nothing but a negative shadow. This is YOUR time, your baby's time. You absolutely DO NOT owe it to them to open your heart so that they can use it to wipe their emotion mire on, if that seems like it would be their most likely course of action. Of course, both your mom and your sister need a chance to heal from their experiences... But you don't have to provide the needed support/space/situation to do that. This is your Blessingway, not their Pity Party.

So in a very enough of them, and more of you vein...

Congratulations on your upcoming Blessingway! It sounds lovely, and it was so neat of your midwife to take you out to harvest corn husks. I adore BAQ henna for hair! I also use it for body art, supposing I have leftover when my hair is done. It's so nice to have a healthy non-toxic alternative to beauty-up with when preggo.

Keep focusing on all the beauty and goodness that is yours right now and in the future. Setting boundaries is such an important life lesson!
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#4 of 10 Old 10-11-2010, 08:10 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crunchynerd View Post
would you invite someone, even if it was your own sister, if she was nearing 40, never married or had a baby, but did have at least 2 abortions that you know of, to a BLESSINGWAY?! My mother is fully aware of my sister's history, so it shocks me that she could be insensitive enough to pretend things are normal. No, I guess from experience, it shouldn't shock me.
If these were the only reasons, I would still invite a sister to the Blessingway. But, given the other stuff in her and your past, no way in hell I would even have contact with her, much less invite her to my Blessingway.

Congrats and enjoy it!
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#5 of 10 Old 10-11-2010, 11:06 PM
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i'm not familiar with a blessingway, but certainly, all rites of passage related to motherhood and new babies should be attended by loving, supportive people. i can see why you're upset *hugs*

January 2011
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#6 of 10 Old 10-12-2010, 01:56 AM
 
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I think it is perfectly acceptable to keep negativity away from what will be a very positive event. My mother-in-law, sister-in-law and aunt are not invited to my shower for that very reason.

Sarah - wife, mom to Riley 7/9/03 and Jacob 7/15/05 and Hannah 1/5/11 a successful vbac.gif
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#7 of 10 Old 10-13-2010, 10:28 AM
 
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Is your mother borderline? It sounds like she may be. My MIL is, and she has similar interactions with me and her own daughters. I actually invited her to my first birth, but we had some problems with her overcrossing boundaries before I went into labor, and I didn't call her to come. I have learned to keep a non-emotional relationship with her, and my distance! It helps me maintain my sanity. I'm SO sorry you have to deal with all this while being pregnant! This is a time of wonder and growth, and you should have only positivity being pumped into your soul. Forget their craziness, you'll never understand it, being a sane person. Enjoy your pregnancy and let the warmth and love at your blessingway melt the tensions caused by your family. I wish I could hug you!

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#8 of 10 Old 10-13-2010, 11:21 AM
 
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I really hate the idea that all family must be included in every event regardless of behavior or attitude. You have a right to choose who will be there. Given the situations you describe, I think you are perfectly justified in protecting your self from what could very well turn into a volatile situation.

I wish I were that strong where certain family members were concerned.

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#9 of 10 Old 10-15-2010, 09:58 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, everyone... yes, she's got some issues. She always has had... which is part and parcel of why her choices in men were so toxic, and how it resulted in a cascade of bad things for her offspring (me and my sis).
My biggest happiness in life, is having broken that cycle, because my kids will never know how lucky they are (I hope!).

And I couldn't agree more that while blood is thicker than water, which would YOU rather drink? LOL
Blood kin, when they chance to be people you can stand, are great... but happiness in life is up to us and our choices, not up to the vicissitudes of fate with respect to allowing "blood kin" to run rampant over our lives just because they're related. At least, that's one of the major perks of being an adult; you get to choose.

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#10 of 10 Old 10-15-2010, 07:49 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crunchynerd View Post
At least, that's one of the major perks of being an adult; you get to choose.
Amen sister! This is one of the big revelations that many people with difficult familial relationships don't come to.
I'm glad you know that, and will be able to keep your kids out of the cycle that makes and keeps everyone nuts!
Good for you.

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