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Relationship with mom is causing weird feelings about baby

1053 Views 9 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  Marieke
This is sort of weird... Bookworm's post (sorry, don't know her real name) got me thinking, but I didn't want to hijack her thread!

My mom and I have had a hot/cold relationship for as long as I can remember. We very much love each other, but there is some typical mother/daughter animosity there, too, kwim?

Long story short, she has smoked two packs a day, Camel unfiltered, and it haunted me throughout childhood.

I remember stuffing sweatshirts up the air vent in my room so the smoke wouldn't come in and sleeping under the comforter to avoid the smoke. I was young and scared about all the second-hand smoke stuff we were learning about in school. Then I read something about how the brain needs oxygen and thought I was killing my brain cells by sleeping under the comforter.
: I know, stupid stuff now, but when you're a kid....

So last year she gets lung cancer. OMG. The whole family freaked out! We all rallied 'round and she had surgery and got through chemo and is recovering.

I thought this was God's blessing. I had always worried about her and cancer, but they caught it early and the best thing is that she quit smoking! I was so proud of her.

A month or so ago I found out ...I can't believe I'm saying this... she started smoking again. I can't explain how I felt. She told me if I told anyone she would never forgive me. I was litterally sick inside, I didn't know what to do.

I wrote her a long letter and then read it to her. I tried to be understanding and supportive, letting her know that I was there for her, everyone was there for her, throughout the whole thing. We should all be there for her now, helping her to overcome this addiction! She didn't agree and said it's just something she has to do herself.

She's still smoking.

This is weird, but it's ruining my sex life. (Don't ask!)

So now that I've found out that baby is a girl, I'm having sad thoughts.

I want an amazing relationship with this new little baby girl! I don't know what to do...

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First of all, I'm sorry your mom got lung cancer and your family went through all of that!

Second, please, please realise there is nothing you can do to stop her from smoking. Do not let it stress you and ruin aspects of *your* life. My MIL's mom smoked for years. She also had lung cancer and did not stop smoking. She was on oxygen and still smoked! My dad smokes, but he his trying to curb it (thankfully!). Anyway, the point is she is going to do it because she wants to do and not amount of pleading, begging, whatever, is going to change her mind.

Third, you and your DD will have a very different relationship because you are a different person than your mom. I know I do/say a lot of things that my mom did/does to me, but I am no where near as bad as she is (long sory) and I really hope that I don't ever become that way. But if I do, I think I can recognize the behavior (or at least have DH tell me! lol!) and stop.

If you want an amazing relationship with your DD, you will have one!

Sorry to ramble. Early in the morning and not quite awake yet!
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Alot to process in a pregnancy. You are not your mom and there is no predicting how your relationship will be when your daughter is grown.
My mother smoked 4 packs of cigarettes a day from when she first left home at 18 until she was around 50 . she smoked through her pregnancies and we lived in a cloud in an 8'x20' later 8'x35' travel trailers. so I spent my childhood out doors..... seriously. My mom has high bp, heart disease and osteoporosis - she is a little feather weight person who weighs no more than 90 lbs and her cholesterol is over 400. I think that there is no fixing a person -- love her and be angry at her-
I recommend not keeping her "secret" because you shouldn't have to carry this burden by yourself-
and the truth is that your children might grow up to be angry with you and it is ok just do what you think is best at the time and you will be alright ,a new baby is all needs and no judgment and you can do that part you really can and a relationship will grow out of that. Right now start creating a support group go to LLL or some other attachment parenting group so you will have support and assistance, ways to help you define and stay on track and to help you keep perspective, this is taking care of yourself in a real way.
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It's ruining your sex life because you are upset about it - because - you love your mother so much. I am very anti-smoking myself because I used to smoke. Us reformed smokers are the worst.

I find it funny she made you swear not to tell anyone. She must be embarassed. To get cancer from smoking and go back to it seems silly. Physcial addition to cigs is strong, but the mental additicton is even stronger. Is her husband in the picture? Does he smoke? Is he aware she smokes? Would he pressure her to quit?

One thing you have to realize is that she is her own person, and like it or not she is going to make some very engative choices. I have always had issues with my folks, and I am not srue if this is bad advice or not... but what has helped me cope is actually distancing myself from them. Not cutting them off, but not seeing them as much, or talking ot them quite as much, etc. No matter who you are, if you have a negative impact in my life I will select not to associate with you as much as if you were to have a positive effect.
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Nicotine is horribly, horribly addictive. My mom has been smoking for 40+ years. She is also a recovering alcoholic. She met cocaine addicts while in treatment that said that cigarettes were more difficult to quit than cocaine. My mom has also had health problems related to her smoking, and has almost lost a leg twice to blocked arteries (and had to go through an operation that gave her a 50-50 chance of making it through). Yet, she still smokes.
DH also dips chew (so gross) and has not been able to stop, it is very addictive.
You have to realize there is nothing you can do to stop her. You have told her how you feel, but it is up to her to get the help she needs to quit (whatever it may take from hypnosis, accupuncture, etc). Like what I learned in Alateen as a kid growing up, you have to "Let go and let God" (I am an atheist, but I basically took this to mean that I had to turn this over to a higher power, or whatever I used to get me through the day). You have no control over the situation.

The only thing you do have control over is you, you can make a choice to take good care of yourself, so that your daughter won't have to deal with the feelings that you are going through now. It is so difficult when you love someone and they take part in destructive behaviors.

Good luck.
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Originally Posted by mwherbs
she smoked through her pregnancies and we lived in a cloud in an 8'x20' later 8'x35' travel trailers. so I spent my childhood out doors..... seriously.
-- I know how you felt!


Originally Posted by mwherbs
I recommend not keeping her "secret" because you shouldn't have to carry this burden by yourself-
. That's what I think, it's just hard to break, yk? By now almost everyone knows, and has said something to her and we've talked to eachother, but no one can do anything.

I really should talk to someone, but how to do that with a toddler and a new baby on the way...if only there were online therapy! I could so do that, with new baby nak...
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I, too, have issues with my mom, though not for the same reasons; my mom was/is an alcoholic (sober for 4 years!) and we were never close. Anyway, from the time I was 12 years old I knew I never wanted a daughter and now that I am having my second boy I am so relieved. I still have not processed my feelings about it and would be in the same position as you if we were to have a girl.

I think what you should do is look for books on this (there must be a bunch) and read and read and read and think about it until you have exhausted the subject. I don't have very many people to talk to besides dh, so this is how I deal with problems, and it works well. I treat it like a research project and learn everything I can. Then even if I can't fix it entirely, at least I know that I have tried very hard and am aware of it, and that is better than nothing. KWIM?

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I just wanted to give you a big hug

Because what you are going through sucks. I agree that you shouldn't have to keep her secret if it feels like a burden to you. I'd even let her know that it's too stressful for you to do so while pregnant, and that you can't be around her, or have the kids around her while she is smoking. It's not about punishing her, it's about taking care of yourself and your kids.

I'll also reiterate what I said in my post in Bookworms thread. It's very very possible to have a totally different relationship with your children than with your parents. My own life is full of examples.

Since your circumstance don't allow you to go to a counselor to talk about this (although I know around here some of the community health services have childcare) can I offer a little ritual technique. (WOO WOO WARNING)

Take the time between now and the full moon to journal, and draw about all of the bad feelings between you and your mom, the tough stuff from your childhood, from the cancer, from finding your Mom smoking again. Maybe even sketch yourself as a little girl stuffing the vents with sweathshirts. Write down everything you want to get out of your life. Then on the night of the full moon burn all of it. After that collect all the ashes and take them someplace far from where you normally go, and leave them near a tree or stream. I've seen this work wonders for problems that feel impossible.

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I have similar issues. not about smoking. My mom and I have a hot/cold relationship as well. Only the only reason it is ever hot is because I love her. It gets cold when I start thinking about the type of mother she was after I turned five (and who knows maybe before). It gets cold when I get pregnant because I'm always thinking about parenting and how I don't want to do things the way she did it. It gets to the point where I can't be around her and to be honest I don't want her around for the first few months when I have a baby either. I'm afraid that she is going to offer advice that is going to set me off. :bighug
It's tough dealing with a parent with addiction.

My mother turned into an alcoholic a number of years ago, and is so far unrepentant, even though it has ruined her marriage, soured her relationship with her kids, and in the case of my relationship with her, it's on ice, as I stopped talking to her almost 2 years ago as a result.

As someone who also always smoked, she turned "regular" smoking into almost chainsmoking, just adding another addiction to the pile.

No longer talking to her is hard, as we did get on well throughout the years before that, but it got to the point where I just couldn't handle the extra stress and crap from dealing with her addiction and problems. It also didn't help that I now live on a different continent than her, and that leaves you fairly limited in what you can do. But even living in the same house left me helpless, this geographical seperation just made it easier to get her addiction out of my life.

Mostly though I just had to distance myself after having spent years trying to help her, to no avail. The one lesson I've learned the hard way is that you cannot help addicts unless they want to help themselves. And they generally need to hit rock bottom before they really change, rather than just paying lipservice to getting better. The things you think would make them hit rock bottom (like cancer in your mother's case) are often not even bottom enough for most addicts.

It's tough, and there's no real answer, or so I've found. I'm having a fair few issues with the whole situation again now that I'm pregnant with my first, and as her eldest and only daughter due with her first grandchild I do/did kind of hope that it might be a kick in the pants for her. But I had also hoped that cutting off contact with her might have shown her the severity of the situation, and lead her to change, which it didn't.

It makes me sad that I've had to make this choice, but for my own mental wellbeing, and that of my own budding family, I've had to distance myself from her. And there have been many days throughout my pregnancy where I've really resented her for this, and for many other things all relating to her addiction.

Sorry that this isn't particularly helpful, but I really wish you the best and I hope that your mother sees the light or that you can come to some kind of understanding.

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