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There's a reason I cried for an hour last night...

904 Views 18 Replies 16 Participants Last post by  The4OfUs
A couple months ago, my mother was asking (out of curiousity) what my parenting plans were. I said breastfeeding (she supports), cloth diapering (she doubt I can "keep up with") and co-sleeping. At this point, my own mother suggested that, if I chose to co-sleep, I would be likely to sexually abuse my son.

I cried over that a lot, after sending huge amounts of info to her. Now she thinks its a great idea.

Lately, she's been making more and more "jokes" about my mothering abilities. I told her that I've had a few dreams where she started raising my child and wouldn't give him back. When I took him back, he didn't like me at all. These dreams are so disturbing to me, I wake up crying.

My mother keeps commenting that maybe she won't have to steal my baby, that I might be a good enough mother.

At first, I was like "haha", but these comments are really starting to bother me. It's getting to the point where I'm starting to get paranoid about having her at the birth.

I just wish she'd realize how what she says effects other people.

She's always been critical, just viciously so. But if you point it out, she says she's being honest or trying to be helpful or just kidding.

When I was five, my brother almost drowned in a bathtub when my mother left us alone for a minute. She yelled at me b/c I didn't know what else to do but scream for her.

Heh, the sad thing is, its gotten better. I refuse to live near her and I refuse to go "home" just to visit. She's gotten better recently (yay, meds), but she still has this "me" mindset. My entire purpose in her life is to make things easier for her. I'm the one who's there for her when she has to deal with things; I'm the one she calls when there is a problem that she needs reassurance over.

The funny thing is my brother is just like her, but less... subtle. Until recently, my mom couldn't see what an a$$ he is, but she gets it now, more and more.
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No advice to offer, just couldn't read and not respond.
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This sounds so hard -- but it also sounds like you are mentally working through it in a normal and healthy way.

I think it is so interesting how our relationships with our parents change once WE become parents. Especially our relationships with our mothers. I really find (through my own, my friends, and my first mother-baby support group) that it seems that relationships with mothers that are a bit strained can often become more intense and strained as time goes on -- and until/if issues can be worked out, boundaries made clear, etc.

I mean, so many issues start to come up when you become a parent, especially if you question the way your mother did things. Like when you think about parenting, or make different choices, you can start to think, "How could my mother have done that to me/us?" How could she not have bfed/coslept/ap'd?

My relationship with my mother is good but with my MIL it is not so good, and it's only become worse since I've been a mother, because I find myself judging her for the way she chose to parent. Which I know is SO not fair! But it's really hard when I wonder why she *chose* not to bf, why she left her baby (my husband) basically alone in the hospital for the first week of his life, why she let him severely CIO at a young age, etc etc

Sigh.... it's a hard thing!!! I wish you strength in getting through it.

Oh, and I really, REALLY recommend finding a good parent-baby support group in your area that has similar parenting philosophies, if you can. I know it can be really hard in some areas, but here in Seattle we have some great groups where you go to a "class" once a week and get to share parenting ideas/questions/philosophies. It was so helpful to me and I even got to bring MIL one time so she could see where I was coming from and not think I was insane!
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Sarah, it sounds like your mom really needs to shut up.
I'm glad you have faith in your ability to mother and can ignore her words.
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<my own mother suggested that, if I chose to co-sleep, I would be likely to sexually abuse my son.>

Oh my god...what a horrible thing to say. I think I would have lost it and slapped her for that sorry that you're having to endure such a toxic presence in your life.

Major, super-duper hugs for you, Sarah. You should be very proud of your mothering choices, they all sound great to me!

It is hard enough being pregnant and hormonal - the last thing you need is someone (especially your own mother) saying crap like this to you.

You're going to do a great job, and your little one will love you for the choices you've made, too!
It's getting to the point where I'm starting to get paranoid about having her at the birth.
I support you completely, but that comment bugs me. Why do you want this woman anywhere near you at such a vulnerable time? There's no way I'd let someone like that in my daily life (nor would you by reading your post), so I surely wouldn't let them anywhere near me during labor and childbirth! *hugs* I am sorry you have to deal with such comments!

(sorry to pop in on the "wrong" buddy group, but I just had to post!
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I wouldn't want a person like that at my birth either. In fact if she questioned my parenting I would remind her how she almost let her baby boy drown. That ought to shut her up. But I can tell you would be much to thoughtful to say something like that...
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Originally Posted by KBinSATX

I wouldn't want a person like that at my birth either. In fact if she questioned my parenting I would remind her how she almost let her baby boy drown. That ought to shut her up. But I can tell you would be much to thoughtful to say something like that...

yeah. she's lucky she has you instead of me for offspring... Then again so am I cause I'd totally be in jail by now
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Ugh, that sounds horrible. I can't believe the comment she made about cosleeping (well I can *believe* it, I just wish it wasn't possible that someone's own mother could say something so cruel.) I'm sorry you're having to deal with this right now. Pregnancy is enough of an emotional roller coaster without this kind of nastiness from family.

This is my first baby also, and I am on a learning curve about how much to share with my family/inlaws, and how to share it. After a really disasterous experience trying to talk to some of them about circumcision (we're opting NOT to do it, making us unique in the family) I started really contemplating what they really NEED to know, and what I should just keep to myself because I know it will only make waves. A lot of this stuff is none of their business anyhow, or should only be shared with likeminded people. Like what kind of diapers I buy--MIL had a fit because she thinks cloth diapers are silly, but my mom's a hippie so I know she'll ooh and ahh with me over my latest purchases. Breastfeeding: I weaned at 3.5 so I know my mom will be supportive of me all the way on that. MIL switched her kids to formula at like 6 weeks, so she doesn't need to know my plans in that department, she'd just criticize. No one needs to know where the baby sleeps, what shots he or she gets or doesn't get at the doctor's and when, what herbs my midwives prescribe for this or that, etc.

In short I decided to only share things with people I know will be positive and supportive of me in whatever decision I have made. Since deciding that, I have felt SO much better. I'd wager my blood pressure has dropped a good 10 points, too. I recommend making a similar decision yourself, for the sake of your sanity. It's really worth it.

Also, like others have said, I'd really seriously reconsider letting such a negative, critical person be at your birth. It's like a major athletic event, you don't want someone sitting in the stands "booing" at you.
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Wolfcat, you awsome and you are going to be a great mom. The mear fact that you are choosing to be totally AP and a single mom is awsome and should be applaused. You are going to be fine your little one is going to be fine and your mom will get over it all. Find yourself a Doula for a support person during labor even if your mom is still there. You will know that the Doula will protect you aand take care of you, and get your mom out of the way if she needs it. But the Doula is there to pamper you during and after birth. Find one that offers post partum support too, most have sliding scale fees if money is a concer but for the most part they charge about $300 for their services which may seem like a lot but after the fact it seems to little. Any how thats my 2 cents worth.
Oh dearie. I'm sorry she hurt you. I see nothing wrong with your choices. She may be feeling judged, like realizing in retrospect that she made non-ideal choices. I get this with my MIL. Or maybe she is just tactless and controlling! It's hard to tell without knowing her what the motivation could be. At any rate, don't feel obligated to have her at the birth if she upsets you this much. I agree with other advice about finding a friend or a doula to support you instead - the key word being support. There are doulas working on certification who would even attend for free. And many will travel, so if you do a search and don't see one right in your town, don't be too discouraged.
I fourth, or fifth (or whatever) that you rethink having your mom at your birth - it really should be a time when people are around to support you and share in the joy, not undermine and berate you.
I'm sorry you're having to deal with this right now.
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It sounds to me from your post like your mother is overbearing and overly involved with you. And she likes to belittle your capabilities, which conveniently has the consequence of making you more dependent on her as you trust yourself less.

I would get some boundaries up ASAP. No mother at the birth, for one thing. I'd limit how much I talk to her and visit with her too. You need to take care of yourself during this time, and not worry that your mother is going to try to take over parenting your son.

I'd get some therapy too, to talk thru this stuff. Good luck!
that sounds just really, really awful .... I'd be crying, too ...

I can relate to the hurt in that when my first was a toddler I had a friend (ex-friend) make a bunch of really hurtful comments about how breastfeeding was gross, breastfeeding a toddler was borderline abuse, breastfeeding in public should be illegal, and used to ask all kinds of rude questions like "how do you have sex if you co-sleep?"
: (um, gee, there are other rooms in the house ...) Basically, after putting up with this for a long time and realizing that this person a) wasn't going to change and b) wasn't going to stop making hurtful comments I decided that they needed to be out of my life. One of the best decisions I've ever made!

Now, i know with your mother this is a bit more complicated and the bond and the history there is MUCH different ... still, at the very least I'd second what the others here are saying about having her at the birth, especially since you are already upset and anxious about it. You do not need that extra anxiety in a birthing situation
This is a time about you and your baby and you need support and care right now. If your mom can't stop trying to be a "lead character" so to speak and learn how to be a good support system for you ... well, maybe you should think about her place in your life and whether or not you need more distance there for your own mental health

Best Wishes! I hope that you can find a solution that brings you peace
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I agree with the pps, and I'd not have her at the the birth IIWY. If she is so upsetting now, I'd hate to imagine her negative impact on you during childbirth. Believe in yourself, mama.
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First of all, thank you all for your support. It truly mean alot to me.

Secondly, (no real surprise) my mother discovered the co-sleepers at JC Penny's (Arms Reach, I think) and read up on all that. She wants to buy me a co-sleeper and thinks that co-sleeping is now just totally the bomb. (Yes, she buys things for me when she is wrong so we don't have to "deal with the messiness".
I can't change her and don't want to spend the energy to try.)

I understand why everyone thinks I should leave my mother out of the birth experience. I think I should explain further.

My mom tends to be a narrow-minded child. That's the long and the short of it. She doesn't think of what will hurt others AT ALL, though every percieved insult causes her a great deal of emotional pain. It isn't that she tries to hurt me. I've known that for a long time. She just doesn't get it.

And sadly enough, she is the only person in my life that I could even concievably count on to be there for me. I've spent the past several months re-evaluating friendships and I have attatched myself to too many self-serving and immature people (yes, I am aware of the freudian irony there).

So, I've cut out many people that are unsupportive of me being pregnant or moving to another city (even though it is best for my and my child). The few that I'm still associating with are unreliable to travel the hour from where they live to where I will be having the baby. Yeah, they say they'll try, but the word unreliable comes up again.

I haven't built a secure enough support system in the new city (at work, etc.) to even feel comfortable asking anyone here. The one person I know would be there from this city, I don't want to be there.

So, it's seems to be a rock and a hard place, but I've already spoken to the nurses at the hospital I will be going to, and I am confidant that if the situation becomes a problem, they and my father will make her leave. (My dad is completely emotionally aloof, but he can always be counted on to do what needs to be done.)

Yeah, it's kind of depressing sometimes, but this is the first time in my life where I would rather be strong alone then be drug down by the people around me. I would rather keep my standards then expose my son to "unworthy" role models.

Again, thank you for your support.
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Wow... Sarah. looks like you really are stuck between a rock and a hard place.
I think you've made a smart decision. If you want her there... have her there, and then kick her out if she annoys you. Have you thought about hiring a Doula? might be a good go-between.

I know how you feel. I have had to re-evaluate several friendships throughout my pregnancy, and am better off for it.
You can always turn to us!
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Sarah - so sorry you have to deal with this. Being a new mom is a wonderful (and sometimes scary) adventure and you need all the support and love of those around you. It sounds like your mom is just mocking you and making you feel less than the wonderful mom I'm sure you'll be. Be strong and use the boards to vent (it really does help!). Enjoy the rest of your pregnancy and I hope you find some peace and some strength.

OK, so my admiration for you just skyrocketed. I often forget how lucky I am to have friends and family that are supportive (or at least keep their mouths shut around me
) and can't imagine doing all of this without that. I really applaud you being so proactive about getting out of unhealthy friendships and focusing on making a new life for you and your babe. Your added info in your other post definitely sheds more light on the situation. I agree with the pp who suggested thinking about a doula, that might be a really good thing for you. Take care of yourself and your babe, and remember you have a bunch of 'cyber shoulders' here for you if you need us!!
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