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To have a word...

(17 Posts)
gebla Mon 24-Feb-14 16:22:58

Hi, I am posting as I need some advice regarding my unborn niece/nephew and my brother.
DB has been with his girlfriend for 6 years, it has been a turbulent relationship due to her angry outbursts that happen around two or three times a week, obviously my brother is no angel but not bad enough to warrent the way she treats him. They do love each other very much. She has always been the same, but due to the fact that she is now carrying my niece or nephew, I feel concerned about the effect the stress will/is having on the baby.
I have witnessed the outburst before the pregnancy, and understand how my brother feels as it is so concerning. I have never said anything as I feel my brother is capable of addressing the issue but he had just been round to mine and cried about how worried he is and how she will not listen when he tries to advise her about how damaging stress is on a baby. She brushes him off with "get a grip" or "that was this morning, get over it".
DB's girlfriend is genuinely looking forward to baby coming but I am worried that when the sleep deprivation kicks in and she has to deal with a challenging toddler - what happens if she has one of these 'outbursts'?
I am wondering if I am being unreasonable having a word? If I am not - how do I approach talking to her? I know what I want to say but don't want to come across as angry and dissapointed as I am.

Thanks in advance ladies.

Ifcatshadthumbs Mon 24-Feb-14 16:26:08

Honestly? You don't talk to her. Your brother needs to step up and make sure his child is safe and not growing up in a volatile environment.

ahlahktuhflomp Mon 24-Feb-14 16:28:03

Thing is... what sort of word would you have?

DoJo Mon 24-Feb-14 16:28:08

Unless you are particularly close, I can't imagine that you having a word would be a good idea, as she will probably assume you are 'taking your brother's side' no matter how diplomatic you try to be. Could your brother approach one of the midwives or GPs about talking to her? Or see if she would be up to visiting a children's centre or similar to access some support from them? If she isn't interested in accessing support for herself, would she contemplate it in the form of parenting preparation classes or something? Could your brother express concerns about how he will cope in the hope that she will accompany him and pick up some tips herself? It's difficult, because just addressing the topic could cause more stress in itself, but I hope you can find a way to be supportive without getting her back up.

gebla Mon 24-Feb-14 17:15:21

Basically I want to drill into her how important it is to minimise stress as much as possible - the fact that she doesn't acknowledge that by her shouting and throwing things may harm her baby is my biggest worry.
I want her to be the best mum possible but I literally don't know how she is going to cope with sleepless nights and terrible toddler age and the future. I am worried that she may have one of these outbursts (as she tells me that they are uncontrollable) when the baby is present.
I want to help but so far everyone's helpful attitude isn't getting thru to her and I think she needs a reality check about what is to come and the consequences her volatile ways if they continue.

DoJo Tue 25-Feb-14 18:58:29

To be honest, it sounds like you are probably the worst person in the world to 'have a word' with her - you sound as though you don't trust her not to hurt her own baby, and you are already imagining her being overwhelmed when this baby, who isn't even born yet, is a toddler. You are envisaging a worst case scenario, whereas the truth is that most parents learn to be patient when their child is a helpless infant, and that's how they get through the toddler years and beyond. Your concerns are completely legitimate, and I'm sure you mean well, but banging on about how you 'want her to be the best mum possible' sounds incredibly judgemental and as though you are in some way responsible for her, which you aren't.

A 'reality check' is probably going to sound patronising (and sorry to say it, your posts do come across as quite condescending about her abilities and how much of a role you should have in how she parents), so perhaps framing it in a different way would be a good idea.

Could you ask if there is anything you can do to ensure that she is getting enough time to relax, come up with a plan of things you can do for them both (because it seems like you are completely absolving your brother of responsibility for any parenting) to make things easier once the baby is born e.g. batch cooking for their freezer, going over one night a week and just holding the baby to give them a chance to eat a meal together, organising a rota of family to visit and help out in the first few weeks or similar?

I think if you approach this from anything close to the perspective you have outlined in your posts, you will risk causing her more stress and alienating her and your brother. Be on her side, ask her if she's planning to go to post natal groups or similar and find out information about less formal support networks so that she has people to call on if she needs them, and accept that she might prefer not to ask you for help.

Good luck - you sound very caring, so if you can ensure that is the thing that comes across rather than your concerns, there's not much more you can do.

Onesleeptillwembley Tue 25-Feb-14 19:00:54

By all means 'have a word' if you want to create holy hell. If not keep right out of it.

Jolleigh Tue 25-Feb-14 19:04:51

You trust her so little with her own baby that you personally feel the need to intervene - is there anything more likely to cause her to have an outburst? And it's going to cause her stress to know that you hold this opinion.

You may very well be right about what she's like, but if you step in, you'll be doing the wrong thing for all the right reasons.

Your job here is to support if not just your brother, both of them.

Alisvolatpropiis Tue 25-Feb-14 20:03:00

Do not speak to her about this. Just don't.

She will not react well. You will upset her by inferring she is too stupid/out of control to care for her own child.

Your brother will go ballistic if you "intervene". You'll have broken his confidence, caused massive issues between him and his pregnant dp and generally been a complete busybody.

Alisvolatpropiis Tue 25-Feb-14 20:04:10

I'm not saying you are a busybody for caring.

But it isn't your place to "have a word" with her about this.

Finola1step Tue 25-Feb-14 20:08:16

The best thing you can do is talk to your db. He needs to step up and do any talking that needs to be done. If he is concerned, then he should contact the midwife for advice. You would be best to stay out of it right now.

LRDtheFeministDragon Tue 25-Feb-14 20:22:05

What do you mean by 'obviously my brother is no angel'?

I'm asking because if either of my brothers were in a relationship with a woman who does what you describe, I would not be considering their minor foibles (which at other times get my judgy pants well and truly twisted) when I posted about it. So do you mean, your brother isn't very good at relationships either?

If so, maybe focus on him, talk to him about what's going on, so he knows he's got a listening ear and can both change his own behaviour if need be, and try to give her the message she needs to change hers.

I agree with others you having a word with her could only make things worse.

bellablot Tue 25-Feb-14 20:25:01

I'm afraid it's just not your place to talk to her. What exactly would you say? If anything you'll make the whole situation worse. Keep out and let your DB deal

Fortyisthenewthirty Tue 25-Feb-14 20:32:59

DoJo has it. In fact I'm just going to PM her when I next have a problem.

DoJo Wed 26-Feb-14 14:25:00

Forty blush grin

WooWooOwl Wed 26-Feb-14 14:33:07

Having a word will do nothing except piss her off, which will stress her more and possibly make her avoid you or be less likely to turn to you for support if she needs it.

There's really nothing you can do until something actually happens that puts the child at risk.

Concentrate in supporting your brother, it sounds like he needs it more.

EdithWeston Wed 26-Feb-14 14:41:34

I think DoJos post is spot on.

As she's always been like this, then her stress levels haven't actually changed. You don't automatically get a mellowing personality transplant with pregnancy, and much as you see her temper as undesirable this is the woman your DB has chosen to the the mother of his children. The only thing you can do is support him to be the best possible father.

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