AIBU to think she shouldn't have got pregnant?(37 Posts)
My brother-in-law is a recovering heroin addict. His girlfriend a recovering alcoholic. She has a 9 yr old DD from a previous relationship, who has lived with her Dad for about a year. The girlfriend has been living in America with her Mum for the past six months or so and visiting my brother-in-law for a few weeks at a time, in his parents home, where he lives and has lived for the past 16 months. He is 34, she is late thirties I think. They met at a rehab centre early last year. There have been several relapses since then but they've probably both been clean for just over six months, after several years of abuse. Both had to leave their jobs. They do not have their own homes - they left their rental places when things fell apart, as I say, they are living with my parents-in-law. Last summer, the girlfriend had a miscarriage. I couldn't believe she had got pregnant (it was planned) in the first place and even though I don't now her well, I felt angry with her. As my brother-in-law was, at the time, totally out of it on heroin and his girlfriend had only recently been in hospital after drinking herself close to death, the miscarriage seemed like a blessing in disguise for everyone and I hate to say this - including the child. She's now pregnant again. Both me and DH feel shocked and sad - not how you expect to feel when you are told that a family member is going to have a baby. But I feel scared for the baby and wondering what's going to happen - and what the consequences will be for the entire family. Surely 6 months clean for two parents who are serial substance abusers isn't enough time to start family planning? The thing is, they are both lovely people, really they are. But they haven't got their lives back on track at all yet. The plan at the moment apparently is that they, and the baby, will live with my in-laws. I am totally incredulous that my in-laws seem OK about the whole thing. Do people just think that babies fix everything? And what's harder is no one is talking about it. It's an extremely middle class family where things like this are not openly discussed, everyone just "Gets on with it". The thing is, my in-laws have already bailed out my brother-in-law to the tune of £30K or more for drug and gambling debts. I'm sure they'll end up looking after the baby. Their problem, you might think, but these things affect entire families. I find it hard to just tell myself it's their problem and not think about it. Anyway, I can't talk to anyone in the family about this, hence the post. AIBU to be worried?
It's entirely possible if they are that dependant on drugs they will not be able to keep the baby anyway, social services will definatly have concerns.
That's interesting - I did wonder about that. I guess they get involved during the pregnancy as you have to answer all those questions - she has been in America since Jan so hasn't probably become part of the system yet.
@VladimirsPoutine - no, but the response of the family, which is as if this is all fine, makes me doubt myself.
I agree with you, OP, but it is what it is.
Welcome the baby as every baby deserves to be welcomed and hope for the best.
And if I don't think it is fine, the next question is, do I do anything? Or do I just stand by, buy some booties and a card and say congratulations? Is it my place to say/ do anything when others closer are not doing anything? confused
@Coyoacan that answers that question! I guess that's the only thing to do. Maybe they'll be great parents and it really will help them to have a baby to look after
I'm in agreement with you OP, unfortunately there's not alot you can do about the situation as it seems they've decided they're going to keep the baby.
All you can do is hope that the changes they've made are consistent and they sort themselves out for the sake of the baby.
I suspect social services will want to see that they're not still using, they will undertake nessecary steps to make sure.
@coffeeandcrumpet that's not necessarily true at all. If she is clean and no one (such as the midwife) expresses any concerns about her ability to parent they are unlikely to be involved at all. Especially as it sounds like she has good support.
Social services can't afford to take children of all addicts and alcoholics into care, and actually, unless they child is neglected they won't. They would more than likely just provide support and guidance along with monitoring.
@loolabec it's not ideal but it could have been so much worse. What do you expect ypiur PIL to do? Kicking and screaming aboiy it isn't going to solve anything.
It’s not ideal that’s for sure but maybe the baby will be just the thing to keep them both clean
I think the only thing you can do is to hope for the best and keep a really close eye on things. Be ready to call SS etc if things go downhill.
My brother-in-law is also a heroin addict and had a baby just over 2 years ago with another addict. The 'mother' signed her rights away as soon as the baby was born but my brother-in-law wanted to keep the baby. He lived in a centre for the first few months where social workers monitored everything and when they were happy enough he moved in with my MIL (a foster carer for over 20 yrs). The family supported him and really wanted this to be a new start. Unfortunately just after the baby turned 1 things started to go downhill (the baby being left to cry in another room for long periods of time and my BIL was getting very agressive with my MIL) The family contacted social services and had to give evidence against BIL in court. The baby was adopted which was for the best but extremely hard for everyone! BIL was clean for 18 months but relapsed after the adoption. Clean again at the moment but hopefully no more children!
What do you expect the in laws to do? They may be privately as concerned as you. But it hardly helps the impending baby to gossip to their in laws about it?
Goodness @Zakidoodles23 that sounds very hard for everyone. It's hard to see things working out for the best from such an unstable base but as in your case, I guess, supportive families are vital to things working out. And I just need to not over-think it. I just get these waves of anger - how selfish to bring a child in to this world when you can't look after yourself, or your existing child? etc. I realise she isn't thinking straight, but she is an intelligent woman
I think it's too late for there to be any use in judging their choice on family planning. I agree with you that it was a stupid decision by both of them, but you can try and mitigate the consequences by giving as much love and guidance to their child as you can manage. The child is going to need as much support and stability as they can get, and hopefully your husbands family and the BIL's GF's family can provide that for them.
I think you're going to have to separate out the stupid decision making from the consequences, however hard that will be. I doubt your in laws are delighted about the situation, they are just looking out for the child.
@clairemcnam I don't know what I expect them to do.. not offer unending support? I don't think they should have supported as much as they have already - the girlfriend knows they will support because that's what they do and that has enabled her to feel she can have a baby - they've enabled it in a way - I guess I'm cross with them too. The thing is now there's a baby on the way, they have no choice but to offer unending support - it's their grandchild - and whereas you might be harsh with two adults, you aren't going to kick anyone out when they have a baby. It's not gossip I'm after - it's some opportunity to just talk about it - it's hard with friends as I'm meant to be guarding the family secret of their addictions
Okay, I can see that you think they are enabling. A pattern sadly many people who love someone with an addiction seem to do.
Once the child is born perhaps some gentle words can be had about not introducing a second or third into this situation. But for now then focus should be on providing a loving home to the one who has already been conceived.
@Whyhaveidonethis I just feel sad about the situation. And think it could have been avoided and was predictable, based on events last year. I'm just wrestling with my feelings, wishing I had said something about it all sooner, dealing with realising there's nothing I can do except welcome the baby, support etc. but simultaneously trying to suppress judgment
If she is in the US how will she be able to come here unless she is British to start with?
@loolabec to be honest it probably wouldn't have made a difference. People make terrible decisions all the time; reasoning with them makes no difference. You are in the difficult positron that if you say something you risk alienating that side of the family. The baby might be the thing that tips the scales in their favour and gives them a reason to stay clean. It's not ideal but the baby is family so you probably need to hold your tongue to a certain extent
Hi OP, is she already living in the UK? How far on is she? Apologies if you've said and I've missed this.
Usually at the booking appointment with the midwife, the midwife will contact social work if they've reported a history of substantial substance/alcohol misuse. Obviously they wont have much/any info due to her being from the US. But SW should hopefully check in with them to look into this further.
Social work would have concerns and would be wanting to know how both parents are supporting themselves in relation to not using anymore. They'd also look at support networks and a safety plan.
@Whatisthisallabout - you are also right. I'm sure that's what they are hoping too. I honestly think my BIL doesn't have a clue what is going on and is just along for the ride, so not sure how much it will change him. He may literally not have to parent at all, thanks to his parents. But again, that's judgment speak, and I just need to think the baby is happening, the baby is what matters, and the blame or this and that is now irrelevant
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