Pregnant and struggling with expat guilt(9 Posts)
Hoping for someone on here who might understand how I feel.
I've been living in Australia with my DP for 3.5 years. We're both 30. We came here on a 2 year visa for a job offer for DP, his contract then got extended and we got permanent Australian residency.
I love life here... We have more freedom, more money, better weather... We have a better quality of life than we had in the UK. We have made great friends I can't imagine leaving.
The whole time I've been here, however, I have been plagued with guilt over leaving. My parents are divorced and both live alone. They don't have much money. My mum is the kind of person that finds it hard to see things from others' perspectives and often feels hard done to. She is quite emotionally fragile. She misses me terribly. She constantly talks of 'when I'm back' as if checking whether I will correct her, and I always leave it because honestly, I can't make any plans. I love it here, what would take me back is how worried I am about my parents future.
Last week, we discovered I am 5 weeks pregnant. We are happy, I have always wanted to be a mum! Since finding out, I haven't been sleeping because im so worries about telling mum. She will be devastated at the thought of her grandchild being on the other side of the world. I honestly don't even know if she will see this as good news.
Were getting married in March and the family is all coning over. It has cost her a lot of money and with baby due in August, I know she won't be able to afford to come out again to cuddle her newborn grandchild. I feel like I am denying her, and the baby, something so important.
I don't think the pregnancy and all the challenges we are going to have doing this alone really sunk in for me until tonight when I started crying in the car on my way home from work and couldn't stop. I know I am a bit hormonal but I don't know how to reconcile myself with my decisions.
Does anyone have any sage words of wisdom or advice on how I might help my mum to accept this? Or should we just move back to the UK?
Thanks for reading this lengthy ramble!
Congratulations on your pregnancy.
I am sure that I would feel the same as you, but would also know that deep down my parents would want for me, whatever (within reason!) made me happy. If your DM is so unhappy, would it be possible for her to move to Aus too, or maybe come over for a few months at a time?
Would your mum really want you to give up a life you love purely for her? If so, I'm not sure she is the best reason to move back, as she doesn't have your best interests at heart!
Congratulations on your pregnancy :-) To say you are a "bit hormonal" will be an understatement lol. Not to undermine your genuine concerns and feelings but be kind to yourself.
Different scenario but similar dilemma here in terms of moving back for someone else vs for yourself which you may find useful, even if to know you are not alone in feeling this way.
Does your DM work? I wonder if she can come over once or twice a year for 6 weeks at a time? Perhaps not ideal because that period would be very intense, especially if she is emotionally fragile as you say. I think considering your immediate family unit and happiness is key. You just cannot live your life for other people, imho.
My dm is good about us living in Aus. She is supportive and can see our reasons for liking it here. However my mil did everything possible to ensure we didn't move here! She will never bout and she will ensure that no one else on dh side comes either!
We have offered to pay for flights. Offered 6 month visas as we do for my mum, but still no.
I don't think there's an easy option. I have accreted that he will not see her3 new grand children unless we go back to the uk in Holliday. With 4 kids and no desire to go I can't see it happening any time soon!
Life us about Bringing your kids up to be adults. To encourage them to move into become great adults. Live their dreams. There's still a section of people tho who will always want to own their "kids" just like mil. There's nothing you can do to change it! If be totally honest with he that your staying where you are and then offer options like flights etc.
We have the only grandchildren on both sides here in Perth while the grandparents are over in Ireland. It is tough but we know what we want for our kids and the lifestyle they have here is fantastic and not possible back home. We are lucky as both of our parents are very supportive but only my parents have been able to come over so far.
I know what you mean about being hormonal, I remember being pregnant on my first and bursting into tears in Pumpkin patch when I saw another pregnant woman shopping with her mum, I really missed them then.
Don't move back for others if you are happy in Aus, other than the guilt. I was an Australian expatriate in London for over a decade and has ds1 there. It was hard sometimes without family support but we found our community -friends, neighbours, colleagues, people we met through having our ds, provided a lot of support. I was fortunate that my mum could afford to visit twice a year (and was retired, meaning she didn't have work to worry about) but perhaps you could visit the UK for an extended trip while on maternity leave if it's not an option for your mum. I did that and it was fab. We got great time with my parents and other family and friends, but didn't have to give up our life in the UK before we were ready. It is somewhat harder when you are back at work and don't have the option of a really long trip home each year, but perhaps you could pay for your mum to come out every year (or split the cost with her). One of my friends does that and it has made the distance bearable for her mum. We did eventually move back to Aus, but it was for us, for our own reasons (and we moved to a different state to our family!) not for other people. We would have been miserable if we'd moved back before we genuinely wanted to.
I would budget to fly her over every other year for a couple of months and for you to go home every other year. It's a necessary. I used to worry about the cost of flights but my friends dh told me that it was a necessary expense. It has to be done.
I don't think you should move back just for your mum. I miss mine dreadfully and I am going back soon because I want to be there but that's for me not her.
Thanks so much for the replies! It is great to hear from others who understand. You all make really good points - I know I need to think about what's best for us and I can't control how she reacts to this news... I am feeling a bit stronger this week, I think the overwhelm of finding out I was pregnant threw me and I got very worried about everything.
I agree about budgeting for the visits, alternating years is a good idea. I'll suggest this when we are further along and have the conversation. Thanks for taking the time to respond - often I feel like no one understands the stress and emotion of being over here on our own, I think they believe our life is a massive holiday!!
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