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Dreading telling my parents I'm pregnant...ridiculous I know...

(24 Posts)
Kelly1814 Tue 26-Mar-13 09:57:27

Hi ladies

As the title of this says, I am dreading telling my parents that I’m pregnant. I should point out that I’m an (almost) 37 year old woman, so I know this is ridiculous.

Long story short: my mum was always very anti me having kids as I grew up –which I can understand when I was in my teenage years, she wanted me to get an education etc. I knew that if it ever happened she would absolutely not support me and an abortion would be heavily pushed. It would have been an enormous disappointment if it had happened.

However this has continued as I grew older – when my parents last visited (I live overseas) it culminated with my mum having a real rant at me when I brought up the subject of having kids: telling me I had no idea how hard it was to bring up a child, I had no experience of a small baby, what would I do for money, about work, about childcare etc etc. Oh, and if I DID have a baby, let’s hope it wasn’t a boy, as she has no interest in boys…It was very negative and unpleasant and I never really got over it, I was extremely upset at the time.

As I said I can partly understand her reasoning when I was a teenager but I’m now almost 40, have a successful career, am married…life is about as stable and it good as it ever could be to have a child.

SO: I’m now dreading telling her and my dad that I’m up the duff. I don’t know whether she’ll be upset, pleased, horrified….as I said we live very far apart so it’s not as big an issue as it would be if she lived next door, I don’t see her often, but I do feel nervous about her reaction, which feels frankly ridiculous!

Has anyone had to deal with negative or difficult parents where announcing pregnancy is concerned? Thanks in advance xx

Msbluesky32 Tue 26-Mar-13 10:11:13

Poor you, it does sound very strange. How odd for her to mention boys in such a specified and negative way aswell! The only thing I can think of is your mum had some bad experience of some sort. Did you mum have a difficult time when she was pregnant? Did they struggle for money? What was her childhood like?

I've been dealing with difficult parents on my partners side. They were obsessed with us getting married first and were very negative about the baby when we first told them. It was very upsetting but they came round eventually and now they are bombarding us with toys, clothes and pushchairs. For them they felt we had done things the wrong way, but we both set the record straight - its mine and my DPs lives and we are free to do what we like. At the end of the day you are a grown woman and free to make your own decisions too. It sounds to me like there is an underlying problem - a bad experience or something that perhaps your mum hasn't expressed well and she is worrying on your behalf. I can't for the life of me imagine why they would be upset to have a grandchild. I wish you all the best, let us know how it goes?

HPsauceonbaconbuttiesmmm Tue 26-Mar-13 10:16:54

Oh that's awful kelly! It's hard enough coping with the emotions of pregnancy without worrying about what your parents will think. How dare they assume they can make choices for you and upset you like that.

I have no direct experience, but i do have a complex relationship with my paents. I think I'd leave telling them as late as possible and then maybe send an email or letter, or card with a scan photo. Let them have time for it to sink in. Explain how much it upset you what they said last time they visited and that you hope they can be happy for you. I'd probably tag on that supportive grandparents to be will be the only ones welcome to visit in future. Lay down the ground rules now, no negativity, only support.

If you tell them in person or on the phone, I suspect the best you'll get will be stony silence and at worst a "why on earth...". I'd spare myself that and let them have time to make a considered reply.

You're about to be a parent. As soon as you hold your baby in your arms you'll understand how truly unforgivable it is to hurt them in any way, at what ever age. Your parents need to know they're hurting you. If they are at all decent they will stop.

All the best for a trouble free pregnancy and congratulations! smile

knittingirl Tue 26-Mar-13 10:23:37

I'm really sorry you're going through this. I would suggest taking a lot of the same advice you get for telling your boss you're pregnant - don't be apologetic, announce it as something that you're happy about and that you're expecting a good response to. It's your life and you don't have to explain your reasoning. It would be lovely if your parents come round once they know that a grandchild is actually on the way, but if not then move on and don't chase them for affection that they don't want to give - you will be able to shower that baby with so much love yourselves.

And congratulations!!!

greencolorpack Tue 26-Mar-13 10:26:06

If you live abroad then just don't tell them. Tell them when they need to know ie there will be three of us coming to visit not two. And if you go home Don't stay under their roof, stay at a hotel or somewhere less hostile.

BraveLilBear Tue 26-Mar-13 10:29:52

Hey Kelly congrats on your pregnancy and sorry you're in such turmoil. I can empathise as my parents sound very similar - I never got a gender-specific tirade but it was made clear to me several times over in my teens and 20s that having kids 'ruins your life'. Oh, and all three of us were accidents, too hmm

When my OH and I decided to have kids, we knew we wouldn't have time to save up and get married first as that could take years - I'm nearly 33 and didn't want to risk it. We knew this would be an unpopular decision, so we took the decision to tell them that we were TTC, so they could get their heads round it. Their reactions were all 'already? but you don't qualify for mat leave etc' - I ended up sending them the HR documents as proof!

We did catch quick, admittedly, but when I told them, they were still shocked. My mum went totally silent, and eventually forced a congratulations. My dad, (they're divorced) started stammering and didn't know what to say either.

I'm now 23 weeks and they're both much more supportive. The first trimester was the worst (had to tell them earlier than scan because I was very ill) and they said some incredibly upsetting things. But they are at least being supportive to our faces now. It helps that my wider family, ie unlces and aunts, are over the moon for us - and I think that mature perspective is rubbing off.

It is, undoubtedly a difficult conversation, however ridiculous it may seem, but don't let it sour your happiness. They will most likely come round in time. It sounds like your mum has some sort of unresolved issue about her life/her motherhood or childhood. Maybe seeing how happy, settled and loved you are in your relationship will help change her ways. If it doesn't, then there will be other family you can turn to for support.

Good luck x

BraveLilBear Tue 26-Mar-13 10:31:22

Nodnod to what knittingirl said - very good advice there.

gertrudestein Tue 26-Mar-13 10:51:52

Yes, nod to knittingirl too, very sensible!

My mother cried when I told her I was pregnant. And not out of happiness! She is now excited to have another grandchild but has very strong opinions on the right and wrong way for us both (ie me and the baby) to behave.

I've found that being pregnant has made me feel like I'm being dragged back into the old family values - on one hand I've begun to appreciate all the things my mother has done for me in a new way, but on the other hand I feel suffocated by the legacy of her attitudes to family life etc. I've found it useful to remind myself that, just as in the rest of my life, i can be independent of my parents' values and assumptions.

OP it sounds like you are a very successful, contented person and have made choices that work well for you and are no doubt different to your mother's. You don't need her approval - it would be nice, but it's not necessary. Your baby, your rules!

Kelly1814 Tue 26-Mar-13 11:03:27

Ladies, I cannot thank you enough for your kind and supportive replies, it really has helped enormously!

My mum did have me very young (19), but this was through choice, she was married. I do think was trying to escape from a very unhappy abusive home life. It was definitely a struggle bringing me up, we had very little money, and she undoubtedly sacrificed a lot to do that. However that was her choice, and we had always (up until that point during her visit) got on well. Which is partly why I was so surprised at her vehemence on the issue.

This has given me lots of great advice to think about and has made me feel so much stronger and more positive. Thank you again.

Msbluesky32 Tue 26-Mar-13 11:28:56

There's a lot of past emotions tied up there for in that case, not to say I condone her behaviour as you are clearly in a very different situation, but she's mixing up her feelings about past experiences with your potential experience. Be firm and positive about what you want from her and she will understand I'm sure.

How wonderful, you are going to be a mummy smile

Msbluesky32 Tue 26-Mar-13 11:32:27

There for her

38 weeks pg and I've totally lost the ability to write sentences!

Saundy Tue 26-Mar-13 11:48:39

I also second knittingirl's advice.

I have 3 sisters and as my mother was a very young mum we were all raised to believe that having children ruins your life. Continually warned not to come home pregnant and not to expect a free child minding service should we have kids etc etc. Very anti-kids.

Anyway eventually my sister got pregnant (all fully grown and moved out at this point) and had to tell my family. She was (rightly) terrified but really approached it all the wrong way. I remember afterwards my dad being upset and saying that the way they announced it made it impossible to react with any kind of joy as they were so solemn. Nobody knew how to react and it really tainted it. Defo go in happy and lead the situation, show them its good news.

As it happens they now have four grandchildren and adore it, my mum is absolutely an unpaid childminder and although she enjoys complaining she enjoys being a grandparent just as much.

It was all bravado to try and prevent us from making mistakes she had and struggling in ways she had.

Saying that the first thing she said when I got with DP 5 years ago (& all 4 grandchildren were born) was don't get pregnant! So I'm feeling the nerves too!

EldritchCleavage Tue 26-Mar-13 11:57:40

We had this when we decided to have a second. My DH is PIL's planned but unloved and stigmatised second child.

MIL adored DS but was already saying 'Don't have another, the second one's always a sod, what a mistake it was for us' etc etc (in front of DH, no less) from the moment we had DS.

We told them we would have another and got the predicted reaction, to which we didn't respond, really. I just said 'Well, there we are' and 'I don't think DH is a sod, I think he's lovely' then steadfastly ignored any more comments. DH said nothing at all.

I think the non-reaction was the most effective thing. It left them nowhere to go except to decide to be involved or not.

In the end, MIL died before DD came along. FIL has detached and couldn't care less: doesn't even remember her name on the odd occasion he is in contact. DH has decided not to bother with him as a result.

So I think you can manage the reaction to the news. But do be prepared for them to choose not to bother and be prepared too for how strongly you might feel about that.

DontmindifIdo Tue 26-Mar-13 12:15:06

DH was worried about telling PIL, he said it sort of boiled down to admitting he'd 'he'd got a girl pregnant' - even if said girl was his wife...

But in your mum's case, it could well be that while for the most part your relationship was good, she could have had PND (that you don't remember), and while has loved you and put all her energy into you, she regrets not having a career and the sort of lifestyle she saw others having. (remember, if you are 37, then your mum was probably one of the last woman who didn't get maternity leave/pay - my brother is 37 and my mum had a choice of 6 weeks off and back to work or resign all together - if DB was only 6 months younger she'd have had her job held open for a year, although it was still not the done thing to go back to work for a while longer)

Deliver it as good news - do it on the phone or via e-mail if you really don't want to deal with seeing a reaction straight away.

Also treat any ranting with bemusment - lots of "oh don't be silly, it's not the 70s anymore, I'll get a good maternity package, we can cope on DH's wage and if I struggle with the baby, well that's what early returns to work and a nanny are for. Really, I'm not 16, I've got options." Keep repeating "that's not going to be a problem for us because we waited to have a baby." make it clear you are not in her position.

Foxeym Tue 26-Mar-13 12:49:11

I know exactly how you feel, I'm 41 pregnant with DC3, I already have 2 DD age 14 and 11 and my mum ranted at me with DD2 so god only knows what she is going to say this time (I'm also in a different relationship now). so needless to say I'm 3 months and still havent said anything, only consolation my parents live abroad so only actually see me from the shoulders up on Skype so I'm currently getting away with it lol

BabyHMummy Tue 26-Mar-13 13:05:59

I dreaded telling my folks cos i had only.left my husband 6 mo the previously and been seeing dp for about 4 months...iwawas terrified of how they would react but they both cried with happiness (always been told i couldn't have kids by docs) and have been brill.

I cannot imagine the stress you must be under tying to deal with this but i agree with previous comments that it sounds like there ia a lot more to this where ur mum is concerned. I would definitely talk to her and as someone else said go in happy. If she gets nasty point out she has 2 options be happy for you or never see you or the baby and leave it up to her.

Do you have siblings and do they have kids?

Kelly1814 Tue 26-Mar-13 13:24:10

In answer to some questions/points (thank you!) i'm an only child so no previous example to follow on this.

apart from my parents i have one living grandmother and no other family to turn to for support. i live abroad so no support network in form of in laws either. it's very much myself and my DH to support one another and bring up our baby.

I also live in a country with 45 days maternity leave (ridic!) and where freelancing isn't legal, so the going back to work/money situation is certainly one to think about and one of my mum's 'rant' points. but it's not a barrier, we can sort childcare (terribly expensive but do-able) or I can save enough to live off for 6 months or so, and not work. Or i could set up my own business, or work with DH (he has his own business)

i really like some of the lines to quote to them above such as "that's not going to be a problem for us because we waited to have a baby." and that we 'have options'. also that i don't need their approval!

Foxeym - i'm head and shoulders only on skype too, so in theory could delay telling them until october when the baby is born. or beyond!

DontmindifIdo Tue 26-Mar-13 13:37:41

so sell it to her as one of your options being "confirmed" so - "I'm going to resign then after 6 months work for DH's company, we've planned all this all out." if at the time you end up doing something else, you present that to her as "in the end I was offered a job at X company and it was too good to turn down" or "oh, I've decided to set up my own business." Don't tell her you don't have a plan /haven't already it all sorted, that just gives her a stick to beat you with. I'd go with the working for DH as it's the one option she can't claim won't work out. If you then do something else, wait until you're doing it to tell her.

What about your PIL? Are they excited?

Kelly1814 Tue 26-Mar-13 14:31:13

DontmindifIdo this is great advice and a very good idea, thank you. PIL's don't know yet (12/13 week scan next week.) I'm sure they will be happy - unlikely to visit as they are elderly so pressure will then be on to get back home to see them (sigh). but at least they will be positive, i'm sure.

as we're overseas we really can keep it a secret much longer than is perhaps 'usual'.

Heinz55 Tue 26-Mar-13 14:35:24

You're her baby - maybe she's worried about how hard it'll be on you??? Or maybe she's worried you can't get pg?? I felt same telling my mother although I was 30 and 4 years married at the time. I waited til 20 weeks - and she was so excited!! I am sure they will be delighted. My mother adores my dd (who's now 10) but also appreciates the rare times she and I get to spend together without kids fighting for our attention so it does change things.

brettgirl2 Tue 26-Mar-13 18:34:46

Mine changed her tune on loads since I had my 2.

Breathe, relax, give her a chance smile

Kelly1814 Thu 16-May-13 11:19:15

Hi everyone

I wanted to post to say thank you for all the great advice I was given on this post, i FINALLY (at almost 20 weeks!!) told my parents I was pregnant. i did it via email (i live overseas) and we are going to skype in a few days.

so far they have said all the right things (am sure they would dare not do otherwise) so am hoping that i have helped to set the scene of positivity for the future!

smile

syl1985 Thu 16-May-13 15:49:59

I'm now pregnant with my 4th child.
And every time when I was pregnant some family members reacted negative.

It's very painful. So I broke with them. That was difficult to do. But I now feel better about it.

I've no idea why people and even close family can be so hard and cruel to each other.

Unfortunately, you can't choice your own family.

Tamof4 Thu 16-May-13 18:47:42

Well done Kelly for biting the bullet and telling your folks! Had to happen sometime ;-)
I'm 39 and like you, terrified of telling my parents and mil that I'm pregnant with our 5th child.
My two closest friends happen to have 5 kids each, and my mother has shown her distaste for this particular number, even though I have four already.
My father is a vicar so at least the baptisms keep him going!

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