Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
My mother, pregnancy and weight gain(23 Posts)
My mother has issues/a phobia about weight gain and now that I am pregnant, I need advice on how to handle her negative comments along the lines of how I shouldn't be gaining weight, babies only weigh 7lbs so there is no need to gain weight, smaller babies are better for delivery and general horror that i have gained weight.
I'm now 7 months in and have gained what I (and pregnancy weight gain charts) consider a healthy 1.5 stone and the comments have increased. It is driving me nuts!
I've been falling silent when she starts lecturing me as I know she won't listen to me if I tell her that she is wrong but it is getting to the point where my instinct is to try to my speak to her or see her again until sometime around 6 months after delivery when my body shape will be less obviously pregnant.
Backstory: as a teenager while living at home with her, I was underweight and didn't have a regular period (once every three months or so). When I consulted with the doctor, they told me it was likely that I was underweight. When I moved out and was able to control my own diet more (e.g. introduce carbs into my evening meal), my weight increased into the healthy range and although not totally regular, the frequency of my periods increased although there was always a slight doubt in my mind about how easy ttc with an irregular cycle would be and how much being at the lighter end of the bmi scale played into it rather than any other factors. Thankfully, however, that turned out not to be a problem.
Falling silent isn't working, so I would suggest telling her that you aren't interested in her opinion on the subject. If you aren't firm this sort of thing just persists, IME.
The important thing is you have a happy and healthy pregnancy, stress is not conducive to either of those things.
The obvious answer is to ask her to stop each time she says something.
"I'm not discussing this with you. My doctor and midwife are both happy with the progress of the pregnancy."
Rinse and repeat.
TBH if you need to stop seeing/speaking to her for your sanity etc. then perhaps do it.
Perhaps warn her that if she cannot keep quiet regarding weight gain etc. that you will not be seeing her (or presumably the baby) for quite some time! The other option is to tell her she is not welcome to make any comments and she will be asked to leave if/when she does.
You may only have to follow through once or twice for her to learn to keep her mouth firmly shut!
'One more comment on my [or my child's] weight mother, and you will never see me or my child again and I mean it.'
Yes, you need to lay down a boundary and stick to it. Consider it practice for when she starts in on what you feed your baby.
You are an adult now, no longer a child that she can control. She won't get this until you prove it.
The above suggestions are correct, imho. A nasty shout-down isn't necessary. Speak with your feet and leave her presence if she won't respect you or your boundaries.
Congratulations on your baby and best wishes for a smooth delivery!
What a difficult situation.
I actually lost body fat when pregnant, noticeable on my arms and legs until the last couple of weeks when water retention took hold, only a tiny bit. It was down to frequent migraines that meant I felt too sick to eat for at least half of most weeks. (I would like to point out that I was completely healthy and had an 8lb healthy baby). Even though, I stepped on the scales at the very end of my pregnancy and I was about two and a half stone heavier than I had been nine months previously. It is really amazing how much pregnancy adds to your weight. The baby, fluid, extra blood, the placenta, milk production all weigh loads! You can find information online about the average weight of all of these things.
The annoying thing is that you shouldn’t have to. Fine if you’re gaining a massive amount of unhealthy weight due to constantly eating chips but it sounds like you are perfectly healthy and just gaining the expected amount of weight. You shouldn’t have to justify completely normal weight gain. Is she going to tell you after you’ve given birth that you need to get back to your pre-pregnancy shape immediately? More worryingly, is she going to criticise your child for their diet and weight growing up? I think you need to find a way to explain that it is her problem, you are healthy and I hope more importantly happy with how you look! To be honest, I am not at all assertive with my mother so can offer no advice about how you might go about this.
You need to stop this once and for all. How will you feel when she starts to comment on your daughter/son's weight ? Will you allow her an opinion on their food intake or regularity of feeding ? What about those comments as they are growing up and becoming aware of their appearance ?
Shut her down. Every single time. Don't comment on my weight please mum, it isn't up for discussion, if you comment again I will have to leave. If she says anything else at all then leave.
Remember how much this has affected you. You were quite rightly worried it could have affected your fertility. You could not maintain a healthy weight until you had left home. That is really not okay.
If the facts don't work (it's not just the weight of the baby to think about, it's also the placenta, waters, increased blood supply, fat stores for breastfeeding, etc) then I would be blunt. "Stop this or leave/ I'm leaving". Have you thought about how you will protect your dc from your DMs unhealthy relationship with food and weight in the future?
I don't want to over dramatise, but this woman will be in this child's life and you absolutely should start work NOW to stop her telling your (say) 5yo girl that's she's got a tummy / is tubby.
Tell her: you are wrong about pregnancy weight gain (if nothing else, what about the amniotic fluid?!) and you have an issue that is not my issue - and I don't want to hear another word about it. Then EVERY time you have to calmly and firmly say "I have told you, do not comment on size/weight to me".
Teach her that NOW, before you get her issues upsetting you as you adjust to a new baby, a change in shape, comments on how much milk your newborn has... etc.
I feel for your mum if it's driven by issues not nastiness - but they're her issues, not yours.
And a small baby is not something to be desired
My mother commented on her surprise at how large my belly was the day after I gave birth - apparently once the baby is born the belly is supposed to magically shrink back to nothing in 24 hours. It had nothing to do with me and all to do with her lifelong image problems, eating disorders and desire to control others. Unfortunately she kept up the comments about DD's appearance as well. We are NC now (not because of this as such) but be careful about the impact your DM might have on your DCs. Well adjusted adults can shrug this stuff off as the rubbish it is but it can affect children very negatively.
I like the suggestion of bringing the phrase "I am not going to discuss this with you" far more frequently into the conversation and I agree I need to find ways of being more assertive when she is around rather than not saying anything.
Yes, theSky I find it really concerning that she thinks a low weight baby is a good thing too. There is a video up in the hospital I've attending appointments that tries to dispel the argument that smoking = low birthweight = good and I was disturbed this was very similar to her "advice" that food restriction = low birthweight = good.
Your mum clearly has issues - don't let her make them yours. It's none of her business how much you weigh, how much you eat, anything. Your body, your business.
A baby is only 7lbs? That's as maybe but there are lots of other factors too, all weighing (!) in. And a small birthweight doesn't mean a small body in adulthood.
A few threats along the lines of 'NO comments on my or my baby's weight will be tolerated, ever' will set a few boundaries. She can still think what she likes, but doesn't need to say them.
Bloody hell! I put on 5 stone with DS! I was only 8 stone before pregnant, and by 36 weeks, I was 13 stone. I was unrecognisable. They induced at 36 weeks, as any bigger they said I'd have skin damage. He was 8lb 3. I didn't over eat at all! You just can't help these things. Thanksfully, with DD, I only put on 2.5 stone, and yet, she was a bigger baby, at 8lb 9.
I'd print off that chart, about normal weight gain, give it to her, and tell her you don't want to discuss it any more!!
Her treatment of you as a child is shocking - I believe it could be easily be deemed neglectful since you came to significant harm as a result.
Has it been unacknowledged by her and untreated all this time?
I agree that you need to shut it down completely. I like the idea of printing off the chart and telling her very calmly that you won't be entering into discussing o your weight or your child's.
I don't remember her comments as a child. It was more in my later teen years when she put the whole family in a diet in order for my step father to lose weight and she couldn't see how one person wanting to lose weight didn't mean as a blanket rule everybody in the family needed to.
Pregnancy has brought the issue to the fore because the normal changes in pregnancy (I fully expect her to make a comment like in BooBoost dm about being surprised that bellys don't bounce back 24 hours after giving birth) clash with her ideas of what is an appropriate non-pregnant adult weight (which is already skewed).
As people have pointed out, it is also not just about pregnancy but also how I (and my Dh who was mouthing at me to tell DM to fuck off when I was on the phone recently) want to protect pur child(ren) from damaging comments made by her in the future. Non-confrontation doesn't feel like the best option any more.
I would look her squarely in the eye the first time and lost the breakdown of extra tissues/fluid as above.
The second time I would look her squarely in the eye and say, "mum, you have an eating disorder. Let me be quite clear: your issues on food and weight gain impacted my physical and mental health. Your issues will not be allowed to affect the physical or mental health of this child, either before or after birth. I do not want to hear a single comment on my weight from you, ever, and if you make any comments to my child about their weight I will need to consider whether I want you in our lives. Fo you understand me?"
Think of it as practising for when your baby is a toddler.
She says something you explain why what she said was wrong, why it was wrong and what the consequence will be if she does it again. (That you will leave)
She does it again. You calmly start getting your things together, say that you have told her that it was wrong and as she ignores you you are now leaving. Then leave.
Make sure the next few times you see her you are in a public place and with your dh for support. Getting her to leave your house will be harder.
If she apologises then and there and says she won't do it again and to stay, you need to follow through anyway and leave. Saying something like you appreciate her apology, you hope that next time you see her she will up hold her promise or else you will be leaving again and if she continues you will seriously consider how much contact she has with the baby.
Then leave. You said you would leave, follow through. Or else she will think a quick apology is all she needs.
See, just like a toddler.
Agree you need to get assertive and say something, but I know it's very hard. Agree with others about the things you can say - assertively repeat that you are healthy and your antenatal team are fine with your weight gain. Tell her you will not discuss it and walk away if she doesn't take you seriously.
I know how you feel as my mum is similarly obsessed. I gained 3-4 stone with each pregnancy, and really did have a huge bump. I never heard the end of it from her about how it was too much weight. But I went back to my pre-pregnancy weight pretty easily - it wasn't overeating, it was just what my body does. Even at that weight (15 stone) no one in the medical profession gave me a hard time - just my mum!
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.