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no contact with parents during pregnancy - advice please(12 Posts)
I'd be very grateful for advice on how to handle my emotions and navigate nc during pregnancy.
I'm currently 18 wks pregnant with 1st child and not in contact with my parents - mother especially, father occasionally.
The long and short of it is that the final straw - in a fairly long sequence of events - came when I had a miscarriage at 9 wks preg back in November and emailed my mother on the way back from the early pregnancy unit when the scan had revealed it was unviable/empty sac. I did not receive a reply/acknowledgement (....anything) for over 24 hrs, and when I chased up to ask why nothing, was told 'something had come up'. I found this very hurtful - the timing of it all was especially hard given that I got married 4 days post this and eventually mc on Honeymoon. It was hard.
She has always been a difficult woman (more below), but the hardest thing was that she let me down when I needed her most. I told her very bluntly that she had let me down when I needed her and that she had hurt me by her indifference. I was very, very hurt and angry.
In contrast, my OH's mother and sister have been lovely, gentle and supportive. The contrast could not be greater.
On my return from Honeymoon, I got back to find the news that my BIL and SIL were preg - due date only 10 days away from my original dd. It was a very odd, bittersweet feeling; on one hand, being very happy for them, but on the other hand, hard to bear given the proximity in due dates. I tried so hard to be graceful, even though it stung.
I then heard that my mother had made such a special fuss of my sil - organising her a lunch, buying her preg announcement gifts - yet all the time, I'd heard nothing from her. Nothing.
This kind of 'playing off' is pretty standard behaviour. She's done this before - ignore one, transfer affection to another.
In late Dec, I became preg. Very anxious this time around and even now, feel very little connection as am very worried that this will go wrong. It's not been an easy preg - dreadful sickness 1st trimester and worryingly low papp-a results. I am a bag of nerves!
I told my Dad that we were expecting at the 12 wk mark. He offered us congratulations (which was nice) but I heard absolutely nothing from my Mum. Nothing at all.
In an attempt to try to build bridges (again), I invited them over for Easter, but was told that I would need to apologise to my Mother 'for all the mental anguish I have caused her'.
I refused to do that. I am 41, not a child. I told my Dad (again) that I felt deeply hurt and angry by the indifference - that it was not a one off act - but the final straw for me.
Bottom line is that there is no understanding their side as to why I feel hurt...or any acknowledgement of my feelings at all. That's the key for me and makes my blood boil. As long as I shut up, toe the line, swallow it up - then I'm ok and accepted.
Thing is - I am not playing this game anymore. If it was a one off misunderstanding/blow up, then fine - but it's not.
My Mother has always been a difficult woman and we have had a poor relationship since my teenage years. She has always been cold, very much ashamed of our home (so much so that we were not allowed to bring friends back) and very controlling of her children. Her affection has always been distant and conditional. It's always been about her/her feelings/her moods and we tiptoed around her.
Teenage years were difficult for me - I felt so constrained and became bulimic from age 14. At that time, I felt so bad about myself that it was the only thing I could 'control', and the only valid way to express how badly I was feeling. I had no voice.
This is why this latest sequence of events stings so much. I have very clearly said why I felt hurt (ie, not blaming her for the mc happening; rather, saying that the indifference to it hurt me) and have been told that my feelings don't matter/are not acknowledged - and that I need to apologise to her.
I can't do this. For my own sake, I need to draw a hard line in the sand and say enough is enough. I can't go on playing the game of conditional love. It's not 'love'.
I am an adult woman and have forged my own life.
My OH is lovely, loving and supportive and his family are warm and loving. In fact, so much a polar opposite of my own.
I feel hugely embarrassed (ashamed, even) of the fact I have such a difficult family....I dodge the question (or lie )when asked how supportive and helpful my Mum has been during the preg. There is just nothing there.
I'm stupidly hormonal at the moment, and even silly things like seeing other expectant mums out with their own mums makes me sad. I am accepting that I have never had/will never have the kind of mother/daughter relationship that I would ideally like, but it is hard.
But it's not just that - I instinctively don't want her involved with my child (if) when it is born. I can't replicate what has gone on before in my own childhood. I just don't want her around.
Apols for the lengthy msg. It is helpful to write this down.
Congratulations to you on your pregnancy.
It is not your fault your parents are like this, you did not make them that way. Your parents were not good people to you growing up and it looks like nothing has changed now. Toxic people like nothing more than a fight and the last word. You do not need their approval, not that they would ever give it to you anyway.
I would also read and post on the "well we took you to Stately Homes" thread on these Relationships pages. You will also find support there.
You've made a boundary here and I would stick to it. You may well find that your parents may use their own selves or others to draw you back in. They could use previously unknown health scares or tests or employ "flying monkeys" (well meaning but otherwise manipulated relatives or friends) saying things like, "you only have one mother" and other such stuff. Those people need to be roundly ignored by you because they are not acting in your interests, only their own.
I am so sorry you're going through this. I can't imagine how painful it must be to have to distance yourself from your own mother. She sounds like a very toxic, narcissistic person. Just know that her behaviour is all on her - it has nothing to do with you. She clearly has very serious emotional issues. I'm so glad you have such a lovely husband and in-laws. I think you should not contact your mother again. You've tried and it's been a disaster every time. Why put yourself through that when you already know the outcome? Take care of yourself and get ready for your beautiful baby. I also think you should start seeing a therapist. You need to deal with all of these hurtful feelings.
Just know that her behaviour is all on her - it has nothing to do with you.
Yup. I have a similarly difficult relationship with my mother, and my dad simply (and unknowingly) enables her. I'm expected to just deal with it "because that's how she is". Like hell I do.
I'm 20 weeks along. Minimal contact, on my terms, and I don't see them having my DD on their own ever unless things change radically. I don't fight with them or engage substantively and while it's sad we're not close (to put it mildly) not having any drama from her is a breath of fresh air.
Congrats on your pregnancy, fingers crossed it gets easier as you go on.
Congrats on the pregnancy.
I'm in an extremely similar position with my own family. I could almost have written this post myself! It is very hard, especially when well meaning people ask innocent questions, or when friends don't understand the difficulty of the situation and assume that everyone has normal, functioning parents!
When people ask if my parents are excited etc, I simply now say 'it's a bit of a family difficult situation, I actually don't have much contact with them anymore (longish pause, other person looks uncomfortable), however my in-laws are very excited.' Then I change the subject or tell a nice story about something my inlaws have done, just so I don't leave the convo hanging on an awkward note. I find that people are so mortified that they never ask again
I have finally made peace with my NC decision, but it was hard. I found thinking of what is best for my baby really helped. Being around my parents has not helped me, they are toxic, especially my mother. I would rather my baby had less people in it's life that all love it, than have a few extra but toxic people.
I'm not sure if you've got nephews or neices already. I do, and seeing my mother act in the same way towards them in recent years means I know she would be likely to act in his toxic manner to my baby.
I offered contact in the form of a relationship with the baby only eg visits that would purely be to let her see the baby, and in time perhaps we could rebuild a relationship, but made it clear at first it would purely be to facilitate the baby seeing its grandparents in a safe setting. Including additional family members (e.g. My SIL) would then be a possible future step again, not immediately. She refused, saying she will not have conditions dictated to her, and said she wants no more contact unless it's on her terms. This is her choice. I can therefore walk away with my head high - I offered, she choose to refuse. Her choice, her behaviour, and nothing I can do about it.
Sounds like you are in a v similar place perhaps just a couple of weeks behind me. It will take time but it really sounds like you've made the most healthy decision for your baby, it might just take some time to come to terms with it.
Congrats on your pregnancy. I too was in a similar position and people used make comments about how lucky I was having my family near by I found it was just easier to smile and agree than go into any details. I am LC with DM and NC with df and some of my siblings, I remember being in the hospital after giving birth to DD and how alone I felt watching families and friends visiting loved ones, my df wouldn't drive my DM to visit me!! When I got home my aunt sent me a message congratulating me and even said in the message how I am so lucky to have DM so close and how good she would be to help me out and let me rest my DM rarely visited and as for helping me out or letting me rest that definitely didn't happen!! My mother has so many people fooled even her own sister!!
My DM also likes playing her children off each other. She will favour her df's goldenchildren to please him, and then if they are fighting she will favour the scapegoats, all pretty messed up and I walked away when I noticed that it was starting with the grandchildren.
Be kind to yourself and look after yourself and that little baby growing inside of you
Seconding the advice to find the 'But We Took You To Stately Homes!' thread on here, there's so much support and understanding there for you xx
Your mum sounds similar to mine. She and I were NC/LC before the pregnancy and then through it mostly except for nasty vitriolic messages I would get every few months. Weirdly during the pregnancy I wasn't upset about it (and, like yours, my in-laws were absolutely fantastic) but I've recently had the baby (6 weeks ago) and it's this part I've found particularly hard - not having a mum who can come and help out at home while I'm sitting in my pants desperately trying (and mostly failing) to breastfeed. It's been hard.
The decision I made was that in every milestone I would act correctly but distantly so she couldn't throw my behavior back in my face some day. So I called her to tell her I was pregnant and when I found out the sex and then when the baby was here. I let her come to the hospital (accompanied by my brother and SIL) but wouldn't be alone with her and haven't seen her since.
It was also hard/uncomfortable during the pregnancy when other women would talk about the support they were getting from their mothers but I just kept quiet and no one mentioned they found it odd I went baby shopping with my MIL for example rather than my own mum.
Make sure you have support in place for after the baby is born - we went to stay with my inlaws for a bit and my dad has been helping too (he and my mum are divorced). I also had some counseling before the baby came to come to terms with what it would be like to be a mother when my relationship with my own is so bad and will try and have a bit more after.
And don't be embarrassed - I understand why you are, I was (am) too because it feels like it's your fault but it's not. As you already know the best thing for you and your baby is to have as loving and supportive an atmosphere around you as possible and if that's one that doesn't include your mother then that's what needs to be done.
Firstly congratulations on your pregnancy. I hope everything goes well.
Secondly I have this with my family I am NC with them it took years for me to arrive at the decision to go NC. Like yourself I also have lovely in-laws, I have vaguely told them I am not in contact withy my family, DP has told them a bit more detail and they are polite enough not to dig any further.
For me the love and kindness shown to me by my in-laws is more than enough and as a result I really want my MIL to be as involved as she wishes in my pregnancy and the birth (shocked midwife when I told her my MIL would probably want to cut the chord when baby arrives, as DP didn't want to at the point of us writing up the birth plan).
Point is you're in your forties, you are not beholden to your mother in any way, if she chooses to be cruel to you then you have every right to step away from them.
I am so sorry you're mum is adding to the stress. Enjoy having a lovely set of in-laws and I wish you a healthy pregnancy.
Have you done any reading or research into toxic mothers / NPD?
Might be worth a read.
Just to clarify in your head that you are totally doing the right thing here.
For you and your baby.
Congratulations on your pregnancy.
Please do try to enjoy it.
Same with me. Last time I rang my mum was to tell her I was 14 weeks. Heard nothing since. My dh rang to say he was born. Nothing since. He is turning 2 soon.
I have gotten over the embarrassment as I realised it was her embarrassment, not mine.
When people asked if she is excited I just say 'nope, she's not interested.' That's on her. Not me.
And now I also say that there aren't any grandparents on my side. Which is true. One is deceased the other is uninterested.
I also had a miscarriage. It took a long time to accept that I would have a baby at the end. Feeling him move helped enormously and was wonderful
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