Advice needed regarding new baby and DSDs, please?(4 Posts)
I'm hoping for some wise words as I feel a bit stuck about what to do and how this will develop.
My SD's are in their early 20s and I'm mid 30s, I've been with their dad (now my DH) since I was myself early 20s.
DH's relationship with them has been difficult since before I was on the scene. He left when they were very young, and worked abroad after he left so he rarely saw them. When we started dating I was totally supportive about him having children and encouraged their relationship, went with him to see them on the rare times he was back in England etc. I felt I got on with them fine and the tension was more between him and them IYKWIM. I tried not to interfere at all, but just be a supportive partner.
When the eldest was 18 she and DH had a massive falling out about some money. They made up a year or so later but it didn't take long for another massive falling out (again with the eldest) which I was dragged into by association although I had no direct confrontation. The younger sister was also dragged into it and rang my DH to scream at him.
After this DH told me (and family) that he was disowning both of them and from now on had no daughters. This was all very heat of the moment because he was so angry about various things that happened as a result of the second falling out (lots of lies about us to our family, and his mother being abused by the elder daughter).
Since then he has made up with the younger DD. She asked him to make up with the eldest too, and although a couple of text messages got exchanged it never came to anything. He's now in semi regular phone contact with the youngest but it's quite strained and difficult.
I'm due to give birth to my first DC very soon. My DH rang youngest DD back in March to tell her we were expecting but he says she went very quiet and sulky, and he had to reassure her that the baby wouldn't replace her etc. (regardless of the fact they sadly have no existing relationship to speak of). She doesn't ask about the baby ever, hasn't even asked what sex it is. She asked DH (so by extension, "us") to help her and her boyfriend out with a mortgage deposit and DH told her we weren't in a position to at the moment - this is the only time in 6 months that the baby has been mentioned and then it was referred to as "FeastofBeans' baby" rather than "Our baby" but I suppose that's a side issue. I'd find it remarkable if she hadn't been expecting us to have a baby for some years now, given my age and the length of time I've been with DH.
My DH has recently set up a facebook account and the younger DD has added him as a friend. I feel bad and guilty if anything about the baby is mentioned and I'm reluctant to put any photos on there or anything even though I know his other friends would like to see them. I don't want to upset DSD by 'boasting' about the baby IYSWIM.
I'm not sure how this is all going to work out going forward - am I obligated to my DC and DSDs to try to foster a relationship between them even though neither of the DSDs want to know? I think that's my main question and concern. I don't want to 'push' a baby on them that they'd rather not know about.
Many thanks for any words of wisdom.
Is DSD your "friend" on facebook? If not, you could keep your profile private and not tag any photo's of your DH and then your DSD won't get to see them. That way, you can post photo's of the baby for your friends and family to see but she won't see them. I also think you can post photo's and be quite specific about who can see them even if DSD is your friend, although I'm not sure exactly how you do that.
To be perfectly honest, I think you can worry far too much about a grown woman and her being upset. She is an adult and has to deal with adult situations now. Don't feel responsible for her emotional outbursts because she can't deal with the situation.
My DS has half brothers and sisters that had very little to do with DS when they were teenagers / early twenties and DS was a baby. They have kids of their own now and we have a distant but perfectly respectable relationship now even though I'm not with their Dad anymore. I gave up worrying about fostering something good a long time ago and became much happier when I let go of that need.
I would acknowledge the relationship between your DH and his daughters by sending them photos of the baby from both of you, and inviting them to come and see her if they would like to. I would continue to send Christmas cards etc and support my DH in maintaining the relationship. There is not a lot else you can do - but I really wouldn't do anything to encourage your DH to cut them out. I would have photographs of them up, and tell your dc about them as s/he grows up.
It's pretty horrifying that a father would disown his daughters. That's very sad. I would tell him to reestablish contact with his elder daughter, however shaky if I were you.
I can see how it's a very difficult situation and why you are anxious to do what you can to avoid causing further upset / help maintain what relations there are between your DH and his daughters. But as theredhen says, he and his daughters are all grown adults. I absolutely don't think you should hold back from posting whatever you want to about your new baby on Facebook, it's normal that new mothers are excited about this huge event and what to share it with their friends - you can't second-guess how your grown DSDs might feel to the extent that you place limitations like that on yourself.
I also think dearheart's idea of inviting them to come and see the baby is a good one. After all they will be blood relatives to your daughter, and surely that should mean something to them? It could be a wonderful way to help bring the family back together.
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