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Help needed please - new baby and exp

(24 Posts)
MeridianB Mon 30-Dec-13 08:15:09

New joiner seeking wisdom please..

I am 10 weeks pregnant with first and DH has a 9 year old DD from previous relationship. I have enjoyed/helped care for her since she was 6 and we get on very well. We both think she will be happy about the baby news as she often talks about her wish for a sibling after staying/playing with friends who have bigger families and makes positive comments when we see younger children in restaurants etc.

My concern is her mother. Things are civil and there is shared custody but in the past there have been times when she has got very angry and bitter and started screaming at DH (in front of DD) for no apparent reason. He is a devoted, reliable Dad who dotes on his DD and has never scrimped on time, money or love but none of this seems to count for much with ex. To avoid the upset he now tends to keep contact with her to polite basics via text and email and they are polite when they meet face to face for school meetings etc together.

When we got engaged, we told DD at the start of her weekend with us so we could reassure (if needed) and share the excitement and she was very happy. DH also told Ex face to face at he start of the weekend - just the two of them- and she made some rude comments and then sent some strange texts about whether I was pregnant (I wasn't) which we brushed off.

We plan to tell DSD about the baby in a couple of weeks post-scan and will do the same as with the wedding - tell her at the start of a weekend with us so we can support and reassure her and answer any questions.

Apologies for the long intro but my question is this.. Given her past behaviour face to face, there is a temptation to tell ExP on the phone rather than in person. But this feels like a bit of a cop out. I want to sensitive to her feelings but don't want DH in the line of fire. Should it be face to face or on the phone?

mumtobealloveragain Mon 30-Dec-13 08:34:56

I don't see the need for you to tell her at all to be honest. Especially after what you've said about he being rude when she's been told things out of courtesy before.

As you have shared residency I assume your DSD is with you regularly, she's 9 and old enough to talk through what having the baby means to her and ask questions. So, I would tell DSD, take the time to talk to her about it and she can tell her mum as and when she wants to.

We didn't tell my DSC's mum when we found out I was expecting. We also didn't inform her once our baby was born. She knew of course as the DSC told her so it wasn't a secret.

purpleroses Mon 30-Dec-13 08:37:49

Personally I'd do it by email (when DSD is with you) but offer the chance for a chat about it next time he sees her or by phone if she'd prefer. That way she has time to get over the shock and can have a more useful conversation once more composed.
My ex told me in person but I just offered him rather insencere congratulations and wasn't able at that time to ask him all the things that worried me.

purpleroses Mon 30-Dec-13 08:42:36

Do NOT leave DSD to tell her heself. That is disrespectful to his ex and not fair on DSD who may well be expecting her DM to share her delight.
My DP made that mstake about us getting married. DSD had her excitement for being a bridesmaid met with "what are you doing that for?" (in front of DP too who was dropping off)

TheMumsRush Mon 30-Dec-13 09:24:20

I agree with purple, put it in an email and give her time to digest the info. Don't leave it to dsd, it's to big a responsibility. Congratulations BTW

TheMumsRush Mon 30-Dec-13 09:26:50

Also, don't tell her mum first as she may jump the gun and tell dsd your news. I've heard of others doing this out of spite sad

caledonianclown Mon 30-Dec-13 12:06:17

I think either phone or face to face would be fine, as long as your DSD isn't there to witness the conversation in case it does get a little heated. I'm currently 29 weeks with my second, we did exactly what you're suggesting and told DS and DSS at the start of our weekend with them, then phoned my XH and DP's XW to tell them and give them time to digest before they saw the kids again. Both reacted much better than expected as both also have form for flying off the handle and causing a scene in front of the DCs.

mumtobealloveragain Mon 30-Dec-13 12:25:21

I must see it differently to everyone else then it seems.

If my ex were to get his girlfriend pregnant I wouldn't feel the need to be informed. In fact, I'd find it quite weird if he did tell me. Of course if the kids new they would chat about it to me and I'd expect him to talk to me direct if the kids were told and having difficulties accepting it or needed some extra support from me but otherwise it's his business with his partner IMO.

As a side note..My partners ex bought the kids a kitten and gave it to them the day our baby was born. They said mummy had said to them she bought it so they could have a baby in each of their homes. They regularly update us with how old te kitten is (6 weeks old than our baby apparently) and how mummy has out photos of the kitten in the living room and their bedroom. It's bloody creepy if you ask me but each to their own. Bet the kitten sleeps through the night though! grin

Maybe83 Mon 30-Dec-13 14:00:13

I think the kitten idea is lovely something new to focus in both homes,

A child having a new sibling is a big event in their life, a successful co parenting relationship is based on communication respect and boundaries.

I don't believe children should ever be used to impart important information. It's not their responsibility. A new sibling in either home can can an effect for children in both and have I enough respect for my dd s father to have informed him my self. My dh didn't think he should inform my ss mother and ss should just be left to tell his mother he was getting a new sibling. I disagreed felt it would cause bad feeling and made him ring her. It also meant she could watch out for any signs ss wasn't happy with the news.

I d ring. It's not a discussion requesting her approval it's not needed but letting her know and that dd has been informed. It's a happy thing and needs to be put across that way.

mumtobealloveragain Mon 30-Dec-13 15:03:13

Maybe- Do you really think the kitten is a lovely idea? We find it odd and anyone we've mentioned it to I DS it odd. The kitten was bought home the same day our baby was born and the children told that they now have a baby in each home. As if their mum felt she had to "match" the baby! Lol. It's like a competition! I find it creepy.

Maybe83 Mon 30-Dec-13 15:23:58

I do but I'm judging it based solely on that act. I don't have any other feelings to influence me either way. My ss mam bought him and his brother a puppy the week their little brother by her was born, I thought it was a good idea actually. Something for them to focus on them selves as well as the new addition.

And I certainly wouldn't find it creepy as you put it. Sounds slightly more in line with stalker behaviour!

mumtobealloveragain Mon 30-Dec-13 15:36:48

Maybe83- I see what you mean. Everything I context I guess, I know what she's like so we know why she did it. She "won" her one man competition anyway as babies aren't as interesting as kittens smile

purpleroses Mon 30-Dec-13 16:06:00

mumtobe - but kittens grow into cats which are rather boring for most children. Whereas babies grow into toddlers which are much more fun smile
I'd assume she's probably feeling a bit jealous of you having a baby. Maybe she's always thought she'd be the one to give her DS a younger sibling, and wanted something to take her own mind of the fact that she's not. A little bit sad maybe, not creepy.

Summer29 Mon 30-Dec-13 17:12:13

We have similar issues with my dh's ex and were very worried about telling my dss and also if the ex would cause issues...
In the end we told dss on the fri evening on our weekend with him and sent a follow up e-mail to the ex so she was aware. We felt this would give her the chance to absorb the info and then respond rationally, rather than having a knee jerk response, which probably wouldn't have been positive!
Dss was really happy about the news and the next day the ex texted him to say congrats on becoming a big bro and also a brief text to us to say congrats - much better than anything we could've hoped for!
So, I'd recommend the e-mail first which could then be followed up face to face if necessary!
Either way - good luck :-)

daisychain01 Mon 30-Dec-13 17:55:07

Given the somewhat unpredictable nature of relationships between Ex's and how things can sour at developments in new relationships, I think your DH would do well to just give his Ex the plain and simple facts, maybe just downplay it and then it lets her get used to the happy addition to your family. At least that way, he has control over how it is broken to her, what the fact are and how much info he thinks is worth saying.

IMO, DSD is not old enough to navigate through all the complex emotions that could be a direct result of the news, the fact your DHs ex has to get used to the fact that her ex is now well and truly in a new relationship, new baby, new life etc. it can come as a shock.

If you can keep things simple then you can focus on the coming months and also supporting your DSD with any questions or concerns. You sound like a very caring SM if you dont mind me saying.

mumtobealloveragain Mon 30-Dec-13 18:02:30

OP I hope it goes well or you whatever you decide to do.

My DSS's mum seems to be very interested in our baby. As well as the kitten issue she also seems to ask the children lots of questions about the baby- they've told us she asks about whether we bottle feed or boob feed, does the baby have a dummy does the baby wear plastic nappies or nappies made out of material like dressing gowns (this is how the kids have described the questioning) they are constantly asking me for these answers to pass back to their mum. I'm not really bothered what she knows as we don't do anything exciting just normal parenting normal baby stuff but she seems rather more interested than what I would consider healthy.

Purple. Yes it is sad. I think she's jealous, but not sure why.

daisychain01 Mon 30-Dec-13 18:03:33

Apologies I meant to add - isnt it down to your DH to choose how to break the news? Not sure you need to 'protect' him do you?

He must surely know her the best, and can decide whether he will tell her by phone or face to face. Honestly I don't think it matters, provided he does it sensitively and appropriately. She is his ex after all, his future is with you and the family you are building together including DSD. There is little you can do to control his ex's reaction, it will be what it will be.... But maybe that's my perspective, knowing that sometimes trying to "please" people is futile. smile

MeridianB Tue 31-Dec-13 15:58:11

Thanks so much for all the helpful and constructive thoughts and suggestions - much appreciated.

MumsRush, you make a good point about the 'spoiler' risk of telling ExP first - she already has form for this so we will avoid repeats.

Daisy - thanks for your kind compliment. I'm still learning all the time. DSD's table manners are teaching me previously unknown levels of patience!

BrevilleTron Mon 06-Jan-14 22:40:40

I was told face to face about the engagement. And face to face about new baby.
They got a handmade card from me for engagement and wedding and my mum knits cardigans and bonnets for both DC ( as she is the only knitter in the extended family she relishes the role of 'extra' grandparent)

Being told face to face made it so much easier to deal with the realisation that I am now 'one' of the mothers of DExp's children.
I love their DC I get cuddles!! And they get birthday/Christmas gifts from me and my family.

I have said to DStep when I pick up DD that if she would like me to take all of them for the weekend I'm more than willing! Thinks she's warming to the idea grin

MeridianB Sat 22-Feb-14 10:09:06

Hi again. Just thought I would update.

So DH decided it was most respectful to tell his ex face to face and did this last week alone after we picked DSD up to spend a chunk of half term with us.

A bit of a 'nothing' reaction really. No congratulations but did ask whether it was wanted shock and then changed the subject.

I'm glad we did the right thing, even if she was not gracious.

We then told DSD and she beamed from ear to ear and was very happy. Did a lot of reassurance about how she would still see us as much and how we were looking forward to sharing it all with her. So far, so positive.

Whereisegg Sat 22-Feb-14 12:08:54

Lovely news op smile

When we told dss, we found it a great opportunity to look through his baby photos and tell funny stories from when he was little - Dp and I have been together since dss was 1.

daisychain01 Sat 22-Feb-14 12:36:10

Hi Meridian, its lovely to hear back from you.

Well, it is the least bad outcome isnt it. I expect it is too much to expect congrats, and probably your DHs ex was having to hold back a lot of emotion, because of the implications of him having a new baby with someone other than her.

All in all you at least know DH was decent in how he handled things, which means you have nothing to feel bad about in the future.

UsingMyRedPen Sun 23-Feb-14 10:16:11

"If my ex were to get his girlfriend pregnant I wouldn't feel the need to be informed. In fact, I'd find it quite weird if he did tell me."

Why oh earth would it be weird? If you have children with the person then surely you'll want to know about things that may affect your children, things the children may have feelings about?

mymiraclebubba Sun 23-Feb-14 21:29:44

I had same issue when I found out I was pregnant. We told the kids first and then dp rang his exw and just told her flat about it.

She does need to know as your dsd may not display any worries until she gets back to mum and has tome to think about it.

My dsd and dss took it great and exw was fine until baby was born! Good luck xx

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