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Someday I might have to tell my mother I’m pregnant

And if I don’t stay pregnant, I’ll need to tell her I miscarried. The thing is, I haven’t spoken to her in almost a year, except for one phone call in which I told her to stop calling me.

I know some of you have genuinely abusive or neglectful parents. It makes me a little ashamed to complain about my mother, whose only parenting flaw was a certain selfishness and lack of grasp on reality. But my childhood was filled with poverty, chaos, and anxiety because of her crazy-ass choices, many of which resulted from (or resulted in) unplanned pregnancies. I’ve always been angry with her about that. She also said some wonderfully selfish and insensitive things when I tried to confide in her about my infertility. After a couple such interactions, I just couldn’t bear talking to her. I started dodging her calls, then eventually explained to her that if she wanted to support me, she needed to fuck off.

Part of me wishes I hadn’t created this situation. But I kinda had to. As CGD recently wrote, “I do not think I am a selfish person, but this is a selfish experience.” I totally AM a selfish person, but I agree wholeheartedly that this is a selfish experience. Sometimes (often) you have to protect yourself at the expense of other people’s feelings, and that applied to my mother. But it can’t go on indefinitely.

I know calling her up and telling her I’m pregnant won’t fix anything. I’ll still be pissed at her. And I think when you have a damaged relationship in your life that you want to change, you have to first figure out exactly what you want to be different. I don’t want a close, loving relationship with her. I never have wanted that. But I need to have a civil relationship with her. For the sake of my brothers, and because…it’s uncomfortable. And I need to figure out how to let her be part of this experience I might just be having some time in May.

22 Comments Post a comment
  1. It seems reasonable to wait a little while longer before telling her. Yes, you'll have to tell her at some point, but I don't see any reason to involve her too early…

    October 25, 2010
  2. you still have plenty of time to tell her. no need to rush if you're not ready. i hope she feels badly about those comments she had made to you back when, and that her reaction is a fully supportive and genuinely happy one for you and mr bunny. sending you big hugs :o) xoxo.

    October 25, 2010
  3. Sounds like a touchy situation. My bio dad doesn't know that i'm knocked up either. Its just easier for me that way. So do what is best for you, Mr. Bunny and lil Bun Bun. Hope you're still feeling "pregnant" and positive! Nov 1 will be here before you know it and, coincidentally, that is my birthday, so your ultrasound report will have to be fabulous!

    October 25, 2010
  4. Estranged parents + babies are tough stuff. N had a phone session from Paris with his NY therapist on that very topic the day after we got our BFP in June, because we've been out of touch with his mom for going on three years. It never came to our having to tell her anything, but we definitely both wonder how that all will turn out. Take your sweet time.

    October 25, 2010
  5. That sounds really tough. I'm sorry that you have this going on. You are very strong to have told her that you needed her to back off. I could use some lessons in that. I usually just keep going back again and again expecting a different experience :)I agree with no need to tell her until you are good and ready.

    October 25, 2010
  6. AL #

    Such a difficult situation, Bunny. I think it's wise to hold off a bit until you know what you want from her – in terms of how you want her involved in the pregnancy, how you want her involved in your child's life, etc, if you want her to contact you now.Best of luck with your decision.

    October 25, 2010
  7. cgd #

    This is such a complex situation. I do not think that you are a selfish person at all, you are doing the best that can through a terribly hard time and in a relationship that has endured years of complications. Only you know what is right in this situation and you need to figure out what you can live with. I think the best advice I can give to you is to manage your expectations of her after this news is out. I know you are not expecting her to be mother of the year, but I want you to tell her for you not for her response. Good luck…..

    October 25, 2010
  8. Bunny, I don't think that anyone else's experience with their mother says anything about what yours feels like with your mother. There isn’t a scale that objectively compares levels of negative childhood experiences. You can accuse me of relativism (and I could take it), but I also know from the trauma literature (here I go again) that the event itself matters less than how it made the person feel and how they reacted. Oh, and I’m also pretty certain that creating chaos for children = not so good. Anyway, I'm sorry to go academic on you. I just feel sad to read that your mom wasn't able to give you what you needed as a kid, or now that you are a woman. She’s so missing out on knowing her amazing daughter. I can also relate to wanting to have a civil relationship with my one’s mother, despite everything. Mostly, I've been able to do that with mine and I suspect you have in the past and will be able to in the future as well. I'm not sure if this is also true for you, but when I feel more vulnerable than usual, I just can't really talk to her or visit with her too much. Is self-protection selfish? Or is it wise and adaptive? Well, you know on which side I fall on that question. I think you'll figure out a way to tell her in your own time. Until then, enjoy the hiatus on communications with her. Before I go, Bunny, I just wanted to say thank you for your amazing comments on my blog. You always say just the right thing to make me laugh, or cry because I’m moved.

    October 25, 2010
  9. I agree with some of the other ladies, there's no rush to tell her unless you concerned she will learn of bun-bun from another source. I think you have identify an important point you do need to figure out what kind of relationship you want to have with her. Try writing her a letter, which will give you a chance to examine your feeling (you chose if want to send it).

    October 25, 2010
  10. I wish I possessed some magic kernel of insight on this for you, Bunny, but my relationship with my own mother is utter shit. (We've talked about this before, I know.) I told my parents around 8 weeks out of worry that they'd hear it from someone else–I had told my in-laws, my sister, and two of my good friends–all of whom attended my masters graduation in the spring. I was so worried that one of those folks might slip something, and I knew I'd have a bigger mess to clean up if that happened. As crummy as this sounds, it's honest: I told them out of pure obligation. Not out of joy or excitement or anything like that. It was just a matter of prudence. And I was pretty okay with that. I've never told them about IF our our IVF cycle, and I never will. I do agree that a little introspection on what precisely you want from her in terms of support or involvement is wise, mostly so that you're able to establish some boundaries with her from the very start. Having my own batshit insane mother, though, I get that sometimes those boundaries are entirely ignored… It took me a VERY long time to recognize how little I truly needed from a relationship with my mother, and, for me, being pregnant and hopefully becoming a parent really doesn't change that at all. This is a toughie, for sure… Keep us posted!

    October 26, 2010
  11. Yes. I am good at regretting things that I had no choice about too. I am Olympic gold standard at remorse, especially about ending relationships. They haunt me horribly. Emm.. but anyway! Sorry for that departure into my weirdness. You'll find a middle way, bunny. It'll be okay.

    October 26, 2010
  12. That sounds difficult. Do your brothers know, and/or do they have a better relationship with her? Not that I actually knew how, but maybe they could help you find out how you want your relationship to be(come)… Good luck. I'm sure you'll find a way.

    October 26, 2010
  13. Bunny, I'm sorry to hear of your relationship with your mother. Please keep us posted on how you proceed with this. I, too, have mother issues. I have limited contact with her, and I've purposely not told her anything about our infertility, pregnancy, miscarriage, and starting treatments again because she's just not a support network for me. I've worried for years how I will handle having children and to what extent she should be involved in their lives. It's a conundrum. Best of luck:).

    October 26, 2010
  14. haha, bunny – the doppler you said was recommended to you is the one that has been sitting in my amazon cart all morning. love that it's fda approved. i'm just trying to get the guts now to "proceed to checkout". the little birdie in my left ear is telling me that dh is gonna be piiiiiiiiiissed, but the birdie in my right ear is telling me that he can't be pissed bc i'm pregnant, cute and his baby momma :op

    October 26, 2010
  15. I'm really sorry you had to go through that in the first place, Bunny. Do things on your own time, when you feel comfortable. To hell with everyone else.

    October 26, 2010
  16. I'm so sorry you and your mom have a difficult relationship. I definitely agree with the others and think you should only share when you feel ready. This is YOUR pregnancy and you need to do what's right for you and Mr. Bunny.

    October 26, 2010
  17. http://dalidecals.com/bunny-rabbits-bunnies-wall-decals-stickers-graphics.htmli can't do any work today, so am looking at wall decals for baby rooms. this one made me think of you :o)

    October 26, 2010
  18. That's a tough situation. I had something similar with my dad (obviously not with a pregnancy or anything like that), when I wasn't sure that I ever wanted to talk to him after he treated my mom and us kids so horribly. Eventually, we just started emailing more often, then calling on holidays, and now we just have a simple relationship where if he wants to talk to me he calls, and if I'm in town I visit. We never discussed anything though, and sometimes I hate that all of our issues just got swept under the rug. It is easier for my brothers and sisters though that I'm not estranged from him completely…The question is, what do you envision your relationship like with your mom once the baby is born? What relationship do you envision her having with your child? That might color how you treat the situation now. Anyway, it's a touchy situation, and you definitely should do whatever you feel is best for your emotional well-being.

    October 26, 2010
  19. Ugh, family stuff can be so complicated. Do you know what kind of relationship you want her to have with baby BunBun? Does she have other grandkids and how does she treat them? I hope she is able to be happy for you and your family and that a civil relationship can follow.

    October 26, 2010
  20. It's a tough situation. I think you're justified in waiting a little while longer. Not because I think your pregnancy is going to be more "secure"…the odds of this baby appearing in May are OVERWHELMINGLY on your side at this point…but more because it gives you time to think over how to make that move. And the kind of role you want her to play.

    October 26, 2010
  21. Oh, family stuff is just awful, isn't it? I think you're totally justified in being "selfish" about this. It's not even selfish in the conventional sense–it's more like self-preservation. Your mom's life has been so different from yours, and when you've posted about her it seems like she just has absolutely no idea how to relate to you in a supportive way. Not trying to pass any judgment–just observing.

    October 27, 2010
  22. Bunny you are in a rough spot. I didnt understand things were so strained between you and your mother. Strained is my word, not yours. You know that saying where "I can call my Mama ugly but you better love her from where you stand"… well, something like that. I fear using a word that might amplify the problems.I bet it hurts and makes a spot that wont go away. All this motherhood fantasy running through your head and yours is so lacking. I am really sorry you are struggling with this.

    October 28, 2010

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