Yes I’ve read it. I liked it a lot. Great book.
My mom has been having trouble with boundaries during my pregnancy, although not nearly to the extent your mother has.
The name has been a big thing for her, too. As soon as she found out it was a boy, she started suggesting names every time a talked to her. I said, as kindly as I could, that we wanted to look at him and see what name fit him before we decided, and if I needed name suggestions, I’d let her know. She calmed down after that, although recently she called just to tell me what her first choice was for the baby’s name.
As others have said, there’s no reason why she has to know when you are going into labor. You can always say you were so caught up in getting to the hospital and in the labor and delivery process you forgot/didn’t have time to call, which will undoubtedly be true. Also, I know on the maternity ward tour at my hospital, they specifically said you can give them a list of who you want there and who you don’t, and they will enforce it for you.
As another poster suggested, having some disinterested phrases ready to use (and repeat) when you need them can help, such as:
“I’ll keep that in mind”
“I appreciate your input. I’ll let you know what we decide.”
“I’m sorry mom, but that’s my/our call to make [not yours]”
“I appreciate the clothes, but it would be more helpful if you did x instead”
Your mum sounds like a real handful, and I really don’t have too much advice but I wanted to tell you, whatever you do, do not let her into the delivery room. Being stressed out by your mother while you are giving birth can risk your life and the life of your baby. Hormones drive the whole process, and having your mother standing over you telling you that you are doing it all wrong could make things go really badly. Your body will respond to that kind of thing, you need to feel safe and secure. Stress hormones can draw everything to a halt, and if that happens in the last stage it could introduce some massive physical risks to you and your baby. Labour is serious business. Don’t back down on this one, whatever you do. Give in on something else to make your mum feel better if you have to.
And love the name you have chosen
About the clothing, it doesn’t sound like you’ve even said anything to her about it. A simple “Mom, I really appreciate all of this, and I love the clothes, but I’m running out of room. Maybe when we get a dresser I’ll be able to take some more, but for now I really can’t.” If she throws a fit, let her. That’s her problem.
About the showers, I would just let your mom and your aunt do what they are going to do. Try to be gracious and let them handle it. You aren’t even supposed to be involved, other than giving input about the time/date and the guest list. If you’ve already offered to get a cake, get it from wherever you want. Let her buy it if she doesn’t like where you are planning to get it from.
The name- if your mother throws a fit in the hospital, they will kick her out. I would keep telling her you haven’t decided, like you’ve been doing, and if she gets to the hospital and freaks out she will be ruining her first day with her grandchild. People who work in hospitals see crazy relatives all the time. It’s not a reflection on you, it’s a reflection on her and she can deal with being removed from the room/hospital if she cannot behave like an adult.
You also do not need to explain to her why you do not want her in the delivery room. All you need to say is that you and your husband will be the only ones there. Period. I personally would not even call her until the baby is born. What is the situation like at your hospital? Where I will deliver, there is a locked maternity ward and no one can even get in without calling the nurse at the desk, who will then ask you if you want to see said person. I thought this was pretty common, but maybe not. As far as I’m concerned, if anyone is stupid enough to come by the hospital even after I’ve asked them not to, they can wait somewhere else in the hospital until I’m ready for them.
I agree with everyone else who suggested that you not leave your baby alone with your mother. I think that is really the biggest issue here. Everything else is about you drawing boundaries with her, but this is serious. Don’t rely on your father to protect your baby; he didn’t protect you or your brother. Your mother has proven herself to be abusive, physically and mentally. Why would you want to leave your child alone with her? Or “wait until you suspect something or find strange marks on him”?? Read that statement that your wrote over again. Really think about it. You really want to wait and see if something happens? I understand that it must be hard trying to navigate an adult relationship with your mother, when you’ve experienced such abuse. But it sounds like you are still afraid of her, afraid of displeasing her, and it would be awful to let that fear carry over to the point where you do not protect your child. Where you let her be alone with him because you’re afraid of how she will react if you don’t. All this other stuff- the showers, the clothes, the delivery room- that’s nothing compared to the potential for abuse.
I would also seek out therapy again. This is a new situation, bringing with it a whole new set of circumstances.
Sorry to hear you’re dealing with all this anxiety, especially while pregnant! I’ve dealt with very controlling people in my life, and they only have the amount of control that you allow them. I always found that with people like this, I need to get to a place mentally where I just don’t care anymore what they think, or what they say, no matter how much they bug me. Yes, they can still drive you up a wall, especially if you’re trying to maintain a civil, loving relationship with them, but if you can detach a little and not let them rattle you every time, it helps.
With the clothes, I would go out and get a few of those big plastic storage bins and store them in there, putting them in a place in the house where you do have room, and only keep the outfits in the bedroom that you’re actually going to use the first several weeks or months after the baby is born. If it bothers your mom, well, that’s her problem - you have storage space issues. And when it repeatedly comes up in conversation, I’d keep giving the same exact response until she realizes she’s not going to get a rise out of you or an opportunity to argue. Maybe she’ll realize that if she keeps buying clothes, they’re going in the bin until they’re needed…IF they’re ever needed!!! At the same time, I’d want to be gracious about the gifts, too…
Same goes with the name…“sorry you don’t agree that it’s a good name - we like it.” I would just repeat repeat repeat with no emotion attached to my words until the subject is dropped.
As for the delivery room, don’t worry - they won’t let anyone in that you don’t want there. You are in control here. I wouldn’t want my mother or anyone but my husband in there either - it is a very private thing - some people are more open to having an audience, but that’s not required! In my own case, I would just repeatedly stress that I’m modest and want as few people in there as possible - it’s nothing personal.
Anyway, opinionated, controlling people will always try to influence you and be in control - you can’t change that or who they are. All you can do is control your own responses and reactions to them. I don’t know how exactly you respond to your mother, but for me, whenever I’d lose the inflection in my voice and emotion in my responses, and be matter-of-fact with my answers, they’d eventually back off of certain topics - maybe out of boredom or defeat? It takes practice and some tweaking, but you can have a controlling person in your life and live without all the anxiety at the same time.
Good luck to you - I wish you the very best!
I wanted to add that I absolutely agree with the other posters about never leaving your child alone with your mother. While, as I said before, you are not necessarily responsible for protecting other adults from her, your child is the one person you ARE responsible for protecting from your mother! She’s already proven that she is abusive and cannot handle children. Why on earth would you ever trust her alone with your child, knowing she has already caused harm to her own children–and is STILL causing you emotional harm? It’s like saying, “Oh, it’s okay, we’ll let him play with the knife. If he cuts himself, then we’ll take it away.” :eek:
What does your husband think of his child spending time with her?
Oh, sweetheart, I truly hope when that baby is born, you get some “Mama Bear” in you and learn to GROWL at your mom (and anyone else who needs it) to back off!
God bless you,
Please read what you typed above I think it is critical. Your mother is planning on doing what she wants…PERIOD. Your child is not even born yet and she has no plans of showing respect for you or your husband as parents. You are used to this though, sadly after years of abuse and disrespect you do not expect to be treated well. That is the unfortunate cycle.
You wrote in another post that as your child got older you were planning on checking him for marks and that if your mother were ever violent that you would cut off visits. Dear one, that is not how it is going to happen. I speak from experience. Your mother is probably not going to take your toddler and beat the daylights out of him right away. What she **will **do, and I promise you this, is she is going to UNDERMINE you as parents behind your back and she will do this often.
Example: if you forbid your son to watch certain shows she may allow him to watch them, if you are raising your son in a certain way she will tell him things contrary to it. She will not bruise his body, she will bruise his soul and those are marks you cannot see right away. She called you names to your face when you were young, it is entirely possible that she will call you those same names, only this time in front of your child. You can picture this already in your mind.
You have to let go of the fantasy of your child bonding with his grandmother and having happy memories of time together.
As far as the labor & delivery, clothes, your son’s name, the shower and everything else. Simply decide what you want to do and inform your mother of how it is going to be very simply and politely. Resist the urge to explain to her. You cannot reason with her, because you cannot reason with someone who is unreasonable. You will never get through to her, you have to let that go. Your mother will be mad at you, she will blame you, she will be upset, she will hang up the phone, she will do all of those things over and over. You need to let her go and seek the peace that you desire and deserve. Tell her she cannot be at labor and delivery and tell your doctor and hospital that she is not allowed there. She is not the first mother that has been put on the “not wanted” list at the hospital and she won’t be the last. This will give you great peace of mind. Your mother will be mad at you forever because of this, you have to accept that and let it go, this is how she is. Jesus has knows from all eternity that you would be bearing this cross, He will help you carry it.
This is a new time for you! A time for new birth, new family, new life, new joy and a new life! Your mother does not need you or her grandson, your mother needs to seek Jesus Christ and medical and psychological help. You will need to keep distance from her until she does. I speak from experience, after spiritual direction my husband and I were finally able to break free it was very hard, but it was a lifesaver. We thought we were helping a certain family member but we really weren’t. This person needed God, not us. We moved on with our own lives, sending occasional cards and making phone calls. Naturally this person blamed us sometimes yelling or crying or saying how awful we were. I will pray for you, please take care as best as you can.
I don’t have too much advice to give, but if you don’t want her in the delivery room, ask the doctors to tell her she has to leave. Then it’s them she’ll be mad at, not you.
Sorry if I’m repeating someone else’s advice. Didn’t read all the other replies.
Praying for you and your child. :gopray:
There seems to be a pretty good consensus here about setting boundaries, and I agree.
First of all, the most important - I would not leave her alone with your child ever. It is really unfortunate to have to go to that length, and I imagine with a dh in the military, it will be tempting over the years to do it, but given her abusive history, it will be worth it to know that you have not put him into a situation of risk. For a little one, the first instance of abuse could be life threatening. And even if it isn’t, and at any age, the first instance can be emotionally scarring. Your child never needs to experience that, even the first time. Once you’ve seen the first bruise, it is too late. Start looking into other suitable babysitters for the times when you need them - get connected with local moms groups, secular, through your church, etc… and set up your life as though she doesn’t live near by, so that she is not the person you have to turn to for babysitting help in a pinch.
Second, as Monicad pointed out, she has told you straight out that she will not respect your parental authority. Believe her. Most grandparents who undermine the parents authority don’t come out and say it so clearly, so you can be sure that she is going to do this. It may be difficult right now to imagine how bad this is, but poisoning a child against his parents, and teaching him not to respect his parents, can be downright dangerous, both physically and morally for a child.
Third, I would suggest that you end the discussions about names and birth plans. You may need to inform her, politely, but firmly, that you are going to go to the hospital with just your dh, and that you are not going to take any visitors (either at all, or until you are feeling up to them after the birth), and then do not get sucked into an argument about it. Just repeat that this is the way it is going to be, and if she continues to argue about it tell her that if she doesn’t respect your decision, that she is not going to be allowed to visit at all. If there is any possibility that she is going to show up anyway, do NOT call to tell her you are going into labor. And on your birth plan, at the very top, write that any visitors (or if you want to specify your mother) are to be turned away if they come to visit you. Then make sure to tell the staff in person also when you go in to give birth.
With the name, also refuse to argue about it. You can decide if you’re going to tell her the name ahead of time or after, but whichever time you do it, if she complains or utters a negative word about it, even once, tell her that it is not up for discussion and you are not going to argue about it. You will have to be willing to leave the room / hang up the phone / ask her to leave / etc. if she does not respect your statement that you are not going to discuss it.
With the clothes, you may need to tell her, “thanks, but I can’t take any more clothes right now, as I don’t have the room for them.” As another poster mentioned, you can even say that anything more you get will have to get donated, because you don’t have the room. You don’t even have to tell her you’re going to donate them, you can just do it.
The showers? I’d just let those go. Let them happen however the planners wish to make them happen, and don’t stress over that detail.
I think you’re going to have to gear up for some conflict. Unfortunately, there is no way around it, short of completely cutting her off. She is going to have to understand that if she wants a relationship with her grandson, it is going to be on your terms. She will have to respect your wishes, and your authority as the parents, and if she doesn’t, contact with the child will be limited, because your first priority is to raise your child as you see fit, and this will not be interfered with. She may need to be told this straight out. This is going to be one of those really difficult things that parenting demands of you - the good thing is that being responsible for another little soul forces us to do things that we otherwise would never have the guts to do. It makes us grow, which is good! The other good news is that because you are already being challenged, you are being given the opportunity to practice setting boundaries and being Mama Bear, BEFORE your child is in the middle of it and aware of the conflict.
I thought about that, but it’s easier said then done. If I didn’t call her and my father and they happened to call me and couldn’t get a hold of me they would keep calling me repeatedly and if that didn’t work they’d start calling my husband’s phone and if they couldn’t get him they’d just come directly to the hospital and give me an earful for not calling them.
Thank you very much for your input I completely agree and when I register with the hospital I will make it very clear that absolutely NOBODY other than my husband, doctor and necessary medical personel are permitted in my room until I deliver, sign the bird card, and get rested and cleaned up.
Easy- turn both of your phones off. When you are in labor, there is no reason you need to be worrying about your mother’s misguided feelings. Or anything else. Inform hospital staff that no one but your husband is allowed in your room, and if your parents show up at the hospital, you won’t get an earful because they will not be allowed to see you. Then they can do whatever they want- wait for hours and hours somewhere else in the hospital, or go home.
You control this, not her. It is clear that she still has a very strong psychological hold on you, and I think some more distance between the two of you would be beneficial. This is your baby and your birth experience. Don’t let her immature, guilt tripping behavior rob you of your childbirth experience.
I thank you sincerely for your advice. Any time I ever make a post asking for advice I always find yours to be extremely helpful.
I looked back over my post and realized that I didn’t really explain something clearly. Frankly I’m not surprised as I was typing in a hurry.
When it came to the physical abuse part of the past, it wasn’t an everyday sort of thing, for me or my brother. The only time that I clearly remember her really putting a beating to him was when he took the car for a joyride at age 15. There were several other times during his high school years that she slapped him across the face,mind you he did mouth off at her each time which he probably wouldn’t have done if she wasn’t so darn critical about every little thing.
The first time I remember her putting her hands on me was when I was about 4 years old. I had accidentally spilled grape juice on the living room carpet and she beat my rear end so hard that I had marks across it. Just like my brother there were a few times that she smacked my face too when I mouthed off. I mouthed off for the same reason as my brother. I didn’t like being criticized continuously or controlled and I didn’t know how to communicate my fusturation about it any other way because when I tried to be nice about it she’d ignore me.
So roughly 90% of the abusive he and I endured was more verbal than anything else.
Threats, name calling, manipulation, that kind of thing.
I do remember my Father having quite a few arguments with her about her behavior.He wasn’t always around all the time because he did work very often. He threw her out 2 times, when she viciously attacked my brother, and when she hit me for the grape juice incident. He sent her off to my grandmother’s house and told her not to come back until she had calmed down completely and was ready to take responsibility for her actions.
The most hardest part of this is that she’s not always like this. There are periods of weeks to months at a time where she can be so loving and sweet to the point where one would think that none of this was possible. She has admitted in the past that she has an issue but sadly she seems to feel that medication can cure her which isn’t the case. She obviously needs extensive therapy.
I have a lot of thinking to do over the next while, and I obviously need to pray for my Mom.
“Thank you very much for your input I completely agree and when I register with the hospital I will make it very clear that absolutely NOBODY other than my husband, doctor and necessary medical personel are permitted in my room until I deliver, sign the bird card, and get rested and cleaned up.”
Remember, as long as you are in the hospital, you have a locked door between you and your mom unless you let her in (it’s like with vampires–she can’t get in unless invited). Maternity is generally a very, very, very high-security part of the hospital.
Why are you talking to this woman?
[quote=Lorelei12;11783455You control this, not her. It is clear that she still has a very strong psychological hold on you, and I think some more distance between the two of you would be beneficial. This is your baby and your birth experience. Don’t let her immature, guilt tripping behavior rob you of your childbirth experience.
I agree I can’t seem to figure out why though. I mean, I try to set limits and lay down the law but then this strong anxiety overcomes me.
Thank you for your feedback. I greatly apprechiate it
Reread the Boundaries book. Remember, you cannot put a fence around another person, but only around yourself. There is no magic formula that will make your mother behave herself and respect your boundaries. Your job is to decide what you will or will not tolerate, and what you will or will not talk about with her. If she misbehaves, you cannot reason with her, you can only remove yourself (or have her forcibly removed by someone else - husband, police, etc). I go through this with my own mother who will put on a sweet persona for weeks, sometimes months at a time, until she perceives she is gaining some power over me or I am in a vulnerable time (post-childbirth and post-miscarriage), and then she blindsides me. I have had to read and reread Boundaries, and have had to cut my communication with her down to written only for the last year and a half, and it has done wonders for my clarity. She no longer has emotional hold on me, and her manipulations are obvious and ineffective. That is solely because I see clearly now.
Childbirth is an incredibly vulnerable time. I will admit that I did not inform my mother when I went into labor at any time since the birth of my first child. Not do I ever speak with her about baby names or childbirth plans or experiences. Nor has she ever been allowed to be alone with my children, ever, not in almost nine years since my first was born. Now she is not even allowed direct communication with my children, or any visits. You see, with someone like this, they do not learn their lesson. They stubbornly continue to abuse, manipulate, and psychologically destroy, and it gets worse over time. Do you really want your mother to be able to continue treating you this way, and someday soon, your own baby as well?
Your first job as a mother is to protect your baby. Never ever leave your mother who abused you and your brother and sent you into years of therapy and baby alone together. EVER. Your mom is a closely related relative, but your main family is your husband, you, and your child. And your priority is your main family. The fact you are even considering letting her have alone time with this baby without you there in person scares me to death. I think it might be good considering how she is ramping up and being pushy to go to a few more counseling sessions.
I used to be the same way. My father is a narcissistic control freak. For years I felt that if I put boundaries in place that something bad would happen to me and I would have anxiety attacks. It was only when I had children that I finally saw his behavior clearly and had the guts to put an end to it. I did not put an end to his behavior - that is impossible - but I put an end to allowing it. I agree with the following paragraph:
I think what made it possible for me to put an end to it was this realization that he will not change. I spent my life trying to please him but for some reason his behavior was getting worse. I am now absolutely convinced that he has serious psychological problems, and that I cannot solve them. I was just collateral damage of the wreck that is his psyche. Realising this helped me distance myself from him emotionally and to address his unhealthy behavior.
Trust your instincts. Put your child first and never forget that you are an adult now. You are not obliged to sacrifice everything in your life at her altar. She doesn’t know her place and you must put her there, for the sake of your family and your sanity.
I know that I am but sometimes it doesn’t feel like it. I get so fusturated with this that it sometimes makes me want to punch holes in the walls. The most fusturating part is as I stated in a previous post, she’s not always like this. I’ve seen her go almost a full year being completely sweet and delightful.
I wish that I could figure out why she has such an emotional hold on me. Why I always feel the need to have to impress her and why I feel like I have to tell her everything.
I talk to my Dad as often as I can. He gets as fusturated as I do and will often lock himself in his man cave and put his headphones on or leave the house and go for a drive so he doesn’t have to listen to her. Sometimes his advice to me is helpful but sometimes he will tell me that I need to stop letting her get to me. That too much bothers me.
Sometimes I wish that they could both see through my eyes how much all of this stress has affected me and how she was never the kind of Mom I needed her to be and to smarten up.
Sometimes I wish that my husband and I would have applied for a posting in another city. However that’s one of those catch 22’s. If we had of gone to another city, we wouldn’t have had any support. As much of a headache as my Mom has given me at times over the last 5 months, she has also been quite helpful.
I think I need to go into the middle of the woods and do some screaming and some more praying!