39 Weeks (Family Drama)

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I’m 39 weeks today. And where do I begin…?
I feel strange. I ‘zone out’ a lot. I am easily upset. I obsess over things that upset me. Only 4 things bring me comfort: my husband, my house, my dog, and my cat (the cat annoys me though). I want to quit facebook because it just agitates me, but then I couldn’t keep up with my long-distance friends. Can you tell I’m irritable? I’m anxious. I’m tired. I can’t separate my thoughts from my emotions. And I’m bored–I have way too much time to ‘brood’.

People (like my MIL and SIL) are crossing boundaries that *I didn’t even know I had*. My own sister is antagonizing me. We’re estranged from both would-be grandfathers. I miss my dear-departed beloved Mother… I’m bewildered and overwhelmed by the family dynamics (which I had previously been handling well in therapy) and I just want everybody to f*ck off.

Which brings us to….

*Weird Family Issue #1*

I haven’t spoken to my father in a solid year, and he has not acknowledged my pregnancy or his granddaughter. I wrote him to say that I can’t have a relationship with him anymore, *but* that he can send things and even see my baby. He has done nothing. And then the other day he befriended my SIL on facebook–he’s such a weirdo I’m sure he sees nothing wrong with befriending my SIL, even though they’ve never met and he is estranged from me. So Mr. MLACS noticed this and asked her to ‘unfriend’ my father, which she did. However, *why* did she accept his request in the first place? That was weird of her, because she knows I’m in therapy dealing with my issues with him. And she is estranged from her father. Common sense would say “Hey, befriending MLACS’s estranged father is creepy and inappropriate”. I didn’t make a stink though. We asked her what was up with that, she apologized and unfriended him, and I thanked her for understanding & said no hard feelings.

But it got me thinking…if my father is not going to acknowledge his grandchild, then why should he get to stalk me through my MIL (he is still “friends with my MIL) and my (bio) sister’s fb posts? He shouldn’t.

And what’s more, how much of a presence am I comfortable allowing my child on the internet? Am I ok posting a pic publicly to the blog? Or do I want to password protect those posts? I decided I don’t want to share her full name on facebook–just announce with her first name and after that refer to her by first initial only. And I will only post occasional pictures. And I am thinking I’ll make a password protected wordpress blog to share with family/close friends and make it so no one can download pics, because our kid’s pics are our property unless someone asks permission. I want to protect MY child’s privacy and I don’t want people–not even family–watching her every move. Because WHY? I grew up in the 80’s and 90’s, before the internet–I want my kid to have her privacy and *furthermore* I don’t like people (even family) feeling *entitled* to be involved (even via internet and photos) in every intimate moment my family shares. NO. So this issue with my father/facebook started a discussion with Mr. MLACS where we decided our boundaries.

Also, I don’t want people (even family) *fishing* for updates before/during/after labor, so I composed an email and added that stipulation/boundary. I think it should be common sense to be patient and wait for news–when someone else is going through something (giving birth, surgery, divorce, job interview, etc.) I’ll let people know I’m thinking of them but I won’t expect a response until it is convenient for them. I’m not pushy or nosy like that.

So here’s the email we composed and sent to my sister, MIL, BIL, and SIL:

“Hello Friends and Family!
As we prepare to meet baby girl, we have a few things to share with you. As new parents we’ve had to consider how much we are comfortable sharing about baby girl on the internet. The truth is, we aren’t truly comfortable sharing (i.e. facebook) and we want to be cautious. We will not be sharing her middle name–she will be announced as *baby girl* and after the initial birth announcement we won’t use her name much, if at all. We will not allow *anyone* to post online pictures of baby girl without our expressed consent. We also do not want information posted about baby girl without our consent–any pictures or information that is ok to be shared, should be shared by her parents.
Also, pertaining to labor, birth, and postpartum. We feel this is a private experience and will not be giving frequent updates or “play-by-plays”. Please do not press us for updates and photos–we are happy to share but in our own time. We appreciate you understanding that a new family needs time and space to bond and figure things out. We appreciate your support of the important decisions we must make for our child–this is only the beginning!
Love,
MLACS & MR. MLACS”

And yes, maybe it does sound a little “business” and not personal, but I’m *telling* these people, not asking them. It’s not up for debate.

And we were surprised when SIL called and *bitched out* Mr. MLACS, saying he should have called not texted. That she wants to be able to post pictures of *her niece* and talk about her on facebook. She acused Mr. MLACS of trying to “isolate himself from the family”. And furthermore–she said we’re only doing/saying this because “MLACS has daddy issues!”. Mr. MLACS was calm and tried to explain, but she kept huffing and puffing and finally he hung up the phone.

This bitch could not be *more* out of line. Like, WHOA. First, she is a chronic over-sharer on social media. I actually ‘unfollowed’ her because she is ridiculous. I didn’t want to see the ‘highlight reel’ of her life. Every sunrise. Every starbucks coffee. Every dinner with her boyfriend. Every time her dog is curled up on the couch. Sometimes a dozen posts a day, including *everywhere she goes*. Plus, she only does this sh*t because she’s hoping her (almost) ex-husband and his idiot friends will see how *awesome* she is. And when she was miserable and seeking revenge on her ex, I saw all her ugly, bitter, “poor me, screw him” posts. And her “I don’t need a man cuz I’m fierce” posts. Like, is she capable of having a thought/emotion/experience without putting on social media? She’s 31 years old.
As per her accusation that her brother is “isolating himself”–WTF? We told her *first* when he was hospitalized. I give her updates. We’ve been to visit her several times on our own dime (including her wedding) and she has never *once* visited us. Didn’t come to our wedding. Didn’t come to the baby shower (not surprised as she is pissed that her marriage failed after one year and she was robbed of the opportunity to have the first grandchild. I *wish* she had a kid because MIL is up in our business now instead of hers). Mr. MLACS has even offered to buy her airline tickets. But she *always* “has to work”. And then I see her taking vacations, buying new couches, and even trading in her new car for a *newer* car–because she posts EVERYTHING on f*ing *FAKEbook* (and instagram and pinterest…). I want to call her on her sh*t.
There’s more drama with her. But I’ll shelve that and just say how two-faced, hypocritical, mean and backstabbing her “MLACS has daddy issues” comment was. She *only* knows I’m in therapy because I shared that with her. And if *anybody* needs therapy for daddy issues, it’s SIL. But given that my Mother is dead and my father is awful to me, and my husband just almost died and I’m about to have a *very hard won* baby…how dare she???

How dare she treat her brother this way? And me? How dare she think that *We should base our parenting decisions on her social media habits*? So she can look like “aunt of the year” even though she has no plans of meeting our kid until *we* visit *her*.

Here’s where things get even more complicated. I like the name Grace. My Mom liked the name. And SIL’s middle name is Grace, after MIL’s mother. And even though I honor my Mother’s memory in so many ways, I didn’t intend to use her name, Janet, as a middle name. It just didn’t sound as good as Grace. So I had decided Grace would be baby girl’s middle name–in no small part to make SIL feel special, because my sister will be Godmother.

NOT anymore.

My first alarm was when MIL came to visit for the baby shower and brought gifts from her BFF, addressed to baby “Gracie”, because that was MIL’s mother’s name. I’m like, “That’s NOT her name, or even her nickname”. And MIL made a snotty comment “Well *at least* it’s a name you can find”, insinuating my baby’s name wasn’t good enough because you won’t find it on a keychain in a truck stop. Uh, no. What she *should* have said is something along the lines of “You’re right and we will only call her by her first name, don’t worry.” I never even met Mr. MLACS’s maternal grandma, so she was hardly my motivation. And yeah, Mr. MLACS’s Mom and her BFF meant no harm, but it’s still not ok. Also, MIL never once mentioned MY Mom while she was here. She dropped an avalanche of presents and settled smugly into her desired roll of “grandmother of the year”. That chapped my ass. Like, oh your Mom’s not here, MORE FOR ME! She was very kind and respectful about my Mother’s absence when it came to our wedding. So it’s weird that she has not mentioned her since I became pregnant.

I miss MY Mom. She is the most selfless woman I’ve ever known. She was not prideful and never tried to find a reason to make herself seem superior to other people (ahem, MIL and SIL). My Mother DESERVES to be part of my baby’s name–she loved on children in her home daycare for 27 years and never once put me or my sister second to anybody. So I’d like to thank my SIL for her temper tantrum, her offensive remarks, and for not bothering to apologize. I’d like to thank MIL’s friend for offending me by marginalizing the name *I chose* and putting my MIL on a pedestal (which MIL felt entitled to). I’d like to think that God was showing me:

1. I can’t trust my bratty SIL any more than I can trust my bratty biological sister. So what was I thinking honoring her in my baby’s name? I shouldn’t have tried to please Mr. MLACS’s family, because it obviously validated their feelings of superiority.
2. My Mother, Janet, should be honored. Who cares if Janet doesn’t sound as good as Grace? I’m embarrassed that my vanity clouded my judgement.

I will never again make a decision for my daughter based on appearances. Lesson learned.

So yeah…39 weeks pregnant and I’m wound like a 10-year-clock, full of emotion, a lot of it negative. I just want some peace. I just want to look forward to having my baby, instead of apprehensive. We are not talking to SIL until/unless she apologizes. I need to inform MIL that MY mother’s name will be honored as part of our daughter’s name (hopefully SIL will have a girl and name her Grace). I want my MIL to ‘unfriend’ my father because even though *she says* she doesn’t tell him anything about us, I think it’s weird and insensitive for her to put me in this position. But she has no friends and she spends a lot of time playing “words with friends” with my father, so I feel bad asking her to cut contact with him, even though I have officially and permanently cut him out of my life (there will be no reconciliation, this *was* his second chance, as I have cut him off before). I told my sister (who lives in our town) that she is not to come to the hospital until we call and invite her after baby is born (she has hardly spoken to me and is certainly no help, so whyyyyyy would I want her around when I’m in labor and then trying to bond with my baby??)

If you have bothered to read all this, what do you think? Go ahead, be honest.

XOXO,
MLACS

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34 thoughts on “39 Weeks (Family Drama)

  1. Ugh MLACS this all just stinks. I’m not sure I’m in the right frame of mind to give advice because I’m dealing with my own family drama (and not well), but here are my thoughts:

    1. SIL was out of line. This isn’t really advice I guess, just general agreement. You are in charge of how you handle your baby and your family unit and she doesn’t get a say. I’m so sorry she said such hurtful things to Mr MLACS.

    2. Don’t be so hard on yourself about the middle name thing. It’s not your fault that you don’t love the name Janet. I think it’s wonderful that you want to honor your mother, but if you really don’t like Janet then what about Jane? Janet is a variation of Jane so your mom would still be represented there. Just a thought. I think janet is great too-I just want you to be happy about what you go with.

    • Hey Librarian–first off I check up on you & I’m glad you’re doing well (save for family drama) & thanks for commenting.
      1. I *expect* that kind of behavior from MY sister, but I was blindsided by SIL’s temper tantrum. I gave her WAY more credit than she deserved, and I feel like a fool. I will eventually forgive her, but I will NEVER forget.
      2. I don’t like Jane better than Janet, but it’s nice to feel like I have options. My middle name is Margaret, which I’ve wrinkled my nose at (hence why I was vain about choosing baby girl’s middle name). But I never use it, just the initial (M.) so I think I’ve decided that the importance of a middle name is in the tradition. I’ll be happy when I’m telling baby girl stories about her Grandma Janet, who she’s named after ❤

      • I understand-my middle name is Kelly which is a family name that I’m supposed to pass down and I chose not to, because I don’t like it very much! We’re descendents of the Kelly clan in Ireland, and instead I chose Rosalie as her middle name because that was my great great great grandmother who was among the first generation of my family to immigrate from Ireland’s first name.

  2. First, wow, you have a lot going on right now and I think it is beyond commendable that you are taking the time to put your baby, Mr. MLACS, and you first! I have no doubt that this will prove invaluable one your little girl arrives and you start to bond as a family.
    Second, I hear you on the name stuff. We happen to love my MIL’s maiden name and would like to use it to honor his grandfather. However, we have decided not to use it at all because we know we’d hear for the rest of time that we named our child after her, which we would not in any way be doing and that would drive us absolutely crazy. The second option to honour his grandfather is not as nice of a name, but we would rather use it to honour the right person.
    Third, I get the whole privacy thing. I deleted facebook a few years ago, and Mr. MPB deleted his inactive account just a few months ago. With our adoption stuff, we want to be very careful about the photos of us that exist online and the easiest way to do that was to remove our facebook accounts entirely. It’s hard in this day and age, and I think it’s important for your child to decide (at the right age) what they want their privacy to look like.
    Lastly, I cannot believe you are 39 weeks!! I’m so excited for you to meet your little girl!! Wishing you peace in these final few days. And wishing you a very easy delivery that results in a happy and healthy little baby and mommy!!!

    • See I *knew* you’d understand MPB! Your in-laws are the worst. But you handle them like pro’s. I was impressed with how thoroughly you planned and executed your “we’re adopting” conversation–it was impenetrable. I aspire to be just like you. Thank you for the support & well wishes! XOXO

  3. Oh my god. I just had a similar situation happen with my sister-in-law. I put a post on fb asking how to eliminate the share option from my photos and my sister-in-law called me and chewed me out saying they should be able to share pictures of their niece. No, not without my permission. She proceeds to tell me I shouldn’t post on fb at all. Um, it’s my fb page and I can post what I want.

    Sorry you’re having to deal with all of this. It’s so frustrating!

    • How do these SIL’s rationalize their behaviors?! Like, in what universe is their facebook page more important than the privacy and safety of their nieces? Do they think about this sh*t before they say it? Gah! Idiots! XOXO

  4. Why don’t you block your father on Facebook? He won’t be able to see any of your posts and if you are tagged in anyone elses? (Maybe you have already done this?) I feel you on the privacy. I think you need to do what you feel is right for you, Mr MLACS and baby girl. Reinforcing boundaries is necessary, but understand that you can’t control whether or not they respect them. You can only keep reinforcing (trust me, this comes from someone who has family who NEVER respects set boundaries). Know that this is what is within your control, but how they act is beyond your control. It’s so hard sometimes to make that distinction but it’s necessary for maintaining your mental health. Now, take a deep breath. Place a hand on your belly and send some love to your baby. She deserves your attention more than the crazy family! If you are up for it, I’d also recommend a reiki session. When I’m feeling super anxious, it always helps to ground me.

    • I blocked him after he “friended” my SIL. But we have 44 mutual “friends” on fb. The only way he can see any pics of her is:
      1. If any of these mutual friends post a pic.
      2. If any of them are “tagged” in a picture.
      I’ve disabled the option for people to “tag” themselves in my pictures. And 42 of those 44 mutual friends have no reason to post baby’s pics. BUT my MIL and my bio sister are both still “friends” with him, so I don’t want them posting anything about her. I mean, even if they weren’t hos friends I’d rather they not.
      Trying to calm the hell down but nothing seems to work–I’m *pissed*. The hormones are not helping! Thanks for support & suggestions–we both have more than our fair share of family bullsh*t & it helps to not feel alone ❤ XOXO

  5. Girl, too bad you can’t travel right now because it sounds like you need a nice beach and no internet/phone/cell service. Go take a bath. Drink some sparkling something and imagine it’s the best champagne you have ever had!

  6. Ay, yi, yi yi girl! You have had a lot going on and I’m so sorry! I must admit that I got kinda giddy when I say you “had” chosen the name Grace. You see, my middle name is Grace. tehehe! But Janet is pretty too…and I like the suggestion above of Jane. Jane sounds so simple and sweet. Also, you are totally entitled to if you want your child’s name or pictures posted on social media. When SIL has her own child, then she can do whatever she wants and have as many pictures as she wants of her child. UGH! Anyway, hang in there sugars! I can’t wait to see pictures of your baby girl though..you will send me one or two in an email right? tehehe! love ya!! xoxoxoxo

  7. Wow! You don’t do things by halves do you?! What a muddle! Your SIL sounds like a big steaming ball of drama and let’s be honest you surely neither need or want that as you step into parenthood! Your immediate bubble is all that matters. I’m not suggesting you exclude others but they have to understand that they have to conform and respect your choices. They are yours to make! Afterall they’re expecting you to conform to theirs by being so selfish and stubborn!
    I seriously can’t tolerate over sharers and thought broadcasters on facearse so I get your concerns! I’ve not even announced on facey that I’m expecting! It’s just tooooo personal! And the thought of others peeping on my life via third bodies seriously gets on my lone nerve!
    Finally I love the name Janet and your reasons for including it are honest and genuine and respectful! I lost my dad when I was nine and we’re going to name our blue pup after him. It’s big Greek shoes for a little baby to fill but I’m sure he’ll grow into them! You must get your wee one some Janet and John books to reinforce how great a name it actually is.

    You relax as much as you can and whilst doing that stick two fingers up at the world outside that wants to get under your skin!

  8. I think its a good idea that you want to hide your daughters pictures and information from social media. I actually know quite a few people who have done the same.
    I think your father friended your mil just to get updates on you and baby girl just because he doesn’t have the guts to talk to you face to face. I would block him. I blocked all my husbands family before I had Zayden. My mil didn’t even meet her grandson until I chose for her to when he was almost 6 months old.
    And a lot of people have family issues. I have some daddy issues as I’m the oldest but the one most regretted. And my dad isn’t much in my life either as he would rather drink and party.
    Choose a name you and your husband likes. Its no one else’s business and they don’t have a say in her name. Name her what you want.
    39w so you are getting close. I want to wish you the best of luck. You’ve never been far from my mind. I wish we could have been better friends.
    Saying lots of prayers for you while you progress through these next few weeks. Good luck!

  9. As always, I can relate. You are not out of line at all. In fact, your situation is a lot Like mine actually. We chose not to reveal Owen’s birth until he was actually born and we’d had our bonding time with him. My SIL and MIL were so angry at us (Mostly me as my poor husband doesn’t get blamed for much. I’m the bad influence on him, hehe.) they didn’t come to the hospital to see us. They were livid. But my SIL made Owen’s hospital picture her profile pic on Facebook. Strange, huh? It kinda made me mad…she Didn’t ask if it was okay. She just did it.

    So I don’t blame you one bit for how you feel and how you want things done. This is YOUR child and it is no one else’s business how you choose to raise her and look out for her best interests. I think it is admirable that you choose not to let her be exploited on the internet because so many people use Facebook to show off.

    I’m so excited to hear the announcement that baby girl has arrived. Won’t be long now! Sending lots of love to you! XO

    • Geez your SIL is a strange one! And I can’t believe people (your MIL & SIL) feel that labor and birth is a family affair–only if that’s what the parents want! Uhg. Thanks for sharing sweets ❤ XOXO

  10. Hang in there. Soon baby girl will be here!
    Your extended family sounds exhausting. I’m sorry you have to deal with this mess. My MIL gives SB all sorts of nicknames, whether we approve or not. It’s become a “pick your battles” situation for me – and usually not worth it.
    Also, technically it’s almost impossible to protect your pictures – if people can see them, there’s a way to get them (though you can make it harder). I think I have shared 3 pictures of SB on Facebook since she was born. Because while I love showing her off, like you I’m wary of social media. I hope your family will come to see that you just want the best for your daughter!

    • Thanks lady–I totally agree on “picking your battles”–I’m just trying to set the bar at this point. I have to say I feel better since I blogged about it and got support, it feels more manageable now 🙂 XOXO

  11. I have no advice, just loads of hugs and squeezes! I can’t imagine going through all you’ve got going on. I just am hoping that as you welcome baby girl you feel nothing but support and calm! Hoping that you and your husbands desires are respected! XOXOXOX

  12. I’m so sorry that you have so much going on right now! Hugs! ❤ I hope you can ignore all of that and get some good rest and relaxation as you prepare for your baby girl!

  13. You know I cannot be anything but honest with you. I agree with your decisions, share your outrage and empathize with your hurt feelings. Above all I hope you follow your heart as gut and let the rest go. You don’t need this stress right now (or ever but especially now). Finally, get the heck off Wastebook already! Okay, those are my 2 cents. Love you heaps.

    • P.S. I cut out many toxic family members years ago and never looked back. I an estranged from my only brother and both pregnancy and parenthood bring on intense heartache over my Mom not being here. So I feel you on so many fronts… Just want you to know. I’m in your corner, my friend.

      • You are very soothing–I appreciate that more than you know. I was doing so well until SIL had her temper tantrum, but no regrets because now baby girl will have my Mom’s name.
        I really want to be as far away from both of our families as possible. Perhaps China…or better yet, Australia! A girl can dream…
        XOXO ❤

  14. I love that you’re going to honor your mother. You clearly adored her and now her name will live on in your daughter. Perfect. As far as the other stuff I suspect as you get closer to delivering it will fade into oblivion. Rest up, Momma. I suspect one of your next posts will be your birth story. 🙂

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