Pregnancy, People and Pandering

by shirtyherself

If I don’t get this out of my head, I’ll be dwelling on it all night…

I’m 33 weeks pregnant with my first child and things are progressing wonderfully – aside from a few aches and pains and some insomnia, I really can’t complain. Well, not about the pregnancy itself.

Since moving in with my partner, M, and subsequent pregnancy, I’ve found myself feeling increasingly isolated from certain friends, despite being only a 20 minute drive away. At first, it felt like my single, non-pregnant, no-children girlfriends who I’d previously spent Friday and Saturday nights drinking at the pub with had decided that now I was in a relationship I wouldn’t have time for them. Well, false! Sure, a new relationship is exciting and you want to spend as much time with that person as possible, but M works a lot of nights so there was always a regular option for me to hang out with the girls, but only if I organised it. Meanwhile, they were organising things without me.

A few months into the relationship, M and I found out we were expecting a child. Our friends were excited for us (well, mostly – you know how the normal reaction to someone announcing a pregnancy is one of congratulations? One “friend” shocked us by just saying “oh, right” and changing topics) but if it was possible for the same group of girls to retreat even more, they did. To the point of one of them, A, actually saying that they’d stopped inviting me out because they figured I wouldn’t want to go because I’m pregnant! This friend has a habit of not engaging her brain before she speaks, so I’m not totally surprised by her saying something that strange, but I’m pregnant, not confined to my bed or dead.  I also keep getting a lot of “oh, I must come up and visit” statements, but no follow through.

So, the above situation combined with not having worked since I found out I was pregnant (lost my job the day after I found out and haven’t been able to find another) so I don’t have even work colleagues to interact with, only sporadically catching up with friends and family, and generally feeling like a useless lump (my partner works to support us and when he’s not working there’s so much that needs doing on our property before baby comes so he works his arse off doing that), has left me feeling very down.

I decided to try and fix this by joining an online parents forum. BIG mistake.  I joined in some topics, asked for some advice, and was feeling particularly good about it. That was, however, until my opinion on a topic ran counter to what some others thought, and that’s when the claws came out. This particular topic was posted to get some advice on tactfully rejecting an offer of a mother-in-law’s very old, outdated, non-safety-compliant (to today’s laws and standards) baby items, like a cot and mattress. Apparently, this mother-in-law hasn’t been convinced that what worked for her children 30 years ago is not necessarily appropriate today. I responded by saying to reiterate that she is grateful for the offer but will be buying items that are compliant with today’s laws and standards for baby items. I also added that if the mother-in-law threw a tantrum or felt her feelings were hurt then I’m not necessarily sure I’d want my child to have much of a relationship with her – my child’s safety will be the most important thing in the world to me, far more important than someone’s sentimental feelings over some furniture, and I’d expect a family member to care about her safety as much as me, or at least very close to me. How could I trust my child to be ever in a family member’s care if they’ve already shown they don’t respect my wishes when it comes to her safety?

Well, apparently I’m the biggest bitch in the world because I’m not taking this mother-in-law’s feelings into consideration. Damn right I’m not, and neither should they – after politely declining the offer, that should be the end of it. If mother-in-law gets upset, that’s her issue. I refuse to pander to someone at the expense of my child. No, I would not accept someone’s offer of a cot painted with lead paint and not constructed safely, plus a mattress that the mother-in-law had actually stated had mice in it once. So, instead of finding an online supportive community, I’ve fallen into a place where you either tell people what they want to hear or prepare to be bullied. If you try and defend yourself, your posts get taken down.

What’s an expectant mother to do? Why was it deemed so unreasonable that if I was in the poster’s shoes I would decline politely citing safety and current standards, and if that wasn’t enough for this person I’d maybe reconsider what relationship my child had with them? I was painted as someone who would be happy to write off a family relationship very quickly, when that’s not the case. Why is it so hard to get through to some people that my child’s safety would be first and foremost and if a family member showed that her safety wasn’t a concern to them then I wouldn’t feel right ever leaving her in their care?

I’m off the forum now – there were a lot of topics that had dissolved into people attacking one another for whatever reason, and also a lot of topics that showed that people are pandering to their family regarding certain issues involving a child. I’m expecting to be expected to pander to my partner’s family over certain issues, but I’ll get into that tomorrow.

End rant…for now.