Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Updates: “Pregnant and Miserable in Mississippi” Responds

It’s time again for “Dear Wendy Updates,” a feature where people I’ve given advice to in the past let us know whether they followed the advice and how they’re doing now. Today we hear from “Pregnant and Miserable in Mississippi” who had been emotionally (and physically) abandoned by a long-time friend after she got pregnant by him and moved across the country to his parents’ home where he’d promised he would meet her to start a new life together. Keep reading to see how things have changed since she wrote last month.

I thought I would follow-up and provide a status update on the situation. Thank you so much for your response, it allowed me to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I needed that to get out of the situation I was in.

After receiving your response, I spent a little time thinking and I realized, I have a lot going for me on my own. I didn’t need this man’s family, or him for that matter. Twenty years of friendship and love obviously meant nothing to him . . . so hey, it shouldn’t for me either.

So, after I wrote the post, there are a few things that started to happen. His parents decided that I was “ignoring” them because I was so sick I couldn’t come out of the bedroom very often. With that, they started to smoke right outside my bedroom window. In a house that wasn’t built properly, the cigarette smoke would come through the window. Also, with humidity and heat, it made it so I couldn’t open the window for fresh air, especially the cold air at night. So I duct-taped the window. Shortly after doing that, they decided to start smoking in the house, right outside my bedroom window.

I then wasn’t allowed to eat with them, they would say nasty things about me to everyone they knew, I wasn’t allowed to leave the house (keep in mind I didn’t have a car and they lived out in the middle of nowhere so I couldn’t walk anywhere I would have liked to go).

I then was able to start working a contract job (I have experience in IT so I was able to find something I could do from home). This man, his business partners, and his best friend, took me under their wing. They would pick me up for work, provide me with an office and PC, would buy me lunch and dinner, and would ensure I wasn’t in an unhealthy environment (they knew my friend’s parents from work they had done with them previously. They also saw the conditions of the house and heard the rumors going around). They even went so far as to drive me to doctor appointments and ensure my pregnancy was kept up and I was in healthy working order.

Shortly after taking me under their wing, they provided me a studio apartment to live in and a monthly food allowance (which covered far more than I would ever eat) in exchange for work. They also provided me with a monthly payment on top of the housing and food to make sure I would have something to save so I could get back on my feet. They then paid for me to get back to California where I am from last week.

I have to say, I am more than blessed with what came out of this situation. I am back in California with my friends, family, and support system. I also have a new support system in a boss that has provided me with continued work even though he and his business reside in another state across the country.

I will never have my friend or his family as a part of my life any longer. Thankfully, this entire experience, all the heartache he created, and all of the drama and unhealthy atmosphere his parents put me through, has made me realize what type of people they really are. I needed this so I could rid my life of horrible people and situations. It was also a learning experience on whom to trust and what decisions to make in my life.

Thank you for your words, your follow-up, and most of all . . . allowing me something to remind me that I am worth more and have more than what I thought.

I hope all is well. Take care, and thanks again.

 
Wow, it sounds like you found a guardian angel in Mississippi! I’m so glad you were able to get back to California and that you have employment and are surrounded by a support system again. Stay strong, and best wishes to you for the rest of your pregnancy and beyond!

***************

If you’re someone I’ve given advice to in the past, I’d love to hear from you, too. Email me at wendy@dearwendy.com with a link to the original post, and let me know whether you followed the advice and how you’re doing now.

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43 comments… add one
  • Diablo

    Diablo September 16, 2014, 1:16 pm

    “I will never have my friend or his family as a part of my life any longer.” I dunno, LW, I think the dude still owes you child support for 18 years. That’s a part of your life he should be welcome to contribute to. Seriously, even just on principle, I would look into it.

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    • suzyinthesky

      suzyinthesky September 17, 2014, 3:31 am

      Agree!
      But also, doesn’t the kid have the right to a relationship with his/her father? I don’t know what the law says in the US, but in my country, a parent can’t keep the child away from the other parent unless they’re abusive or something. It’s not about the parents, it’s about the kid!

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      • avatar

        Sue Jones September 17, 2014, 12:29 pm

        It sounds like the sperm donor and his trashy family is not worth having a relationship with, but not sure what the law says.

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        pamplemousse September 17, 2014, 3:46 pm

        In the US, a parent (particularly a male) does not have a right to his child unless he is already quite involved with raising it. Unless he steps forward right after the baby is born, he won’t win that court battle.

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      • avatar

        jlyfsh September 17, 2014, 3:57 pm

        If the LW is concerned about the biological father and his rights, it would be best to go to a lawyer and see what the options are now. Rather than just assuming it will be ok or that she will win because of his lack of involvement.

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      • avatar

        resullins September 17, 2014, 5:12 pm

        Coming from the parent of a father that was forced to be “involved,” what’s best for the kid isn’t always an uninterested parent. I have LONG standing, wildly inveterate issues stemming from my father not loving me enough. It honestly may have been easier if he wasn’t there at all. Then I wouldn’t have had to watch him love his other children more than me.

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  • bittergaymark

    Bittergaymark September 16, 2014, 1:32 pm

    Eh. At this point in life — you would be wise to stop relying so on the kindness off strangers… Constantly counting on being rescued? Trust me — it rarely works.

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      lets_be_honest September 16, 2014, 1:44 pm

      I don’t think this is bad advice AT ALL, but it sounds like she got a job. She’s actually working, and earning $ and saving, so fine, this boss is a guardian angel of sorts, but its still HER working and supporting herself. Great that she got lucky!

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      • Portia

        Portia September 16, 2014, 2:26 pm

        I agree, it sounds like she took the first few steps that snowballed into her getting the heck out of Dodge. Bravo for that, but it did sound like a lot of these things just happened to her not that she made them happen. Not to belittle her role in all this because she really turned this whole situation around, but taking a more active role in her own life in the future, especially with the baby coming soon, can only help.

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      • bittergaymark

        Bittergaymark September 16, 2014, 2:39 pm

        Eh. To me it all sounds like a Lifetime movie plot where her guardian angels ask her to sign some “insurance” paperwork that she trusts them so blindly she doesn’t read it — only to later learn she’s signed away all rights to the child…
        .
        Then again. Eh. That might not exactly be the worst thing…

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      • avatar

        Kate September 16, 2014, 2:47 pm

        It also all seems to have happened within 3 weeks if you notice.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest September 16, 2014, 3:45 pm

        I know! How great she acted so quickly.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest September 16, 2014, 2:47 pm

        So you think she sucks for getting a job and taking care of herself? Makes sense. Glad to see you haven’t changed.

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      • bittergaymark

        Bittergaymark September 16, 2014, 3:29 pm

        With me and the LW — that makes TWO of us who haven’t changed. Wait till the next semi-comic/tragic update to come in the next few weeks. 😉

        PS Getting rescued by guardian angels and taking care of yourself are two VASTLY different things…

        Just ask any paralegal.

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest September 16, 2014, 3:44 pm

        Do you refer to your employer as a guardian angel?
        .
        Finally a great update from someone who took advice and quickly acted on it, and yet so much negativity here. Anyway, great job LW! Keep it up.

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      • Ika

        Ika September 16, 2014, 4:02 pm

        I have NEVER heard of an employer driving an emplyee to doctor appointments,getting them lunch and dinner, a food allowance, a monthly allowance, AND housing. And in less than 3 weeks?
        Sounds like a great gig. Where do I sign up?

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      • avatar

        lets_be_honest September 16, 2014, 4:10 pm

        Some jobs actually do provide housing and allowances, and some bosses are just nice people. Why is that a bad thing? I seriously can’t believe how many people found negative things to say to this LW. Its gross.

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      • avatar

        ktfran September 16, 2014, 4:40 pm

        Right? It makes me sad for humanity. Are there very few empathetic people any more?

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      • Ika

        Ika September 16, 2014, 5:02 pm

        Nobodys saying its bad Only that a) LW shouldnt depend on being rescued and b) that the timeline doesn´t exactly add up.

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      • bittergaymark

        Bittergaymark September 16, 2014, 4:03 pm

        No. But I’ve yet to have my employer just hand me the keys to a studio apt or buy ALL my groceries either…

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      • avatar

        ktfran September 16, 2014, 4:09 pm

        I hope you all never need help. Ever.

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      • muchachaenlaventana

        muchachaenlaventana September 16, 2014, 4:12 pm

        I know a really wealthy lady who is self-made and has a really successful business and when my uncle fell on hard times she paid his mortgage, helped him get around with her personal driver or loaning one of her cars, hired him to work with her on various projected, helped pay for food and the list goes on. She gives generously to charities, but for her helping him get back on his feet was rewarding. She does this with a lot of people she comes across who have fallen down on their luck. It’s actually amazing and yeah maybe not the norm but not unheard of either.

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      • avatar

        ktfran September 16, 2014, 4:38 pm

        See, that’s what I want to do, if I had the means. To help make someone’s life a little better – an actual person where you can see him or her flourish – I think is really powerful.

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      • findingtheearth

        findingtheearth September 17, 2014, 3:18 pm

        A lot of small business owners are this kind. I have always worked for small business owners, and have seen the generosity first hand. A business I know well often helps its employees with obtaining vehicle loans, mortgages, down payments, etc. It’s not necessarily being a guardian angel, but being kind and helping others.

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      • Kate B.

        Kate B. September 16, 2014, 3:40 pm

        It sounds like she did what she needed to do to get herself together and this man came along and helped her along the way. There is nothing wrong with that. Even the strongest people need help sometimes. She would have been a fool to turn down his help. And she gets to keep her job to boot. It’s nice to know there are still some nice people in the world.

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      ktfran September 16, 2014, 2:30 pm

      I actually think it’s wonderful that people helped her. For a lot of people, it’s hard to see beyond what you know, or to have the means to help your circumstances. Or know what to do.
      .
      I wish more people would take the time to help someone who needs it. Whether it’s tutoring at-risk children with not so great home lives, as I do, or setting them up with a job and housing, as these people in Mississippi did, it might be that extra push and knowing that someone out there cares. Now, if she falls back into old habits, that’s completely on her. But if not, I see no harm. I mean, don’t battered women shelters, in theory, try to do the same thing? Give women the tools and resources they need to get out of a bad situation and succeed.

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        ktfran September 16, 2014, 2:32 pm

        For the record, if I had the means, I would absolutely help people I didn’t know get out of crappy situations, as long as they showed they were willing to put a little work into it.

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        jhoran85 September 16, 2014, 3:06 pm

        I just wrote a reply to this and it hasn’t shown up, so apologies if there’s another reply that shows up later.

        We live in a culture where accepting help (from friends or family, not from government agencies, which are abused far too much) is looked down upon and seen as weak. This woman was likely living in super crappy conditions, was pregnant on top of it, and this owner of a company saw he could help her and he did. Maybe she was too embarrassed to ask for help from her family, and this person stepped in with no other motive but to help her and provide a safe living environment in exchange for work.

        I see nothing wrong with this and good for the LW for getting back to California and making good use of the support that was given to her in time of need.

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        lets_be_honest September 16, 2014, 4:29 pm

        I love this, ktfran. Nice to see some positivity mixed in with the rest of these…charming comments from such obviously successful and happy people.

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    • avatar

      Ele4phant September 16, 2014, 3:23 pm

      Sometimes you can’t do it alone. Sometimes you need help, sometimes the hole you find yourself in is too deep to climb out alone.

      It sounds like she was in a really bad situation she couldn’t get out of alone. She did what she could (got a job) but she was fortunate to get some assistance to get herself fully out of the situation. It doesn’t sound like she’s continuing to mooch of these people, and it sounds like now that she’s home with people who love her she’s further trying to get on her feet.

      What would you have her do? Stay in those crappy circumstances with her innocent child and refuse temporary help as a penance for making mistakes in the first place?

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  • avatar

    jhoran85 September 16, 2014, 3:02 pm

    To me it sounds like the parents of her former friend are simply awful and immature. It also sounds like the owner of the company who helped her out knew this from prior interactions with them and probably was horrified that this woman was living in what sounds like a hell hole.

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  • kare

    kare September 16, 2014, 3:19 pm

    The smoking thing completely baffles me. These people sound psychotic. Even if they had some reason to dislike the LW, she is carrying their grand child. If after the break up they had said “hey we aren’t comfortable with you living here anymore”, it would be a dick move but nearly as atrocious as what they did. Who does things like this? Are they actually a family of serial killers or something?

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    • avatar

      jhoran85 September 16, 2014, 3:58 pm

      People can get super weird about smoking around non-smokers. I’ve had hpeople blow smoke in my face and smoke in near proximity to me even after I’ve made it clear that I have asthma and smoke is a huge trigger for me.

      There’s a weird disconnect in that people see alcohol as this awful thing to drink but smoking isn’t seen on the detrimental level that it should be.

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  • Fabelle

    Fabelle September 16, 2014, 5:44 pm

    Damn yo. I read the comments before the update/response (when you’re on your phone, if it somehow scrolls to comments, you read them instead of scrolling back up mmkay) & I was ready to agree because I’m cynical as fuck, BUT actually after reading–I don’t think there’s anything nutty about her employers/coworkers helping her like this. When I had no car for a while at my last job, a girl (who I didn’t even work directly with) drove me back & forth every day, and my old boss took me home whenever she wasn’t available. And since when do bosses NOT buy lunch, even for employees *not* down on their luck? (I mean, I’m sure there are some who don’t, but my point is it’s not this “whoaaa look at that charity” thing…it’s somewhat expected in certain business).
    .
    As for her not standing on her own two feet or whatever, I think she’s doing fine. Stubbornly not accepting help when it’s offered, & you need it, isn’t really a good look.

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    • avatar

      snow.angel September 16, 2014, 6:37 pm

      I think there’s a big difference between accepting carpools and business lunches from your boss and accepting a studio apartment, rides to and from doctor’s appointments, daily meals/groceries, and a plane ticket across the country. I’m all for volunteering and helping the at-risk and needy, but it seems like the boss really has no professional boundaries in this case. I also worry about the LW’s eagerness to trust the new boss so quickly and accept all of this assistance while seemingly not worrying about any strings that could be attached. Luckily it seems to have worked out fine in this case, and the boss doesn’t seem to have any ulterior motives, but the LW’s blind trust in essentially a stranger is concerning. I get that she took the first step in getting the job and all that, but a lot of the update implied that the boss was a savior who swooped in and saved her. I hope that the LW is able to support herself in the future, but in the case she isn’t, and her friends and family can’t provide the help, I hope that she explores more formal supports (through non-profits, government agencies, etc.) rather than hoping for random acts of kindness from strangers.

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      • Ika

        Ika September 16, 2014, 6:45 pm

        This times a million.
        And the boss thing…. nobody would bat an eye if it was just lunch. Or rides. But ALL the things LW descibed is just way too much.

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  • avatar

    FossilChick September 16, 2014, 9:05 pm

    This doesn’t strike me as odd in a small town. The boss and associates knew the parents from previous dealings with them. The parents really sound deranged, and the boss may know even more about these folks’ issues from their interactions. The LW is a young mom-to-be who was abandoned by the baby’s father, then increasingly being controlled by this family to the point of being detained inside a house where she was exposed to second-hand smoke and not permitted to eat with others while being bad-mouthed all over a small, rural town. If the “charity” seems extreme in this case, it might be because the case itself IS extreme.

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    • avatar

      d2 September 16, 2014, 11:28 pm

      I too interpreted the actions of the boss and his associates as a rescue action once they realized who their job applicant was.

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  • avatar

    Hazel September 16, 2014, 9:59 pm

    I really wonder if all this negativity/disbelief at the bosses being so helpful is a cultural difference between the South and. . .wherever all the suspicious people are from. People in Mississippi can be incredibly warm and welcoming, and take care of their neighbors. This is a pregnant woman in a bad situation–of course they would help!

    LW, great job getting out of there. Best of luck with your child!

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  • avatar

    Sue Jones September 17, 2014, 12:26 pm

    You know, all of this “she should have done it all herself and not accepted help” stuff is starting to annoy me. She was in a desperate situation and someone helped her out of it and now she is getting back on her feet. I would think that if she ever has the chance to pay it forward, that she would. Do you think folks with family money would even find themselves close to this situation? No, Mommy and Daddy would bail them out. This is just part of the American myth of independence and self-sufficiency that is really just bullshit. She has a job, and is working now. So it is not as if she is collecting welfare. Hopefully she can have as little to do with the father as possible (just collect his money every month) and move on with her life.

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  • findingtheearth

    findingtheearth September 17, 2014, 3:23 pm

    I live in a small town of less than 10K people in Montana. I know many employers who would do ALL of these things for their employees who fell on hard times. It’s just what you do for others. We have all benefited from kindness of others at some point in our lives, and paying it forward is kind. I have been overwhelmed by how generous my community can be. I have seen people’s homes go up in flames and within 24 hours they have clothes, shelter, household items, etc., all lined up to help them start fresh.
    .
    Heck, I have benefited from kindness of people from this site. And have made sure to try and pay it forward to others.

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  • Miss MJ

    Miss MJ September 17, 2014, 8:03 pm

    I don’t think this is that weird. Sounds like they hired her for a contract job and realized how dire her situation was and decided to help by stabilizing her until they could get her back to CA. Lots of people and organizations – especially churches and/or their members – down South do this sort of thing on an ad hoc basis fairly often. Sometimes you CAN rely on the kindness of strangers.

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  • something random

    something random September 17, 2014, 10:17 pm

    LW,
    I’m so glad you and the baby are in a safe, stable, familiar environment again. Your letter was one that stayed with me so it was nice to hear a happy update.

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