Of course, the pregnancy has had a negative impact on my relationship. It’s been extremely difficult to get to a level of comfort and trust with each other and even though it was “love at first sight” for me, it has still been very trying. He is very excited about being a father and we have thrown ourselves into saving every penny and living together. All things considered, we have handled it as well as possible.
The “problem” is that his mother absolutely hates me. I would love to be able to say a ton of negative things about her but it’s all summed up by her belief and statement that I will be a terrible mother. She has come to this conclusion simply because I was raised by liberal parents who allowed me to travel the country to figure out my dreams. (I ended up in a career I love in a not-so-liberal state.) She is completely horrified by the fact that my parents don’t live together (they have been married 33 years and are concentrating on their careers, which happen to be in different states, so that they can retire soon). As well as my being from a liberal family, she believes the fact that I work outside of the home is proof that I am unworthy of birthing her grandchildren.
I am very aware that this has been a stressful time for everyone and would love to have a relationship with her. I’m at a loss as to how to deal with a woman who refuses to accept me. My boyfriend loves his mother and wants us to get along but every time I see her or talk to her I end up crying. Please give me some advice! — Hopeless in Arkansas
My biggest question here is how do you know your boyfriend’s mother hates you and how do you know it’s for the reasons you list? Has she outright told you she doesn’t accept you because your parents don’t live together or are you making some inferences? Has she come out and told you that she can’t stand you because you traveled around the country or are you projecting a little bit? Has she expressed to you personally that she doesn’t like you because you have a job or are you grasping at whatever might explain the distance between you? If you’re going on assumptions here, you’re being as big of a jerk as you’re accusing her of being and it isn’t fair.
I don’t doubt that your boyfriend’s mother acts cold toward you. I’m not suggesting you’re making that up. But I do have a hard time believing that the reason for that coldness is because you traveled around the country before ending up in Arkansas or that your parents don’t live together. These may be factors in her feeling like she doesn’t relate to you or understand you. But hate you? I don’t buy it.
Let’s try to look at things from her perspective. She barely knows you. Hell, her son barely knows you — four months is a drop in the bucket! — and yet you’re carrying her grandchild. You’re going to be in her life forever. It’s natural she’d feel a little om edge about everything, just as it’s natural that you’d feel a little on edge as well. So, rather than both of you focusing on what you lack in common, you’d be better off focusing on what you do have in common. Here’s a big one: she’s a mother and you’re about to become a mother. So, start there. Reach out to her for advice and support. Make her feel needed. Let her be a part of this pregnancy. Put aside your differences and whatever assumptions you’ve made about her impressions of you, and start thinking about this woman as the grandmother of your unborn baby.
While you’ve been waiting to feel accepted by her, she may very well be waiting to feel accepted by you. So, accept her. Let her know you want her to be very present in your child’s life. Ask her what she’d like your child to call her. Express some of your fears to her. Drop your defenses and let yourself be vulnerable. If she really does see you as some hard-nosed liberal career woman, then showing a softer side of yourself may help her relate to you a little better. Letting her know that, despite having traveled all around the country and being a working woman, you know you don’t know everything and that you respect the experience and knowledge she has may go a long way toward endearing yourself to her.
Finally, the person who should really be giving you advice for getting along with your boyfriend’s mother is … your boyfriend. He knows her better than anyone, right? And though he’s still getting to know you, surely he has some insight as to what you can say and how you can behave to foster a better relationship with this woman who is going to be part of your family very soon. So, lean on him a little more. Let him know how important it is that you and his mother get along and ask for his support and help in making that happen. If he’s the one who’s been filling your head with all these reasons his mother hates you, tell him that he needs to stop — that hearing those things just puts you on the defensive, especially given your hormonal state. It’s time for him to act not as a divider between you and his mother, but as a connector. So tell him to do just that — it’s his first duty as a dad.
*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at email@example.com and be sure to follow me on Twitter.
PFG-SCR August 31, 2011, 8:47 am
I agree with your comments, Wendy, and I think the LW should think about the impact that this part of her letter might be having: “Of course, the pregnancy has had a negative impact on my relationship. It’s been extremely difficult to get to a level of comfort and trust with each other…”
That is likely the bigger source of the concerns that her boyfriend’s mother has, as well as the fact that she got pregnant after two weeks together. Obviously, both her and her boyfriend are equally responsible for that, but his mother might (incorrectly) feel different.
Riefer August 31, 2011, 8:57 am
I agree with PFG-SCR here… I think it’s more likely that the boyfriend’s mom sees her as a “slut” (not that I think that!!) who ruined her dear, sweet baby boy’s life. If that’s the case, then it’s still the boyfriend’s job to run interference. He should also probably stand up to his mom and tell her that the responsibility is half his, and that’s it’s not the LW’s fault, it’s just something that happened.
PFG-SCR August 31, 2011, 11:13 am
His mother might think the LW intentionally “trapped” him by getting pregnant. She sounds like the type of mother who doesn’t keep her opinions to herself, so I’m sure the boyfriend knows if this is the case. Because it’s hurtful (and likely untrue), he might just be telling the LW the stuff about her that his mother dislikes that are either not in her control or are less of attacks on her character.
bittergaymark August 31, 2011, 1:51 pm
Frankly, I would say the mother has a VERY solid case for feeling that way… Two fucking weeks? The fact that the LW is so saintedly liberal, and well traveled, and educated and blah blah blah (Oh, and I say that snidely AS a liberal!) makes it even more suspect in that liberals actually KNOW how birth control works….though more and more many seemingly pretend that they don’t.
honeybeenicki August 31, 2011, 2:03 pm
Birth control works both ways and isn’t 100% effective. One of my stepkids is proof that birth control doesn’t work 100% of the time.
Yammy August 31, 2011, 2:38 pm
My three younger siblings- condoms, the sponge, then the pill. My mom ended up getting her tubes tied.
I was told by a doctor that I was infertile and very unlikely to concieve without the aid of fertility treatments. Surprise! Not so much.
To the Lw- mazel tov!
Sue Jones August 31, 2011, 2:30 pm
I agree with you on this one, BGM. LW will really have to work extra hard in this situation to earn the MIL’s acceptance. Even I, liberal that I am, would be really upset if a son of mine got “trapped” into a relationship with a woman he barely knew via an unplanned pregnancy. I speak as a mother. It may take 5 years. If you both can stay together through the 1st 5 years with a baby, then I would consider this relationship had staying power. The odds are not good on this one since you barely know each other.
Riefer August 31, 2011, 3:30 pm
Ummm, BGM and Sue Jones, did you ever stop to think that the guy “trapped” himself? Was he forced to have sex with her? Was he forced to not use a condom? I’m guessing he was free to make his own choices. It takes two to tango, and now she’s just as “trapped” as he is, if not more trapped, since if he leaves she’s the one stuck being a single mother. What a sexist and old-fashioned attitude.
lets_be_honest August 31, 2011, 3:42 pm
Such good points!
bittergaymark August 31, 2011, 3:56 pm
Actually, she could go have a simple, legal procedure and very much be free of this trap. Can he do that? No. No, he can’t. Now imagine if we lived in some whacked out society where men had this much control. Imagine if a man could force a women to carry his child to term? Then decide to raise it on his own and get child support from her? You’d all be up in arms… Justifiably so.
So, yes. The guy is trapped. Very much trapped. And if you REALLY think these two are going to be happy together let alone great parents, I have a bridge I’d like to show you that I’m selling REAL cheap.
Riefer August 31, 2011, 4:13 pm
The guy may be trapped, but your assertion that SHE trapped him is what I have an issue with. You make it sound like she laid out a plan to purposely get pregnant, to trick him into it. There’s nothing in that letter that suggests anything of the sort. This is just the same old “women have to be pure, but men can do whatever the fuck they want” sexist attitude that’s been around for ages.
And men DO have the option to not have kids. It’s called wearing a condom. I’m sorry, but biology works a certain way. Generally, women are the ones screwed over by it in our society, ok? So don’t give me grief about poor men who don’t have any options when they get someone pregnant. It’s very simple. Here’s what you do:
1) Discuss with the woman whether or not she would agree to an abortion if a pregnancy occurred. Make sure her answer aligns with yours. If it does not, DO NOT SLEEP WITH HER!
2) Regardless of the answer to #1, if you don’t want a kid, WEAR A CONDOM! I mean seriously. How can you expect to have control of your genetic material once it leaves your body? You have complete control as long as it’s inside you. That’s your window to make your decision. Once you put it inside of someone else, guess what? That person has control of it, until it once again leaves that person’s body.
That’s biology folks, and that’s how men can very simply and easily protect themselves. And don’t even get started on wah wah child support. That’s for your child, who you helped to create, and who you CHOSE to help create (unless you were somehow raped). So, that’s your responsibility. End of story.
Kate August 31, 2011, 4:15 pm
If only most people followed these rules…
CatsMeow August 31, 2011, 4:58 pm
Yes, yes, YES! And yes some more. 🙂
bittergaymark August 31, 2011, 5:08 pm
I addressed his dumbness over the lack of condoms at length on this comment page. That said — because of his stupidity, he is now trapped. She can end this with one trip to the doctors office. Him? Not so easily.
Frankly, she seems to thrilled about it all it sounds suspicious to me… How convenient that this only happens to her now when she finally has pretty good insurance…
Riefer August 31, 2011, 5:17 pm
Fine, BGM, yes, yes, he’s trapped. Oh poor him. He had no options at all!!!!!! He never had a choice!!!!! Evil cruel woman tricked him and trapped him!!!!!
And what if she can’t have an abortion, because she believes it’s morally wrong? Some people do believe that, you know. Hence all the debates. And if that’s her belief, well, she’s just as trapped as him. That’s why he should have checked with her first about where she stands on it, and second he should have made sure to wear a condom and use it properly.
bittergaymark August 31, 2011, 5:23 pm
A liberal who morally can’t have an abortion? Um, okay. Gotta confess that that strikes me as a wee bit unlikely… Possible, I suppose. Like it’s certainly possible Madonna will drop by my flat today unexpectedly for tea. But highly, highly unlikely.
Riefer August 31, 2011, 5:39 pm
Britannia – what are you suggesting? It sounds like you’re advocating either:
1) The man should get to force her to have an abortion if he doesn’t want a baby.
or 2) If she still won’t have an abortion, he should be able to wash his hands of paying child support.
Well the first option is just horrible, for exactly the reason you said in your second post. For some women, that would be emotionally devastating. And BGM, I’m one of those women who absolutely think abortions should be legal, but who probably would never be able to do it myself. Not for any “moral” reasons per se, but just because I don’t think I could live with myself afterwards.
So that leaves the second option. Well guess what, that’s what used to exist before child support. Basically it’s saying that men can just sleep around with impunity, and then they get a “get out of child support free” card if the woman doesn’t want an abortion. Are you seriously advocating this?
Riefer August 31, 2011, 5:53 pm
Britannia, where did I ever say that women have no responsibility at all?
If a woman doesn’t want a baby, she should use birth control.
If a man doesn’t want a baby, he should use birth control.
End of story. It’s not HER responsibility to make sure HE doesn’t end up with a baby he doesn’t want. Not unless they’ve explicitly agreed upon their method of birth control, and they should also in that case have talked about what to do in case of pregnancy. And for all you know, that’s what the couple in the letter did. Maybe they agreed that if she got pregnant, she should have it. Or maybe they didn’t agree beforehand, but when it happened, that was what they agreed on. She didn’t mention that he desperately wants out of this and doesn’t want the baby. So I don’t know why bittergaymark started in on this whole “trapped” thing in the first place.
But in the end, everyone is responsible for their own actions. If you’re so against having a baby, then yes, you are responsible for your own birth control, regardless of your gender. And if you help create a baby, whether you wanted it or not, you are again responsible for it, regardless of your gender. How is that in any way controversial?
Britannia August 31, 2011, 5:21 pm
@Riefer: So, you’re saying that men should not ever be allowed the luxury of having sex without being willing to submit to having and providing for a child if the woman so chooses?
What should he do if he (God forbid) wishes to have intercourse before he’s able to, or wants to, take care of a child? Force a birth control pill down his potential lover’s throat every day for a month or two before finally having condom-clad sex with her, to make sure the BC is actually being used by the woman and that the doubling up of contraception methods will lower his chances of being at the mercy of a woman’s decisions about the circumstances of the rest of his life?
Oh yes, we have come a long way in regard to the equality of the sexes.
Britannia August 31, 2011, 5:25 pm
BGM – You can be liberal but also be so overwhelmed by the emotions connected to a pregnancy that even though you are entirely pro-choice, you can’t bring yourself to have an abortion, yourself. It depends entirely upon how able you are to be “scientific” and “logical” once put into that situation. Some women cannot be.
Riefer August 31, 2011, 6:33 pm
Wait a minute, wait a minute. It’s hypocritical to suggest that everyone’s responsible for their own actions? Are you serious?
First of all, the condom, if used properly, is very good birth control. Personally I’ve never been on birth control because I don’t want to mess around with my body’s levels of hormones. So, I’ve used condoms starting from when I first started having sex, until now. I’ve never once gotten pregnant, and it’s been 20 years. You just have to ensure you use them properly (the effectiveness numbers include people who didn’t use them properly).
But even with that aside, I do think you’re totally out of line to suggest that women should be tasked with the responsibility of ensuring that men don’t have unwanted children. Sorry, but that’s horrible. If a man doesn’t want a child, it’s the woman’s responsibility to ensure he doesn’t? And then if she accidentally gets pregnant, it sounds like you’re then saying he should be free to leave (since it’s her fault), and it’s up to her to either have an abortion or be a single mother.
Trust me, I understand completely what you are saying. I just think it’s absolutely awful.
Also, just FYI, life’s not fair. I don’t think it’s fair that women have to be the ones to have periods and go through pregnancy, but c’est la vie. So yes, it’s not fair that men only have a couple of methods of birth control. But if they just go sleeping around willy nilly, they can’t expect that every woman is making sure that they don’t get pregnant.
Britannia August 31, 2011, 5:47 pm
Riefer, you seem to be completely forgetting about the option of a woman taking responsibility for her fertility and getting an IUD, using any of the various forms birth control available, etc. It’s not like having sex and inevitably getting pregnant is an involuntary thing like it used to be when our antiquated laws for paternal obligation were created.
Riefer August 31, 2011, 6:48 pm
Also, sorry, but this line is totally messed up:
“if ANY of the woman’s many birth control options fail despite his best efforts to be safe with his limited resources, he no longer has the option to not take responsibility for an occurrence that is not his fault, but rather the woman’s”
So if two people have sex, and the birth control is used properly and fails, it’s the woman’s fault? How does that make any sense? You do understand that accidents happen, right? And no birth control is 100% effective? So how is it the woman’s fault, exactly?
Britannia August 31, 2011, 6:05 pm
Riefer, you don’t seem to have the comprehension for what I am saying, because your argument has just looped around. If you can’t understand what I’m getting at, I don’t know what else will make it clear to you. I’ll try one more time.
The only birth control available for men are condoms, which are rather fallible, or a vasectomy.
The medical birth control methods available to women include:
Birth Control Implant (Implanon)
Birth Control Patch (Ortho Evra)
Birth Control Pills
Birth Control Shot (Depo-Provera)
Birth Control Sponge (Today Sponge)
Birth Control Vaginal Ring (NuvaRing)
Cervical Cap (FemCap)
Morning-After Pill (Emergency Contraception)
Women have virtually no excuse for having an unwanted child, short of rape and being forced to misuse/not use their birth control.
Again, it goes back to hypocritical nature of the thought you are advocating – that a man should not be able to have sex unless he is ready to have a child, because in reality he has very few options for being able to ensure that the birth control does not fail and based on your assumption of forced responsibility, if ANY of the woman’s many birth control options fail despite his best efforts to be safe with his limited resources, he no longer has the option to not take responsibility for an occurrence that is not his fault, but rather the woman’s. That is NOT FAIR.
Jess of CityGirlsWorld.com September 1, 2011, 12:35 pm
Jess of CityGirlsWorld.com September 1, 2011, 12:36 pm
savannah September 1, 2011, 7:58 am
BGM, I can’t believe how flippant you are about the process of deciding to abort a pregnancy. Using the words like ‘easily, simple’ and others shows your total lack of regard for how hard it actually is to come to that decision for many people. Plus I think you don’t understand the term pro-choice. Yes, there are many many liberals who support pro-choice but who would never chose an abortion for themselves.
Sue Jones August 31, 2011, 6:42 pm
She can choose to get an abortion, or not, whereas he really has no say in that particular matter. So I would say that she holds more power in the decision making on this particular issue at this point. So she has the power to trap or not trap given the situation as it stands. Whereas, at the time of conception, we really don’t know anything more than conception occurred.
CatsMeow August 31, 2011, 3:49 pm
Birth control works WAY better than some people think it does. I’ve never had an accidental pregnancy, and neither has anyone I know that absolutely DOES NOT want children. BC is not well-tolerated by some people, but there are so many options now that there’s probably something out there for everyone. You also have to know how to use it correctly (for isntance, the pill has to be taken at the SAME TIME every day, antibiotics can make it less effective, etc.). Obviously, some BC options are more expensive than others, and you have to have access to a doctor first who can prescribe it for you, so for low-income women there are more barriers. This of course does not apply to LW though, since she has a good job and good insurance, and is well-educated to boot.
spark August 31, 2011, 10:34 pm
Exactly. It’s annoying when people make it sound like birth control is a roll of the dice. It’s actually pretty close to 100% effective. And if it’s THAT important that you don’t have a child, and you are a man, use a condom AND spermicide AND pull out. The odds of getting pregnant would be so slim. Seriously. Birth control gives women AND men amazing control. It’s not a roll of the dice–use it properly and effectively and carefully and consistently, and it’s sooooo unlikely that a child will be conceived.
The pregnant bitch August 15, 2012, 9:32 am
Seriously I see why ur do bitter gay mark! It isn’t her fault soly . I’m pretty sure HE knew how to use birth control all his life as well! Frankly she shouldn’t care about the mother at this point. Shes bringing new life into the world & that should be where all her energy is going. If the mother can respect her then she should be allowed to see her grandchild till she starts learning what respect is!!! I know it’s easier said than done . We all (women) have this ideal idea that no matter the situation it’ll work it’s self out and be one big happy family. Clearly life isn’t so easy.
PFG-SCR August 31, 2011, 8:48 am
*removed double post*
Amanda August 31, 2011, 8:55 am
Wendy is absolutely correct. As the new person, you are the one who has to make the majority of the effort in fostering a good relationship with his family. A loving relationship doesn’t happen immediately; it will take a lot of time. Please don’t get discouraged. Good luck!
JK August 31, 2011, 9:17 am
Wow, what a difficult situation. As if starting a new relationship and living together wasn’t complicated enough!
I’d like to know the role that LW’s artner plays in all this (could it be he’s transmitting to LW things his mother says about why she doesn’t like LW?)
Although it would be a good idea to reach out to MIL, I think with everything LW is going through right now it might be difficult (not to mention the hormones!) Maybe with small gestures: asking MIL for advice, asking to go shopping for the baby with her, etc LW might be able to win her over. I know my MIL would have LOVED that.
artsygirl August 31, 2011, 9:23 am
I am so sorry LW that you are dealing with an unwelcoming family member. Beyond being hormonal, to have someone infer that the way you were raised – basically attacking your parents and childhood – is upsetting. The fact that you and your BF only knew each other a short time before you got pregnant probably reinforces her opinion that your liberal upbringing means loose morals (don’t get me started on the hypocrisy of that thought since her conservative raised boy had a large part in this situation).
I agree with Wendy, given time and some strenuous effort she will probably come around. If she continues to be verbally disparaging to you and your family, you can always calmly(!!!) tell her that the way you were raised and your choices are not up for debate. Then change the subject to something less emotional. We all hope that we will have wonderful relationships with our partner’s parents, but sometimes that is not going to be possible. Best of luck.
ForeverYoung August 31, 2011, 9:47 am
I have a terrible mother in law, so I have some slightly different advice, and i’m sure other DW readers will let me know if I am projecting too much, but either way take what I have to say with a grain of salt…..
Back to my mother in law being a terrible person – she really is. My husband is the oldest of three, and extremely mature. He isn’t into drinking and is more religious than his other two siblings, so she is in general pretty obsessed with him. When I was first introduced to her she couldn’t have seemed sweeter. But as soon as we got engaged Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde came out to play. She is passive agressive, manupulative and a compulsive liar. She would spread lies to other relatives, would over dramatize every situation, and in general would say negative things about my now husband to him all the time. (Things like i’m too spoiled – while taking out loans for school, – that I wasn’t religious and would therefore not make a good mother….) Luckily for me over the years she has found better targets for her shenanigans, but I will never feel the same about her. I will never consider her a second mother because the damage has been done. I tried to care about forging a good relationship with her for far too long, before I just had to accept that she is bat shit crazy. I am still extremely nice and polite every time I am around her. But I just don’t bond with her. She is the level of crazy that I don’t think even notices, so it has worked out fine.
I guess what i’m getting at is that you have a lot going on right now. I understand you want a good relationship with her, but I don’t think that she should be your main focus right now. Sure if you’re around her be nice and cordial and do all or any of those things Wendy suggested – like asking her for advice and such – but don’t bend over backwards trying to change her opinion. If I were you I would spend my energy on making a solid foundation with the boyfriend. It’s great that you are excited and have such a positive outlook on the situation, I think your energy would be better spent getting ready for the baby and getting to know the boyfriend. I have a feeling once his mother realizes that you aren’t going anywhere and that you and her son are solid, she will start to see you more as a permanent part in her life and less like something that she wishes will go away. And frankly I think a lot of these issues will go away once the baby is born. No one can resist a baby, and I have witnessed many crazy mother in laws shape up at the sight of a first grandchild because the more important things in life are glaringly clear. That and they realize the mother is the gate keeper to access to the grandchild 🙂
I’m not saying I don’t blame you for wanting a good relationship with her, especially if your family is all out of state. I would just lower your expectations for your relationship with her, work on your relationship with your boyfriend, and re-evaluate the situation when the baby is born. You have a lot going on! Keep up the positive attitude and work on baking a healthy baby.
katie August 31, 2011, 8:25 pm
i think this is perfect advice… in my experience, the more conservative types are much much less likely to accept things the way they are when they don’t align with said conservative views.
hopefully she will realize that you are the key to her getting to see her grandchild, and she will atleast be kind to you, LW. i would never say that she needs to absolutely accept you and your life, but she does absolutely need to be kind to you- your the mother of her grandchild! it is totally possible to be kind to someone and not really accept their life.
i really have to think about the worse case senario though, which would be that this “bastard” grandchild would become like a blip on the grandma’s radar if another “legitimate” grandchild comes along from another sibling or something… ugh. lets hope not.
MMR April 12, 2018, 10:36 am
I totally agree with this, and I actually really like my MIL.
I also don’t think this really conflicts with Wendy’s advice, just adds to it. The LW’s in-depth analysis of why she knows or thinks this woman doesn’t like her puts too much focus on this woman’s opinion. Try to be open and find common ground, but don’t let this woman’s opinion dominate your life.
If the bf is telling the LW these things, he needs to stop. Regardless, he needs to be facilitating this relationship. He’s told the LW that it’s important to him that she get along with his mother, but has he told his mom the same thing? Has he shut her down if she starts railing against the LW? If he wants their relationship to exist, he needs to leverage his influence on both of them.
If the LW is drawing conclusions from passive aggressive comments or body language queues, then she needs to learn to completely ignore them. Passive aggression is probably the MOST irritating thing anyone can do, because they can always claim innocence, but this actually makes it the easiest to ignore. Choose to never infer – be ignorant of anything that isn’t directly stated to you. If the MIL states a harsh opinion, “consider” it briefly, then tell her you feel differently. Be completely neutral. Be completely shocked if she’s “offended” by a decision that is different from what she has hinted, but never actually stated, is “proper”.
If the MIL is directly telling her that her choices are wrong, then she AND her bf have to consistently tell the MIL that they’ll be doing things differently. Every. Single. Time. If the MIL is getting vicious, then leave. It’s not impolite to refuse to be mistreated. Leaving or asking someone to leave is always an option.
Budjer August 31, 2011, 9:14 am
Regardless of WHY his mother doesn’t like the LW it is completely on the boy friend to ENABLE a healthy relationship between them…Wendy had some AWESOME tips on catering to a conservative/old-fashioned mother too.
LW focus on Wendy’s tips and as you get to know your potential future MIL you should be very observant on things that could bring you both closer and more familiar with each other. Push your boy friend to bring his mother around and if the comments above are true – tell him to sack up and remind her that it takes two to tango and he liked you enough (hopefully) to be with you pregnant or not and that life is a long time to be at odds with your grandchild’s mother.
sobriquet August 31, 2011, 10:24 am
Seeing as how every time the LW sees or talks to the mother she ends up in tears, I doubt she’s really projecting. Some Southern Conservative women can be VERY vocal with their judgmental opinions and frankly, they don’t give a damn.
My bet is that she’s pissed that her precious son knocked up a librul woman he barely knew, and she’s putting all the blame on the LW. I mean, it can’t be her son’s fault… he was raised RIGHT! I can hear those gossipy conversations in the church parking lot… “If only she was raised in a good home, she wouldn’t have gotten pregnant out of wedlock! I pray that she doesn’t have a girl… she’ll end up just like her.”
Regardless, I think the advice is correct. LW, understand that her convictions are probably outdated and ridiculous, but you’re not going to change her mind any time soon. She may always hate you. Try not to take it personally and instead be the bigger person and ask her for advice. Everyone feels special when asked for advice!
mcminnem August 31, 2011, 10:34 am
Yeah…since the LW wrote “her belief and statement” I doubt she’s inferring. It sounds like these are things the boyfriend’s mother has actually brought up.
GatorGirl August 31, 2011, 10:32 am
I disagree with Wendy on one point…it is entirely possible for the mother to judge/dislike the LW soley based on the fact she has traveled and her parents don’t live together. I’m a “yankee” and my boyfriend’s family is from the Carolina’s- we’ve definitely had our share of issues stemming from this. Almost 4 years together, and the family and I now get along great.
LW, give it some time; if you want to win his mother off ask her to teach you a family recipie or offer to clean up after a dinner. Show an interest in his families past and their traditions and they will after a while embrace you.
lemongrass August 31, 2011, 11:02 am
My husband’s cousin got pregnant a month into a new relationship when she was 16. They decided to try to make it work and now they have 2 beautiful daughters, 18 & 19. They are still together and happy, some of my favourite relatives. So LW, good on you for trying to make it work. There will be tough times but it can be done. Good luck!
lemongrass August 31, 2011, 12:21 pm
I don’t understand how anyone can thumbs down a happy story.
ForeverYoung August 31, 2011, 12:24 pm
I was kind of wondering that too. That story is the perfect ending to a less than ideal situation!! Making lemonade out of lemons. Who knows maybe they thumbed it down because that is the exception to situations like this and not the rule?
Britannia August 31, 2011, 1:58 pm
I thumbed it down because the story is so unlikely to happen, and in no way helps the LW with her problems or questions. Really, if I were the LW, I’d be happy for the cousin but it would feel like you were rubbing it in my face that other people have it easier than me with their family relations.
lemongrass August 31, 2011, 6:23 pm
wow. That was not my intentions at all. It was more of a “things work out” story.
Meaghan August 31, 2011, 11:42 am
My fiance’s uncle is a strict Republican, and when he discovered that I held many Liberal views on various subjects he started going out of his way to belittle my views even when I avoided those topics to keep the peace. This worsened when he discovered my less than nuclear family as he reasoned that the liberal views are what destroys families, and therefor the country. So I can understand the pressure and stress that comes from being attacked by something that, quite frankly, is none of the other person’s business. Thankfully I only see him a few times a year rather than you having to face his mother on what I assume is a common basis.
You’re not going to be able to change her views about you overnight if at all, and your boyfriend is going to be able to either. What he CAN do is tell her to respect the mother of his child or risk limited or no contact with her future grandchild and himself. In time ideally she will see after the baby is born that you are a great and doting mother and warm up to you. Unfortunately you need to accept the possibility that she will not change her views, and should discuss with your boyfriend how you will handle that since in my experience people with that kind of personality have no problem voicing their opinion not only to adults but children as well. You two need to consider what to do if she starts belittling you or your beliefs in front of your child before the situation occurs.
Finally, I’m curious by what you mean that it’s very difficult to get into a level of comfort and trust. Does he think you got pregnant on purpose? Is he not comfortable with you being the mother of his baby? Are you worried about him being a father forever and supportive? I just wish that part had been explained a bit further.
Meaghan August 31, 2011, 11:44 am
Why can’t I ever post a message without mistakes?
honeybeenicki August 31, 2011, 12:10 pm
I think (re your last questions) the concern is that this is a brand new relationship. She got pregnant 2 weeks in and is now 4 months along. At the beginning of any relationship, there is the level of comfort you need to reach (that I don’t think a lot of people reach by 4 months truly) and it is probably harder with her being pregnant. That puts a lot of stress on any relationship, so is probably extremely hard on a new one.
convexed August 31, 2011, 11:44 am
Oh man, that sounds like a challenge, LW. Coming from a conservative family and region and turning out as liberal as one can be, I absolutely believe the mother could and does feel this way, for those reasons, and have no qualms communicating tt to you & yr bf both directly and indirectly. Boy, is Wendy lucky if she’s never encountered this particular ‘culture shock’! She’s right; do your best to endear yrself to the old lady–without torturing yourself!–and when little baby joins the family, your efforts and baby’s charms are likely to have softened her heart towards you. You’ve learned a lot from traveling and working life about diplomacy, and graciousness despite unexpected obstacles, I’m sure, so draw on your life experience and resilience to get you through these tough months. Your bf needs to be your ally, and coming up w a plan together to build a strong family that includes his mother in some way can be a great way to get to know and trust each other better. It’s too early to give up on this situation, so keep your patience, positivity, and sense of humor close to hand. You will need them in the hormonal and busy months to come!
kerrycontrary August 31, 2011, 11:45 am
I think that taking Wendy’s advice of finding opportunities to bond over the pregnancy is key here. Also, a lot of times when a baby is born out of wedlock grandparents have their panties in a bunch over the situation. Most of the time after the baby is born everyone falls in love with it and relationships improve a lot. You can’t dislike a baby! And people just put their differences aside and move on with life.
Skyblossom August 31, 2011, 12:37 pm
Lots of people love the baby but hate the parent. I’ve seen that over and over. They can’t get past their bad first impression, it’s like it’s etched in stone.
ktfran August 31, 2011, 1:24 pm
Kerrycontrary – so true!
I come from both a conservative and Catholic family. I say come from because I lean liberal. Anyway, my little sis got pregnant at age 19. My dad immediately told her she should confess her sins and he tried to blame all kinds of things as to why this happened, such as the way she dressed. She wouldn’t go to confession because there was nothing she did that she thought warranted it. Also, she dressed like an average teenager. I think my dad thought her skirts were too short, but I digress.
As soon as my niece was born, all was forgotten/forgivin because everyone loves her so much. We’re glad she’s part of our lives.
My sis is a great mom. She married the father and now I have two wonderful nieces! Things have a way of working out.
LW – maybe the mom will soften up. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you and your family.
6napkinburger August 31, 2011, 11:47 am
Interesting timing. Check out: http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate in today’s NYTimes.com.
Jena August 31, 2011, 11:48 am
Is it possible that she simply dislikes you not because of your family, but because of her belief that you have corrupted her son? Obviously you havent since it takes two to tango, but she probably thinks you coerced him into premarital sex, and now you’ve roped him into a lifetime of childcare with you. Moms of sons are CRAZY like that sometimes, and you need to talk with the bf about this.
That said, I feel like there would be far fewer “I’m having a baby with someone I barely know and now there are *these* problems” letters if people, you know, used protection or birth control. It’s a happy surprise, sure, but as the LW states, “not ideal.”
honeybeenicki August 31, 2011, 12:12 pm
I think this may be a huge thing. And maybe not even that he was “coerced,” but the fact that she can’t turn a blind eye to the fact that he had premarital sex. Before the pregnancy, it is probably something that could be denied, at least in her mind. I have a lot of family from the conservative south who seem to be in denial about their children and really don’t like having to face reality.
Skyblossom August 31, 2011, 12:40 pm
And they hate birth control because it allows their children the ability to do immoral things without consequences. So, he didn’t use birth control and he gets all the consequences that she hates but thinks the immoral deserve. So now she is stuck with her immoral son, his immoral girlfriend and the baby who is the proof that her son did the wrong thing and it’s embarrassing and maybe humiliating and shows she didn’t get the job done right as a mother.
bittergaymark August 31, 2011, 2:04 pm
For all you know she is merely aghast that her clueless condomless cad of son also failed to use birth control. Or it could be that she is simply annoyed that her boy had the misfortune to bang someone who is equally such a moron.
And before all of you chime in about the allegedly high failure rate of birth control…reread the letter. There. Is. Absolutely. No. Mention. Of. Birth. Control. Whatsoever. That means, quite simply, that there was none. Because if it had all been some “miraculous” failure, trust me, we would have heard about it…
honeybeenicki August 31, 2011, 2:39 pm
I agree that they’re both idiots for not using birth control and/or condoms (condoms especially – you dont know what someone has with only 2 weeks invested. Hell, you don’t ever really know), but just because it wasn’t mentioned doesn’t mean it wasn’t used. I would be curious to know if she was using birth control. And birth control doesn’t have a high failure rate, but it does have a failure rate.
bittergaymark August 31, 2011, 2:45 pm
I still say that had birth control failed, she would have made it a big part of her letter….
AnitaBath August 31, 2011, 2:51 pm
Because whether the condom broke has EVERYTHING to do with why her baby grandma doesn’t like her? This isn’t a letter justifying why she had an accidental pregnancy, it’s a letter wondering what she should do about a woman who seems to dislike her.
Britannia August 31, 2011, 2:55 pm
It *is* relative to just how irresponsible she was being, and also how likely it is that the grandmother probably thinks she’s a harlot, a man-trapper, or some combination thereof. These sorts of letters always end up speculating about this sort of thing, but I agree that it isn’t particularly helpful to speculate. Our opinions about her don’t matter to her life, it’s her child’s extended family’s opinions that matter.
AnitaBath August 31, 2011, 2:57 pm
What was on her son’s penis and what was going into the LW’s vagina doesn’t strike me as the kind of thing you bring up with your mother, so I don’t see how it affects how the mother views her. And birth control goes both ways, so even if they didn’t use protection, the guy is just as much to blame.
Jena August 31, 2011, 4:30 pm
The letter wouldnt have to be written if people were more careful. She herself says that because she has good insurance and is in a “good spot” that that’s why she’s keeping the baby, even though it’s “not ideal.”
AnitaBath August 31, 2011, 10:28 pm
99% of the letters on this website could have been prevented. Does that mean we should ignore everything else except telling the LW what an idiot they are?
honeybeenicki August 31, 2011, 3:02 pm
True. I didn’t think of it that way. It probably would have been something like “I got pregnant 2 weeks after we met because *insert birth control/condom failure here*”
Jena August 31, 2011, 4:28 pm
Like I said, this whole letter could have been prevented…
L September 1, 2011, 1:32 am
BGM, you sure assume a lot of things in this letter…the LW is just trying to make the best of the situation. Maybe they had too much to drink. Maybe, just MAYBE they did use birth control and it wasn’t used properly or malfunctioned. It is possible. She might seem “too happy” about the pregnancy as you stated earlier, but honestly, it appears to me that she’s just trying to do the right thing. I sincerely doubt anyone would absolutely want to get pregnant in the first two weeks of dating (personally, I’d be so freaked out I wouldn’t know what to do with myself), and she’s probably terrified deep down of the uncertainty. However, it appears to me she’s making the best of her situation. There’s no right answer to what the “best” answer is, but in this letter she just wants to create the best possible relationship with her boyfriend’s mom. Now can you please stop blaming her?
Anonymous September 1, 2011, 5:11 am
I can never decide if BGM hates the letter writers, or hates women. He berates both often enough, generally, and specifically.
It gets very boring.
L September 1, 2011, 11:12 am
I’m personally of the opinion that we need to be supportive of the letter writers here in this community, and sometimes I feel there are times that people over-analyze the situations. Of course, sometimes they need a kick in the pants…heck, we all do from time to time…but they don’t write letters to Wendy to have every single action judged and critiqued by us. In this particular situation, I’m sure people around her have asked her if she used birth control. I’m sure people around her have analyzed (and maybe condemned) the fact that she got pregnant after 2 weeks with this dude. I”m just saying she doesn’t need people on this site who don’t even know her to rant about every little detail and analyze and critique her when that’s not even the advice she is asking for. What’s done is done.
Bossy Italian Wife August 31, 2011, 12:09 pm
Oof. Wendy is right! Honey, this is a hard one for everyone, and I am sorry to say it because you are probably hormonal as hell right now, but you gotta put on your big girl pants here. If she is as conservative as you say, she is probably shocked. Every parent (as you will soon find out) wants the best for their child–she probably envisioned a big, Southern wedding and all the excitement that goes along with seeing your child wed, and THEN the baby stuff.
Give her time. Be nice to her. Win her with kindness, and try to keep a stiff upper lip. If you are going to be a part of his family, you are going to have to find a way to this work. Why not try being honest with her, for starters, but sending a letter or card stating, “I know this isn’t the way everyone planned, but I would love to have a relationship with you.”
As per her comments on your family, who cares? She’s entitled to her opinion just as much as you are entitled to yours. Just agree to disagree. I happen to be an agnostic whereas my husband’s family is Catholic… sometimes you just gotta not go there.
Good luck, though, I hope it works out….
MiMi August 31, 2011, 12:10 pm
This has been a rapidly changing and emotional time for you in many ways, LW, and some of that may be pregnancy-induced and some of it may be boyfriend’s-mom-induced. Let’s face it, some mothers of sons would despise you even if you arrived in their sons’ lives on the wings of angels and dripping with diamonds.
The only appropriate way to deal with someone who is unfairly judgmental and not at all supportive or helpful is to go about your business without reference to that person. Guess what? This not about her, this is about you, your new relationship and the wonderful new life in your belly. You are fortunate to have all the necessities of life handled, you and your boyfriend are excited about the baby and being a family, and you have time and resources to really enjoy this beautiful time of life. Enjoy it! Mom doesn’t like it? Meh! If you’re ready to be a parent, you’re ready to not be thrown by someone else’s miffs or sniffs. Just shake your head in a kind way and let it go – she will do what she will do (no matter what you do) so don’t apologize for being exactly who you are, with the parents and upbringing that you had, and look for care, comfort, and support elsewhere than in this woman. And if your boyfriend gets fidgety because Mom is turning screws on him, remind him that it’s up to him and to you to decide how things are going to be in your family, together.
Sistine August 31, 2011, 12:39 pm
I also don’t buy that she doesn’t like the LW because she traveled and her parents don’t live together. Those seem like odd reasons to dislike someone. I wonder where she got the impression that those were the reasons. I would think the mother is probably upset because of the quick pregnancy. Did the LW meet her before she got pregnant when she was dating her son, or was it more of a “Hi mom, I want to introduce you to my new girlfriend. By the way, we’re having a baby.” That would upset any parent. Or maybe the mother suspects the baby isn’t her son’s due to how quickly she got pregnant and feels protective of her son, like she’s trying to pin a kid on him that isn’t his. Regardless, both the LW and her boyfriend need to try to harbor a good relationship with the mother. You’re all family now and need to work out civil relationships for the sake of the kid. I think Wendy had good advice to reach out to the mother for parenting advice and let her know you plan to include her in the baby’s life.
Skyblossom August 31, 2011, 12:48 pm
I’m guessing the mother sees the parents who don’t live together as not placing much value on marriage and family. Her opinion is that they value their jobs and income over being together as a family and she probably sees that as little better than a broken home. She probably invisioned her son happily married to someone from a “nice”, stable, conservative family before he had a baby and now her vision is forever broken and she is thinking about her grandchild who will most likely be growing up in a broken family. Also, if they travel alot that means the child may not grow up anywhere near her where she can have a close relationship with it.
bittergaymark August 31, 2011, 1:42 pm
Or it could be that she always just envisioned her some having children with somebody he actually knew….
bittergaymark August 31, 2011, 1:43 pm
Her = him.
Joanna August 31, 2011, 1:57 pm
Actually, it would make more sense if you corrected “some” to “son”.
bittergaymark August 31, 2011, 2:47 pm
Egads, typos abound today in my posts…
honeybeenicki August 31, 2011, 2:07 pm
Well now, where is your sense of adventure? But yes, would have to agree. But I don’t think the mother should be taking it out on the girlfriend either. The girlfriend wasn’t alone in getting pregnant 2 weeks in.
6napkinburger August 31, 2011, 4:50 pm
But the woman gets to choose if there’s going to be an abortion.
Britannia August 31, 2011, 2:01 pm
I imagine that everything is an issue for her. This is not the woman or the circumstances with which she envisioned her son starting the family’s next generation. Hopefully she will be enlightened enough to realize that even if the mother of her grandchildren is not who she hoped for, her grandchildren deserve all the love and affection their entire family can provide.
caffeinatrix August 31, 2011, 1:29 pm
It’s not clear whether the LW has heard the BF’s mother’s assertions straight from her, or whether she said this to someone else, like the BF, who then told the LW later. Regardless, I wouldn’t be surprised if the mother really believes this; I’ve known some Southern women who wouldn’t think this reasoning is the least bit crazy. I think it’s also reasonable to assume that on top of the mother’s listed reasons for hating the LW, she also probably blames the LW for “corrupting” her son, maybe even believes she intentionally trapped him with a pregnancy- because we all know how well that works. This would be a difficult situation even with a fully supportive family behind you; having to deal with a close family member who’s heaping all this extra drama on top of it can make it feel unbearable. Looking for a way to connect with her on common ground is a great suggestion. Try not to get defensive, and keep in mind that the only possible path to the relationship you want will be to rise above the mother’s cattiness. It may take a while, like a few years.
That said, she may never get past this because it’s possible she’s just a little nuts. You may never be able to rely on her or have a great relationship with her because she’ll never respect you and/or will always look for a way to undermine you. My own father is just such a person, and the only way I’ve been able to deal with it is by avoiding him altogether. Some of the mother’s beliefs about the LW remind me of things he’s said. Growing up, he never missed an opportunity to let me know that he had high expectations for me, and I consistently did not meet them. He judged me harshly on everything, and never forgot it or forgave it if I did something he didn’t like. I basically stopped talking to him when he suggested that I was either a lesbian or mentally ill because I was single with no relationship prospects at-gasp!- age 21.
It’s early on in your relationship, and there’s time for the mother to come around, so put in the effort to connect with her on what common ground you do have and give her the benefit of the doubt. At the same time, don’t twist yourself into a pretzel trying to make her like you, and accept that it’s possible you may never have the relationship you envision.
Nick August 31, 2011, 1:34 pm
Well, I’m just gonna say it. Its time to “find Jesus.” Clearly you have developed dissembling skills, so why not engage in the one great defense gambit they will have to respect!? [I’m 65% kidding.]. Think of it as using some of that great travel experience you have in learning to adapt to local customs… Now that you’re stuck with these kin, might as well get used to it.
bittergaymark August 31, 2011, 1:36 pm
Eh, so his mother HATES you? Gee, I wonder why… Could you possibly have been more irresponsible? Oh, wait! You BARELY know the guy…but you have insurance?! Oh, well, gee, then nevermind! I so, so misspoke! Health Insurance!! Why, you are indeed a paragon of virtue and sanity. Because it’s so, so true that all one needs to successfully raise a child these days is a little insurance and the willingness to go out and land some equally clueless idiot you barely know by deciding to keep a baby you have apparently planned for less than most people do when they pick out a new plant.
So, his mother hates you? She is probably NOT alone.
You know what truly liberal, well educated people actually do?
1) They successfully use birth control.
2) They have abortions when they make stupid, idiotic, reckless mistakes.
3) They don’t act like abject idiots and then accuse others of not liking them because they are too liberal. Trust me, she doesn’t hate you because you are to liberal…Nor does she loathe you because you are well traveled and working… No, she simply hates and despises you because you are simply too much of an idiot.
End. Of. Rant.
amber August 31, 2011, 1:53 pm
First of all the right decision for everyone is not an abortion. If she felt she could support the child and got excited (who knows if she was excited when she first found out, I’m sure it threw her for quite a loop) eventually good for her. I doubt she was walking around trying to get pregnant. And while I agree health insurance itself is not a good reason to have a kid, I think it might be on her list of reasons she is ready. Steady job/health insurance is enabling to be in a place to have a child.
While I think every woman should have the right to have an abortion I don’t think it’s right to tell someone they’re stupid for not.
amber August 31, 2011, 1:54 pm
That last night of the first paragraph should read support not have.
bittergaymark August 31, 2011, 2:12 pm
Insurance that is tied to your place of employment comes and goes like the wind these days…
Good for her? Maybe. As for the child who she is bringing into abject chaos? Probably not so much.
Maybe she should consider adoption then. But the world is fucking overpopulated enough without all these barely wanted people growing up stupid and then repeating the cycle endlessly… You know, it just irks me that I have to read day after day in the media how half the country seemingly thinks (or at least fucking keeps voting for idiots that definitely DO think this way) that gays aren’t good enough to be parents… Meanwhile straight people everywhere continue to put less thought into having children than they do about purchasing a new handbag…
honeybeenicki August 31, 2011, 2:41 pm
“You know, it just irks me that I have to read day after day in the media how half the country seemingly thinks (or at least fucking keeps voting for idiots that definitely DO think this way) that gays aren’t good enough to be parents… Meanwhile straight people everywhere continue to put less thought into having children than they do about purchasing a new handbag…”
You are absolutely 110% correct on this. I know a lot of straight people who have kids that definitely should not and obviously didn’t think about it – not just less than buying a new handbag, but probably less than picking “paper or plastic” bags at the store. And I know gay people that would make excellent parents but there is a lot standing in their way.
lets_be_honest August 31, 2011, 3:19 pm
BIG GIANT GREEN THUMB to your first paragraph!
Jena August 31, 2011, 4:33 pm
Not using protection = asking to get pregnant.
honeybeenicki August 31, 2011, 2:10 pm
While I can agree with some of your post (and we don’t know if she was using birth control), I’d have to say that I don’t see it as fair to blame just her. If women could get pregnant without men… well, then we wouldn’t really need a whole lot of men around, huh? She was not the only one who irresponsibly had sex and created a new life.
bittergaymark August 31, 2011, 2:43 pm
Um, the fact that there is NO mention of birth control VERY much implies that there was none. Also, by calling the father to be a Clueless Condomless Cad, I think I more than addressed the concept that it took two to tango.
AnitaBath August 31, 2011, 2:47 pm
No no no! She obviously strapped him down to the bed, poked holes in the condom, and made him have sex with her. It’s her damn fault!
bittergaymark August 31, 2011, 2:53 pm
If women DON’T take responsibility for birth control, then they are fools as it’s their bodies and they really do have ALL the power here when it comes to keeping the baby. Hey, if I had my way, I would make it that if BOTH parents didn’t want the child, then it would either be terminated or put up for adoption. Seriously. I am so sick of paying for other peoples mistakes… If there is one thing on this planet we don’t need more of its people. Seriously.
AnitaBath August 31, 2011, 2:58 pm
Women are idiots, but men are just slightly foolish? Is that how it works when birth control isn’t used (which we don’t even know is the case)?
bittergaymark August 31, 2011, 3:47 pm
Stop putting words in my mouth. If it makes you feel any better the men are moronic idiots, too! Probably even more so, because they are putting their ENTIRE future into the hands of some chick they barely know… Who in the end probably doesn’t give a rip what they want…
honeybeenicki August 31, 2011, 3:06 pm
I trust no one except myself with birth control, so I can agree that women should take responsibility, but still think men need to think about it to (which I know you’re not implying that they shouldn’t). If more people (women especially) would use it and use it correctly, there would probably be fewer problems and fewer unplanned pregnancies. One big one: Its stamped right on the birth control prescription: Antibiotics interfere with birth control. Use a damn condom or other backup.
lets_be_honest August 31, 2011, 3:24 pm
“So sick of paying for other people’s mistakes.” First, lovely that you refer to children as mistakes. Second, how can you laugh at her for being glad she has employment and insurance in order to support her child without “you” paying for it. Great advice though to tell her she should just go have an abortion.
bittergaymark August 31, 2011, 4:00 pm
Okay, how about Miracles from God that Neither Idiot wanted?
lets_be_honest August 31, 2011, 4:06 pm
She said she did want it. Did you not read the letter?
bittergaymark August 31, 2011, 4:08 pm
After the fact. Or…if she DID want it before the fact, then she deliberately did NOT use birth control…which frankly is what I am beginning to suspect. “Gee, wow. Cool! I have insurance now — he seems nice! Let’s roll the dice!!!”
CatsMeow August 31, 2011, 4:13 pm
She wants it NOW, but it wasn’t planned.
Jena August 31, 2011, 4:35 pm
She said it’s “not ideal” and that it was “unplanned” aka MISTAKE
lets_be_honest August 31, 2011, 4:06 pm
Typical that you would only reply to that one minor part of my comment though.
Landygirl August 31, 2011, 2:12 pm
Ouch! I think what concerns me the most is that she’s having a baby with a virtual stranger. I don’t imagine that this will end well but that’s just my opinion.
L August 31, 2011, 3:25 pm
My thoughts exactly!
LTC039 August 31, 2011, 3:30 pm
The fact that she moved in with said stranger too. Yeah you’re carrying his off spring but that doesn’t erase any possible dangers from strangers. Two weeks? That’s nothing.
lets_be_honest August 31, 2011, 3:21 pm
I think its commendable that she at least has enough of a clue that she realizes its great that she has health insurance and a job.
lets_be_honest August 31, 2011, 3:25 pm
Right, thumb that down. Because we’d all be better off if she were on welfare and medicaid. WTF?
LTC039 August 31, 2011, 3:26 pm
Ahh Mark, we agree again. You said it beautifully.
silver_dragon_girl August 31, 2011, 4:25 pm
I’m posting it here because it kind of goes…maybe…a little bit…but I think people REALLY overestimate how wonderful health insurance is. Yes, it’s WAY better than the alternative, but you still have to pay for almost everything, at least partially. Most big plans don’t cover routine childbirth (complications can be covered depending on your plan) or related hospital stays, and I’ve heard it can run you upwards of $10,000. I have what is considered an excellent plan, and I still avoid going to the doctor because it’s expensive.
LTC039 August 31, 2011, 10:49 pm
Agreed. My co-payment for anything (dr.’s visits/prescriptions) $45+…Just had to pay $500 for an MRI. I know the MRI costs more than that. but when you’re already paying monthly; semi-annually, for insurance, it’s sucks.
bagge72 September 1, 2011, 12:33 pm
Get Aflac! It’s so cheap, and they reimburse you for so much!
Temperance August 31, 2011, 1:43 pm
I have a different take on this than Wendy does, having grown up evangelical. Also, you are PREGNANT and you need to take care of your health first; situations that are so stressful that you cry every time are not good for you or your baby.
The LW’s boyfriend’s mother probably blames her entirely for this little situation. Conservative, religious people, particularly of the Southern Christian breed, tend to believe that men are easily tempted by loose women. Since you got pregnant so quickly, she probably assumes that you tempted him by showing him your knees or shoulders or something. So, you see, it’s YOUR fault.
I don’t think that you need to win her over, LW. She sounds like a beast. I think that you need to have a frank talk with your boyfriend about the situation, and HE needs to step up and run interference with this judgemental witch. I realize that I’m projecting my experience being a part of those people, but having firsthand experience makes me really worried for you.
What will likely happen is that she’ll love your baby, and hate you more. She will probably even try and force you to let her force her views on YOUR baby, which I have seen many, many times amongst grandparents from my former church. Please be careful. Good luck with your pregnancy! <3
6napkinburger August 31, 2011, 1:52 pm
I’m not sure I agree that this is because she’s conservative and is aghast to find out her beloved baby boy is having sex. My parents are as liberal as the next typical New-England upper-middle class family is (though not WASP-y at all), and they would not be so happy hear that my brother and his “girlfriend” of two weeks are now with child, full well knowing (and actively approving) of him having sex. [I use “girlfriend” in quotes becasue at two weeks, that’s what she is. Four months later and preparing for the baby, of course, she’s his actual girlfriend.]
In my parents case, truth be told, they’d be annoyed/angered/frustrated/whatever that this virtual stranger to both son and them was keeping the baby. So maybe its not a “can’t believe they had sex” thing, its a “can’t believe she kept the baby after 2 weeks when i’ve donated money to Naral for the last 20 years so that no one would have to be in this position” kind of thing. While its certainly not my parents place (nor LW’s baby daddy’s mama’s place) to tell LW what to do with her body, that doesn’t mean they are automatically going to be thrilled with her “choice,” whether entitled to be annoyed/disappointed or not, they are going to be. And its a fair reaction. Imagine all the plans that they had for their children and the future they saw in terms of grankids, etc, and now that’s shot to hell, and his life trajectory is permanently changed. For the better maybe, but not necessarily. This is a situation that is, as said by LW, “not ideal” and everyone will mourn the loss of their expected future, whether they are “entitled” to have had that expectation or not. So unsurprising to me, of course the maybe-one-day-MIL is cold and unfriendly. But chances are, she doesn’t “hate” the LW personally, she just hates that there IS a LW. And that will fade as she goes through the grieving process, and I bet she’ll get to “acceptance” pretty fast once her grandbaby arrives.
So, while I’m sure I’ll get thumbed down for this, the LW should spend just a little bit of time putting herself in the shoes of the PFMIL. LW herself didn’t mean to, or expect to get pregnant and I’m sure had some negative feelings about it at first, which she then got over once she decided to have the baby. Give the PFMIL that same leeway, to have negative feelings that this is occurring, because it does change the PFMIL’s life too. (Of course not as much, or to the same extent, but there will be a life change.) Show some understanding for her disappointment, then encourage/allow her to get on board the happy baby’s coming train. Don’t hold her initial coolness against her, as it is a totally reasonable (if not “fair”) response to the situation. Allow the PFMIL to get to know YOU, who is probably awesome, so she doesn’t consider you just some girl who got knocked up by her son and insisted on keeping the baby. Others will say that its not your job to do this, and too bad for her, and its your life, not hers, and she has no right to but into your business and care, and she’s ignorant for not supporting this. But holding that opinion won’t help your problem, showing empathy will. (I can hear thumbs-downers saying “LW should have to show empathy to the PFMIL???? PFMIL’s not pregnant, PFMIL’s not having her life turned upside down, LW doesn’t owe her anything! stay true to you and ignore the haters!”) You don’t “owe” her anything, but you certainly are in a position to give her something, something that will be appreciated and will make your own life easier. Acknowledge that she’s grieving and that its reasonable for her to be sad/dissappointed. Show her that you’re awesome and are happy to be a part of the family now.
honeybeenicki August 31, 2011, 2:13 pm
My concern with this is that if the mother’s issue is truly what you said it is, then maybe she should put on her big girl panties and be a grown up and say THAT instead of what LW is saying she said.
6napkinburger August 31, 2011, 2:23 pm
I see your point, but I mean, is there anything meaner than “I can’t believe you got knocked up and ruined my son’s life? Why in the world didn’t you just get an abortion?”
Don’t get me wrong:
“Oh, your parent’s don’t live in the same state? And they’re still married? So that’s your example for what a marriage should look like?… How … progressive. You didn’t go to college and instead wandered around the country? And your parents financially supported you while you did this? And this type of support and guidance is the basis for you knowledge of child-rearing? My, how … liberal….” Is passive-aggressive, no doubt, but nothing is as mean as the truth of what the PFMIL is feeling, and the truth is something she can never really take back, because its so mean. We don’t know how actually mean the PFMIL was being or how much the LW read into the anger/disapproval behind the words. But thank goodness she didn’t just say THAT, or else this might have done irrevocable damage.
bittergaymark August 31, 2011, 2:57 pm
Mean, yes. But also honest? Yes. Justified? Um, yeah, I say… Hell YES!
CatsMeow August 31, 2011, 4:00 pm
Honest and justified, yes – BUT it’s in everyone’s best interest at this point for the mom to at least be cordial to the LW. What’s done is done. They can only move forward from here.
Sue Jones August 31, 2011, 11:33 pm
Yeah, really. for example: Son’s plans to further his education and go to grad school, etc. = OUT THE WINDOW, Son’s plans to work his way up the career ladder by putting time into his career and gathering resources before settling down and having children with someone he has been with and actually gotten to know first thus bolstering the success of the relationship = OUT THE WINDOW, etc. But chances are, baby mama will end up a single mom and baby daddy will have to pay her lots of money in child support which will be hard at that young age before the career is established, etc. and the child will suffer, or MIL will have to contribute to supporting the child/ paying child support instead of saving for her own retirement, etc. because son is young with limited education, resources, etc. etc. etc. Just a slippery red state slope into trailer trash poverty…. how typical and how pathetic. Hippie liberal chick baby mama needs to get a clue and seriously suck up to MIL and show that she has what it takes to not be a drain on everyone’s resources because that is where this looks like it is heading. And for heaven’s sake, use birth control, get your tubes tied, etc. so you don’t get knocked up again until you are more established in your life with a partner you actually know!
Britannia August 31, 2011, 2:22 pm
I believe that what the future grandmother said was a round-about way of saying that the LW is not at all the woman who she envisioned would bear her grandchildren, and that she doesn’t think that the values LW was raised with will provide her grandchildren with the home life and value system that the grandmother wants her grandchildren to have.
cobalt August 31, 2011, 1:56 pm
Not trying to be nit-picky, but I think the LW may be from Arkansas (based off her signature) while the response mentions Alabama. The sound advice still applies though!
amber August 31, 2011, 1:58 pm
I don’t think any parent dreams of their child having children with someone they’ve known for 2 weeks. More than likely the MIL is still dealing with this. And if she’s from a small town people will gossip when they find out. I’m sure she envisioned like someone said above being involved in a wedding shower for her daughter in law, etc. It’s just going to take time for her to get used to the idea. LIke Wendy said just work on fostering a positive relationship with her.
AKchic August 31, 2011, 1:58 pm
I’m going to hold off on judging the actual pregnancy here.
Let’s get back to what you perceive to be the crux of the problem. A poor relationship with the paternal grandmother of your future child.
I’m sure that with your hormones, you aren’t quite seeing what she sees, in her jaded eyes. You have helped to shatter the perfect image of her son. She could have kept believing that her son didn’t sleep around, didn’t have sex on the first date, etc until you proved her beliefs wrong. You are the shattering of her illusions. You are everything she isn’t.
You are also her replacement. This is an Aphrodite/Psyche complex. Mom is the MAIN woman in a boys life until his bride/mother of his child replaces her. Some women can handle it well, others can’t.
There isn’t much you can do to change her opinion of you. All you can do is keep making decisions to best suit you and your child. Be nice, but don’t kiss ass.
Good luck. It can’t get worse than my experiences with my current SO’s mother. She hired a family attorney and brought the guy to the hospital while I was in labor to try to convince her son to file for custody as soon as I gave birth. She also tried to force her way into the delivery room so she could prove at birth (based on looks alone) that the baby wasn’t her son’s. He is 2 1/2 and we still don’t talk.
honeybeenicki August 31, 2011, 2:15 pm
I’m sorry you had to put up with your SO’s mother like that. That is beyond disrespectful. And in what world can you prove, based on looks, that a brand-spankin-new baby isn’t someones? Thats just absurd.
El August 31, 2011, 1:59 pm
I’ll be purple-thumbed to hell for this, but here goes…
LW- I disagree that you should indulge this woman at this point in time. It will feel unnatural and forced, as there seems to be a lot of resentment and hurt feelings involved here. If she’s telling you (as you stated) that she think you’re going to be a terrible mother – I don’t feel that your walking on eggshells around her will be effective. Her attitude sounds terrible, and I fear that any attempt on your part to find common ground may be immediately rebuffed.
Sometime over the next few months, your boyfriend needs to have a very frank conversation with his mother. He needs to explain to her that while the situation is not ideal, if she wishes to have a relationship with her grandchild, her attitude about you needs to change ASAP. “My good conservative sensibilities are offended” is NOT an excuse to treat you like a scapegoat, or make rude comments about your family or career. Hopefully, over time, she will realize that having a relationship with her son and his family is more important than her judgmental hang-ups over you. Ideally, a HUGE apology will be coming your way when she comes to this conclusion.
In the meantime, if I were you, I would be cordial, but would not go out of my way to engage her in in-depth conversation. Remember, your number one priority needs to be tending to both your health and the health of your unborn child. If this woman is a source of stress or negativity for you, you should consider reducing contact until after your child is born. Leave the difficult conversation for your boyfriend to handle, and give her time to self-reflect. Perhaps, over time, you and mother will actually be able to find common ground and form a positive relationship in a manner that is not so forced.
6napkinburger August 31, 2011, 2:07 pm
Just a piece of advice (not saying you said this): Never insist on an apology. You’d be surprised how much people will change and accept things they don’t like and give up the high ground, and play nice with others, and do a 180 on their past behavior, etc etc, but not if you force a literal apology out of them. They will dig in their heels and insist that they’re right. Because the number one reason people accomodate what others want/insist on is because they tell themselves “you know you’re right and they’re wrong, but be the bigger person and get what you want” until they forget that this excuse was the reason they were being nice and then just are nice from then on. But if you make them literally apologize, many people who would have accomodated will just dig in their heels, because of pride and embarrassment. You don’t need the apology, you need the good behavior and reduced stress. You don’t need to break her to win this battle.
El August 31, 2011, 2:29 pm
What I meant was, hopefully she’ll take time to think about her actions, and will decide to act like an adult and apologize on her own.
For the record, I don’t think this will happen anyway.
katie August 31, 2011, 8:47 pm
this is the avenue I would personally take…
and yes, this problem is the boyfriend’s, NOT yours. he will probably figure that out very quickly when the grandma isn’t allowed to see the grandchild, if it gets that bad.
anonymous August 31, 2011, 2:12 pm
When I know that someone really doesn’t like me, I have to consider how important the relationship is in my life. If it’s not important, meh, I don’t worry about it.
If it is important, I think:
1. What could I have done to upset the person?
2. What is some common ground on which I could approach him or her?
3. What are his/her beliefs about what happened (put myself in his/her shoes)?
4. How can I be more sensitive and caring?
The thing is, you CANNOT change the other person. You can only change yourself. If the person continues to hate you, you can feel serene in the knowledge that you have done everything you can.
Katie August 31, 2011, 2:32 pm
THANK YOU for welcoming your unplanned baby into this world instead of doing the other… You are already a better mother than most since half of unplanned babies are aborted. KUDOS to you!!!!
Kate August 31, 2011, 2:39 pm
Riiiight. The world needs MORE unplanned people, right?
bittergaymark August 31, 2011, 3:02 pm
Yeah! You know what? Fuck it! Just run around having unprotected sex with each and every guy you meet because as long as you decide to keep the baby and then raise it in an environment that is sure to be simmering in hostility and open resentment on all sides then all is right with that world. Oh, happy day!
lets_be_honest August 31, 2011, 3:35 pm
I don’t believe you really even read her comment. “You are already a better mother than most since half of unplanned babies are aborted.” Umm, technically she is correct, seeing as how women who abort their babies are not mothers. No wwhere did she say lets all run around having sex with random men unprotected. She is applauding the decision to keep her child, rather than abort it. She is not a teenager, has a job and health insurance. She’s in a much better place than most new unmarried moms.
bittergaymark August 31, 2011, 4:17 pm
Actually, I think she still considers those who abort to be mothers. Bad, murderous mothers, I would imagine. But mothers still, because every unborn bit of protoplasm is a human life…in her eyes.
Sue Jones August 31, 2011, 11:36 pm
Every sperm is sacred…
RoyalEagle0408 September 1, 2011, 8:43 am
If the LW is a mother, women who have abortions are mothers as well. The LW has not given birth. She still has a fetus inside of her. Just like a woman who decides to have an abortion.
Jessie August 31, 2011, 3:12 pm
So they are less of a person since they are inconvenient?
Kate August 31, 2011, 3:17 pm
Depends on what you consider a person.
amber August 31, 2011, 2:42 pm
I think saying she’s a better mother than most for just deciding not to have an abortion is a stretch. There are many reasons women choose abortion. It’s great that this mother feels she’s in a place where she can provide the baby with a good home but that doesn’t make her a better mother.
6napkinburger August 31, 2011, 3:04 pm
I think Katie saying she is a better mother is 100% accurate — by definition! The others are (presumably, unless they have other children) not mothers at all! that’s the best argument of course and firmly makes her point– the people who are mothers are better mothers than the people who are not mothers! yay p and q!
better potential mothers? more “maternal” ? more responsible? now that is a different (case by case) story…
Addie Pray August 31, 2011, 2:45 pm
oh, katie, sigh. i’ve seen 3 comments by you in 2 days and already feel like i know you… is this really spaceboy playing a trick? i think yes.
silver_dragon_girl August 31, 2011, 3:07 pm
I meant to green thumb you…not purple thumb…:(
silver_dragon_girl August 31, 2011, 3:17 pm
Cite your statistics, please.
6napkinburger August 31, 2011, 3:24 pm
I don’t believe in statistics. No one – NOT EVEN ONCE- has asked me if I watched the Oscars or American Idol. I demand to be counted, dammit!
lets_be_honest August 31, 2011, 3:40 pm
“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” Aristotle.
I wholeheartedly agree with you. And while I understand that most on here are pro-choice, I am not. I respect others’ positions that it is the woman’s body, I simply disagree. And yes, I have been there and kept the baby, as well as been in a position where I have offered to adopt someone’s unborn child in hopes that such a terrible act does not occur. I have never asked for or needed support (financially) from anyone. And yes, my child feels loved and provided for completely.
Kate August 31, 2011, 3:43 pm
How is a medical procedure a “terrible act”? Good for you that you have done so well with your child – not everyone does.
lets_be_honest August 31, 2011, 4:03 pm
I, and let me be clear for you: I, don’t consider ending a child’s life a medical procedure. To me, it is a terrible act to end the life of what I consider a voiceless child. To simply refer to an abortion as a “medical procedure”, whether pro or anti, is ignorant at best. There is such a thing as adoption, you know. And as BGM pointed out, there are plenty of people dying to be able to have a child.
Kate August 31, 2011, 4:07 pm
It is a medical procedure. You are ignorant if you think otherwise. Wow, yes, I’ve heard of adoption, but clearly, that option hasn’t controlled the human population. Nor will it.
silver_dragon_girl August 31, 2011, 4:17 pm
It’s not ignorant. It IS a medical procedure. You are imposing your belief- that life begins at conception- upon everyone. You are, of course, more than entitled to that belief, and to the life choices you have made based upon it. How many children have you adopted? You mentioned above that you offered to adopt someone’s child. How many of the ones you don’t know personally have you saved?
beans629 August 31, 2011, 5:49 pm
Umm. Silver_dragon_girl she can’t offer to adopt any kids. Remember she’s eating PB&Js to put her kid in a private school.
Yes. Snark intended. 🙂
kate August 31, 2011, 5:51 pm
Someone finally said it!
silver_dragon_girl August 31, 2011, 7:13 pm
bittergaymark August 31, 2011, 4:42 pm
Um, no. Don’t drag me into this. There is a vast surplus of unwanted kids out there already… If there is one thing this planet has in spades, it’s unwanted kids. The trouble is too many people out there are too picky…
SpyGlassez September 1, 2011, 2:51 am
Exactly – everyone wants to adopt the perfectly healthy, blonde, blue-eyed baby. No one wants the baby with cleft palate, or fetal alcohol syndrome, or the toddler who has autism, or the child in foster care who has been molested.
Marie August 31, 2011, 9:04 pm
It depends on what you consider a “child’s life”.Not everyone believes life begins at contraception.
Sue Jones August 31, 2011, 11:39 pm
Anti choice people seem to care about the “children” until they are actually born…
SpyGlassez September 1, 2011, 2:53 am
I happen to be pro choice, but I came to this place through being pro-life. And indeed, I would say I am still pro-life – but what I mean by that is that each life should be sacred and cared for, we should be making sure that the mechanisms are in effect to feed and clothe and house EVERY life, from natural birth to natural death. We are NOT there, and most “pro-lifers” will NEVER be there.
L September 1, 2011, 12:53 pm
lets_be_honest, I am totally with you, 110%. I understand that most people on here are pro-choice, but I happen to be pro-life as well.
Girl from Pennsy November 2, 2011, 10:17 pm
It is not any woman’s responsibility to create babies for rich women.
Budjer August 31, 2011, 4:06 pm
Some people believe that the moment of conception is when life starts and, therefore, that medical procedure is murder. I’m not here to debate either way. How you feel about abortion is where you draw that line.
Kate August 31, 2011, 4:08 pm
I realize this. But to say it’s not a medical procedure is absurd.
Jena August 31, 2011, 4:42 pm
Medical procedure. Performed by doctors and nurse practitioners (currently, although if people like you get their way, it won’t be a medical procedure as women will be doing it with coathangers again).
Budjer August 31, 2011, 4:12 pm
In my fantasy land everyone is born sterile until they are ready to conceive…or deemed unworthy of it in some cases.
Kate August 31, 2011, 4:12 pm
That’s a good fantasy…
CatsMeow August 31, 2011, 4:19 pm
I respect your opinion about abortion – but it is just that: an opinion. And some people have differing opinions. The morality of it clearly isn’t agreed-upon, and there are lots of gray areas, which is why I don’t think the government should should take away an individual’s choice. If you don’t believe in abortion, great – don’t have one. But don’t try to stop other people who want/need them.
lets_be_honest August 31, 2011, 5:07 pm
I appreciate your comment CatsMeow. As to your last sentence, I never stated I was trying to “stop” anyone. I tried to make it clear it was MY opinion.
CatsMeow August 31, 2011, 5:26 pm
I get that, LBH. But usually when someone isn’t pro-choice, they want abortion to be outlawed. There’s a difference between being personally pro-life and politically pro-life, and I’m not sure where you stand, so it wasn’t meant to be a jab directly at you.
Britannia August 31, 2011, 5:27 pm
Yeah, it’d be pretty hard to condone an action, and not want it to be illegal, if you think that the action is murder.
Britannia August 31, 2011, 2:42 pm
Yeah, I’m quite sure that all the children who are born to women who aren’t ready to be mothers, but had the baby anyways because of false encouragement about their ability to just magically transform into good mothers as soon as the baby was born, and end up being emotionally neglected or abused, or in an unstable home life, or are otherwise in a disadvantaged situation because their mother was emotionally and/or financially unprepared for motherhood, are sure to agree with you.
Jena August 31, 2011, 4:39 pm
Better mothers would PLAN to have a kid rather than deciding to have one with a perfect stranger based on having health insurance.
Carolyn August 31, 2011, 7:57 pm
Leave it to Katie to leave a judgmental comment.
Britannia August 31, 2011, 2:15 pm
I was a child born to a tattoo-covered, extremely liberal woman who married a super-conservative Lutheran man when I was 5 years old. Let me just say that from my perspective, it is your obligation to your child to make sure that this woman treats your child with love and respect. It doesn’t fucking matter what SHE thinks about YOU, what matters is that she will not treat her grandchild with contempt. Do whatever you have to do to ensure that this child will not be treated as the black sheep of the family, because it WILL damage his psyche.
Case in point… my stepfather loved me to death, but his mother, as a VERY devout (practically Puritanical) Lutheran, never found it in her heart to accept me. She was nice to me on the surface, but even as a child, I could understand that she felt strangely about me. At Christmas time, my stepcousins (stepfather’s sister’s kids) who were conceived after a Lutheran marriage to very successful and conservative men, would be lavished with gifts and always received checks for several thousand dollars to put into their college funds. I never received a college fund or gifts, because the matriarch said that my “real” family should be taking care of that.
One time, I ran into the house from the pool to overhear an argument between my step-grandmother and my mother… it was a fight over the college/trust funds, my mother screaming that her daughter (me) DID understand that favoritism was going on and that it hurt me, and that the grandmother should at least not give them their checks or mention them in front of me. The grandmother screamed back that I was a bastard child, that she prayed for my mother’s heathen soul and prayed to God that I would somehow beat the odds and be saved from the morally bankrupt house my mother raised me in. Then she went on to berate my mother for “promoting” my stepfather’s increasingly “errant” lifestyle… drinking, anger problems, missing church, etc. I just stood there with my jaw hanging open, in typical cliche fashion. It did serious damage to my ego and shattered the “happy family” I thought I was in. My mother’s refusal to find common ground with my step grandmother made the dissent between my stepfather and the Lutheran family increase worse and worse to the point where he became physically abusive to both me and my mom. They decided to divorce after my first time in Sunday School – my mom gave in and took me to the day school while attending church, and I asked so many questions of my teacher that would discount her lessons to my school group that the teacher complained to my grandmother. My grandmother blew up at my stepfather, who stewed all day and then over dinner, when it was just me, Mom, and him, finally exploded and threw a bowl of soup at my head because he couldn’t handle having both of the women in his life hating the other world he had one foot in. Of course, that was his fault for erupting like that, but it wouldn’t have happened if my mother and step grandmother had figured out a way to coexist.
I’m not making any of this up, by the way. I’m just hoping that by telling you what can happen if no attempt is made to integrate into the family in a positive way, you can understand that it really IS important to find grounds for a truce with the mother. It doesn’t matter what you have to do… it’s for the good of your child, who is more important than you now.
honeybeenicki August 31, 2011, 2:17 pm
“it is your obligation to your child to make sure that this woman treats your child with love and respect”
It should never be someone’s responsibility to make sure another person treats someone well. You can’t control someone else’s actions. LW can; however, make sure that the door is open for the grandmother-to-be to have a relationship with this child.
Quakergirl August 31, 2011, 2:42 pm
I disagree, only because when it’s your child, yes, you are obligated to make sure your child isn’t being mistreated. LW should make sure that the grandmother either treats her grandchild with love and respect or doesn’t have contact with the grandchild.
When we were kids, my mom let her brothers say and do horrible things to my brother and I, and it was awful. She tried to tell them to stop, but she didn’t want to exclude them from family gatherings for the sake of keeping the peace with her own parents. In retrospect, she should have just told them to either stop telling her kids they were worthless and stupid or go to hell. That’s pretty damaging when you’re not only being treated horribly, but when your own parent won’t even stand up for you.
honeybeenicki August 31, 2011, 2:46 pm
Now that’s a way I can understand it. I took it as she needs to be able to control the grandmother’s behavior. But yes, put that way I completely agree. If the grandmother can’t treat the child well, then she certainly shouldn’t have contact just to keep peace.
Britannia August 31, 2011, 2:45 pm
Actually, what you said is in agreement with what I said – that it doesn’t matter what the grandmother thinks about the LW, but the LW should do everything within her power to make sure that the grandmother accepts the child so that they have a loving, close-by support system beyond just his mother and maybe his father.
Quakergirl August 31, 2011, 3:14 pm
Sorry, yes, meant to agree with you. I probably hit reply to the wrong comment. Damn you, lack of spatial awareness!
Britannia August 31, 2011, 2:28 pm
Well, if the other option is to have this grandmother treat the grandchild with contempt and blame, I most certainly think that it’s the LW’s job, since she’s bringing the child into this family, to do everything humanly possible to make sure that the child has a family and a support system. She needs to put her pride aside and do good for her child.
6napkinburger August 31, 2011, 2:31 pm
6napkinburger August 31, 2011, 2:32 pm
wow, that looked so mean/judgy. I meant it literally, what “pride” are you talking about that she should put aside to do good for her child?
Britannia August 31, 2011, 2:38 pm
The pride of her ego – “I am super liberal! I do NOT go to church! You MUST accept me as the mother to your grandchildren, exactly as I am!” That sort of thing. It’s a natural action to being a liberal under the critical eye of a conservative to become defiant and demand that you shouldn’t have to change at all in order for a “truce” or something to happen. Even I dig my heels in and become indignant when someone disapproves of me in a personal sense, saying, “Screw them, I’m awesome, they don’t know what they’re talking about.” Which is true, they don’t know who I am, but that attitude doesn’t help my PR at all and is usually actually detrimental to the situation. Does that make sense? Both of these women need to put their pride (for their lifestyles and values set) to the side, enough to become amicable, for the sake of the child.
honeybeenicki August 31, 2011, 2:44 pm
The LW cannot control whether or not the grandmother treats the child with contempt and blame or with love and respect. That is on the grandmother. Like I said, the LW can open the door for the love and respect, but what is she supposed to do if the grandmother treats the child with contempt and blame? She can’t force her.
Belinda August 31, 2011, 3:35 pm
The LW can certainly remove her child from the influence of ANYONE who treats that child with less than love and respect, family included. Indeed, I think it’s her obligation to them.
El August 31, 2011, 2:37 pm
But, this works both ways. Grandma has no place to come into LW’s home and act openly disrespectful or hateful toward her. She can’t undermine LW in front of her children, and expect those children not to pick up on such obvious resentment.
Britannia August 31, 2011, 2:39 pm
I think it’s the LW coming into the grandma’s home… since she will most likely expect the paternal side of the family to provide the “family life” for her child, since her family is spread across the states.
Budjer August 31, 2011, 2:16 pm
Another consideration….all too often parents bitch to their offspring about the things they don’t like in their significant others….and the idiot offspring mouth that right to their s/o’s. I’m not saying it’s right that parents do this, but things the mother thinks she is saying in confidence (since she barely knows the LW) may be getting back to her through the boy friend. The BF isn’t doing anyone any favors if that’s the case.
lets_be_honest August 31, 2011, 3:32 pm
Some added advice: Anyone who wants to love your child is someone you should appreciate. Obviously, this is for after the baby is born and assuming grandma will love and enjoy the child.
Belinda August 31, 2011, 3:47 pm
I agree that if grandma loves the child that is a good thing. But you can’t stop there. It’s not a good thing for Grandma to “love” the child while simultaneously sending the message that disrespecting the child’s mother is okay. It’s not a good thing for Grandma to undermine Mom.
lets_be_honest August 31, 2011, 4:04 pm
I totally agree. I just know, for me, I have always tried to look at it that way. While I dislike many people who love my child, I at least find peace knowing that they love my child.
AndreaMarie August 31, 2011, 4:29 pm
I really don’t think his mother doesn’t lile you because you have a liberal family. I think she is, understandably, dealing with the anger/confusion/fear/etc of the fact that her son is going to be having a child with someone he knew for 2 weeks. Put yourself in her shoes. Think of all the things she’s thinking about. LIke what if there was no pregnancy, whose to say they would have worked out? Now they are probably going to get married but in reality, maybe they would have broken up after 2 months. Just like you don’t know her, she doesn’t know you! And now you will be a part of her life forever, wether it works out with you and her son or not.
I think you need to take a step back and really look at the situation you’re in and think of the many reasons why people, im sure in both of your families, are upset.
SpyGlassez September 1, 2011, 2:54 am
Damnit, meant to thumb-up.
bittergaymark August 31, 2011, 4:31 pm
The other issue here is day care… Not everybody thinks that day care is just great. And you know what? Plenty of daycares are anything but great. Personally, I can’t imagine ever adopting a kid just to shuttle it off to day care. Really? What’s the point? This is a radical notion, to be sure. But I really do think that SOME ONE should stay home and raise the child be it the mother OR the father. Heck, I know several stay at home dads — and I commend them. My own sister is a stay at home mom and having spent A LOT of time with her and my nephew this past year I simply can’t imagine her dropping him off five days a week for some one else to raise.
The fact that this is now considered normal strikes me as very, very sad.
Now everybody will jump down my throat about how many people have no choice and blah blah blah… You know what? All that proves to me is that our society is riddled with flaws… It used to be one person could work as a plumber buy a house and support a family… Nowadays hardly anybody I know can do that. And that’s a sad fucked up sign of a crumbling society… Not to mention our economy… We have all become SLAVES to money, to materialism. Couples all over LA kill themselves working to pay for a great big house that is only occupied only by a maid and the dog all day long. It’s really time people take a moment and reexamine their lives…
All around us, every day, people are caught up in the tragically trivial…
You know, a lot of my friend’s were in day care in the 1970s… And it’s interesting that very few of them are close at all to either of their parents…
Budjer August 31, 2011, 4:41 pm
I do agree with you on most of this post – if it can be worked out there should be a parent at home. The unfortunate fact of the matter is that most people CAN’T afford anything more than an apartment on a single income now-a-days while supporting a family. On a side note I was shocked at how ridiculous day care costs can be…
bittergaymark August 31, 2011, 4:44 pm
You know what? If you live in an apartment and have to work, maybe you shouldn’t have kids. Seriously. Hey, there is a real reason I’m not rushing out to adopt any. I am single and my work situation is sketchy at best in this economy…. Oh, and I live in an apartment… PS — Anybody looking for bargain daycare REALLY shouldn’t have a child.
Budjer August 31, 2011, 4:48 pm
haha…true about the bargain day care, but some of it costs more than a house mortgage…and I’m in no rush for children either…ew.
Britannia August 31, 2011, 4:49 pm
With bargain daycare, you usually get what you pay for (minimal and untrustworthy care, and probably with less attention given to your child than would be given at a normal daycare).
Britannia August 31, 2011, 4:51 pm
Also, I think you *should* pay a considerable amount for daycare. Your child is the most precious thing in the world, and I’d think anyone would be happy to pay premium to make sure their child was taken care of not as “just another kid at the daycare”, but as the most precious thing in the world.
Plus, their insurance/liability costs for a daycare are through the roof because parents can sue over practically anything.
Budjer August 31, 2011, 4:53 pm
I guess where I was going with it is if it costs $1500 a month for day care (more than some people make a month) then you are probably better off having a parent stay home…because obviously if you pay $200 a month for day care it’s probably borderline neglectful.
Britannia August 31, 2011, 4:56 pm
It’s always logical that if it will be less expensive to stay at home than to take a kid to daycare, that’s what you should do.
Budjer August 31, 2011, 4:58 pm
I had to clarify…those purple thumbs gnaw at my soul.
Pankakez August 31, 2011, 8:11 pm
ESPECIALLY in this economy, there are plenty of parents who have had to downsize to a smaller home or an apartment *after* having had kids because one or the other (or both) lost a job, or were foreclosed on, or faced some other sort of crisis. There is such thing as being a victim of circumstance.
I’m sorry if I’ve been picking on you the past few days, but I feel that the way you frame your comments is often not helpful to the LW – casting blame and name-calling, jumping to conclusions and/or speculating, throwing out your opinions on child-bearing and child-rearing in general along with opinions about the state of society, etc. On this letter in particular you are so focused on the idiocy of what led the LW to be in this position, as opposed to where she might go from here (which is what she wrote in about anyway, not “How could this have been prevented?”), and your comments are more or less slut-shaming.
It’s not your opinions I take issue with – it’s hard to argue with the position that both parties could and should have taken more responsibility and precautions and that this could have been avoided – it’s the presentation and language you choose that irks me. You seem to take pleasure in coming here every day and berating the LWs or mocking other commenters. This is an ADVICE column, often involving deeply personal questions and problems from LWs who are at a loss or uncertain or otherwise in a position where they feel they need help. If you have no advice to offer to the LW other than calling the involved parties idiots, then why say anything at all? You might as well just call yourself “Gay Mark” because the “bitter” comes out quite clearly in your comments.
Marie August 31, 2011, 9:06 pm
Finally.Someone else who agrees that sometimes.you.just.can’t.afford.to.have.kids.
Britannia August 31, 2011, 10:31 pm
But having children is a person’s right!!!! Oh and it’s also their right to force those insensitive asshole penny-pinching people who actually have jobs and income to financially support the people who exercise that right but can’t afford to pay for their children themselves.
Marie September 1, 2011, 2:51 am
haha yes god forbid we tell someone they can’t afford to have children.because then that’s just taking away their reproductive rights
Girl from Pennsy November 2, 2011, 10:25 pm
Which is why 65% of women who have abortions already have at least one kid already at home. They KNOW that they can’t afford another one.
Britannia August 31, 2011, 4:48 pm
I agree with you that although being a single parent is do-able and many single-parent-household-raised children turn out beautifully, I don’t understand why anyone would WANT to be a single parent or have a child when the living/parenting situation is undetermined beforehand.
The prime example I think of is, what happens when both you and the child are sick with the flu or something? You’re sick as fuck, but you still have to take care of the child, and risk constant re-contamination, prolonging the sickness. What if you get into a car accident while your child is at daycare and you don’t have any family in town and your friends are unavailable? What if you’re at home with your child who isn’t old enough to understand an emergency and use the phone, and accidentally slip and fall in the kitchen, and get knocked unconscious? The kid could accidentally kill himself before you regain consciousness. Etc, etc, etc. You really, really need a support system, a back-up or dual support, in order to have all your bases covered.
SpyGlassez September 1, 2011, 2:59 am
katie September 1, 2011, 3:32 am
i love cracked so much
SpyGlassez September 1, 2011, 2:57 am
I had a stay-at-home grandpa. I was in daycare for about a week and had a chair thrown at my head – I was about two. After that, my grandpa – who had never been alone with a baby, or changed a diaper, or anything – told them that he would watch me himself.
Of all the children and grandchildren, I was the only one he had a real relationship with (he was a difficult man, and had his own demons, but he loved me fiercely and I him).
Girl from Pennsy November 2, 2011, 10:22 pm
Daycare can be great. My daughter went and has just started kindergarten. Believe me she always knew who her mother was. They did not raise her. I am raising her. Five year olds go to kindergarten all day. Do you have a problem with that or do think all kids should be home school? Is sounds like you have no direct experience with daycare.
beans629 August 31, 2011, 6:01 pm
I was going to comment but then I realized that this is *smh* to stupid for words. Between this and the child pornography letter, my faith in humanity has completely vanished. *shudder*
I am now going to go throw myself off of the nearest bridge. *sigh* 🙁
bittergaymark August 31, 2011, 6:22 pm
Yeah, these Letters on here are increasingly depressing. The writers are truly not the brightest bulbs on the Christmas tree lately, I must say. I mean, “I got pregnant after dating a guy for two weeks?–How can his mom hate me?” and “My Husband is pretty cool, actually we have lots of other issues, too, but the most pressing is the kiddie porn? Can this marriage be saved?” really do reach all time new lows for how sorry a society we have truly become… So many people choose to either create (Knocked up!) or remain in (Kiddie Porn) their problems these days. It’s all very discouraging. Yeah.
Caris August 31, 2011, 11:43 pm
reading that letter made me utterly depressed
Sue Jones September 1, 2011, 12:02 am
I know…. child porn? “But I LOOOOOOOOOOVE him…” “Well you JUST have to know “JAck” Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwww! So glad I waited until I was a grown up to get married and have kids! And even then, you never know who someone really is sometimes. But I would say you have a better shot if you wait until you are older with some resources, some life and relationship experience (yes even fucked up relationships that you learn from and GET OUT OF and MOA from so that you know what to avoid next time), and when you actually have spent a few years with that person first! Sheesh!
katie August 31, 2011, 8:57 pm
that is so exactly how i have felt today to!!!
there is no hope for the human race.
beans629 August 31, 2011, 6:03 pm
I was going to comment but then I realized that this is *smh* to stupid for words. Between this and the child pornography letter, my faith in humanity has completely vanished. *shudder*
*With head hung low* I am now going to go throw myself off of the nearest bridge. *sigh* 🙁
Lets_be_honest August 31, 2011, 8:09 pm
Too, not to. Ironic you can’t figure out correct grammar when calling others stupid.
Kate August 31, 2011, 8:12 pm
“I, and let me be clear for you: I, don’t consider ending a child’s life a medical procedure.”
Incorrect use of colon.
Lets_be_honest August 31, 2011, 8:28 pm
Actually, you’re wrong. However, I applaud you on your effort in going through every comment I made on here trying to find an error. Hope you are able to fill the rest of your evening with something a little more productive. Good night 🙂
Kate August 31, 2011, 8:30 pm
Nope, I am not wrong. That is an incorrect use of a colon.
You also don’t know how to use commas correctly.
Carolyn August 31, 2011, 9:00 pm
Kate is definitely right. You should have just put a comma where your colon is. I wouldn’t have called you out on it, and neither would Kate have, if you had not nitpicked in the first place. I’ve had my work put in front of thousands of people, and I still make mistakes in posts on the Internet…because they’re posts on the Internet. I know your writing reflects on you, but for goodness sake get your head outta your ass!
Kate August 31, 2011, 10:39 pm
Thanks, Carolyn, and you’re right, I would not have nitpicked. LBH often uses incorrect grammar while posting semi-coherent messages, so I decided to say something.
Britannia August 31, 2011, 10:27 pm
Lets_be_honest, I’m going to be honest – you’re being incredibly hypocritical, and more than a little pathetic, by saying “hope you are able to fill the rest of your evening with something a little more productive”, because you were on here trying to “burn” someone simply for using incorrect punctuation. Why don’t you go do something more productive, since you think so lowly of this forum? Maybe if you spent more time working and less time trolling and bragging about how awesome of a mother you are, you could spend more time doing enriching things with your child, cleaning the house, or (God forbid) learning the difference between the things that matter and the things that don’t matter and the appropriate way to respond to the presence of them.
Kate August 31, 2011, 10:42 pm
If you read LBH comments on other threads (which I know you have) you can see how confusing and hypocritical they are. I shouldn’t stoop to her level, but I could not resist.
SpyGlassez September 1, 2011, 3:01 am
Actually, the colon could be correct, if she hadn’t used the first example of “I.” Also, she needs to remove the comma after the second example of “I.”
“Let me be clear for you: I don’t consider ending a child’s life a medical procedure.”
There, I fixed it!
kate September 1, 2011, 8:09 am
Right, but it was not correct originally.
Carolyn September 1, 2011, 9:45 am
Ahh bellissima! That’s the best way to write her comment.
*grammar nerd here*
beans629 August 31, 2011, 9:21 pm
Really LBH,thats the only thing you can think of…is to pick a my grammar.
WOW. Just frickin’ WOW!!!!!! In the grand scheme of things do u REALLY believe some ones gonna give two shits because I used ‘to’ instead of ‘too’???
For the record, my incorrect grammar landed me a job that pays me enough to send all of my chillun’ to a really nice school and I’m not eatin’ PB&Js err day to do it. *shrug*
That whole grammar police thing you just did totally validates how small minded you really are (yep, I’m gonna end that sentence like that and all of those other mistakes are intentional—- just to piss u off).
In the immortal words of Bruce Banner, “Don’t make me angry ‘cuz u wouldn’t like me when I’m angry’.
Have a nice day and suck it!
Yep, totally said that ‘cuz sometimes u just gotta say some shit to some people who think they know some shit. 🙂
katie August 31, 2011, 10:25 pm
yea, that person who constantly corrects grammer in every story just pisses me off to, omg.
and for the record, because america’s grammer is getting bad because of texting or whatever, her kind is a dying breed… pretty soon they will only work in musuems. we can only hope.
Sue Jones August 31, 2011, 11:44 pm
That is Capitol A for America…… 😉
kate September 1, 2011, 8:13 am
You mean capital “A”…
Britannia August 31, 2011, 10:05 pm
I can only assume that Lets_be_honest (which is missing an apostrophe, OMG BURN THE RETARD) is too busy nailing herself to a wooden cross everyday while bragging about what a good mother she is to form a logical and intelligent insult. Thus the “burn” on your awful, no-good, very bad punctuation… because that’s the highest form of insult, you know.
I remember going onto a Spice Girl’s website chat room when I was 9. It was my first time ever being in a chat room online, and I thought it made me look so smart to correct everyone’s spelling. If a 9-year-old can do that form of trollin’, you should not be using that as your first line of offense.
Marie September 1, 2011, 2:56 am
LOL i did the same thing on some stupid blog when i was 11.i thought it was hysterical
Carolyn August 31, 2011, 8:01 pm
I know a lot of you have said that you can get pregnant even with condoms AND birth control pill….HOW is this possible?? Now I am scared to ever have sex again!
Kate August 31, 2011, 8:01 pm
It’s highly, highly unlikely.
ForeverYoung August 31, 2011, 8:20 pm
People that say it’s possible to get pregnant while on birth control and using condoms really just didn’t use any BC, got pregnant, and don’t want people to judge them. It’s not possible. For argument’s sake….assuming it is possible, there’s this great little over the counter thing called the morning after pill. I’ve taken it several times…you know why? I DON’T WANT KIDS. If I have even a tingly feeling that I might have not taken my BC at the correct time the day before having sex, I go get it. And just like magic, I don’t have any kids. Nor have I had to have an abortion. Logic defies people these days – and i’m pretty sure it’s because idiots are the only ones recreating these days.
Purple thumb me all you want people. I don’t believe it’s possible unless some subconscious part of you wants a kid. Because everyone I know that is violently against having kids makes sure it doesn’t happen.
Kate August 31, 2011, 8:21 pm
green thumb you.
Pankakez August 31, 2011, 8:40 pm
I purple thumb you only because not everyone has access to things like the morning-after pill or to the education to know how to use it. I get the impression that DW readers in general are educated, proactive people who would not put themselves in a position where this could happen, but the fact is that not everyone in this country who is capable of having sex inherently KNOWS all the ins and outs, if you’ll allow the pun. Not everyone has the educational background to allow them to make truly informed decisions or to know about all the options available to them. That more than likely doesn’t apply to this LW – with a liberal upbringing, I would find it surprising if she didn’t know the fundamentals of sex and birth control, but just because it’s never happened to you or to anyone you know doesn’t mean it CAN’T happen, because it DOES happen.
ForeverYoung August 31, 2011, 8:56 pm
You’re missing my point. Yes – unplanned pregnancies can happen with no malice intent. But people being on multiple forms of birth control and still getting pregnant doesn’t happen. And i’m sorry if you’re over the age of 18 you have heard of planned parenthood, know how kids are made, and are an adult and responsible for your own decisions. At 18 you can get the morning after pill without a perscription at planned parenthood for under $5. I know all this because i’ve done it. So i’m not going to get into the discussion of people under 18, because it does get tricky in that they may not actually know the resources available to them. But after 18, you have no excuse.
Again my only point was that I think it’s pathetic that people want to put out there that you can be on multiple forms of birth control and still get pregnant. It’s false, and I think it’s a really damaging message to send. If young people think this is true they will just be like “screw it i’m going to get pregnant anyway, might as well not use anything” or “I guess I have to leave it to fate because there is no way to be 100% safe anyway”. Well that is simply not true. You can be 100% safe.
Pankakez August 31, 2011, 9:34 pm
In an ideal world, yes, everyone would be absolutely responsible about procreation and would have all the facts, but that’s sadly just not reality. Another friend in college, not the same one I mentioned before, honestly believed you could only get pregnant if the woman orgasmed as well as the man. She was certainly over 18 and our group urgently made sure she knew the truth, as she was quite sexually active at the time. While most people have heard of Planned Parenthood, a lot of them think PP only provides abortions and free condoms. Hell, I didn’t even know about all the various services offered by Planned Parenthood until the recent debates in Congress about its funding (although I did know it was more than just abortions). Ignorance is dangerous, but that doesn’t stop a lot of 18+-year-olds from making uninformed decisions.
Britannia August 31, 2011, 10:11 pm
Well, 99.9% effective contraception combined with another 99.9% effective contraceptive method makes the odds so impossibly slim that it could be said that they’re 100% effective when combined, but you run the risk of being in that 0.0001% margin of error every time you have sex. It’s reasonable to assume that the more often you have sex, the more often you are exposing yourself to becoming victim to that margin of error.
I’m really just playing the Devil’s Advocate here, though. I agree with you that oftentimes, people who accidentally get pregnant have only themselves to blame because they were not cautious enough using their contraceptives.
AnitaBath August 31, 2011, 10:18 pm
Neither condoms nor birth control are 99.9% effective. 1 in 100 women using the pill properly will become pregnant while on it within any given year. And I’ve had waaaaaaay too many condoms break on my boyfriend and I when we were using them to count those as being 99% effective either.
Britannia August 31, 2011, 10:08 pm
idk where you live, Pankakez, but the morning-after pill is only $45 here in Arizona and if you’re a person who wants to partake in an activity that could somehow possibly lead to creating a child, you should have at least a spare $45 in your bank account in case your birth control fails.
If you can’t afford condoms or the morning after pill… you should not be having sex.
6napkinburger September 1, 2011, 11:21 am
I’m sorry; I make pretty freaking good living and I can’t afford $45 bucks every time I have sex with my live-in bf. (Though after i reached my deductible, my bc did just go down to $3, which makes me happy.) I don’t disagree with you about BC or responsibility, or any of that, but I just don’t agree that “unless you can afford $45 bucks each time you have sex, you don’t get to”.
ForeverYoung September 1, 2011, 11:42 am
If you can’t afford BC ten you really can’t afford a kid or an abortion or hospital bills even I’d you decide to give the kid up for adoption…. So yeah if you can’t afford BC you can’t afford to have sex. Why can’t people understand that?
6napkinburger September 1, 2011, 1:56 pm
I’m not disagreeing with that. I’m just saying that, mathematically, maybe i’m being technical here and it doesn’t matter to her general point, but if a couple has sex 4 times a week on average at 45 bucks a pop, thats $2160 a year.
My BC is $78 a year. An abortion is somewhere around $300-1000? (I don’t know). If I have that, don’t I get to have sex now? That will still be under the $2160 of taking a plan B after ever time, which was mentioned as what should be a requirement to get to have sex.
6napkinburger September 1, 2011, 1:59 pm
sorry, typo *$9360 is $45 *4 times a week* 52 weeks
ForeverYoung September 1, 2011, 8:33 pm
Plan B is called that for a fucking reason. It is PLAN B. That means Plan A obviously didn’t work (BC and condoms). You’re right, comparatively it is really expensive. But you’re assuming that she only gets pregnant one time and only needs one abortion. All i’m saying is that you should be on BC if you don’t want to get pregnant. And Plan B isn’t good for your liver either. I’ve only taken it maybe 3 times, and it was all mostly because I was just being paranoid. But thank god I don’t have to regret not taking it and getting pregnant.
If you are really dumb enough to take Plan B everytime you have sex instead of wearing a condom and being on BC, then you really should just get your tubes tied for being such an idiot.
Britannia September 2, 2011, 12:08 am
Thank you for answering that. I seriously didn’t have the energy to stop facepalming and form a cohesive response.
6napkinburger September 2, 2011, 3:44 pm
Nevermind, I just had a problem with the insinuation that you should have to be able to afford a plan B everytime you had sex to be “eligible” to have sex. Like Learned Hand’s formula for risk assessment and fault. Not that someone should or does literally do that. (Like I said, my BC [pill] is now 3 bucks a month, 10 before I reach my deductible). Just a problem with the poorly-worded assertion.
I guess it stems from the same annoyance for the right-wingers: “you CHOSE to have sex, so you deserve to deal with a baby”; I dislike: “No one should have sex unless they can afford to raise a baby”, or “have fool-proof assurances each and every time you have sex (which really can only be done with Plan B), or you deserve a baby”. I just think its an annoying way of looking at it and lecturing other adults. (Whatever works for the kiddos is fine with me, as long as they emerge happy in their sexualities). I don’t disagree (in fact I actively support) education, and PP, and BC, and Choice, all sorts of programs, etc, etc, but there’s something about when people say “if you don’t x, you don’t deserve to have sex” that irks me. That was my point, which i was trying to show mathematically.
Maracuya September 2, 2011, 4:02 pm
I don’t think Britannia meant it as every time. Just in the odd case.
I just read it as “You should be able to afford Plan B if your birth control fails” and the implication being that the form of birth control was a condom. (“If you can’t afford condoms or the morning after pill… you should not be having sex.”) I mean, you can’t TELL if your pill fails so that sentence wouldn’t make sense in that context.
Sue Jones September 1, 2011, 12:04 am
THIS is why sex education should be mandatorily taught in the public schools, like it was in the ’70’s when I was a kid… (yep that makes me old)
Carolyn August 31, 2011, 8:57 pm
I agree with you mostly, but purple-thumbed because of the access concern, as well as how much money it costs, and the fact that sometimes people don’t realize that the condom was torn.
ForeverYoung August 31, 2011, 9:01 pm
Right – that’s my point. One form of birth control (in your example condoms) might fail. But two won’t. And it’s free at planned parenthood if you can prove you are in the category that can’t afford it. And even if you have to pay full price – around 20 dollars as of the last time I bought it was maybe 2 years ago – 20 dollars is a lot cheaper than an abortion or a child for 18 years. So if you really don’t want a kid you will figure out a way to afford it. If you really can’t afford the morning after pill maybe you can’t afford to have sex.
Pankakez August 31, 2011, 8:31 pm
It can happen if either party isn’t using their particular device/method 100% accurately. For instance, condoms do get weaker and break down and become less effective with age. So, say he used a condom, but it was the condom he had crammed in his wallet for months that got squished and rubbed and folded and whatever. Not to mention that certain lubricants interact badly with certain condom materials.
On her end, if she’s on the Pill and missed a day or is taking antibiotics, or if she’s on the ring or the patch and put it in/on later than she should have, then it’s possible for her to get pregnant. (That said, it is her responsibility to be knowledgeable about any prescriptions she might be on.) Those “99.9% effectiveness” stats are only applicable when both parties are 100% compliant and use their device/method correctly. I believe the stats for effectiveness of a condom when used “typically” as opposed to “ideally” is somewhere around 72%. (I can assume that “typical” use might include such things as putting on a condom after there was already penetration, not disposing of the condom or removing it correctly, not putting it on correctly, etc.)
Unfortunately, depending on the level and quality of sex ed made available to both parties, it’s entirely possible one or both of them might not have been totally informed on all these different rules and statistics. There are plenty of people who think withdrawal before ejaculation is good enough on its own simply because they were never told otherwise. This is why I think sex education is so important and why I felt compelled to write such a long response to your question, because ignorance about sex and birth control is exactly what can lead to situations like this. (Not implying that the individuals in this letter were ignorant, but speaking hypothetically.) I’m still amazed (and grateful) that for as conservative as the community was where I grew up, I still got very thorough sex education in junior high and high school.
ForeverYoung August 31, 2011, 8:46 pm
I believe the “withdrawl before ejaculation” is formally referred to as the “pull and pray” – which actually used to be considered a form of birth control. Shudder.
Pankakez August 31, 2011, 8:54 pm
A friend in mine in college got pregnant that way. But she COMPLETELY knew better, as did her BF at the time. No doubts about it, they were irresponsible. And I guess you could argue even those who are ignorant because of a lack of good sex ed are being irresponsible too, at least in an objective way. But I tend to feel more sympathy for them than for those who are knowledgeable about sex and birth control and still risk it.
ForeverYoung August 31, 2011, 8:57 pm
Let me guess – this friend told everyone (specifically parents) that they were totally safe and they must be in the 1% that the birth control just didn’t work. That is what pisses me off about people. Own up to it if you were just an idiot. I hate it that 70% of people that get pregnant claim to be in the 1% group where the BC actually didn’t work
Pankakez August 31, 2011, 9:20 pm
She wound up getting an abortion and I doubt she told her parents. She told me exactly how it happened and did not pretend she was safe. I have no idea what kind of birth control she was or wasn’t on at the time. I’m sure there are those who use the “birth control can fail” excuse to cover up irresponsible behavior, and that is irksome, but that doesn’t make it a myth. There are also plenty of people relying on only one method, myself included – I am on the ring and have absolutely no desire or plans to have children in the next few years, but my husband and I don’t use condoms. This means I am as vigilant as I can possibly be with my ring schedule, and if I do have to put the new ring in a day late (for example, I had a brain fart and forgot the pharmacy would probably NOT be open on a holiday), we use backup or just don’t have sex for that first week, as the NuvaRing instructions indicate. I know you can technically even leave the ring in for the fourth week and still have protection because it does have 4 weeks worth of hormones, but I follow the recommended instructions and take it out anyway – one, because having my period is a wonderful reassurance that I am NOT pregnant, and two, because following the instructions to a tee = responsible use of the product.
Oh, and as to cost (mentioned above), I have health insurance and I still pay $60-70/month for the ring. My insurance would only cover oral contraceptives, but I know myself and can honestly say I would not be responsible enough to use the Pill 100% effectively (I take daily thyroid medication and still occasionally miss a day or don’t refill it in time). That’s exactly why I opted for something that I knew I could handle better. It frankly does piss me off that insurance doesn’t cover the ring the same way as the pill, but I’m not in the income bracket that I could get a discounted ring either. I can afford it, I just wish I didn’t have to pay that much for it. That said, I don’t know what the going rate on BC pills is right now, insured or otherwise.
6napkinburger September 1, 2011, 11:24 am
Mine is 30 with no insurance, 10 before deductible and 3 after deductible.
Pankakez August 31, 2011, 9:23 pm
And for the record, I know plenty of couples who fully admit one or more of their kids was an “oops.” I was an oops, conceived before marriage but born after. My husband was an oops. My aunt, who was told after her second daughter that she would not be able to conceive again because of her lupus, wound up with a third child. Granted, I don’t know the details in any of these cases as to who was using what kind of birth control, but they all acknowledged that the kid was definitely not planned.
Sue Jones August 31, 2011, 11:45 pm
But they actually hopefully knew their partner for more than 2 weeks….
convexed September 1, 2011, 2:56 pm
I like the way this conversation has expanded, and it got kinda heated since I last commented. I do think this baby is well on its way, and i’m hoping the LW will be able to make the very best of this situation, by keeping her end of the interactions classy, by building a strong financial and emotional life w her bf, and demonstrating for the young one how to be resilient and resourceful and loving. Sure, there are too many accidental kids out there and on their way, but she can do her best w this one, who will be able to navigate liberal and conservative viewpoints w respect and a mind of her own after growing up with these disparate family members. Too optimistic? The other alternative, as mentioned above, is to go bridgejumping. Also depressing as these letters is the level of vitriol in some of the comments…
XanderTaylor September 1, 2011, 6:09 pm
The older I get & the more I experience: daughter pregnant at 16, now son’s gf is pregnant (he is 19/she is 18) – after assuring him many times over the last 8 months she was on BC & wasn’t and dealing with the feelings I have for my children’s SO’s, the more grateful I am for my former MIL/FIL. The last time I went home, we went to lunch & she introduced me as her daughter (not DIL or former DIL) even though her son & I have been divorced for several years. I never questioned her acceptance or love for me – I thought it was normal – until I realized how much I can’t stand my children’s SO’s. Man, it is a tough situation for not only the LW, but, for the mom as well. I can tell you from experience this is not the way she hoped her son’s life would turn out. I understand that everyone wants to have compasion for the pregnant woman, but I am here to tell you that mom needs some compasion, too. Perhaps LW could have a conversation with her & start out stating, “I know this is not the life you saw for your son” and go from there. I can honestly tell you this is not the life I saw for my daughter nor my son. And certainly not the life I saw for myself.
Mwalt November 9, 2011, 10:05 pm
Wendy, I know you are severely sleep deprived these days, but PLEASE re-read your stuff before publishing. There are at least two errors or typos in the first three paragraphs. Don’t let silly mistakes like this get in the way of your writing.
Mphoza July 15, 2019, 10:24 am
Hello am Mpho – my boyfriend’s sister n his mother hate me so bad and they don’t know me and am pregnant they like my boyfriend’s ex girlfriend i don’t really know what to do with this and i stay with him now my family already accept that i love this guy i don’t know should i continue with the relationship or i just give up like that please help me am stack.