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25 Feb 2004

Obsessive mother in law
HELP! I am 5 months pregnant. My fiancé and I have been together for 6 years now, and this was not a planned pregnancy, but we are coping with it. We have been living together for 4 years and he is an only child. His mother and him are extremely close – they talk to one another every day, or see one another every day. His real father is dead and his mother is remarried to a man I cannot get along with. He also has 2 stepbrothers we both cannot get along with. Problem is that his mother has always been obsessive about him, and she is starting to become obsessive about this baby. She calls him/her “her” baby and has spent thousands of rands on things for him/her. She recently insisted on going with me to one of my scans to see “her” developing baby. She only asks about the baby when she sees me, forgetting that I still exist - at one stage even asked me to give her all my scans because she is making a special album for the baby. I drew the line at that, but my fiancé gets the doctor to make extra scans for her now. She is constantly planning how this baby will be raised. She has bought books on how to educate babies and tells me how “we” will do this. Out of the goodness of my heart, when I initially saw how happy she was about the baby, I asked if she would like to act as the Day Mother because I work, and I thought it would benefit all of us (moneywise and for the baby’s sake). Now I am afraid of what I have done. I feel like a human incubator. I actually feel as though this baby will be wrenched from my arms the minute he/she is here. I am too afraid to book my Caesar as I don’t even want her at the hospital. I feel I have to specify in my birth plan that the hospital must allow NO-ONE except my fiancé near me and the baby – because she is the type to force her way into the delivery room and take over. My life is not my own anymore. I was told by her to get rid of my cats, I mentioned what theme I was using for the nursery and she has made her own theme, not relating to mine at all. I CANNOT TAKE IT ANYMORE! She is killing me, and my fiancé sees nothing wrong with this. In fact, he thinks she should stay with us for a week or so after the birth to help out. I don’t even want her near me or this baby ever, that is how much she is suffocating me. She insists I must tell her when the baby kicks because she wants to feel – this makes me very uncomfortable – I hate people touching me. I have nightmares about how they (her husband and her) will take me to court to get custody because they are very rich people, and I am not. She even told my doctor that because we have no money to get married, she will make sure the baby has food. That is such a load of rubbish – we CHOOSE not to be married, and how dare she insinuate my baby will go without food? We have never given anyone the impression we have no money because we are financially stable. I don’t know what to do. I wish I was not pregnant, because I never knew she was this bad, and I have no idea how to deal with it. She is actually a person with a good heart, and never intends bad things, but she is completely suffocating me. It is as if she really wishes this was her baby. On the other hand, I am a very possessive person – no-one must try to interfere with what is mine, so we are going to butt heads. I don’t want to end up destroying my relationship with my fiancé, whom I adore, because of his mother. He will never stand up to her – that I know for a fact, and his stepfather and her are extremely intimidating because they always get their own way (They buy their way into and out of everything). What have I managed to get myself into here?
Answer 877 views
Expert
CyberShrink
cybershrink

01 Jan 0001

Dear HELP,
It's amazing what awful things get done by basically nice people who think they are doing you a favour, isn't it ?
yes, tell the hospital in absolutely clear terms that you have an over-controlling and over-possessive mother-in-law, and that you insist that nobody except your fiancee be allowed into the delivery roo, into the ward, or to see or handle the baby, without your specific consent.
I don't know how often and how deeply you have discussed with with yout fiancee, but he nees to understand that what his mother is doing goes far, far, beyond normal loving care, and is distinctly creepy, and disturbing, and distinctly unwholesome. Tell him that this is YOUR baby, and his, but she keeps talking about it as HERS. Tell him that she makes you feel likenothing more than an incubator, and that he absolutely owes it to you to stand up to her and make sure that she backs off and cools of, and approaches normality again.
And speak to her, saying that while you appreciate her interest and concern, she is beign truly overwhelming, and leaving you very little room in which to be the mother ; that while you very much appreictae the idea that she will be available to be helpful when you need specific help, would she please give you and the baby some space, so that he and his real mother ( you ) can build the central relationship that will always be as important in this baby's life as hers is with her son.
However much money they have, I see no way in which they co0uld be allowed to take custody of the child, so don't fear that. They could do so if they could prove that you were dangerous to the child ( which would be nonsense ) ; even if you were desitute and penniless, the solution they ought to propose is that they would provide you with enough money to care for the child, not that they should take the child --- children are not supposed to be for sale in SA.
FTM has an interesting point about giving the child your surname. I didn't notice you sa anything about YOUR parents --- could they play some useful and balancing role
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