Friday, April 11, 2008

Mother, May I?

I haven't posted about this before, because I was really hoping that I would start to feel better about it. As time has passed, however, I find myself still upset about something that happened when I told my mother that we were expecting a boy.

Let me back up a minute.

My mom has been saying since the day the pee sticks turned positive that "it had better be a girl."

I did not have strong feelings one way or the other about the gender of our baby was, but I also knew that we would happily take whatever we were given. And when she would say things about how desperately she wanted a granddaughter, or how much cuter girl clothes are than boy clothes, or how much easier it was to raise us girls than my brother. . . well, a tiny part of me ached inside. I wanted to her to be excited about this baby, no matter what the gender.

As the date for the anatomy scan approached, my mother continued to make comments. Even the night before when we spoke on the phone, I was a bundle of nerves and worried about the health of the baby, and she was still talking about all the cute girl clothes that she would have to return if it was a boy (yes, that's right, she had already purchased girl clothes).

When we found out that it was a boy, and more importantly, that it was a healthy boy, one of my first thoughts was, "My mom is going to be disappointed."

I even said something of that effect to my husband, who said, "She wouldn't say anything now that she knows it's a boy."

I wasn't so sure. My mom is nothing if not opinionated and she delights in making her thoughts known - good or bad, usually the latter. She has always been this way and never seems to have a lot of positive things to say about the decisions that I make or the way that I live my life. And without bragging, I think I do okay. My husband and I are both gainfully employed, in fact, I have been very successful in my career. We own a home, we pay our bills on time, we even have some money in the bank. We don't have a lot of luxuries, but we have way more than what we need. We are honest citizens, we volunteer our time, we have lots of friends that we love and whom love us in return.

So, getting back to the story of Baby Boy. I called her that morning, after leaving the scan, and the first words out of her mouth were, "What is it?"

I replied, "It's a boy."

And her response? "That was the wrong answer."

And she meant it.

Of course, I continued on about how healthy the baby was, that he was measuring ahead, that we were pleased to know that we were having a son.

She didn't seem that excited and after a few minutes, I hung up, feeling as if I had let her down. Meanwhile, my husband was making calls to his family, who all had the more appropriate responses. My mother-in-law cried tears of happiness, my sister-in-law asked what we were going to name him. My husband's grin got wider as he made each call.

Now, to be fair, the rest of the reactions that I received as I made my own calls that morning were nothing short of perfection. But my mother has always had a huge impact on the way that I view things. I am a pleaser by nature and feel that I have disappointed her. So, I felt vaguely unsettled for the rest of the day, despite my joy at having a healthy baby. That feeling continues, even as I try to fight it.

I tried talking to her about how much she had hurt my feelings just the other day. She said that she couldn't hide the fact that she is (not was) disappointed and that once the baby is here, she will "get over it," but until then, she is going to remain disappointed.

I know it's just one person. And I know that one person shouldn't have this ability to cast a shadow on my happiness. But she does. And she has.

36 comments:

Fertilized said...

My Mother did not react that way -= but my MIL did. She was so distraught that is was "a boy" - she simply said "oh well, maybe next time". Like I had just lost and got the complimentary gift bag. I was ticked off for weeks- and still hold a bit of resentment towards her statement. My mother's next door neighbor just became a gramma to a baby girl after her daughter had 5 losses and keeps reminding my mother that she is "sorry, but girls just are cuter and smell better and have much cuter clothes".

So apparently Katie - we got complimentary prizes to some people who are simply CLUELESS.

I am so sorry that you are not able to "please" your mother. Please know that there are some of us that truly understand the blessing and miracle we are carrying and will raise to respect all life.

Mel said...

Oh WOW.
This is jaw dropping shocking and so sad. Katie, I am so sorry that you have had to deal with this!!
Don't feel bad, don't worry about letting her down. And next time she makes a comment, I'd be quick to remind her she's UNBELIEVABLY LUCKY and BLESSED to be getting any grandchild from you at all, considering what you've been through.
Sheer thoughtlesness.
*hugs*

Rachel said...

I was so sad to read this. Your mother can't have any idea how much this hurts you. I hope that writing about it has let you see how absurd she is being, and I hope that all of your future sharing of the good news will be greeted with the greatest joy.

Jen said...

How awful of her to say that! I'm so sorry. Try not to let it spoil your happiness. You know she is wrong. She was the one with the wrong answer, not you.

Tracy said...

Katie, I understand your disappointment, but *try* to remember that this is HER problem and her loss...

Ugh. Frustrating.

Ally said...

Katie, I'm sorry. There's really no way to "un-say" what she said and I guess that's what strikes me about her comments. Yuck. I agree with Tracy, though-this is completely her issue. Don't let her make you feel bad about this. Your son is a wonderful miracle who deserves to be celebrated!

A said...

It's understandable that her ill reaction has put a damper on things for you. She is your mother after all. But as much as we want to please our moms, the most important thing is that we are happy with ourselves.

I hope you're able to push her rain away from your parade and can really enjoy your happiness!!!

Jen said...

Is it all right if I get mad at your mom for you? It just isn't right for to put her disappointment on you like that. And honestly the whole do you prefer a boy or girl question pisses me off anyhow. I prefer a baby. A healthy baby. Why waste energy hoping for one gender or another when it's completely out of your control?

But as a pleaser too, I can relate. I've struggled with my DH's grandmother and her overt preference for a girl. It's not easy, but at some point you just have to let go of your mom's feelings on the matter and accept that you're not going to change her. Now if only I had the answers on just how to do that!

Nicky said...

I'm ... speechless. Wow. I'm torn between:
(a) telling her she can buy all the girl clothes she wants; maybe her grandson will like them. That's the answer that would piss off my father the most....; or
(b) telling her that if she's that disappointed, nobody will force her to spend time with the baby. Most new grandmas, even insensitive ones, will melt once the baby's here, when all the misguided gender preferences start looking incredibly silly.

In the mean time, I would spend every phone call with her exclaiming over the cute clothes, decorations, names, etc.

Geohde said...

I'm sorry, but your mother has acted poorly.

To be blunt, I cound't have given a toss about what gender my babies are, and I was just thrilled to find out they were healthy, too. Isn't that what's important?

You shouldn't have to please your mother with the gender of your child.

J

Kathy V said...

How disappointing. It is terrible when somebody we are counting on lets us down. You should never have to feel as though you let her down because of the gender of your baby. She should however feel that she has let you down in the support and encourageent of a healthy baby reguardless of the gender. CONGRATS on your little boy. And frankly some of those little boy outfits are soooo cute too. I am happy for you that after all you have been through that your baby is healthy.

G said...

Oh hun, I am sorry, that sucks. I bet she ends up gushing over all the little boy things that he can and will do. Boys are dirty, what's not to love? Seriously!

alison said...

Katie, I'm so sorry. That's not something you ever want to hear, much less from your own mother. I know it doesn't make up for a grandmother's love (and hopefully she will be instantly in love with her grandson once she lays eyes on him), but please know your son is SO loved by all of us, already. *hugs*

JuliaS said...

In no way should you feel as if you disappointed your mother (in actuality - it's all your dh's fault - he's the one that sent off that y chromosome, but I digress . . .)

One, you weren't doing this for her
Two, not her child - she won't be raising him - he's YOURS

Do not let her miserliness spoil your joy. You worked hard for this and should be able to enjoy as much of it as possible. I'm sorry she is acting childish.

If she is so caught up in the clothes, maybe a doll would help.

What it boils down to is this is your child. Nothing means more than that - not gender, not clothing, not "fun" "cute" and "perfumey". They're your son or your daughter and you're their mom.

I hope your mom comes around - there are amazing and fun and wonderful things about baby boys too. It would be sad for her to miss out on that.

Hugs.

My Reality said...

If you want someone to tell your mom where to go, give me her number.

I am sorry she has made you sad about this. You are having a healthy, baby boy! That is the best news. It shouldn't matter what flavour the baby is - just that there is a baby, you know?

Chris said...

We must be sisters. I have the same mother.

K @ ourboxofrain said...

Ugh. I have no idea why some people need to make things all about them, especially when such things aren't even remotely about them. Know that the rest of us are really, truly thrilled for you and that we feel that way without any regard to the sex of your long-awaited, healthy baby.

Fear of such reactions (which I think are inevitable, as crappy as they are) is a part of the reason we're waiting until September to know the answer to the "is it a girl or a boy" question.

Navy Wife said...

Hi I have been following your blog for several weeks and let me tell you how excited I am that you are going to have a healthy little boy.
I wanted to tell you that I had a very similar situation with my MIL. She had 3 boys and alway wanted girls. At my wedding she made it clear that she only wanted granddaughters. My husband has a little girl from his first marriage so when we finally got pregnant with my first son (after two years of ttc) they both knew it was a girl. The day we found out it was a boy her only response was that the US was wrong and for the rest of my pregnancy reminded me of this and I truly believe she held out hope that I would have a girl. Once my son was here she did not see him until he was 4mos. and did not see him again until he was yr.old. She never asked about him when she called and did call on his 1st or 2nd birthday. Long story short we had are second son in November and I think she had finally realized that she is missing so much by not excepting the boys. She has gotten much better with them but I still resent the fact that she did not want my boys because they are boys. Boys are wonderful and they love their mommy. I would not trade my boys for anything in the world. I work daily to forgive my MIL for her reaction and how it affected my feelings toward my pregnancy. I pray that your son will healthy and that your mom will see how ridiculous she is being. However if she doesn't come around remind yourself that it is her loss and that you can't change how she feels.

Joy said...

Usually we always have one parent we try to please more than the other, even as adults. And the thing is, you can't please everyone. If you please one person, another is going to be hurt. My hubby has the same problem. He just wants everyone to be happy.

Unfortunately, and excuse me for saying this, your momma is being a bit selfish and is stealing your thunder. If it was my mom, I would tell her point blank, "If you want to be involved with this pregnancy and this baby, you're going to have to change your attitude becuase I cannot be around this negativity."

Put the ball in her court. She can either change her attitude or stay away until your SWEET, PRECIOUS, PERFECT, HEALTHY son arrives. And that crap that girls are easier to raise? Don't listen to that. Each CHILD is different.

Sorry for being so passionately out-spoken. I just wish you the best of luck and happiness!

Waiting Amy said...

Ok, I'd love to be tactful and all but my first instinct is just to say:

That SUCKS!

As so many have said, she has made this all about her and it is her problem. You are blessed with a healthy child and that is what matters. Enjoy that!

Plus, I have a boy. And they do love their mamas in a way I couldn't have imagined. And they DO have adorable clothes! And recently an entire group of mothers of teenagers told me they would take half dozen boys over girls anyday! So you ARE blessed to have a boy! (ps-I'm pretty nervous how to handle my girl!)

Sam said...

Hmmm, has anyone told her that it is the male of the partnership who determines the babies sex? So perhaps your DH should feel like he has "disappointed" her? That is just really a nasty situation to be in and I am so sorry that she has hurt you like this. You have a healthy baby growing inside you and THAT is all that matters right now!

This is exactly the reason that when I do finally fall pregnant we are not finding out the gender of the baby(s) at all...

Adriane said...

I am so very sorry your Mom had that reaction to your wonderful news. I hope you are remembering all the good reactions others had more than her reaction, but I'm sure it's hard. (Our mothers sound very similar - mine has always judged me and been disapproving of any choice I've made that isn't the same as hers. It makes being yourself very tough without that approval.)

Please know I''m thinking of you and we are all so excited for you and your little boy!!!

Mrs. Piggy said...

Wow. Cant imagine someone reacting that way! Well I guess when my sister found out she was having a boy she was upset, and I can still tell she sort of wishes her son was a girl. Your mom, after what you've gone through, should have never admitted her true feelings. Seriously! I can never please my other either, no matter what I do. I feel your pain.

Kim said...

Blah. You really have to just not let yourself care, even though I know how hard that is. You've worked so hard for this healthy little boy, and you don't need to worry about what she or anyone else thinks. She can get over it or not, her choice.. I would just tell her that until she does, you don't want to hear about it or you'll have to halt all baby discussions altogether. Really, it's all so childish and quite frankly, very rude! And this is coming from someone whose MIL's first response to B's pregnancy was, 'Are you sure it's even his?' (Right, his.. my HUSBAND)... some people really are just that stupid.

gracechild said...

That's not very nice of here. And its worse because she's one of the few people in the world whose opinion matters to you no matter what. Hugs for you girl. That must have hurt.

tryingin2007 said...

wow! that's just not right. I have a feeling that if I have a boy (I think I am ) I will get a similar response in my family. we have nothing but nephews and everyone(?) wants a little girl. oh well...

your little boy is beautiful!!! :)

Road Blocks and Roller Coasters said...

I'm so sorry that your mom reacted that way. My mom has a tendency to do the same thing at times.

HUGS!

Debby said...

Ugh. That's so not fun. The wrong response from possibly the one person who's opinion matters most. I'm sure when your little guy comes all of her disappointment will melt away at the sight of his cute little face. Nonetheless....that doesn't take the sting of her biting words away now. So sorry.

Freyja said...

I doubt it is a coincidence that she is so vocally opinionated and you are a self-proclaimed "pleaser". Don't let her affect you this way!

Ms. J said...

I would tell your husband to take up the matter with your mother, pronto! Um, neither of you had ANY control of the baby's gender, but it IS the man who determines the baby's gender. I'd also have him tell her that to help with her "disappointment" they will limit her time with the baby after HE is born, as both of you only want around the baby people who are 100% DELIGHTED!

Kristen said...

I'm so sorry about your mother's reaction. That is truly horrible. I have 3 nephews so I know my mom was hoping for a girl but when I told her it was a boy, she was truly delighted. Especially after knowing all we had gone through to get this far, it really DIDN'T and still DOESN'T matter what is between our baby's legs.

Please do not let her spoil your joy. There are too many other people who recognize what a blessing he is. Hopefully, she will come around and stop acting so ridiculous. XOXO

Amy said...

Repeat after me: "I WILL NOT LISTEN TO ANY NEGATIVE COMMENTS WHILE I AM PREGNANT WITH MY MIRACLE OMGOSH IT TOOK US FOREVER TO GET HERE BABY". K? K! Love you and tell mom to stop hatin'! xoxoxoxA

Amy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JJ said...

Ugg, Katie I am so sorry for her reaction...I cant imagine how I would have reacted to her in return...

Just SO glad that HE is healthy and doing well=)

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry that your mom is being UNBELIEVABLY selfish and insensitive. It broke my heart to read your blog and I felt compelled to show my support.

Congratulations on the pregnancy!

Antigone said...

Even our own parents can be jerks. Does she have any clue what you've been through to get this far???