Thursday, April 30, 2009

My Guilt, My Mother

Welcome new follower!

I have a love/annoyance/guilt relationship with my mother.

I love her and can't imagine the world without her, but sometimes....I struggle to like her. Certainly I don't claim to be perfect. I admit I am a work in progress. But my flaws and my Mom's flaws don't really mesh. Hers seem to rub me the wrong way. I get annoyed by her. I get defensive. Then I feel guilty for it.

We live in different states, so mostly we just talk on the phone. She does most of the talking and doesn't ask many questions about me or my life. So I haven't had to lie about this cycle. The topic never comes up.

For years she has been buying baby clothes. Baby girl clothes. My nephew - her only grandchild - is now 21 years old. When he was born, she called to tell me the news of his birth. She told me it was a boy, then she quickly said, "Act happy though, don't tell your sister I am disappointed."

She used to frequently ask me, "Where's my graaaaaandaughter?" That was her hint. She is saving the baby girl clothes in hopes of a future granddaughter.

When it happened 2 years ago, I told her about my first miscarriage. I told her about the u/s and the degrading sac. I spilled my emotions and fears. Her response: "Well I don't know why you would have any problem getting pregnant....nobody in our family ever had a problem getting pregnant." Of course nobody was 40+ at the time either.

After that, I dipped my toe in the IF treatment waters with her and told her when we first went to an IF clinic. I told her we were thinking about using donor eggs. She asked, "Do they have curly redheaded donors?" I am the sole redhead in my family. My Mom really wants a granddaughter, and she wants it to be a redhead.

When we decided to go with embryo donation, I did not tell her. When we flew to the Clinic and received the physical and medical descriptions of the donors, I did not tell her. When we go back to the Clinic for the transfer and the subsequent 3 days of bedrest in a nearby hotel, I plan to tell her we are taking a short vacation.

Is this wrong? Should I tell her? I'm really struggling and feeling guilty about it. If we get lucky (REALLY lucky) and this works out, chances are the baby won't be a redhead. And (gasp) it might even be a boy.

How awful that I may be depending on the failure of this FET as a reason not to tell her? If it fails, then not telling her won't have mattered. We just move on and she'll never know the difference. I won't have to deal with the comments.

Maybe if I tell her, she'll surprise me and just be happy for us. And maybe (more likely) she'll hedge that happiness by saying, "Well [sigh] I guess it won't be a redhead. Can you choose the sex?" Or she'll find something to say that will leave me feeling deflated.

Thinking back over things she has said to me throughout my life, I realize her words make me feel bad and defensive. Even so, I don't think she means to be hurtful, she's just not sensitive to the feelings of others. She simply has her idea of how things "should" be.

Maybe it's our job to just love the people in our lives and accept them as they are. Maybe it's my own flaw that I can't seem to do that. Maybe my hurt feelings and defensiveness is because of me....not her. I'm not sure. I am so envious of people who have wonderful, close relationships with their Mom.

So as our transfer date nears, and with each telephone conversation I have with my Mom, I keep wondering whether I should tell her and just deal with whatever she has to say.


Anonymous said...

That's a tough one. While you could go either way, I think if telling her will cause you more stress and anxiety than not telling her, then maybe it's best just to leave things as is. Plus that way you won't have to worry about her asking about details and updates when maybe you don't want to share with her.

On the flip side, if you think that she's able to provide you with constructive support and would actually add to the experience rather than detract from it, then it would be a good idea to tell her.

Good luck figuring it out!

cindyhoo2 said...

OMG! I had no idea that we have the same mother. My mom is wonderful and oddly completely self-centered. She says the right thing just often enough to make me hopeful that she will be there when I need her- though she rarely ever is. It is a mix that makes me crazy. Like you, I have decided not to tell my mom until I am pregnant and have made it through 2 u/s successfully. It is hard not to tell her but it hurts less than disappointment. I hope you find a balance you can live with.

Alex P said...

Whenever my mom says anything, I take it as criticism. Funny, if my grandma says anything remotely similar, I see it as wise advice. When my grandma says it to my mom, she goes bonkers and takes it as criticism. Its funny, but all women tend to wear these weird reverso-blinders which makes us see every fault our parents have and ignore all the things that we will one day kick ourselves for not thanking her for.

You're not even close to wrong, she is weird, and telling her would put extra expectation and pressure, even if its self percieved. She will be happy with any grandkid, and if it doesnt happen, she is not your support system, she will not be responsible for picking up the peices, and she would likely just make your sadness worse (Im guessing even if you dont want there to be, it will be similar to a greif process.)

ORRRR if your mom reads.... buy your mom a sad book about a girl and her mom with a shitty relationship where the mom learns to shut up and listen and rub her daughters back when she cries.

Oh wait, that only works on Oprah. Except you never see her talking to her mom...

Anonymous said...

Hi.. I just happened upon your blog and hope you don't mind a random comment.

First, WOW those are quite the comments that your mom makes.

I would have to say not to tell her anything. You are going through enough right now. Do you really need the extra stress, the let down of the lack of support from her? Maybe she means well, but it doesn't seem likely that on this one occassion she'll come through with something supportive.

Best of luck

Anonymous said...

I think you have to go with your gut. However, IF you decide to tell her I think you'd be foolish to expect good support from her, based on her past behavior. I'm sure (like my mom) she loves you, and will love any grandchild you may have; but she appears to be incapable of expressing true emotion without falling into her "redheaded baby girl" grama rut. She probably just has these sound bytes in her brain, and they just come out when she gets panicked about having to say something. Of course this is total speculation on my part!

Just for perspective, I would not tell her anything until you are well along in the pg. This is how I have handled my mom, she knows nothing. And I don't plan to ever tell her about DE, I may say we did IVF if people ask, but the DE aspect is for my future child to tell if they wish.

Just my opinion, of course I support you whatever you choose to tell your mom (aren't families hard/great?)

K said...

Hi...picked up your blog from EB at IVF40+. Major stuff you've written about. What a lot of pressure to deal with. But, I think you're right...lay low and tell her when you're ++
Really interested in your emby adoption, we're considering that too. Take Care.

tireegal68 said...

I agree with most of the previous posters and it looks like you have already decided to wait to tell her till you are pregnant.
I know one thing I learned from my ex - whose parents' support was spotty - was, just because something big is happening in your life don't expect those people to change their behavior accordingly. i.e. if they have always been self centered and unreliable they will continue to be that way even if you really really need them not to be. It's like doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results - it doesn't usually happen.
Maybe if you don't expect much she might surprise you once in a while ( pleasantly ).
Having a mum that can't help us in any way shape or form makes me wish for another mother sometimes, but I don't have the idea that one day it will be different because I know it won't. My mom has been physically sick and mentally fragile for about 14 years and is really not there for me at all. I still love her though.
Sorry - that wasn't supposed to be all about me.
Good luck and I hope that when the baby is born you are able to have some nice grandmotherly moments with her:)