Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Friday 23 July |
Saint of the Day: St. Bridget of Sweden
home iconFor Her
line break icon

Parents or in-laws upset that you’re pregnant again? Here’s a way to respond

MOM,BIG,FAMILY,CHILDREN

Shutterstock

Katrina Fernandez - published on 02/15/18

Advice for a woman whose loved ones are not happy that she's pregnant with her 4th.

Dear Katrina,

I need a way of responding to all the negativity I’ve been receiving since we announced our fourth pregnancy. When I was expecting my other children, there was much more support and enthusiasm from our family. My parents are actually the ones who are acting the worst. When we told my mom I was pregnant again, she said she was really disappointed in me. She also said four grandchildren is just too much of a burden for her and my dad and that’s a lot of birthday and Christmas presents she’s expected to buy for. I was so appalled and upset we haven’t spoken much at all since. My husband’s parents aren’t exactly thrilled either. I know there is a lot of stigma and prejudice against large families, but I never thought I get disapproval directed at me from our own family like this. I’m used to negative comments from strangers but my mom really hurt me.

Signed,

4 and Counting

———————————————

Dear 4,

The dynamic between parent and child is so complex it’s hard to unpack in a few paragraphs but I’ll try to sum up some of the finer points. I know when I got pregnant in my early 20s, my mom was very critical as well. You could even say she was disappointed. I hadn’t finished college, my husband was in between jobs, and we lived in a pretty run-down apartment. Parents just want what they think is best for their kids, and starting a family with such an unsteady future isn’t what she planned for me. She wanted “better” for her daughter. As do most parents.      

With that being said, maybe your mother’s negative comments are masking her concern for you. Maybe she’s worried about the financial responsibilities of a large family, worried you’ll run yourself sick caring for more babies, or that it will strain your marriage.  

You know more about your mother’s background than I do, but definitely consider her perspective and experience as a mother. Did she grow up one of many siblings with the family barely getting by? Or maybe she felt neglected and had to compete for affection with her siblings. Or maybe she was an only child who was doted on and wanted for nothing. Her upbringing shapes her attitude about families.  

When I think of my own grandparents and my son’s grandparents, they all have one thing in common — they’re spoilers. That’s one of the jobs and rights of being a grandparent. In fact, I can’t wait to spoil my own grandchildren rotten. It could be her concern about affording presents for so many children reflects the fear that she won’t be able to spoil them rotten like she always imagined and hoped she would.  

All these things are worthy of consideration, not to excuse her behavior, but to help you deal with her in kindness and charity. You say you two aren’t speaking right now because her comments hurt you — I recommend remedying that. Ask her out for coffee (keeping it public keeps it civil) and give her the chance to explain her trepidations. Address her concerns with your reassurance that you and your husband are prepared and excited for this newest arrival. Tell her that you don’t want any stress or animosity because it’s not good during pregnancy and that if things can’t be reconciled you may need to take a breather from the family until little Cuatro is born, and that you don’t love her any less if you need to take some time away from everyone.

As for other family, you could easily apply the same approach with the in-laws or anyone else. You can take their negativity and turn it into an icy battle between family, which isn’t good for anyone, or just take their comments as masked concern for you and your well being. Either way, you and your baby should be the priority. If your family is going to intentionally stress you out with their negativity, insults and be unsupportive, then you might do well to step back and resume communication after the birth announcements have been made. I bet once everyone meets little Cuatro their attitudes will soften.

While it would be nice to have everyone’s support during your pregnancy, the unfortunate reality may be that no amount of heartfelt talks over coffee will change attitudes. Be prepared for that, too. In the meantime, let your husband know what you decide so that he can support your decision. Ultimately, though, I’m sure you’ll make the decision that’s best for you, your family, and your sanity.  

Have a problem that relates to your Catholic life? Let Katrina help FIFY! Write to her at AskKatrina@aleteia.org

Tags:
ChildrenFamilyRelationships
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
HEADACHE
Kathleen N. Hattrup
2 Bible verses when you’re weary down to the soul
2
nightbirde
Cerith Gardiner
8 Powerful quotes from Nightbirde that will fill you with hope
3
FRAY JUNIPERO SERRA
John Burger
Alumni sue after this Catholic saint’s name was removed fro...
4
CARDINAL
J-P Mauro
Italian police dressed as priests nab scammers disguised as cardi...
5
WEB2-Benjamin_West_-_Joshua_passing_the_River_Jordan_with_the_Ark_of_the_Covenant_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg
Daniel Esparza
Who are the cherubim in the Bible?
6
Blessed Carlo Acutis
J-P Mauro
The Diocese of Brooklyn acquires first-class relic of Bl. Carlo A...
7
ŁACINA
Philip Kosloski
Why is Latin the official language of the Church, instead of Aram...
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.