Saturday, April 30, 2011

Shameless

Several weeks prior to the birth of our daughter, DH informed NMIL of where she fit in to our plans. The instructions we gave her were simple: We informed her that we would call her on the way to the hospital, and then again after the baby was born. We also asked that she refrain from calling any of her friends after the birth, and that she inform only DH's aunts and uncles until we deemed it appropriate for members outside the family to hear the news. Upon my request, DH specifically instructed his mother not to come to the hospital until we gave her permission to do so. I'm telling you now, Dear Reader, that had she shown her face at the hospital at any point before we called her, all hell would have broken loose. Luckily, for her, she made the smart choice and stayed home. That's not to say, however, that she was being respectful or considerate. She has never been either of those things.

Per our discussion, she verbally acknowledged that she "understood" our needs and desires, and agreed to respect them. But. She's a liar.

After I labored at home for fourteen hours, DH and I decided it was time to go to the hospital. Once we got in the car, DH made two phone calls: the first to my mother, who already knew I was in labor because I had made as many phone calls to her as I had to my doctor in the hours leading up to our trip to the hospital. When he called to inform her that we were on our way, her response was appropriate: "Okay, good luck! Call me when you get a chance with updates! We love you." And DH hung up. His second call was to NMIL, who's blatant disrespect of our needs and underestimation of our intelligence couldn't have been more obvious. Hang on, Dear Reader, this is about to get really disgusting. Please allow me to set the scene. It was a rainy day and the air was foggy. I was having sporadic contractions that had been going on for over 12 hours and I was exhausted. DH was anxious, worried, and excited, all at once. He was unprepared to handle his mother's manipulations. A transcript:

DH - Hi mom, I'm just letting you know that Jonsi and I are on our way to the hospital to have the baby.
NMIL - Oh, you are?
DH - Yes. So we'll call you after the baby is born, okay?
NMIL - Oh! Do you want me to come to the hospital? What hospital are you going to be at again? I think you told me but I forgot. Would you like me to come down and wait there?
[I was shaking my head, vigorously, back and forth, fearing that he had forgotten that we had asked his mother not to show up until we asked. I remember gripping the arm rest as waves of contractions overtook me, while trying to focus as much on getting through the pain, as listening to what was being said.]
DH - No mom, you don't have to come to the hospital, we'll call you after the baby is born.
NMIL - Oh, are you sure? I don't mind, I'll come down and wait if you want to.
DH - No, mom really that's okay.
[At this point, I felt like the conversation had gone on long enough. It was supposed to be a quick 30 second deal, not a debate about whether this bitch was allowed to wait in the waiting room while I labored for 24 more hours. I was fearful that she would show up anyway, that she'd attempt to find us in the hospital, that she would try to see the baby before my mother did. It annoyed me terribly that NMIL was already disrespecting our wishes and need for space.]
NMIL - Oh. Okay. So anyway. You'll probably be needing a new car soon, right?
DH - Um, gee mom, I don't know. Yeah, at some point, I guess.
[I was frantically trying to get DH's attention. I kept whispering, "Tell her you're driving! Tell her it's raining and WE ARE GOING TO THE HOSPITAL." I guess I had stopped whispering. I heard the discussion heading in a place it had NO BUSINESS heading in and started to get really, really pissed. DH was too afraid to hang up on her, even though she clearly wasn't going to get off the phone with him any time soon, and had every intention of making the birth of our first child all about her. I grew tired of her games.]
NMIL - So, I'm getting rid of our car soon. I was wondering if you wanted to buy it? I'll give it to you for pretty cheap. I was thinking maybe you could just buy it for a couple hundred dollars and we could make a trade or something. It would be cheaper for you to buy my car than it would for you to buy one somewhere else. I figured I could save you a ton of money.
DH - Mom, I don't know. I thought you said there was something wrong with that car a couple weeks ago anyway? But, I'm driving right now mom. We're going to the hospital now. So, I really can't talk anymore.
NMIL - Well, okay. Let me know about the car, if you want it. And, are you positive you don't want me to come to the hospital now? How long do you think it'll be 'til the baby is born?
DH - I don't know mom, it could be hours away. Really mom, you don't have to come to the hospital. Thanks though. We'll just call you later.
[How I managed to restrain myself from grabbing his phone and screaming, "Back the fuck off, bitch!" into it, I'll never know.]
NMIL - Okay, well, like I said, you know, we'll come if you want.
DH - Thanks mom, that's alright. Okay, we'll talk to you when the baby is born.
NMIL - Can you at least call me and let me know how things are going?
DH - Yeah, when the baby is born. Okay bye!
NMIL - We're so excited! Everyone is so excited! SIL can't wait to meet the baby! Okay I love you. Byeeeeeeee!

I wish I was kidding. I wish I was describing the plot of some ridiculous monster-in-law movie, that we could all laugh about. I wish this kind of shit never happened to anyone. But unfortunately, I am not kidding, this was not a movie, and shit like this happens all the time to people who aren't ready to fight it.

I was in labor for another twenty two hours before our beautiful baby girl was born, and no thoughts of NMIL ruined any of our precious time together as a new family. She did not show up to the hospital until we called her because she knew I would not have allowed that. She did not see the baby before my family did because she knew I would not have allowed that either. In my book, the rules aren't meant to be broken. And when they are, you'd better believe there are consequences. NMIL knew she could only push DH so much before I pushed back. She underestimated me and she underestimated her son. She made a major mistake in thinking that DH's loyalties still remained with her, and that he would allow her access to our baby, or me without my consent. DH may not have had the skills at the time to stop her manipulative chit-chat, but he showed me that he could overcome his own guilt and discomfort long enough to uphold my rights when she tried to violate them. His skills needed refining, but I could see that the desire was there to protect his new family.

NMIL showed up to the hospital as soon as she could, I'm sure. I remember her asking DH when he called to tell her our daughter was born, if my family was already at the hospital. I heard jealousy, Dear Reader, and insecurity. DH told her "No, but they'll probably be here soon since they only live a few minutes away." I'd bet my bottom dollar that DH had no idea the frenzy that statement caused in her mind. I'm guessing that she wanted to be the first person to see our baby because that sort of thing mattered to her. Yes, the person who bought the biggest item on our baby registry because "that's what grammas do," even though she knew perfectly well that it had already been purchased...you'd better believe it mattered to her that she wasn't going to get to see the baby first. So she hopped in her car immediately and made the forty-five minute trip to the hospital in record time, probably hoping against hope that she would somehow make it before my family.

She made a big show of washing her hands when DH wheeled our daughter into the room, so that she could be the first one to hold her, and I'm not sure if she knew that she wasn't actually the first person to see the baby (my parents were). She exchanged superficial chatter with anyone who was willing to oblige - mostly, EF and his wife. I assure you, Dear Reader, my wonderful family are not the type to be put off by that sort of thing. They know who NMIL is, they've always known who she is, and my mother, in particular, holds no grudge against people as miniscule as that woman.

NMIL took pictures so she could play the "doting gramma" to her friends and family, snapping them off one after the other so as to make sure she had a huge stockpile. She returned the next day with SIL, to take more photos and pretend to care about DH's fiance and new baby. She probably imagined how much narcissistic supply she would be on the receiving end of when she showed these images to the world. It is my feeling, Dear Reader, that she cared more about the photographs, than she ever would the people in them.

9 comments:

  1. There is now no doubt in my mind that NMIL took those pictures to gain the Supply she so desperately craved. It's absurd. It's disgusting. It's disgraceful. It will not happen again.

    Lifesizevision

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  2. It gets really old for someone to basically NOT listen at all and keep repeating their preferences over and over in such a "big moment." The part where DH was DRIVING you to the hospital I was about to get out of my seat and SCREAM "Do you want them to live so you can see the baby?? Because you'll be responsible for the fucking car crash!!" I too have had these same types of phone moments, but none at such a crucial moment. Gives new meaning to the idea of talking to a wall.

    The fact that it didn't occur to her to SHUT THE FUCK UP AND WAIT FOR THE CALL says it all. Any healthy human being would say, "oh my gosh get there safe!" and hang up right away. The life of wife and child lie in the balance, lady! But NOOOO, she went on and on about her car or whatever.

    Her need for attention and specialness sucks all the oxygen out of the room. It's too much to ask. It's too much to want. No amount of energy could satisfy her needs. I'm blown away by DH's patience with her, it was time to bark an order at her!

    I'm sorry she took even one ounce of the preciousness away from this day. Sounds like she didn't manage to ruin it - what a miracle.

    xo
    upsi

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  3. My dear Upsi - no, she didn't manage to ruin it for us. The birth of our child was far too special for NMIL's ugliness to ruin any of it, though she tried.

    This is why I say she's an ugly person. She was too ugly to even care that she might have caused us to DIE. Her needs, her selfish wants, were far too important to her.

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  4. Before I started my Truth Campaign, during that summer of 09, I asked both BPB and NM not to call me while driving. I explicitly asked them not to, because I am not comfortable talking to someone who is operating a vehicle. Both of them continued to do it, and it really bothered me then (still does, though I've stopped talking on the phone). It is a bit different from your situation: their lives are at risk, not mine. But my point was both about risk and not wanting to be their "filler" while driving. Am I not worth calling at a time when you're not driving? Am I just your filler?

    Once I sensed that BPB was driving while we were on a call and I said "are you driving right now?" and he's like "yeah" - I said, "BPB, I asked you not to do this! I'm hanging up" and he was so miffed like I'm a big bitch. Excuse me for not wishing to participate in dangerous driving!

    Obviously, DH & I do not take calls while driving, even from each other. Not worth the risk! You'd think this would be obvious to my FOO, but it was like asking them to cut off an arm.

    xo
    upsi

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  5. Upsi - You know, I remember relating the whole "NMIL kept DH on the phone while he was driving me to the hospital because I was in labor" thing to my mother, and the thing that bothered her the most was that she was risking our lives and the life of our unborn child, in order to keep him on the phone to suit her selfish needs. How utterly uncaring, unthoughtful, malicious, and down-right stupid.

    What you have described, with your NM and BPB, is so typical. And you know, had they gotten into an accident, they totally would have played it that the accident was your fault...that you wouldn't get off the phone with them...that you made them stay on the phone with you instead of letting them hang up and drive safely. I would not put that past them.

    And to continue to have the attitude toward you that YOU were the one putting THEM in a bad place?? When you were expressing discomfort over the fact that they could get seriously injured (or injure someone else) because they were practicing poor (and illegal!) driving activities? Sick. It's just fucking sick.

    Just another reason for them to have lost their phone privileges.

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  6. AAARGH! That's beyond insane!

    And your observation that "she cared more about the photographs, than she ever would the people in them" is RIGHT ON THE MONEY!

    That's the best way of putting what has bothered me about my N father's obsessive photographing for years! You nailed it!

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  7. PA - The only solace I have now is knowing that she'll never get another photo. She's already exploited the ones she's got now. Never again! She's lost her picture privileges (and that's exactly what they were, privileges, not rights)

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  8. So, she's so focused on trying to set you guys up with a ripoff car deal, she couldn't give any thought to your circumstances? She should have been telling DH he shouldn't have been calling her from the car!

    Imagine if it had been your horrible fates to have her in the car with you for that drive--she surely would have been nonstop going on about the car deal!-- quartz

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  9. Quartz - Yes, good catch about the car. What a moment to try and get your son to make a promise to buy your crappy, broken car right? She purposely picks the most inopportune, completely unfair moments to try and illicit his knee-jerk "yes" response. He's working hard at not saying yes immediately, and not saying it all the time.
    Tough, when that was how he was trained!

    And never, never, never would that disgusting woman have been in the car, near us, in the hospital, etc, during that event. I don't have to imagine it, it was never even a remote possibility! :o) XOXO

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