valley_oak (valley_oak) wrote,

We emailed the moms first

When we got that 12/13 week confirmation that all was good with our baby and had the tests & ultrasounds to prove it, we sent off an email with the ultrasounds to our mothers, immediately. We decided not to call for several reasons, I went back to work for the rest of the day, my mother's answering machine often does not operate and she is a notoriuous talker (she would not have been satisfied with a quick call), my mother-in-law lives in another time zone and we didn't want either to claim favoritism. I was also very excited by the ultrasounds.

I made my husband promise that he would not tell anyone else until the following day (he took that to mean a minute after midnight). The response from my MIL was positive, effusive and pretty darn quick. I sent an email to the rest of my extended family the following morning (since my dear husband had already posted in a rather public social media site). The response I got from my mother later that day or perhaps the next, "I hear congratulations are in order."

It went down hill from there.

A week later I got another email from my mother.

"I am planning your baby shower. Please call at your convenience to discuss details (such as... I had thought that 9/22 might be a good day... two months before your due date... to give you time to see what you will need before your babies birth), then, perhaps Columbus Day Weekend on Sunday, Oct 7 (I think Saturday is a family birthday), or the following weekend if you have plans for the previous/long weekend."

My mother could not plan herself out of a plastic bag. She couldn't get herself to my wedding reception when she said she'd be there (she was two hours late - good thing preparations did not hinge on her) and she couldn't plan an outing with just my brother and I (she didn't get the whole call ahead and find out when things are open and plan your route accordingly thing - it was our fault we drove in circles and she was frustrated).

I have not called my mother for a long time. She is highly toxic and I choose not to subject myself to the anxiety. She chose to tell me of her plans via email, I responded via email.

"I appreciate that you want to plan a baby shower for me, however I've already got a committee working on it. It is my understanding that Emily Post discourages the mother & grandmother to be from planning the event, probably to avoid the stress and just let them enjoy the celebration.

It all came about during the show on Sunday. Friend C had already said she wanted to plan one for my friends while we were setting up for the show in a S-town and then when Aunt L and Aunt M showed up they all put their heads together. I am sure they will value your input."

I thought it was a pleasant even email. My mother did not. Her next two emails spaced a week apart were increasingly hostile. I will not post them, but just say she was mad we chose to email rather than call, mad that she didn't have a more important role in our wedding (two years ago), mad that I didn't have flowers at our civil cerremony, mad that I mentioned Emily Post, worried that the people she thought should be invited wouldn't be (those ladies who were at her baby shower and people who were important in my life when I was a child, but haven't seen in 20 years) and generally just nasty hostile. The emails were not the sort you send to people you want to improve or maintain a positive relationship with. My counselor was stunned by the last one. I felt released. She was obviously burning bridges and wanted to injure me one last time. And I decided she was not going to be at the baby shower or in the birth room.

My husband saw the whole email exchange the day of that last email and called her that evening when I was out for a walk. He told her it was inappropriate and if he ever heard of another email or call with a similar tone there would be no more contact, at this point she was not welcome at the baby shower and might not be welcome at the birth.

She has not emailed since. She did send me a birthday package and call my work number to wish me happy birthday (almost five months after my husband's call), I wasn't there to pick up. No apology, but then again there never will be one. She apologizes to my younger brother, but not to me. Historically I have been expected to get over whatever the imagined insult was and to act as if nothing ever happened. I have not responded to the birthday package (received like two weeks ago). I don't want to engage, but feel a plain thank you card might be appropriate.
Tags: hoarding parent, toxic parent
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