What if you can't tell your family you're pregnant? Or some family, but not others?
What if you had to worry about your family finding out, and subsequently opening a Pandora's box of toxic communication?
Not all families are supportive and (at least mostly) healthy. If you've read some of my earlier blog posts, you can tell that my father is a narcissist. He saw me, and everyone else, as an extension of himself in many ways, and that was incredibly unhealthy.
When I started taking tentative steps toward independence while I was in college, including moving out when I was 21, it led to my dad feeling "abandoned", and because of his personality disorder, he reacted by cutting me out of the family. I tried to repair the lines of communication with boundaries in place to protect myself but he did not like that. So I remain cast off.
It's abundantly clear they still consider me a persona non grata. When my brother got married, I didn't get an invite, so I didn't invite them. When my brother had children, I found out through Facebook and Google, and not from them.
Now that I'm pregnant myself, I wish I could tell them. I wish we had a healthy relationship. I know that my family is no healthier since when I was disowned, so I know it's foolish to hope that they've suddenly become psychologically healthy and reach out to them.
it would be like touching a hot oven after already getting burned. And I'd rather not have my child experience the same abuses I did.
I have been able to tell some of my relatives the good news about my pregnancy, at least. Some--the relatives "of the heart" who aren't blinded by blood ties--understand completely that my dad is nucking futs, and besides, they also got disowned. Others know and I think they understand, even though it's painful to comprehend.
And still others don't get it. I mean, they understand and respect that I'm NC (no communication) with my family. It's for my own health, and besides, I'm not going back when I've been clearly cast off. They won't tell my family, and yet, they still think that reconciliation might happen some day.
I used to think that. But now I know it would take a miracle or maybe a degenerative brain disease for my dad to reach the point when he's not going to be a psychologically abusive jerk. And for my mom to finally break free of his psychological prison.
I've been able to mostly pretend that I'm not missing my family-of-origin so far this pregnancy by focusing on the family I DO have, including my in-laws and wonderful friends and fellow blogger moms, who have been so supportive.
But when I just let one of my aunts know, an aunt who still has frequent contact with my family, I had to ask her to please not let my family know if she can help it. Everyone else, I didn't have to ask. But her, I did. She said she'd respect my wishes, but it was clear she didn't understand. She still doesn't quite understand. Or maybe she didn't want to understand? I know it's painful for her and that side of the family. It's painful all around, so I don't blame her one bit.
Even so, her nice and thoughtful email back made me cry. It threw into relief the fissure in the family, and just how far the cracks went. Including between me and her.