I had a baby shower a couple weeks ago back in my hometown, thrown by my MIL. My therapist asked if I missed my mom at the shower. Honestly? I didn’t.
I know that sounds crass, but I didn’t. I don’t miss the toxic family relationships, the emotional coercion to capitulate and help my dad’s ego out, the guilt-trips to help the family appear “whole” again. And being pregnant is all the more reason to stay away from the black hole of emotional abuse. I deal with enough as it is, I see no reason to add to my stress levels and increase my risk of an anxiety attack, or a depression relapse (when such risks are high enough as it is).
There’s an old saying about “friends are the family you get to pick.” There’s another saying about “it takes a village to raise a child.”
To that I add, it takes a village to raise a new parent.
Instead of asking my mom for advice, I take to Facebook and ask friends. One friend used to work in a baby store. One is a two-time grandmother. Others are moms, either of teenagers or of babies. They have years and years of experience between them, and many used that experience to buy things not on the registry because they KNEW it would be useful for me. And I love them for that.
Still other friends provide a listening ear and we can talk about cats and dogs instead of babies for once. Sometimes baby-talk gets tiresome already.
I have relatives, on both my husband’s and my sides. Even though my immediate family is fucked up, I have a lot of relatives, nice and sane ones. (And some nuts, but every family has its nuts, and plain nuts are better than nucking futs.) They and my in-laws show me that family ties aren’t supposed to be toxic. Sure, we may not always see eye to eye with relatives, or misunderstandings happen. Or in the case of some relatives, they don’t fully understand what’s wrong with my family, which I don’t blame them for. But still–we talk with each other. Maybe not as often as we should, but we do. We support each other. And we love each other.
All together, they are my mom. My family. My village.
And I am glad I’m bringing the little girl into this village where she will be loved unconditionally.
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