When I first got pregnant 8 years ago my then boyfriend (now husband) made me tell everyone literally the day after I found out. At the time I was 19 years old and not really prepared for what was about to come my way. I didn’t even have time to process it. Right away we went over to his moms house and told her the news. She was over the moon. I think this one choice was the start to unhealthy boundaries that would grow.
It seems like a little thing. But trust me, it basically made my thoughts on the matter not matter. I don’t recall if at the time I told my husband I wanted to wait or not. I probably did, as I’m a pretty closed off person. But making this one move would give people the idea that our business would always be theirs right away.
As my pregnancy progressed I soon found things happening around me that I had no say in. People would give me literally (like actual paper) lists of baby names they liked. Baby showers were being held by women I didn’t ask to hold for me. Instead I would have preferred my mother, or best friend to host something that special to me. Others would buy many baby items and keep them in their houses as if they would have the little one with them full time. One person put a baby room in their house for my baby!
People stated as soon as I went into labor they needed to be right there, regardless of what they were doing. Which I understand the excitement, but I honestly didn’t want anyone with me except my husband. It was a special moment for us to share. When the day came that my little man was born, I was lucky enough that the only two people there with me in addition to my husband, was my mom and sister. Which was fine with me. They weren’t there for the actual pushing so I still felt comfortable.
After my son was born things changed. The day I got out of the hospital we had to drop our lives and go visit everyone right away. I was still healing, and getting to know my baby. The last thing I wanted to go do was go to peoples homes. Suddenly, we were invited everywhere as a family. Often, before we got pregnant my husband would go to his family events and Id go to mine. But now because we were a family we were all a package deal, this I understand, our status as a group upgraded. The problem that now occurred was we would get invited to multiple events at the same time. Between the both of us we have huge families, which also doesn’t help. We would be expected to go to both families events. I don’t even know if we would be allowed to say “No thanks”.
Soon, we would have to do everything anyone wanted, and we would drop everything when someone wanted us. Sometimes people would make choices for my child I didn’t approve of. I knew things needed to change. Now I don’t mean to sound ungrateful. I definitely understand in most cases people meant well. I just wish I had a little backbone to say “No”. I had created these bad boundaries by never saying how I felt. This is something I still struggle with to this day. We dealt with this for 4 years. Unfortunately, my husband up until this point had been no help, because he dealt with this process his whole life. I felt like my little family wasn’t mine, it was someone elses. I felt up until this point that my baby was someone elses and that the choices I was making for him were constantly judged.
When I got pregnant with my second child, I vowed to change things. Soon we stopped going to all the family events. I told people I didn’t want nor need a baby shower. We started doing our own Thanksgivings at home and started saying no to a few more things. When I went into labor we didn’t tell anyone until after the baby was born. He was born in the middle of the night so it was a good excuse to not really wake anyone up anyways.
Like I said I sound ungrateful, but having people harp on you all the time isn’t my idea of fun. Ever since my second child things have become easier. Boundaries have been built biased off my families wants and needs. All the families have understood that we’ve grown and created our own traditions and that we aren’t always going to be there. But because we have grown on our own we have also included them in traditions we have created, things like new years eve,camp or have campfires, have game nights, and have coffee visits. We no longer see one another multiple times a week. Its really hard to find a healthy medium, but between schooling, work, rest/nap times, 3 kids and 1 pregnancy we do find time for the people in our lives. Its just healthy now. Less fights, more love.