Welcome to the Fabulous Hybrid Blog Carnival. Our topic this summer is BOUNDARIES! This post was written for inclusion in the quarterly Blog Carnival hosted by The Fabulous Mama Chronicles and Hybrid Rasta Mama. This month our participants reflect on boundaries in all of its many forms. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
Whether due to our scientific backgrounds, a tendency to planning, or a combination of multiple factors, my husband and I are researchers. Given a decision to make, we research. By that, I mean to say that we enjoy weeding through scientifc journals, digging into statistics, and ripping apart any studies to get to the factual information which we then use to make decisions. It’s part of who we are. So, when it came to the topic of having children, it only made sense that our fanatical researching would play a major role in our decisions.
When we finally decided it was time to begin our family, we were ready. We had researched. We were knowledgable. We were were ecstatic. My husband made that call. You know the one – the call to his parents to let them know that they were going to be grandparents. My husband’s excitement about becoming a father was contagious as he shared our fantastic news with his parents. While it had only been a few days since we found out, he mentioned he couldn’t wait for our home birth.
Then the telephone calls began. Calls from relatives we knew. Calls from relatives my husband had never even met. These weren’t congratulatory calls. These were calls to tell us we were endangering our child, that we were endangering my life, that we knew nothing and were ignorant. While the black sheep of his family (would I be considered the psychedelic rainbow striped in-law?), the idea that we would go into any decision without first researching it, especially a decision of this magnitude, was ridiculous. Everything we do is for a reason.
Since we had only told his parents about the pregnancy at this point, it was clear where everyone was getting their information. We felt the situation warranted a call direct to the source. Obviously his parents had concerns, and we wanted to assure them we were prepared. We tried to share facts with them. They refused to listen. We offered to send them research. They made accusations. There was yelling and then screaming. Names were called. The dead baby card was pulled. We appealed to them just to listen. At some point, I just had to walk away from the phone. Eventually, my husband gave up, telling them they didn’t have to agree with us, but that they had to respect that the decisions regarding our family were ours to make. I’m not certain who hung up – my husband who was tired of being screamed at and belittled or my mother-in-law who realized her baby boy wasn’t going to back down.
There were still phone calls from people. There were some letters. Relations with my husband’s family were strained, but we thought things were beginning to even out. My husband went on a business trip near his aunt and uncle’s house and agreed to see them, not realizing they had any knowledge of our birth plans (naive on our part, at best). The visit seemed to be going fine until they were out on the boat with no way for him to escape. The attack began.
After that point, we really had no desire to have a relationship with his family, if you could even call what we had with them before a relationship. It definitely wasn’t healthy, whatever it was. We tried to keep our distance while maintaining enough of a relationship that our children could make their own decision some day.
As we neared the birth, my in-laws began to push for a date, unhappy with the birth month we had given. Then they began to push for a date for them to come out, knowing that we of course would want them there for the birth. We didn’t. In fact, it was at that time that my husband informed them that we would be having a babymoon. We wouldn’t be having vistors for a month, in order to give our new little family a chance to get to know each other and fall into a groove.
Two weeks before Thanksgiving, we welcomed our first child, a son – the first grandchild and great-granchild on my husband’s side of the family. My husband called to let everyone know and reiterated that we were enjoying our babymoon, getting to know this new little person. A week later, when my father-in-law called, he made the mistake of letting it slip that there were plans in the works for a hoard of relatives to descend on our town for Thanksgiving. After all, there was no way we could say no to letting them see our new baby if they showed up on our door, or so they thought.
My husband was livid. I think I may have been numb. My husband, pretending he had no knowledge of the plans, sent out a wonderful e-mail to those involved letting them know how we were getting along with our new addition, thanking them for their understanding and respect for our babymoon as we got to know our new son, as he gained immunity in his first month, as we established breastfeeding, and as we were taking on our new roles as parents. Then he casually spelled out in no uncertain terms that no one would be getting past him in that first month. The trip never happened, although we heard grumbles. There were also complaints that other people saw our baby before them, when we went out shopping or run errands.
There are many reasons why I love my husband. The fact that he stepped up to his husbandly and fatherly roles is just one of them. Many people have supportive family – people who would come in, help out with household tasks, hold a baby in order for the mom to grab a shower or to eat with two hands. That was not a possibility with my in-laws. Establishing boundaries at the beginning was an important part of our lives as parents and continues to be an important aspect in the protection of our family.
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants. It will be updated by 3:00pm PST on Monday, July 30th:
- Boundaries For The Attached Parenting Sexual Abuse Survivor - Guggie Daly at The Guggie Daily discusses how to balance the boundaries needed by a sexual abuse survivor with attachment parenting.
- Setting Boundaries With Kids – Amy at Presence Parenting explores why boundaries may be more about us than our kids.
- Limiting Dysfunction – Wolfmother at Fabulous Mama Chronicles speaks speaks out about the underlying dysfunction in her relationship with her parents and the strategies she’s had to implement to ensure the psychological health of herself and her family.
- My Fence – Jorje shares how and why she she feels the need to be guarded with her family on Momma Jorje.
- How To Set and Enforce Boundaries – Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama offers 6 suggestions on how to more effectively establish and enforce your boundaries, especially with those who blatantly disregard them.
- Boundaries in Breastfeeding – JW of True Confessions of a Real Mommy explores teaching personal space rules to allow a respectful breastfeeding relationship as well as honoring their own body autonomy.
- 3 Steps for Respecting Boundaries While Fulfilling Needs Within a Marriage – Kym at Our Crazy Corner of the World talks about three ways her husband and herself protect their own boundaries while still meeting each others needs.
- Establishing Boundaries With A Babymoon – Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children shares how important enforcing a babymoon was to establishing a new parental identity in the face of her in-laws.
- Planting The Seed: Teaching Kids About Healthy Boundaries And Saying No – MomeeeZen recently had to teach her daughter about setting healthy boundaries and about saying “No”, even if it’s to someone in your family.