Post # 1
So we’re announcing we’re pregnant on Christmas eve and are planning to tell DH’s 7 year old daughter when she visits for Christmas. She’s the best kid in the world and I really love her like she’s my own, and she’s often asked us about having a little brother or sister. I’m terrified to tell her because of how her mother could react.
Background about the ex, she dumped Darling Husband shortly after SD was born supposedly because he’s a horrible peice of shit blah blah blah but really she’s a lesbian doesn’t date men, so IMO they didn’t have a good shot of ever working out. She’s very VERY unstable when she gets angry/sad/frustrated and totally unpredictable. She refused to meet me for the years Darling Husband and I were dating and told Darling Husband if he let me around SD then she would never let him see her again, threw away presents we bought SD and threw away presents SD made for me etc., She really flipped when she found out we were engaged and started calling 60+ times a day, texting, leaving weepy voicemails that there’s an emergency with SD and he must call back right away, then the emergency was always just her telling him how much of a fat slut I am etc. And she started telling him she can’t let SD visit and would hold the child at ransom (“You can’t see her unless you promise to pick up every time I call”) and just weird stuff like that. When I finally met her she wouldn’t speak to me and ended up screaming at me and going nuts while her father tried to pull her off of me. We knew she had a bad temper but we didn’t realize she would be so violently angry just to meet me, and now we avoid her because SD saw the whole scene and we don’t need that happening again. After attacking me in front of a school full of people she decided to tell people it was because she knew we had a plan to kidnap SD and called the police, pulled SD out of school etc. She’ll seriously do anything to blame someone else for her temper. It took a long time for SD to get comfortable with us while her mom was telling her she’s not safe with her dad, we’re going to kidnap her etc. We never said anything against her mom because we know of course that won’t help at all, and eventually she got past it but she still won’t mention me around her mom anymore or talk to me on the phone, and on the rare occasion that Darling Husband gets to talk to her on his nightly phone call she acts totally depressed and won’t talk to him, but she’s pretty much fine when she’s with us now. We owe a lot to the ex’s parents who don’t condone her behavior and really do a lot to help keep things easy for SD. The thing is that this is all (admittedly) her jealousy about my relationship with SD. At first she wanted to live with us and always asked if I could be her mom because her mother was honestly just really mean to her, always mad, yelling, switching moods etc., and obviously we said no that little kids should live with their mothers. Now since the ex told SD she’s not safe with us she’s been more clingy and enmeshed with her mom, which is fine but sometimes I worry what she’s really saying to her behind closed doors if she’ll actually admit to saying the few things we know about. And this was mostly about us getting engaged, the whole fiasco lasted about 4-5 months.
Sorry that was so long, but that’s like a fraction of how things have been with her. Lately things have been so quiet, and honestly I don’t want to give it up. We don’t talk to her and also Darling Husband gave her money for something for SD and she’s mostly left us alone since then. She claims she reacted like she did to our engagement because Darling Husband didn’t ask for her blessing first but A) that’s kind of between me and Darling Husband and she has no say in that decision making process and B) she would have told SD he was planning to propose because she loves to “accidentally” ruin surprises.
I’ve heard you should tell the ex first when you’re expecting before you tell the child, but that ruins the moment of us getting to tell SD as the ex might tell SD in the most traumatizing way possible the horrible news about the baby. However, if SD tells her she will probably get visibly mad or quiet. Do we seriously have to tell her?? How have others handled this with exes who tend to get upset during big life changes? If she starts calling again what do we do?? She’s the type where it’s all or nothing, he ignored 4 weeks of 60 phone calls a day for her to get the message, if he picks up one time she’ll start calling again 🙁 I honestly am looking forward to telling SD about the baby and I honestly don’t know if I can give that moment up just to avoid a temper tantrum from her mother.
Post # 3
Why don’t you take them somewhere neutral, like a resturant, and tell them both together. Mention to the waitress that you are planning on telling your stepdaughter that shes gonna be a big sister. That way if Ex acts up, there would be witnesses to show that you did not provoke it, + if Darling Husband decides he wants costody of SD, witnesses are always a good thing
Post # 4
@imalittlebirdie: Thanks for the thought, but we don’t see the ex in person by choice anymore, her behaviors often border on stalking and honestly I don’t want to ask her out to lunch and open that can of worms again. We wouldn’t bring SD into that mix because of how the ex reacted the first time, she physically dragged the child behind her by the arm while she chased me swearing and yelling. I’m not even exaggerating, it was horrible and I don’t think anyone wants SD to go through that again.
Post # 5
Would the ex’s parents break the news to her while you have your SD with you for Christmas? The ex will find out at some point, and it really shouldn’t be from her own daughter given that she’ll react badly. It sounds like you’re very protective of your SD, which is great, so find a way to let the ex know that doesn’t involve the child.
Post # 6
I know Christmas probably seems like a great opportunity to break the news, but I would caution against sharing the news on that day, for a couple of reasons. First of all the holidays can be rough for some folks and crazy ex might be extra more difficult to deal with on Christmas. Second, Christmas is a big exciting day for a little kid. She might be confused or sad or worried about her relationship with her dad. Why try to do that on Christmas, which is a pretty intense day already? I would make it a special occasion a few days after Christmas and take her to lunch or something. Good luck though!
Post # 7
@Moja Milosc: Honestly, I’m very VERY concerned for SD by the way you’ve described her mother’s behaviour toward her. Children need to be with their mothers to a point. If that mother is being abusive, then something needs to change. Dragging her by the arm, screaming at her, making her feel bad, making things up about her father to scare her… those are all in the realm of serious emotional trauma to me, and I am genuinely concerned for her safety and well-being, based on what you’ve described. There isn’t any way you can get some kind of children’s services involved to at least help mediate the situation?
Post # 8
@MissCalifornia: I agree. I think your husband needs to call children’s aid to monitor her behaviour.
Post # 9
@MidwestBride2012: We were thinking that, we’re worried she’d be mad that he talked to her parents behind her back, and I can kind of understand why she would be. If she’s out of control as Christmas gets closer we probably will do this.
@sarahrun: We aren’t telling her on Christmas, just while she’s out for her Christmas vacation from school. We know kids have mixed emotions about finding out they’re going to be big siblings so we’re telling her in a neutral way so she doesn’t feel pressure to act 100% happy. She does ask us a lot when we’re having a baby because she wants to be a big sister, so at first at least I think it should be good news. Good point though 🙂
@MissCalifornia: Believe me we tried 🙁 Emotional abuse is nearly impossible to prove, and we even have emails and voicemails from her admitting to Darling Husband that she’s telling SD all of these things because she gets a kick out of knowing we’d never say anything to SD to stick up for ourselves. Darling Husband never really fought with her about how she raised SD, and was never married to the ex, in fact he dated her for like a year total, so he basically gets all the wonderful rights of a baby daddy in this state. If he ever said anything against her or exercised any of his legal rights she would threaten to get sole custody to scare him off, his lawyer says it’s too late to start fighting now. We were told PAS is hard to fight anyway, and she’s very good at recognizing when she’s taken it too far and turning on the charm… since Darling Husband got a lawyer the ex has stopped admitting what she says to SD about us. It’s sad but there’s nothing we can do legally, custody laws in our state are very biased against the fathers.
Post # 10
Ouch! That’s a difficult situation to be in. The only person I feel bad for here is the SD. No one needs a bad parent. That is truly worse than having no parents at all.
As for telling the SD, I would go ahead and do it. Then however way her mom reacts, you can try to get sole custody of SD, or at the very least, be able to file a complaint with child services.
Divorce laws are biased almost everywhere in North America. Sad but true.
Post # 11
Yeah she acts pretty stoic but I wonder what really goes on at home these days, now that we don’t hear from the ex anymore. I dunno if I can call her a “bad” parent because SD always has clean clothes, food etc. She just has very poor coping skills and relies on SD for emotional fulfillment that a child shouldn’t be responsible for. Honestly she’s been okay lately and she may have had a medication change, gotten a new therapist, come to terms with some of her demons… and I don’t want to rock the boat.
I have some experience with child services from working at schools and I know they wouldn’t do anything but go check out her house, see that it’s clean and that SD is fed, no bruises, and would never open a case. Reporting her for saying mean things to her daughter won’t hold up well, especially coming from the child’s father. And her family would cover for her obviously. I know it makes us look bad for not trying to get custody but we were told we’d never win and the whole process would be traumatizing for everyone.
Sasha2011: I think I’m going to just do that. We’ll probably send her an email to warn her before SD goes home and if she gets it she gets it and she’ll be home alone and can have her own reaction. If she’s cruel to SD then we’ll add it to our ongoing documentation.
Darling Husband and I brainstormed how we could tell her and SD in a way that would warrant the least reaction but I’m realizing that if she’s going to be mean to SD it’s because she wants to be mean to SD, not because we announced it in a way that made it impossible for her to be kind to her own daughter. I give up :/