Pregnant with alcoholic mother

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squeebs

I’m currently 35 weeks pregnant with my first child. My mother has been an alcoholic since before I was born and has been on and off with recovery all my life. I’ve been hoping for my mother to be there for me through this pregnancy, knowing how hard it’s been for my partner and I to get to where we are now. She has missed every milestone throughout the pregnancy, from the announcement, to the gender reveal; to this week when I needed her more than ever, when I was rushed in to hospital needing fluid to be drain which could have caused an emergency c-section. The day before this happens she puts her head back into a bottle “because she’s worried about me and the baby” I haven’t spoken to her since and I don’t know what to do. At 30 years old I still need my mum and she’s not there for me. What I do? What do I say?

  • listener

    Hi Squeebs

    First of all, I would like to start with congratulations for your pregnancy!

    Secondly, that sounds so frustrating needing your mum and her not being there for you. It is so difficult dealing with someone else's drinking problem. It is really common that the drinker does not accept responsibility for their own actions. This is usually to protect themselves from the painful truth. It can be tempting to try and fix the problem, but sadly that is not in our control.

    Do you have any other support from family and friends?

    At Nacoa we always encourage people to take care of themselves. Something that I think could be useful for you to think about is something that we call the 6C’s.

    • I didn’t cause it
    • I can’t cure it
    • I can’t control it
    • I can take care of myself
    • I can communicate my feelings
    • I can make healthy choices

    However, if you would like to talk to your mum about this then gaining a better understanding of alcoholism as an illness may help you. You cannot stop someone else's drinking, but you are not to blame and did not cause it. People who want to stop drinking have to accept they have a problem and are ready to accept help. Nevertheless, I understand this is difficult for you because you love your mum so much, but no-one can force help. You could try talking to her when she is least likely to have been drinking, but try not to be confrontational, focus on how you feel "I am worried about you" rather than "your drinking is worrying me". Finally try not to have expectations on how your mum will respond to the conversation. People who struggle with alcoholism can find it hard to hear loved one's concerns and deny having a problem.

    I do hope I have helped.

    If you would like to read up about how to talk to someone about their drinking, any other information regarding alcoholism as an illness, then we have plenty of resources on our website which you could read through.

    Finally, if you need anyone to talk to then the Nacoa helpline is here to provide help and support for you. You are not alone.

  • sk

    Hi squeebs,
    Thanks for sharing your situation here. It can feel so disappointing when a parent doesn't show up when you need or want them the most, doesn't it.
    I don't have any advice on what to say to your mum, because I don't think her actions would be any different whatever you say. That can be quite a sad or powerless feeling, but hopefully it can be re-assuring, to know that her behaviour is no reflection on you.
    I'm really impressed you were able to share your feelings and vulnerabilities here. Being able to communicate and be open about things is really important - and wonderful qualities to have as a mum, which you are becoming! I really hope you're able to find some peace in the relationship with your own mother, and that eventually the disappointments feel less painful.
    Wishing you a healthy and happy growing family.

  • psychmentor

    Hi Squeebs,
    Another pregnant daughter of an alcoholic here! I'm also a mentor, have a Psychology MSc in alcoholism, and have an 11 month old so hopefully am a bit qualified to give you some advice here.
    Firstly, I never thought I would have kids because I was so terrified of turning into my mum/ not know how to be a good mum because I never had one. I ended up getting therapy and even studying it in order to gain the awareness I needed to be the best mum, I was that worried about it! When I fell pregnant all I wanted was to tell my mum, but I didn't. I knew that any twinge that anyone else would have told their mum first about, mine would use an excuse to drink because she would be worried.

    I ended up in hospital twice with my first pregnancy, once for bleeding and another for waters prematurely breaking, before being admitted for an emergency c section. None of those times did I tell my mum, because she would have made it about her. at 34 years old, I know that now! And it sounds like your mum is similar. I know it's really difficult and I did cry wishing I had a mum to share this with, but your baby in utero feels all your stress. It meant that for my baby's sake, I had to disconnect from my mum, not in the sense of ghosting her, because that would have made my life harder, but I would only give her positive updates so that she couldnt use anything against me.
    I ignored anything else.

    I found myself messaging my aunty a lot, and friends who had babies, so that I'd still get that female support and advice when I wanted and needed it. Now that we have our baby girl, I send videos and photos of her, but when I go back to my hometown to see other family, I only arrange to see my mum at my grans house where there are other people. We have her first birthday and naming ceremony coming up, and I have told all my family to keep quiet and not tell my mum because she ruined every single event of mine growing up, and I now have the control to not let her ruin my daughters as well. It's time to take my power back, and although I know it's an illness, it doesn't make it any easier to have her at family gatherings. She will promise she doesnt drink anymore, then I get phonecalls from her where she's definitely had a drink. We just know don't we.

    Now I'm pregnant with my second, I'm still early on at 10 weeks so haven't told family yet, but I will continue with how I have been. Elimiate any contact that will cause my stress, if she makes me feel guilty (which she does often) I remind myself that it is not worth affecting my unborn child over. I am not letting alcohol ruin my children and I'll be damned if I let her in too close to hurt my children emotionally like she did us.
    I really hope you take some comfort in my experience and have a smooth rest of your pregnancy and you'll be the best mum because of what you've been through.

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