(Damn, no benzos. No wine.)
November 19, 2009 8:11 PM   Subscribe

My unplanned-pregnant soon-to-be-single-mother friend was unexpectedly invited to Thanksgiving dinner with the, err, donor and his parents. She is freaking out, convincing herself that it will be terrible, etc. Suggestions?

My friend is just past her first trimester. Her pregnancy was unplanned, the guy is kind of a d-bag (as for what the "d" stands for, reader's choice). She understandably has mixed (putting it lightly) feelings about him. The enormity of impending motherhood is stressing her out, and leading to some serious depression, and exacerbating existing anxiety.

In his defense, her raging hormones don't make civil discourse easy for me, her friend, much less the guy, who comes across as a little dopey, a little selfish, often insensitive but also just clueless. He's got a Peter Pan thing goin' on, and hasn't had much in the way of long term relationships. He has made little overtures that seem to me promising, but in a spectacular refutation of accepted animal training methods, she seems to opt for bypassing positive reinforcement and goes with reminding him that he doesn't get it.

She is in dire need of a support system outside of, well, me. She works (indirectly) with his father, and has briefly met his mother (pre-pregnancy), and seems to think highly of them both. She has (and I have) hopes that his parents might be supportive.

She really wants to reach out to them, but is overcome with anxiety when crunch time comes around - she described hiding when his father stopped by her area of the building. She had another chance to meet them (painting at his house) and stayed in bed all day instead.

In a surprise move, he invited her to Thanksgiving dinner with his folks. And now she is on the verge of freaking out and missing another of a diminishing number of opportunities to connect with her child's grandparents.

So, sans benzos, or a glass of wine (she has really bought into the "we don't know how little alcohol it takes to harm your baby"), what can I do to assist her in being up for Thanksgiving?

(junk email account: askmefiquestion1000 at gmail)
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (11 answers total)
Your friend needs to talk to D-bag ahead of time and straighten shit out. That's really the bottom line.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 8:21 PM on November 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

They are making an overture, and they seem like decent people. Remind her that it isn't all about her--she will be a mother soon, these are the grandparents of the child she is expecting, and she needs to handle this maturely now so that things will go more smoothly for her child once her baby is born. You can get past a surprising amount of anxiety and self-doubt, as a Mom, if you feel you are doing something necessary for the good for your child (at least that was my own experience).
posted by misha at 8:31 PM on November 19, 2009 [2 favorites]

It seems inadequate to say "Relax," but really that's the best course of action I could recommend. Thanksgiving and winter holidays always make the stakes seem so much higher than they actually are. The grandparents extended an invitation to your friend probably not only because they want to get to know her better and show her that she's welcome, but also because they want to maintain a connection to their grandchild. From a utilitarian perspective, they have an incentive to behave well if they don't want to strain their relationship with her and hamper their future interactions with their grandchild, so if everything else fails she could always try to keep that in mind.
posted by foulowl at 8:52 PM on November 19, 2009

"soon-to-be-single-mother friend" what does this mean? What exactly is the status of their relationship? Did they break up? Couples can raise wonderful well-adjusted children together without being married. Why is she choosing to have this guy's child if she considers him a d-bag and scolds his every move? If this is going on in the U.S. then both the father and the grandparents have a legal right to see the child on a regular basis unless they otherwise disqualify themselves (jail time, flagrant drug use, abusive behavior, etc.). If she wants to resist that in court it could get really ugly, really fast. Sounds like the guy has been freaking out, which is totally appropriate.

You might want to remind her that you, her closest friend, are not in any way obligated to help her raise this baby, but the people who are responsible for 50% of his genetic information actually are. Get her that H. Clinton book about it "taking a village," that's actually very true. Hormones are not an excuse for permanently alienating the child's father and family.

As it is you haven't actually given any examples of how the father is being a d-bag, but you've given us a few instances of her being one.
posted by Locobot at 9:22 PM on November 19, 2009 [2 favorites]

Your friend bio-dad should have a talk about realistic roles. I don't mean "you're the dad, it's time to get married" obviously, but more "I'm having this baby, how much can you help and be involved?" Something realistic. Is he going to be the friendly uncle-type or change diapers at 2am? Probably not the latter, but better for both of them to talk about this now.

And Thanksgiving? If she likes the guy and likes the family, then why not have a nice dinner with them? And if she doesn't like him and his family, then she can do something else if she wants.

She just needs to figure out which way she feels. If it's hard to do then maybe she can talk to someone neutral about the situation.
posted by zippy at 9:32 PM on November 19, 2009

friend and bio-dad
posted by zippy at 9:32 PM on November 19, 2009

Two things.

One: they need to work this stuff out, stat. That will go a long way towards easing her anxiety.

Two: they made the overture, obviously they want to meet her, and they want to like her. It's like when you perform on stage for the first time, and you're nervous -- but you forget that the audience is there to be entertained, to have a good time, and they're on your side until/unless you do something to piss them off. Same thing goes here.
posted by davejay at 9:51 PM on November 19, 2009

Unless she has absolutely nowhere else to be on Thanksgiving, I'd tell her to politely decline the offer to attend Thanksgiving with the soon-to-be grandparents and Peter. She has enough to worry about without the added holiday pressure on top of it.

Instead, have her offer a counter-suggestion. She could say that she would love to come over at another time, but that she had already made plans for Thanksgiving. Aim for early December, right after Thanksgiving, but before Christmas/Hanukkah and New Year's.
posted by inturnaround at 12:04 AM on November 20, 2009 [2 favorites]

She could ask if it's OK to bring a friend to the Thanksgiving dinner.
posted by iviken at 1:14 AM on November 20, 2009

She has (and I have) hopes that his parents might be supportive.

I can't tell if the parents know she's pregnant or not...? If not, is this the dinner where they'll be told, hence, super-weirdness??
posted by tristeza at 3:14 AM on November 20, 2009

If the parents DON"T know, this is NOT the time to tell them.
posted by brujita at 10:56 PM on November 20, 2009

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