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Ask Grandma Maggie

Parenting & Childcare Advice
Peggy Moss (1933-2014), also known as Grandma Maggie, penned a parenting column on this site for many years. Back by popular demand, we are republishing the column, sharing with you the best of Grandma Maggie’s parenting and childcare advice.
Unfortunately Grandma Maggie is no longer able to take questions.

My husband is not happy I’m pregnant.
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Hi Grandma Maggie,

I’d like to get an unbiased opinion. My husband of 3 years and I have a blended family. I am 39 and he is 38. From a previous marriage, I have an 11 yr old girl and 8 yr old boy and my husband has a 16 yr old girl and 15 yr old boy. Hubby has sole custody (mom lost parental rights and has never been involved in their lives). I have primary custody of my two and they see their dad every other weekend, alternating holidays, etc. Hubby was single for 10 years and me for 2 when we started dating. His kids never wanted to share their dad, having had him to themselves for 10 years. Mine were ecstatic to have a brother and sister.

I am very independent, have my own way of thinking, etc., and have no problem telling my family, or his, to butt out. My husband, on the other hand, has always depended on his parents and they are very controlling. This has created havoc in our marriage. Add to that hubby is an alcoholic but has been sober for 6 months after attending a rehab facility. We have been separated several months but continued to try and work things out. This did not make either sides of our families happy, to which I told mine, it’s my life. His family has been putting massive amounts of pressure on us. His kids are threatening to live with grandma and grandpa if he stays with me and my kids, and his parents are supporting the kids for him to leave.

We agreed no more kids, although I wanted one. He did not and was extremely vocal about this so it was agreed, no more. Here’s the situation now: I just found out I am pregnant. I am VERY shocked but happy about the baby, though sad about the timing and the situation. I told him on Thursday, he hung up on me and I haven’t heard from him since (today is Wednesday of the following week). I knew he wouldn’t be happy but I did expect a reaction. I’m trying to give him time to absorb this news. I absorbed and have moved on to the realization things are what they are, nothing can be done about this so having a fit or being depressed is silly. (I think women, in general, are better at handling shocks and moving forward than men general!) We are still separated, and living in different houses so our communication other than dates has been phone/texting, etc.

I have a tendency to be stubborn. So, my question: Do I let him contact me first? If not, how long do I let this go on? Do I send him info on doctor visits or let him ask? I have a sonogram scheduled for next week. If he has no intentions of being involved, that is his choice and as I said, things will still move forward regardless. I don’t want him to feel like I am excluding him though, but this is just not going to go away. In the past, my husband has always dealt with things as stick your head in the sand and it will go away.

Oh experienced wise grandma, please help!

Mary

Dear Mary,

You will always keep the door open for him to have contact with his child, even though he is a child himself. Never speak ill of him to the children. He is also the father of the expected baby and is legally financially responsible even if he is not able to come up with any emotional support.

Yes, let him contact you first except for the legalities and a lawyer can do that. This is not someone you want in your life but it’s too late for that. As long as you have children together, he will always be there. However, for a good relationship (if you want one) I would look elsewhere if I were you.

Grandma Maggie