Having a baby is helping me learn how to say, “No”.

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I’ve always been a bit too easy to please. I don’t like confrontations, and I hate awkwardness. I’ll usually offer to put myself out for someone else because it’s easier. It’s kind of lead to me being the family doormat as my siblings & parents are pretty bloody-minded (not just stubborn – they’re pugnacious too). They tend to organise things amongst themselves & then just tell me where & when, never considering that may not be convenient for me. Never really caring, I suspect. As I said in a previous post, I’m adopted but both my sisters are natural to my parents, and whilst there’s no conscious divide, there just is one in terms of what’s important to us. To my family, it’s money & apparent status, ambition, not being emotional or ‘bleeding heart’; to myself & my partner it’s being happy, healthy living, emotional honesty & artistic culture. I’m still coming to accept this as I forget sometimes that we’ll never quite be on the same wavelength.

My partner has often told me, pre-baby, that I need to put my foot down with my family. And I still didn’t. However, now I have my own family, and although perhaps I still don’t see my own needs as important enough to kick up a fuss about, now I have a little girl and she IS important enough.

I have a situation with my sister at the moment. She doesn’t realise it’s a situation. She loaned me money just before I fell pregnant. I started paying her back, then stopped as was saving for baby. She recently text me to ask me to start paying her back £50 a month when I go back to work. I told her that after childcare, I won’t actually be earning any more than I receive on statutory maternity pay, and can I start paying her back in a year when my career development loan is paid off as that’s a big chunk of my earnings, and at the moment I don’t even have £50 a month to give her.

Let’s put this in perspective. She works as a medic for the army & NHS, and as such earns I think around three times what I did when I was working full-time. She has a mortgage I know, but she also has a new BMW and just went on holiday to Bali for three weeks. Unless there’s something she’s not telling me, she doesn’t need the money right now. She doesn’t have any children of her own, although she is broody, but her partner is younger than her and doesn’t feel ready yet.

Her text response to my offering to pay her £5 a month until next summer, then £100 a month, really upset me. She wrote that I was taking advantage of her, that I shouldn’t live somewhere so expensive (Bath, UK), that if we couldn’t afford it we shouldn’t have had our baby and that I’m burning my bridges.

Our little girl was not planned, which she knows. So the intimation there, from our baby’s aunt, does not bear thinking about.

My partner left my sister an answer machine message whilst she was on holiday asking her to call him so they can arrange something. What we were thinking is that he can pay some of it back now but she is no longer part of our little girl’s life – it’s the money or the relationship with her aunt. She hasn’t listened properly to the message as she’s just text me saying, “I got the message saying M will pay me back, thanks & let’s put this all behind us,  x”.

‘Put this behind us’? My own sister suggested that we should have got our baby aborted so that I can repay my debt to her.  That is never, ever going to be put behind us.

I think she’s the one who’s burned her bridges, and she has no clue, yet. When she realises no money has gone into her account this will come out into the open. The rest of my family know nothing of it at the moment, and I don’t know how they’ll react. I know they’ll say I should pay her back, but I don’t know what they’ll make of the text comments.

A therapist acquaintance suggested we should “cut her out”. We’re supposed to be having a family barbecue next month, and we’re both nervous about how this could play out. I always said I’d never be one of those people who don’t talk to members of their family, but I just don’t know how our relationship can recover from this.

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