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Pregnant Woman Asks Her Newly-Sober Mom To ‘Prove Herself’ Before She’s Allowed To Babysit

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When a family member succumbs to addiction, we always want to be there for them, and help them in whatever way we can.

Even if that sometimes means giving them some tough love, and keeping a stringent eye on them to make sure they don’t fall victim to their old, destructive habits.

Which could mean setting boundaries with them which others might find severe.

The mother of Redditor devillmay grew up with an alcoholic mother, who’s addictions put a possibly permanent strain on their relationship.

But after going through rehab and appearing to turn a new leaf, the mother of the original poster (OP) made it known that she wanted to be a more present figure in her life, particularly as the OP’s life was about to change very positively for the better.

But the OP was unsure if she was ready for her mother to be fully present in her life again, and told her this would only be possible on one, non-negotiable condition.

Worried she might have been too hard on her mother, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where she asked fellow Redditors:

“AITA for telling my mom she cannot make a baby room?”

The OP shared how some joyous news prompted her mother’s desire to be an active part of her life once more, but the OP had doubts as to whether or not this was a good idea.

“So I’m (25 F[eamale]) pregnant, yay!”

“And today I’ve had a discussion with my mom (43 F) and she’s not responding anymore so I think I might have been too harsh.”

“A bit of background.”

“My mom and I have a strained relationship.”

“She has been abusing alcohol since i was 14.”

“I have not lived with her since I was 16.”

“And in all those years we have been very low contact.”

“I maybe talk to her once every couple of months.”

“I think there might be years we didn’t speak.”

“2-3 months ago she was admitted to a mental ward for depression and rehab again and there they found out she has breast cancer.”

“She says that has been an eyeopener and she’s a changed woman now.”

“Two weeks ago I told her I was pregnant and she was texting me every hour or so to talk about baby things.”

“But I let her know that I needed more space and that her being too overly present in my life after not being there for a long time is uncomfortable and if she wanted to work on our band I would be happy to do so with a professional present.”

“Because I cannot pretend nothing happened and we are one big happy family.”

“She proceeded to ignore me for a week.”

“This was a sign for me she still cannot handle my boundaries.”

“Today she sent me screenshots of a conversation between her and my grandmother.”

“She’s telling my grandmother she’s going to make a baby room in her house, but she’s doubting if I will trust her with my child because I have crazy mood swings.”

“I promise you I do not. I’ve had a lot of therapy and developed myself to be a healthy functioning adult.”

“She also said she feels my mother in law is going to be a real grandmother and I’m going to exclude her.”

“I told her I would not trust her with my child.”

“She’s only been sober for a couple of months.”

“She has to prove herself first before she can even begin thinking about being a grandmother.”

“I told her she cannot have a baby room and that this is not her do-over baby.”

“I said I’m happy she thinks she’s a changed person but I’ve heard this story 200x before and she always falls back to alcohol.”

“I told her to not point at my mother in law and play victim when she has not been there for me as my MIL has.”

“Honestly I feel bad about how harsh I was. I essentially said I don’t believe she can stay sober.”

“I even fear that this might be the trigger for her to start drinking again.”

“So I could use an outsiders opinion.”

Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

The Reddit community agreed that the OP was being more than reasonable with her mother, and was not the a**hole for setting boundaries when it came to her baby.

Everyone agreed that the OP was only thinking about the safety of her child, while several Redditors who also grew up with alcoholic parents shared how they had similar experiences dealing with their parents.


“Sounds like your mom failed her own parenting experience and is looking at your child for a do over.”

“Anyone that builds a nursery in their home when they are not having a baby is going to be problematic.”

“Also, always remember that your baby is not a therapy pet.”

“Your mom’s sobriety and management of her mental health is 100% on her.”- Bitter-Conflict-4089


“NTA at all.”

“Your mom caused you trauma, and you have been working to set boundaries and protect yourself and your baby.”

“You are asking reasonable thing, working with a professional on your relationship, etc.”

“As a fellow child of an alcoholic, I understand where you are coming from.”

“My mom is now 8 months sober and I am still waiting for the other shoe to drop.”

“It is very much day to day in our relationship.”

“Take care of yourself and your baby.”

“You will be a great mom.”- cschmidtusa

“NTA for not trusting her after everything you’ve been through.”

“She made choices that lead to consequences.”

“You aren’t saying she won’t see her grandchild, you are just saying she won’t be alone with the grandchild and that you are open to working with a professional to get to a better place.”

“Do what’s best for you!”- Samu_2020_15


“For 11 years she has been an alcoholic so it’s not surprising that you said she needs to be sober for a much longer time.”

“BTW, don’t ever take responsibility for someone else’s drinking.”

“If she starts drinking again it is not on you.”- dwotw


“Your first priority is to your child not your mother’s feelings.”- GothPenguin


“People prove they’ve changed with their actions, not with their words.”

“A so far she has not given you enough proof for you to trust her to treat you right, not to mention trusting her with your own child.”

“I think you handled this correctly.”

“You have not been vindictive or petty, but you have clearly stated your boundaries and what you expect and need from your mother for you to trust her again.”

“You have to consider your own child first, that is your responsibility as its mother.”

“Also, you are not responsible for your mother’s mental health and sobriety.”

“If she does turn to drinking again, that is just a proof of her not being trustworthy, and you being right in being cautious.”- LaLiaLealia


“That’s not harsh at all.”

“You need to keep on talking to her about these things so it’s best to start as you mean to go on.”

“My mum left me in a terrible home life when I was 16, and she did plenty f*cked up things.”

“But to all others she’s an incredible woman, a lovely old lady.”

“I cut her off a couple times and keep having to have these conversations.”

“I had to actually confront her one day with the fact that she abandoned me, to which she said she did not….I just had to remind her.”

“She did.”

“She swept it so far under the carpet she made it really uncomfortable for me to even mention it let alone think about it and believe it really happened.”

“It’s taken me decades to get used to treating her in a way that feels comfortable for my boundaries but always makes me feel guilty.”

“I would rather not have contact with her but she and my sisters behave as if this would be utterly cruel to her.”

“I’m just saying all this to explain I do know this kind of situation.”

“My sister has kids and my mum has plenty times been inappropriate with them all, the whole family.”

“My mum, and your mum it sounds like.”

“Places herself in the ‘mother’ role.”

“Talks and acts as if she is a much more serious mum than she is.”

“It makes me feel awkward, but I’ve always been about honesty and if I have to remind her, that I don’t want to see her house/a hole husband, and that I’m not interested in a lot of things she tries to tell me about, as if we are more family thank we are.”

“So you’ve not been harsh and what’s happening is, your mum is in major denial of the real facts, and situation.”

“Denial is a big real thing, people can live like that for ever, just trying to live a decent life by refusing to accept what’s really going on.”

“So that pushes people like me or you into awkward moments and makes us feel bad for pointing out the obvious truth.”


“Your mum had better get used to it.”

“She’s using your baby as a way to connect with you and another child, and she’s been utterly awful to talk about her daughter as if it’s her fault, she has moods, which is a lie, to another family member.”

‘That’s, not acceptable.”

“It’s disgusting.”

“I would never talk about my own daughter like that as a way to communicate to someone that things aren’t going well and there’s a problem.”

“You probably should start picturing a very strict boundary with your mum and your baby in future and I’m sorry if this is inappropriate as I don’t know the whole story but don’t let her emotional bullying make you feel guilty.”

“Learn to accept she is going to get upset if she continues to behave out of her real place with you and not respect your boundaries and that’s HER FAULT.”- islaisla

The OP later returned to thank all those who commented, particularly those who shared similar experiences to her own.

“Thank you guys so much for all your responses.”

“I will not doubt myself anymore when it comes to protecting my child.’

“You made me realize it is indeed not normal nor remorseful how my mother is behaving.”

“I am sorry so many of you can relate to my story and have an abusive/alcoholic parent.”

“My heart is with you.”

“I appreciate everyone that took the time to share their story with me.’

“I feel very supported.”

One can sympathize with the OP’s mother for wanting to spend time with her grandchild, as becoming a grandparent is something all parents look forward to one day.

But she also must understand why her daughter might be hesitant to trust her, after the childhood she had.

One can only hope that the OP’s mother is able to prove herself, and that she will one day have a strong relationship with both the OP and her grandchild.

Written by John Curtis

A novelist, picture book writer and native New Yorker, John is a graduate of Syracuse University and the children's media graduate program at Centennial College. When not staring at his computer monitor, you'll most likely find John sipping tea watching British comedies, or in the kitchen, taking a stab at the technical challenge on the most recent episode of 'The Great British Baking Show'.