To not meet the Mother of DH's "surprise dd"?

(72 Posts)
MrsCantSayAnything Tue 20-Nov-12 07:35:36

It's a long story so I'll condense it. It sounds horribly Jerry Springer too....DH is from another country....an engish speaking one which is a long way away.

We met 12 years ago and now have 2 children aged 8 and 4. We live in the UK.

WHen our DD1 was only 3, we had a phonecall from his MOther to tell us that an old girlfriend of his back in his country had called her and wanted DHs number.

She called DH and broke the news that she had his child and she was at the time nearly 10 years old.

DH had known this woman since school and when they were in their early 20s she had left the city they grew up in and one day she came back for a visit, DH and she had a one week fling.

She was at this time engaged to another man. She left to go back to her city and her fiancee and DH thought no more of this and never heard from her again. He knew she was engaged.

It turns out, she got pregnant and passed DHs child off as her fiancee's.

The time she rang us when DD was 3, it was to tell DH that he had a child. She had split with her by then, husband who asked for a DNA test...so it all came out.

He had been raising DHs child.

DH had a DNA test which we did via postal services but when we saw a picture of the little girl we knew she was his anyway. The DNA test was positive.

Since then, DH has struggled to maintain contact with them, the MOther is not a secure person, ...he's signed an agreement thing so the woman gets her child payments from the government over there, which DH pays to them...and he has been over to visit. We used all our savings for this because the main thing was that his poor DD could meet him

Contact is not great because his DD is now 15 and not that keen,...she barely knows DH... her Mum isn't a lot of help and moves around a lot...sometimes forgetting to update us with numbers etc. His DD wont keep in touch herself but if DH can call and get her MUm, she usually chats.

We're going back there this Christmas to stay wth DHs mum and DHs Mum has invited them to her home for lunch. I' am a bit unhappy about it....I want to meet DHs child but not her MOther over lunch!

It's going to feel very awkward! AIBU? I genuinely do not know. The woman is not known for her pleasant behaviour....she's spiky and when I talked to her on Skype at the start of all this, she asked me what dress size I am! shock

What do I do? Go out when they come? That means I won't get to meet DHs DD in the flesh so to speak... which I want to!

Cahooots Wed 21-Nov-12 00:28:46

Good idea to follow soggys advice. Very sensible.

I hope it goes well.

Fairyegg Tue 20-Nov-12 14:39:52

I can understand why you don't want to be there, but I think you have to be. Even if your really shy just smile a lot, hopefully mil and your dh will do most of the talking anyway. It's bound to be really awkward for everyone, probably mainly for the dd and her mum though.

whizmum Tue 20-Nov-12 14:03:04

Yes you have to be there - talk to MIL and make sure you have plenty of things to do - make a cake that requires last minute decorating which would be a contribution,and also a distraction for you.

Make sure DH's daughter has photos of her dad to look at and this will be something her mother can look at too. It would be good to have something around that she might be interested in too - has MIL any photos of her? Just give her plenty of distraction

Find something for the children to do that she can join in with or watch if she pleases. It will be good to have small children around, as they are always a distraction. It will be good for them to spend some time with them, if she is to learn about her father.

Ask m-i-l if there are things you can do to help whilst they are there, to free her up and give her more time with this grand child (and the mother). Good for brownie points and good for getting away.

It will be a hard day, but if you manage to help MIL, DH and children have a good time with this girl, you will have won. Smile and brush away any comments. If she is nasty, it is because she is nasty, not because of you. If it doesn't go well, you will have tried!

justmyview Tue 20-Nov-12 12:55:12

I think you should be there, even though it's likely to be an awkward meeting

YellowTulips Tue 20-Nov-12 12:53:22

This is obviously a very difficult situation for all involved, however, its not going to get any better by running away from it.

Whatever the past rights and wrongs are here, the priority has to be the welfare of your children and your DSD and this more than anythign else needs to shape your actions.

I can understand why you wouldn't want to meet the mother, but it's not unreasonable for her to want to offer support to her daughter whilst she meets your DH's family (if its hard for you, think how hard it is for a 15 year old girl to deal with all this, finding out her Dad isnt her Dad, that her real Dad lives in another country and she has half siblings and a step-mum she never knew existed).

Equally, its going to be difficult for your children so I think its important for them to have their mother there to support them and "show" them that its all going to be ok by being as relaxed and open as you possibly can (easier said than done I know).

I would look at it this way, perhaps an informal lunch (remember food can be a big ice breaker - if nothing else you can bond over a mutual hatred of mice pies!) is not the worst way to meet your DSD and her mother face to face for the first time. It might actually be less intense and in that regard and easier than a few hours just with you and DH - people tend to be on better behaviour the more people there are around.

Personally I think the best thing to do is to go and be as open and welcoming as you can to both the mother and DSD, keeping conversation "light" and deflecting any negative comments by having a few "distraction" topics/activies prepared in advance.

Whilst it is difficult to maintan a "blue peter smile" in front of a woman who has impacted your life so dramatically, the alternative could be far worse in the long run by being perceived as alienating/dis-interested in DSD by not over comming (an albeit understandable) reluctance to engage with her mother.

Best of luck xxxx

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Tue 20-Nov-12 12:49:01

Good luck mrs!

MrsCantSayAnything Tue 20-Nov-12 12:40:18

No I've decided to follow SOggy's advice as I mentioned earlier. She's got a good idea imo.

MammaTJ Tue 20-Nov-12 12:22:52

Honestly, I think you need to be there to support your DC!! They will all be fussing over their big sister, who they have never met, she will be a stranger to them and they do need to get to know her.

No get out for you, I'm afraid!!

rogersmellyonthetelly Tue 20-Nov-12 12:18:51

I wouldn't want to meet her either, but for the sake of your dds and her dd you need to be there really. Be very warm and friendly, and do try to give the mum the benefit of the doubt, she was probably doing what she thought was best at the time.

honeytea Tue 20-Nov-12 12:18:35

innocent not innicent

honeytea Tue 20-Nov-12 12:17:49

I think you need to remember that you are one of the grown ups in the situation, your dds and your dp's dd are probably all feeling much more worried about the situation than you are. I think you need to put your own feelings aside and be there to support the 3 of them.

This woman has done wrong by your DP by keeping his child away from him, but your DP is not entirely innicent is he, he had (I assume) unprotected sex with someone who he knew was engaged, he doesn't sound blameless in this situation.

Viviennemary Tue 20-Nov-12 12:10:05

From my own point of view I wouldn't want to meet his ex. I can't see the point especially if she isn't a very nice person anyway. I'd leave them all to get on with it and meet the DD at a later date. They sound a load of trouble and I would tend to want to keep clear.

AnyFucker Tue 20-Nov-12 12:06:13

Soggy has good advice. take that.

MrsCantSayAnything Tue 20-Nov-12 12:00:30

I have thought this * Quote* because she is a creative child and it's very common for kids from DH's country to want to come to the UK for a while....I would be more than happy to have her right now tbh though that would never happen. Her Mother does love her. She's just a very damaged woman.

quoteunquote Tue 20-Nov-12 11:51:05

The mother sounds controlling,

You need to be there for all of the children, who will need your lead to follow, your husband will need support, your MiL will appreciate you being the sensible non difficult person and this child will need to feel secure that you are not antagonistic towards her,

If the mum is a difficult person, at some point that child is going to want to bust out, you may well end up with her living with you in the future as she spreads her wings, so make the best effort to start off a good relationship between her and yourself, don't get cast as the bad guy.

MrsCantSayAnything Tue 20-Nov-12 11:41:32

Xiaoxiong When I saw her photo all those years ago, she looked just like DH when he was a kid and now my older DD is getting a proper face with a bone structure, she looks SO like her sister....it's weird. They share a parent but don't even known one another. Heartbreaking really.

If we had lived in DHs home country, I doubt things would have been easier re... access though. It's sad but we hope that his DD can form her own opions about men in the future.

LulaPalooza Tue 20-Nov-12 11:14:23

MrsCant I empathise with you... DH has a similar situation with DSS, except that DSS lives with DH's parents now so I have never had to meet DSS's Mother. I will have to in January and am dreading it.

DH/ DSS are from SA and there's a massive cultural difference. Several of his friends have also found out some years down the line that they are Fathers. But things just don't get discussed/ talked about.

BlingLoving Tue 20-Nov-12 11:10:14

I have not read all the thread but you absolutely cannot choose not to meet your Dh's 15 year old simply because her mother is going to be there. I am shocked you are even considering it. And how would your step daughter feel? You need to suck it up and a) support your dh and b) help him make sure that his dd understands she is a welcome part of the family.

Xiaoxiong Tue 20-Nov-12 11:09:58

I have no additional advice to add to the excellent advice you've already had on this thread. Just wanted to say I really feel for you; you've been thrust into a very difficult situation through no fault of your own, but I think you are a lovely person for this alone:

I do have nothing but positive feelings for the DD she is my DDs blood and that's enough for me....I'd welcome her with open arms.

lljkk Tue 20-Nov-12 11:05:44

I would meet her at least once. Try to establish a friendly rapport which would improve chances of my DH having a friendly relationship with his bio-DD.

I can see why you don't want to, but there's something about face-to-face meetings that can improve many relationships.

MrsCantSayAnything Tue 20-Nov-12 11:05:26

Soggy I'm going to do as you suggest. It's a good idea thanks. I'll keep smiling and concentrate on the girls. All of them. If she IS rude, then I will be blankly polite back.

DowntonTrout Tue 20-Nov-12 11:03:32

Yes I understand.

You must be with your DDs when you all meet. Then there is no room for manipulation and if there is anything you feel uncomfortable with you are in control. It is going to be very confusing for your DDS as it may not turn out as they imagine. My DD would look at me when DHsDD did things or said things that she knew were unacceptable. They were brought up differently, had different boundaries.

It sounds like a mine field and I completely understand where you are coming from. These situations are often much more complex than they appear from the outside. Add the reluctant teen and the unstable mother, your DH trying to do the right thing, your MIL discovering a grandchild she didn't know about and your DDs being excited but then having their whole lives shifted by having to share their Dad. Plus for you, the relationship you have with your DH, having your children, that is special and private between the two of you, to suddenly not be the only woman to have had his child, it's a huge adjustment. You are bound to find it difficult- even if everything was rosy. It's not like Cilla on Surprise Surprise reuniting long lost relatives is it?

SoggySummer Tue 20-Nov-12 10:45:28

It was very presumptious of your MIL to arrange this with no prior consultation.

I think you do need to be there but I think the whole meeting should be on neutral territory. Get MIL to book a local restaurant - somewhere large and busy so at least there is alot of other stuff going on and its not too intmate for others to overhear too much.

This way all parties have the option to remove themselves from the situation easily if the daughters mum kicks off.

It will be easy to arrange - get MIL to phone up the woman a few weeks beforehand to "confirm" details and just say as there is going to be so many of us we have booked a table at X, to save me all that washing up..... etc etc. I would say it would be polite ensure that the mum and daughter dont need to cover this cost though.

Also just be polite and smiley. If the woman is rude or abrupt just be nice and smiley back or ignore. Dont retaliate. She will make herself look a complete tit and others will see this for themselves. You can walk away head held high knowing you did your best for the situation - whatever the outcome. Its just a few hours.

Good luck.

YANBU to want to avoid meetng this woman but I think you need to for the girls sake if no-one else's. Looking to the not so distant future, she will be a young adult who may want to spend time with her father away from her mother and if you have avoided meeting her it will make it even harder for her. I think I'd go and meet them both and then suggest another meeting without her mother being there where you can be a bit more relaxed but for this occassion concentrate on making her feel wanted by all of you.

AnyFucker Tue 20-Nov-12 10:38:24

I feel badly for you, but I do think this is one of those times you need to pull on your Big Girl pants and do this thing.

You will be glad you did (afterwards)

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