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I’m Scared To Give Birth Because of My Mother-In-Law

Where do I even begin with the whirlwind that has been my marriage to Alex? It started out like a fairy tale, with the kind of love story you’d expect to see in a cheesy rom-com. We met in college, of all places, with a classic meet-cute at the campus café — spilled coffee and all. But things took a turn when it was time for our baby to arrive.

When Alex and I first crossed paths, I was knee-deep in literature, always lost in a world of daydreams and scribbled verses. Meanwhile, Alex was the practical engineering whiz who somehow managed to make differential equations sound downright romantic.

In those early days, our differences were charming. I was all about Emily Dickinson and late-night poetry readings, while Alex was knee-deep in robotics projects.

Somehow, though, it just worked. Our dates ranged from passionate debates over the best Star Wars movie (clearly, it’s The Empire Strikes Back) to cozy nights in, with me reading my latest piece while Alex tinkered away on his gadgets. It was quirky, it was fun, and most importantly, it was ours.

Fast forward a bit, and there we were, tossing our graduation caps in the air, full of hopes and dreams, with the whole world at our feet. Life after college brought us even closer than before.

We navigated the post-grad job hunt together, moving cities until we finally settled in Alex’s hometown, Willow Creek. It seemed like the logical choice — Alex landed an amazing job offer there, and I figured I could write anywhere, as long as there was a decent coffee shop nearby.

At first, settling in Willow Creek was a dream come true. We found this adorable little apartment that was just perfect for us, with enough room for my books and his gadgets. But moving to Alex’s hometown meant being closer to his family, especially his mom, Mrs. Harlow.

Now, don’t get me wrong — I knew family was important to Alex, and I respected that. But what I didn’t anticipate was just how… involved Mrs. Harlow would be in our lives.

The transition from college sweethearts to newlyweds in a new city was challenging enough without the added complication of an overly involved mother-in-law.

Mrs. Harlow, a widow, leaned heavily on Alex for support, which I totally understood. But her idea of support quickly morphed into daily visits, spontaneous dinner invites, and a barrage of phone calls that seemed to never end.

At first, I tried to see things from her perspective — after all, Alex was all she had. But as the boundaries between our lives and hers began to blur, it became increasingly difficult to maintain that empathy.

Every major decision, from how we decorated our apartment to our career choices, seemed to require Mrs. Harlow’s input. It felt like our lives were under a microscope, with his mother becoming the go-to person for everything.

The real test came when we announced we were expecting. The news should have been cause for celebration, but instead, it was overshadowed by Mrs. Harlow’s ever-present meddling.

Her constant suggestions to move in “to help” and her knack for conveniently having “emergencies” whenever Alex and I had plans left me feeling sidelined in my own marriage.

I tried talking to Alex about it, hoping he’d understand how much strain his mother’s interference was putting on our relationship. But every conversation seemed to circle back to “how can you not trust me to be there for you?” He assured me he’d be there for me when I went into labor and that he was only ten minutes away at work.

It was in those moments of doubt and frustration that I decided to put our relationship to the test — a false alarm about going into labor. Looking back, I’m not proud of it, but at the time, it felt like the only way to get through to him. And unfortunately, it confirmed my worst fears. Alex, torn between my call and his mother’s supposed emergency, chose her.

The day I chose for my little experiment was just an ordinary Thursday, nothing special. But it ended up being the turning point in our relationship.

With my heart in my throat, I called Alex, telling him, “It’s happening. The baby’s coming.”

The silence on the other end was deafening, followed by a panicked, “I’m on my way!”

As I waited, minutes stretching into what felt like hours, I couldn’t help but imagine the chaos on his end. I pictured him rushing to his car, frantically making his way to the hospital.

But before he could even reach the parking lot, there was another call he had to make — to his mother. “Mom, Emily’s in labor. I’m heading to the hospital now.”

And just like that, my worst fears were confirmed. He chose his mother over me, yet again.

An hour later, my phone rang, and Alex’s strained voice filled the silence of our apartment. “I’m at the hospital with mom. She had a scare when I told her about the baby. I… I don’t think I can make it, Em. Can you call your friend to be with you?”

His words cut through me like a knife, confirming what I already knew deep down. I felt abandoned, not just by Alex, but by the vision of the family we had hoped to build together.

As I sat there, grappling with the reality of our situation, I realized that our problems ran deeper than I had ever imagined. It wasn’t just about his mother’s meddling or my fear of childbirth; it was about the fundamental cracks in our relationship that had been there all along.

And so, as I prepare to welcome our child into this world, I find myself leaning on the one person who has always been there for me — my best friend, Mia.

Mia isn’t just a friend; she’s the sister fate forgot to give me. We’ve been through everything together, from the ups and downs of college to the challenges of adulthood.

She understands my fears about childbirth better than anyone else, and she’s been my rock throughout this entire ordeal. When I needed someone to talk to, she was there. When I needed someone to hold my hand during those late-night panic attacks, she was there. And now, as I face the prospect of becoming a mother without the support of my husband, she’s still here by my side.

Together, we’ll navigate the complexities of childbirth and motherhood, drawing strength from each other every step of the way. And who knows? Maybe this will be the beginning of a new chapter for me — one where I finally learn to put myself first, even if it means rewriting the rules of my marriage along the way.

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