In-law tensions range from superficial matters like wedding attire to profound clashes involving religion, culture, politics, and race, especially challenging in interracial unions.
Abby didn’t meet the love of her life so much as she “discovered” him. In one of those standing-right-there-all-along romances, she fell for her best friend Sean. Their love blossomed during a difficult time in Abby’s life.
“When I was 21, I had a one-night stand that resulted in my wonderful daughter. Her father ghosted me the day after we hooked up, and I decided to raise her as a single mum the day I found out I was pregnant.”
From bFF to boyfriend
During the pregnancy, Sean became her “absolute rock”. They were already best friends, but they developed a new level of intimacy. Six months into Abby’s pregnancy, they started dating.
they start to build their family
Things went well for the not-so-traditional couple. Three years after Abby’s daughter was born, Sean officially adopted her. “We’ve been together for 7 years [now], married for 1,” Abby shared in an online forum. She also announced that they’re expecting their “first” baby—or rather, the first child that will be Sean’s biologically.
his mother holds back
What should have been an exciting moment caused some unexpected tension with Abby’s in-laws. Sean’s family was mostly supportive—with the exception of his mother.
Abby is white. Her daughter is also white. Sean is black and of Caribbean descent. Abby’s mother-in-law never supported the relationship, especially Sean’s decision to adopt Abby’s daughter. “She refuses to acknowledge my daughter and corrects her every time she calls her grandma.”
the Snob Continues
Now that Abby and Sean are expecting, the mother-in-law has emphasized her preferences. “She has been going around telling everyone she is expecting her first grandchild and how we’re going to be a real family.”
That sort of bias alone is enough to cause a permanent family rift, but to add insult to injury, the mother-in-law told the couple she would happily babysit the new baby but wouldn’t want their eldest daughter around.
Why the harsh treatment though?
When Abby inquired about this, her mother-in-law said it would be embarrassing “for her and her son to be seen with a white child that clearly isn’t [theirs] and that [Abby’s daughter] will never be part of their family.”
It turned from bad to worse
Abby was deeply hurt by the woman’s harsh words. Despite a flood of texts asking for updates about the baby, Abby refuses to speak to her mother-in-law.
As far as Abby is concerned, she could spend the rest of her life ignoring her mother-in-law, but her daughter is a different story. “My daughter keeps asking why she doesn’t get to speak to her grandma. I feel so ashamed to tell her that her grandma doesn’t like her because of her race.”
When Will Grandma Like Me?
Sean doesn’t think Abby should tell their daughter. It would cause the seven-year-old a lot of unnecessary pain. However, Abby is worried about the long-term damage as her daughter will continue to fight for her grandmother’s approval.
“My daughter is such a people pleaser, and she makes so much effort to try and get her grandma to like her. She keeps asking what she can do to make Grandma like her more and it just breaks my heart.”
They decided to Protect Their Children
Abby’s father-in-law tried to smooth the situation over, but whenever he broached the subject, his wife would either blow up or simply ignore him. Abby drew a line in the sand. She refused to put her daughter through this anymore. The situation was only getting worse, with the grandmother “already favoring the baby who isn’t even here yet”.
The couple had a few tough decisions to make. Further talks with the mother-in-law proved fruitless, so they told both in-laws they wouldn’t be able to see either child for the foreseeable future. The mother-in-law raged, refused to apologize, and said Abby was “turning her son against her”.
Grandma Needs a Time Out
Both parents held firm. When they told their daughter she wouldn’t be seeing her grandmother, the child asked if it was because the woman “says mean things”. She also asked if, once her grandmother was “out of time out,” she could see her again. They told her yes, but it might be a very long time before things change.
The Internet Reacts
“I’m heartbroken for your daughter. It’s clear she loved grandma. But you’ve handled this absolutely right,” one social media user wrote to Abby, wishing her the best of luck moving forward.
Not Likely to Change
Another user warned that Abby’s mother-in-law would never change, and the best decision was to stay away permanently. “Her behavior will damage all of your children for years to come,” the user, who escaped a similar family dynamic, shared. “I’ve seen it happen firsthand, and people that were finally able to escape this cultural toxicity were very relieved when they did.”
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It is clear that Abby and Sean love each other and their growing family. Unfortunately for the mother-in-law, she will miss out on the beauty of that family. Her own behavior and prejudices pushed her out of her son’s life. If she doesn’t make a change, she may never recover what could have been.
This article was produced and syndicated by TPR Teaching. Source.