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Where do I start?

(79 Posts)
Sue0308 Sun 14-Oct-18 09:26:09

My sons parting gift from school 4 years ago was to find out he was going to be a dad! He didn’t know the girl and is testament to the fact it only takes once. Fast forward 3.5 years and our adorable GD who has lived with us since she was born with our son is wonderful. It certainly wasn’t part of our plan to be essentially parenting again in our 50’s but despite the challenges she has filled our life with joy. Our GD’s mother is not really involved and has an extremely chaotic lifestyle which unfortunately seems to be getting worse and we imagine will at some point drop out of our lives completely. Our sons early life journey was not what was planned even by himself but he’s been trying as best he can and has fortunately working since he left school. Earlier this year, a new young lady arrived on the scene and quickly became a big part of his life, my husband and I could spot some early signs from her of ‘wanting’ to be a mother despite having just completed one year of college. We warned our son to be careful and consider the consequences as he is still so young. At the same time, he is struggling with some mental health issues which are probably associated with becoming a parent too quickly. He is receiving help for this. 24 hours ago our worst fear was confirmed when he told us quietly that his partner of 7 months (18 years old) is indeed pregnant albeit very early on. My husband and I are totally numb about this and have no idea even what to say or feel! They have no real means to be independent, council lists are so long for homes, she doesn’t work and neither are emotionally equipped. As a side, the girlfriends mother (who was young when she had her) has a 3 month old a 2 year old and a new husband which is why this young lady came to stay with us as she felt pushed out. My husband takes early retirement in just over 2 years and it was our plan to downsize and travel.. our 3 year old sees us as very much her parents, which we don’t mind at all and have embraced but where on earth does this new pregnancy leave us??? We feel let down again that we haven’t had the ‘joy’ of becoming grandparents but are left anxious and disappointed yet again. We can’t change things but where on earth do we go from here to ensure all are protected and safe. As a side, I have 2 companies that I run and my husband holds a very senior role in the public sector. You couldn’t actually make this up...

PECS Sun 14-Oct-18 09:41:46

You have a difficult dilemma to manage that's for sure. Are you in anyway able to help your son rent privately..maybe providing a deposit? I suppose his g/f does not want to consider a termination?
Our lives can be made so complex by those we love the most . flowers

DoraMarr Sun 14-Oct-18 10:06:04

I am sorry that you are faced with this problem. You sound like good people who are not only caring for your son and granddaughter, but also for his new partner, and it must be very difficult for you at the moment. I haven’t any advice, and you must have considered all possible solutions yourselves, but it sounds from your post that you have a good relationship with your son and his partner, and you love and are loved by your granddaughter. Those are all positives, especially when you read on this forum of so many fractured families. Good luck to all of you.

Buffybee Sun 14-Oct-18 10:41:31

Well, there's no turning back the clock now, unfortunately you were correct when you spotted the signs of this young woman being intent on becoming a Mother and here you are.
I feel for you and your forced change of plans for retirement and travelling but also feel your joy at your little Gd who quite naturally thinks of you both as her parents.
Your question is, how can you ensure all are protected and safe and there are a couple of plans that I can suggest.
1) Your son and the young lady should be helped to rent a place of their own, you say that your son works, so this is feasable. They should also go to Citizens Advice to see what benefits both of them are entitled to, if your Ds is on a small wage, they could get some Housing Benefit and Universal Credit.
2) You could keep them living with you and have the baby there but I feel that this would make things too easy for them and you could end up with a house full of Dgc.
You say the girl is 18 and your Ds I guess a little older. They're not exactly children are they? I would go with option 1 and let them stand on their own two feet.
Whatever you do, I wish you all well.

Sue0308 Sun 14-Oct-18 16:02:40

Thank you for your kind words.

Sue0308 Sun 14-Oct-18 16:05:46

Thank you DoraMarr. We do have a good family and relationship and even with our GD’s mother which hasn’t been easy as her background is fraught with every possible challenge you can imagine!! It’s unfortunately a familial pattern which repeats every generation for them.

Sue0308 Sun 14-Oct-18 16:06:33

We’ve downloaded all of the materials and I sense a family meeting coming up.. thank you

BlueBelle Sun 14-Oct-18 16:52:40

I can feel for you in this dilemma and I think the suggestion to look to your son and girlfriend moving out with new baby is the best option, while you carry on looking after the 3 year old
Can you or your husband have an honest talk with your son about using contraception before you have number three come along (I know it’s a bit late but you dont want the situation to increase) and he’s certainly old enough to be responsible for it

Starlady Mon 15-Oct-18 02:30:04

Hugs, Sue! So sorry your and dh's plans for retirement have been skewed. But bravo for taking in your little gd! Clearly, she needed you and has brought a lot of love into your lives.

I'm sorry ds is, once again, having a child when neither he nor the expectant mum seem ready. But please separate that from your disappointment about your plans to travel. You wouldn't be doing that, anyway, since you're raising gd.

I agree with others that the best idea is to try to help ds and partner stand on their own 2 feet and raise this new baby, themselves. And I'm glad you seem prepared to do that.

I'm wondering about the relationship between gd and her dad though. Does he participate in childcare at all or any part of her life? Will she be shocked if he moves out without her? Do you and dh have legal custody of her? If not, is it possible ds will want to take gd with him, and will you be prepared for that? Sorry to ask so many questions, but, imo, there's a lot to think about.

Starlady Mon 15-Oct-18 02:32:39

Oh yes, also agree with BlueBelle that ds needs to take more responsibility for birth control from now on. I know he's young and probably trusts the girl to do it, but now, hopefully, he knows better. If he doesn't want to keep having kids he's not really prepared for, he needs to do something about it.

eazybee Mon 15-Oct-18 09:23:54

What a dreadful mess, and what a repayment from your son for your kindness and support.
I am sorry if this offends you, but the logical action would be a termination followed by a vasectomy, and I say this as a means of protecting the unborn child; this feckless, irresponsible couple are totally unsuitable to be parents at present.
Have they made any plans for their future, or are they expecting you to continue housing and supporting them, whilst bearing the brunt of the child care?
If this appears harsh, it is because I regularly observe former pupils casually and badly fathering/ mothering, children, three in each case, without ever having worked but being supported by the state, (flats and houses provided in this expensive village) , whilst their hard-working contemporaries struggle to pay university loans and extortionate rents out of their earnings and postpone families until they can afford them.

Luckygirl Mon 15-Oct-18 09:32:12

They need to get some contraception sorted out! And they need to create their own home with new baby and see what real life entails. How disappointed you must be in your son! - but delighted by your DGD - a bit if a paradox. What a tangle of emotions for you!

oldbatty Mon 15-Oct-18 09:47:47

The Grandchild you care for and the second child will be half siblings. I wonder how this will pan out?

Sorry for your compex and worrying situation.

PamelaJ1 Mon 15-Oct-18 10:09:28

Very difficult for you to let them stand on their own two feet when there are babies and young GC involved.
We don’t know which part of the country you live in and that does make a difference to their ability to find affordable accommodation.
Do you have enough garden to build an annex onto your house. Separate front doors a must? This means you would get your space back to a large degree but still be on hand to give them some support. Your DGD would probably be knocking on your door all the time but gradually you would get your life back and be able to do your travelling.
You could always do airb&b when they move on!
What a worry for you.

luluaugust Mon 15-Oct-18 10:32:10

I am sorry you find yourself in such a difficult situation, at least time has moved on and he didn't have a shotgun wedding to the first girl! I agree its time for standing on his own feet and a trip to Citizens Advice might be a start. I know times have changed but plenty of us got together with our partners very young and many managed to make a go of it. This young lady is really his responsibility, he is an adult, of course you will want to help but don't make it too easy, he has to grow up quick. Really he should take his daughter with him when he forms a family unit.

Jalima1108 Mon 15-Oct-18 10:44:18

Helping them to find their own accommodation and supporting them whilst they get on their feet would seem to be a sensible idea.

They may seem young - but not so young that they haven't become parents. It's only in recent years that parenthood has happened later and later in life and in fact many of my friends were parents at this age and certainly many of our grandparents were.
In fact, one of my friends had DGC the same age as my youngest DC!

Your son is responsible for bringing two lives into this world and it is time for him to step up and face his responsibilities - with your help and support.

trisher Mon 15-Oct-18 11:12:59

Sue0308 you are having a hard time. I think coping with a DC problems is sometimes more difficult than dealing with your own. Hopefully your DS and his partner will stay together to raise this child but you can never be certain. Some good ideas about getting him help and advice on this thread and I would look into other support the couple may be entitled to. Then try to set up as much independence for him as you can manage. In the 2 years until your husband retires you could move towards him taking responsibility for both children and steadily withdrawing your own parenting for your GD. This doesn't have to be sudden or immediate but fairly flexible. Children do adapt and perhaps if she is used to staying with her dad you will be able to spend some time travelling. If you do downsize and there is enough in the pot you may be able to help him with a property deposit if he is settled and working. I think we all have to adapt these days and realise that family can operate in many different ways and there is no longer a standard format. There is obviously a lot of love and care already in your family. Stay strong and all the best to you and your family.

DotMH1901 Mon 15-Oct-18 11:43:51

18 is not a child, not really, we have just pushed childhood further on into what used to adult life. They are old enough to manage as a family unit - help them with advice on looking for accommodation etc but I don't think you should offer to be responsible for this baby as well as your DGD. Would they want to take DGD with them (it sounds unlikely that they would). Having to take responsibility for themselves and a little baby will wake them up hopefully - I do sometimes think we make it far too easy for young people to have children without facing the real responsibility involved. Hope it all works out well for you all.

anitamp1 Mon 15-Oct-18 12:19:22

Gosh poor you. You have my absolute sympathy. I have friends who have also found themselves in a difficult situation with children and grandchildren. Most of us look forward to retirement and see it as being 'our time'. But not everyone is that lucky. And no matter what our children's ages, we never stop worrying about them. The only thing I can say, which is probably of no help whatsoever, is that when we become parents we commit to a lifetime of whatever our kids throw at us and its pretty much a roll of the dice. I wish you well.

GabriellaG Mon 15-Oct-18 12:33:26

Irresponsible parenting but good luck to you. I can see that you'll end up out of pocket and out of patience with a feckless, irresponsible son, his illegitimate child, a g/f he barely knows outside of the bedroom and another child on the way to house and feed.

Willow10 Mon 15-Oct-18 12:34:11

I agree that they should look into getting their own place and taking some responsibility. My worries would be more about the future of the little girl - will she go with her father? How will the girlfriend and her family feel about that - is she prepared to be a mother to two? On the other hand if gd stays with you, she may be asking the question in years to come about why daddy didn't want her. Also someone needs to take legal custody of gd, it's not impossible that her mother may want her back one day. It sounds like a family meeting is called for, laying all the cards on the table. You seem to be amazing parents and grandparents, I wish you all the best and hope you can find a good resolution to a worrying and painful dilemma.

Teddy123 Mon 15-Oct-18 12:41:05

Hi Sue. I'm totally impressed with how you dealt with the first child and yet I'm embarrassed to say that I'm also horrified that your son clearly didn't learn a lesson! I hesitate to call your GD a mistake but your DS just hasn't learned a thing. Is it possible for parents to be too understanding. I'm feeling out of touch (!) but we're not dealing with a failed exam .... Having a child is possibly the most important thing we do.

My advice for what it's worth is to make sure your son always has a supply of condoms and that he and his girlfriend take full responsibility for their child.

I'm truly not criticising you ..... You sound like an amazing mother. I may well have shown my son the door if he'd presented me with this news ....

Whatever the circumstances I would never have allowed my kids to have a friend living in our family home. To me it's giving them the green light to do whatever they please.

Please don't be offended by my comments. I guess I'm shocked at the cavalier attitude of young people bringing a baby into the world. A girlfriend of a few months is not necessarily a lifelong partner.

Blimey! Not much shocks me on Gransnet but this has! The irresponsibility of youth!
Good luck in helping to sort out this mess xx

Jaycee5 Mon 15-Oct-18 12:55:58

I agree with Buffybee. You need to explain to them that you will be less available once you retire as you have plans that you are going to carry on with but that you will help them to set themselves up for their new life.
Try to work with them to have a clear onward plan for their lives with more independence but with your ongoing emotional support, around your own plans.
It is unfair to let them get comfortable with the idea of you being the security blanket indefinitely although for the time being it doesn't seem avoidable. It is very positive that he is working and he will probably grow up a lot in the next couple of years so try to look at the positives.

grandtanteJE65 Mon 15-Oct-18 13:28:01

I agree with all those who say encourage the young couple to stand on their own feet and accept the responsibility for either having and supporting the coming child or giving him/her up for adoption!

Please, do consider the legal situation re. your GD who regards you, her grandparents, as her parents. Does she know the truth? One day she will need to. Would you consider legally adopting her, making it plain to your DS that all and any children he has from now on are his responsibility.

I hope you find a solution that suits you and your DH and the little girl - the others are adults, and have made their bed, so they will need to lie on it, won't they?

M0nica Mon 15-Oct-18 13:37:29

To misquote Oscar Wilde To accidentally father one child may be regarded as misfortune. To father two children this way can only be regarded carelessness. And carelessness on a grand scale.

Some one needs to sit this selfish and careless young man down and make it absolutely clear just how selfish and unkind his behaviour is. He has got two very young and cl;early vulnerable girls pregnant. Damaged their lives and brought into this world, one and possibly two children who will also suffer for a lifetime, unless they are very lucky, as a result of his stupid behaviour.

The only way you can truly show him how much you love him is by telling him to get out, get his own accommodation and provide for his girlfriend and second child himself, without financial support from you. State benefits should ensure that they do not starve. On the other hand, perhaps a short course of starvation would do this young man good. He might then make a connection between his behaviour and results for him and others.

There is hard love and soft love and this young man needs some hard love for a while.