Mom-to-be is fuss­ing over both her baby’s health, and her mom’s

The China Post - - TV & COMICS -

DEAR AN­NIE: I am ex­pect­ing my first child. My mother is a won­der­ful, in­tel­li­gent 68- year- old woman. She is also bipo­lar and seems in­ca­pable of keep­ing her­self phys­i­cally healthy and her house clean. I know her poor health al­most cer­tainly stems from the fact that her living con­di­tions are filthy. She also has a sour smell about h er that makes me worry that she is lax about her per­sonal hy­giene.

I have tried many times over the years to help her keep her house clean, but in­evitably it re­turns to a state of ex­treme dis­ar­ray. The only vis­i­ble floor is the path­way through piles of junk. The kitchen and bath­room are moldy bio­haz­ards. Even­tu­ally, I came to the re­al­iza­tion that noth­ing I say or do is go­ing to make her start tak­ing care of her­self. I can’t af­ford to hire a care­giver to help her, and I’m past the point of try­ing to make a dent in the per­pet­ual filth my­self.

My main prob­lem is that when my baby is born, I know Mom is go­ing to want to spend time with her. I don’t feel com­fort­able al­low­ing my in­fant child to be ex­posed to the un­healthy con­di­tions of her house. I am ashamed to say that I also don’t feel com­fort­able plac­ing my baby in the care of a woman who seems in­ca­pable of car­ing for her­self.

How can I tell my mother, the woman who raised me, how to live? This is a con­ver­sa­tion I never wanted to have. Is there any way I can avoid break­ing her heart and em­bar­rass­ing her? — A Con­cerned Daugh­ter and

Mom- to- Be

Dear Mom- to- Be: We sym­pa­thize, but your child’s wel­fare will soon be­come your first pri­or­ity. This will make it eas­ier for you to talk to Mom. Tell her you love her and un­der­stand that her level of clean­li­ness and hy­giene is her choice, but it is not ap­pro­pri­ate for your child. Ex­plain that vis­its with the baby will take place only in your home, un­der your su­per­vi­sion. She will prom­ise to do bet­ter, but that is not a guar­an­tee. So, also say that you hope this will spur her to seek pro­fes­sional help to make her life health­ier for her­self and ev­ery­one around her. Her doc­tor can re­fer her. If she is heart­bro­ken and em­bar­rassed, that should not change the pa­ram­e­ters you have set up for the care of your child.

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