A woman named Julia was 32 weeks pregnant and had been navigating the ups and downs of impending motherhood. She had been receiving support and guidance from her co-worker and longtime friend, Claire, but as her due date rolled closer, this support was leading to more stress than ease.
A Deep Friendship
Julia and Claire had a 5-year history of friendship at their workplace. They had shared many personal moments and had been supportive of each other through life’s challenges.
Claire’s Struggles with Fertility
Claire had faced her own share of hardships, particularly her fertility struggles. ”She suffered from pregnancy loss a few years ago and tried IVF but that failed which led to her marriage ending”, Julia explained. “I was supportive throughout and tried to be there for her as much as I could.”
An Unexpected Turn
Everything took a strange twist when Claire discovered Julia’s pregnancy. Rather than expressing expectable joy, Claire’s demeanor shifted to mania.
Claire’s Unwanted Obsession
Claire became increasingly fixated on Julia’s pregnancy. “She touches my belly constantly, begging to feel the baby kick, and always asks how “our baby” is”, Julia continued. “I hate this and have made a point to say I don’t like people touching my stomach apart from my husband.”
Unwanted Belly Rubs
Despite stating her discomfort, Julia explained how Claire chose to disregard this boundary: “She always tells people I don’t like anyone touching my stomach ‘apart from family’ (which she claims includes her).”
Planning the Baby Shower
The culmination of Julia’s frustration occurred in anticipation of her baby shower. Her mother had been in charge of organizing the event, yet she told her daughter that she had received a barrage of messages from Claire. The messages entailed intricate plan suggestions, stating that she knew exactly how Julia wanted everything to be.
The Big Day
The day of Julia’s baby shower arrived, and as expected, Claire took over and insisted on being by her best friend’s side continuously. However, the real drama was yet to come. “While I was opening gifts, Claire burst into tears, saying the gifts were items she would have been given at her own showers if she hadn’t had her miscarriages”, Julia recounted.
Julia realized that things were getting out of hand: “I called Claire the next day and said that she needed to take a step back and that I was worried this was all too much for her. She said she was fine and that the baby “needed Auntie Claire”. I’d had enough and told her that I really needed her to back off as she wasn’t family, and I felt like I was being suffocated.”
To Julia’s amazement, several colleagues at work expressed that she should apologize to Claire for what she said. She had become distraught, and they claimed that her words had been horrible and out of line.
However, Julia could not disagree more. Her pregnancy was stressful enough as it was without Claire having a mental breakdown, and while she recognized that this was likely rooted in her trauma of pregnancy loss, Julia did not need the added stress.
An Online Perspective
Julia headed online to recount her story, asking for advice from internet dwellers. To her relief, everyone confirmed her suspicions that she had done nothing wrong. “You should have been more direct earlier”, stated one reader. “Claire is creepy and I would not feel safe around her.”
Take Legal Action
To Julia’s surprise, some commenters suggested she seek legal action. “Get her photo to your birth center and start the restraining order now”, someone suggested. “I’d also tell HR it’s feeling stalkerish to you, and tell Claire that she won’t be seeing the baby until the rest of the public does… say 3 months old. Trust me, you won’t need this insanity when you have a newborn.”
Claire Needs Counselling
Whilst everyone agreed that Claire seemed mentally unstable, some readers took a more sympathetic approach. “She sounds like she’s trying to deal with her own inability to have a child by latching onto your child as hers… she needs grief counseling”, lamented one reader.
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