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Addiction to Alcohol/Alcoholic Mother and Baby on the Way


My boyfriend and I have been together for over 2 years. I am 15 weeks pregnant with what will be a first child for us both.

My boyfriend's mother is an alcoholic and takes medication for severe depression and mood disorders. She only drinks heavily on occasion, but makes severely harmful choices when she does including; a suicide attempt, driving drunk countless times, a hit and run which led to her arrest, acting aggressive toward myself and others, speaking of killing herself and her ex-husband, slapping my boyfriend, and more recently threatening to kill me. Usually she drinks mouthwash in order to mask the smell of the alcohol. This, combined with her regular mood swings, makes it difficult to tell when she's been drinking. These incidents only tend to happen once every few months but it is impossible to predict when & where. She is generally a pleasant person to be around, but I do not trust her not to drink.

My boyfriend feels that I am being over-protective. He thinks she would not make bad decisions with the baby involved. I am not willing to take that risk. I think that his love for her paired with his fear of confronting her makes it difficult for him to see things as they are, which I completely understand. I do not feel like it would be safe to allow her to be around the baby until (if) she decides to commit to a future of sobriety and recovery.

Am I being irrational?  I don't want to isolate her from our lives and I want my baby to have a relationship with his/her grandmother but I don't want to take the risk of the baby being dropped or hurt due to her negligence.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read and thank you for any advice you can offer.

Hi Tanya,

I can understand your concern with a new baby on the way.
The nature of alcoholism and other personality disorders
is that the odds are fairly high against people recovering
fully which may limit your choices in regard to your boyfriend's

Something that is often hard to do in relationships is
setting boundaries for yourself. Boundaries are limits we
set in regard to others but are really about what we will
and will not do depending on the situation.

We cannot really control other people at least not for long
but we can say what we will or will not do regarding our
own behavior.

We cannot predict the future either so recovery can be
a possibility but likely not without some confrontation
and limit setting involved.

If you are afraid to stand up to this woman then she
becomes a very risky person for you to interact with.
She can basically steam-role over you and your boyfriend.
As far as making bad decisions it seems she has a history
of that already.

We often have great pity and tolerance for people's problems but that does not
make it okay for them to treat you badly. You have to limit
your contact if she is unwilling to get help.
These days there is no excuse not to get therapy and/or help
from alcohol counselors, treatment centers and AA.

You train people how to treat you and if she has no respect
for herself she will treat you badly as well if you allow it.

This is your boyfriends and your first baby and something that
valuable needs to be treasured. His mother is a bad example
for anyone to follow. She may have good qualities that occasionally
shine through but personally I would not have my child around her
without supervision. Your baby will pick up on the vibes
around him/her. You want that baby to have the best chance
at mental/emotional health possible.

Surround yourself with healthier people and limit your
contact with toxic people when possible.

Being his mom is not enough she needs to be responsible for
her actions. Sometimes you have to put yourself first and
that might mean setting some firm limits with her, judging
from her past behaviour.
It is not acceptable to threaten people, ever, period.

If you want to allow her in your lives then decide what
you will not accept and if necessary walk away to assert
yourselves. You will feel more in control and she will
get the message that you will not accept bad treatment.
Teach her what you want her to know.

It is not easy after a lifetime of non-confrontation
but put your safety first before your child arrives.
There are times when contact must be limited concerning
alcoholics etc. This is the best thing for your health
as well as your child's health.

Don't underestimate the harm she can do. Your boyfriend
may have issues from relating to his mother that he
needs to address. Only he can come to terms with
that relationship.

If you think she would accept alcohol treatment then
get her to counseling or plan an organized intervention
with a trained intervention person.

Baby should be your main concern right now in my opinion.
That also means the mom and dad should focus on their
own health primarily.

Be at peace in the moment.


Addiction to Alcohol

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All questions are important, I have over 30 years of personal experience with alcoholism and recovery issues. Advanced Counsellor Training / Experience with treatment and AA.


Over 30 years of recovery from alcoholism. Counsellor in an alcohol outpatient office. Experience as client and as counsellor in treatment center.

Advanced counsellor certificate, Melbourne ORYGEN Research Centre volunteer consultant

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