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Husband's family ignoring me after baby (long - sorry)

(44 Posts)
Wertrude Sun 18-Nov-12 02:44:14

Hi, I'm new so be nice :D

I had my first baby (DS) 10 weeks ago. Before that, I have always got on reasonably well with my in laws. There were a few issues as they are very different to my parents in that they are a bit interfering and can be quite blunt and abrasive, but no real bust ups, and I thought that they were quite fond of me, as I am (or was) of them.

Anyway, roll on to the birth of ds, and it is like I don't exist!! I had life threatening complications during the birth that resulted in an emergency C section, and me and ds were in hospital on antibiotics for a while after, so it was quite upsetting and traumatic. They didn't show any concern for me at all when visiting in hospital, just couldn't wait to get their hands on my son.

The night I cam back from hospital, I was exhausted, in pain and terrified about the first night with baby without the midwives on call (I'm sure you can all identify with that!!), and I found dh's family at our flat waiting for us!!! They had thrown a surprise 'welcome home' party for me... Now, this is where I feel I might be being a bit ungrateful and diva-like? Honest opinions appreciated. I just didn't want to crowds and noise etc, and they wanted to wake the baby up at the moment I was cutting the cake that they had bought for me (which I ended up serving to everyone when all I wanted to do was curl up in bed).

Whenever I come over there I have ds snatched out of my hands without as much as a hello, and MIL completely takes over the baby and acts as if SHE is the mum!!! She calls him 'my boy' and 'my baby', and does EVERYTHING - changing, feeding ect (another sore point as I failed to breast feed sad ). I'm not even allowed to comfort him when he is crying. If he ever does end up in my arms, it 's not long before I get a family member hovering over me, and eventually saying 'here, I'll have him', or 'give him to me, you get him all the time'.

All the time I'm there, it's like I don't exist or matter. I feel like a baby making machine who has served her purpose for now after giving them their precious grandson, and I am now superfluous (until the next one which, as instructed by FIL, must be another boy).

The only time I get spoken to is when I'm being given unwanted advice and lectures about child rearing (which is mostly outdated rubbish), or worse, being CRITICISED for what I'm doing. MIL has calmed down with this a bit after I started asserting myself, but FIL seems to be getting worse. It's almost as if he is annoyed that I am ds' mother and he lives with me. It's as if he would prefer it if ds lived with them and I was out of the picture!

DH has noticed this and has defended me when FIL has been really out of order with criticisms (e.g. 'I don't thing my grandson is being looked after properly'). WTF???? But when he challenged his dad, FIL just said I was being 'over sensitive'. Uh, yea - |I'm a new mum, of course I'm going be sensitive to that comment!!!

All this coupled with the fact that I was bombarded with unscheduled visits in the early weeks, and made to feel evil when DH asked them to cool it, all of which resulted in me being so stressed out and low. I'm sure it's partly why the breastfeeding didn't work out.

DH is really supportive and he defends me and has my back, but it doesn't seem to make much of a difference, and I can't help feeling hurt at the sudden change in behaviour from MIL and FIL (i.e. the ignoring).

Thank you if you've got this far!!

lubeybooby Sun 18-Nov-12 02:54:07

Your DH needs to stand up for you even more - and tell them they have behaved dreadfully towards you and can't come over unless they are going to apologise and respect you. It's the only way it has a chance of getting through to them.

Jacksmania Sun 18-Nov-12 03:16:29

You are not being unreasonable at all. You've had a shit birth (and I'm sorry about that, it's hell sad) and are struggling with bring a new mum. You're not being over sensitive. It's lovely that your DH is on your side. I'm sure they're delighted to have a grandson, but constantly tSkkmg Jim from you when you're visiting is not on. Especially not your FIL's comment, WTF was that all about?

Could you cool it with visits for a while?

MrsCantSayAnything Sun 18-Nov-12 03:23:25

Don't go. Make them come to you on your terms in YOUR house. I had te baby snatching with my MIL and eventually, I held out my arms and said "I'll take her now." and she'd come out with some thing like "Oh she's quite happy" and so Ihad to get shitty and say "I don't care...hand her back now"

It wasnt easy as of course, nobody wants to come over as weird or insecure but it's YOUR BABY. YOU are in charge and YOU get to say who does what.

Dont sit back and let MIL change the baby...all you need to do is say "I'll change her." and take the baby. Nobody in their right mind would attempt to continue holding a baby when the Mother was taking it back.

bedhaven Sun 18-Nov-12 03:48:55

YANBU, they are. These early days are tough enough getting used to everything especially after your delivery. They are criticising and then not giving you the opportunity to care for your baby.
You and your DH need to discuss on what terms you would like them around and then tell 'em. Try and get some balance as of course it's also not unreasonable for them to want to see the DGC and they may be unaware of how you are feeling/they are behaving.
You've had a lot on your plate and 10 weeks+ accumulative sleep deprivation is also not to be underestimated. Think how they can be of most help now and in the future and ask that this happens. I hope they are more sensitive once you AND DH have removed their blinkers and reminded them that you've done a pretty damn good job of getting your baby thus far! Congratulations btw!

Jacksmania Sun 18-Nov-12 04:25:05

Did your FIL specify how exactly "his grandson wasn't being looked after properly"? what an arsewipe

BellaOfTheBalls Sun 18-Nov-12 04:57:54

YANBU. I had similar issues with my IL's. I swear the day I had DS1 my MIL had lobotomy, she completely changed. I can totally empathise with the "MY baby/MY grandson" bit; MIL still does this now & DS1 is 4.5, you'd think no one had ever had a grandchild before. Your FIL can go to hell, how dare he comment on your parenting so soon after a traumatic delivery.

Your DH needs to stand up for you more, and do try to assert yourself. Lay down ground rules. Let them come to you where possible, or call in on them on the way to somewhere else so that visits have a defined time & they can't stay all day "I'm free between x & x but am going out after that".

Good luck OP. Its a very common issue in my experience!

Valdeeves Sun 18-Nov-12 05:15:31

I think this experience is a common one. YANBU.
I actually felt sad for you when I heard about the
surprise party - how awful and insensitive. Has your
MIL no daughters?
The thing is MIL and FIL become obsessed with new
baby and forget you as MIL will never be a mother again
And kind of goes through a strange obsession with new baby
as if it is there's. And two - the baby is their DNA and genes so biologically they have a strong link. Most grandparents say they
are surprised by how much they love their grandchildren.
For you it's odd as you feel they are no relation to you, and as the
child is from your body, it feels even stranger.

You need to get a week alone - just get your partner
to tell them you have a week and weekend planned of old
friends and family of yours dropping in and staying so aren't available
for visits. Then you can sit and bond more without stress
And hassle.
It's hard learning to be assertive the first time round
but I totally agree with the poster who just suggests tsking the
baby back. And not only that, take her back and go upstairs
and say she needs the down time.
Your relationship with your inlaws will be like this
Now for the rest of your life so better to start laying the
ground rules at a comfort level you can cope with.
Try and get DP to limit the time they come over for - eg an afternoon, a morning - rather than whole day, use doctors appts or shopping trips as
excuses. I know it sounds like soft soaping rather than being direct - but better to do this first as a couple - then you cause less offense and keep
them happy, then you can gradually just say : " oh a short visit works better, baby and mum don't get too tired then" etc - you have developed a culture of short visits.
Your DP sounds great - please ask him to be your buffer for now.
By the time you have your next child - your inlaws will know there place.

Valdeeves Sun 18-Nov-12 05:18:26

I think this experience is a common one. YANBU.
I actually felt sad for you when I heard about the
surprise party - how awful and insensitive. Has your
MIL no daughters?
The thing is MIL and FIL become obsessed with new
baby and forget you as MIL will never be a mother again
And kind of goes through a strange obsession with new baby
as if it is there's. And two - the baby is their DNA and genes so biologically they have a strong link. Most grandparents say they
are surprised by how much they love their grandchildren.
For you it's odd as you feel they are no relation to you, and as the
child is from your body, it feels even stranger.

You need to get a week alone - just get your partner
to tell them you have a week and weekend planned of old
friends and family of yours dropping in and staying so aren't available
for visits. Then you can sit and bond more without stress
And hassle.
It's hard learning to be assertive the first time round
but I totally agree with the poster who just suggests tsking the
baby back. And not only that, take her back and go upstairs
and say she needs the down time.
Your relationship with your inlaws will be like this
Now for the rest of your life so better to start laying the
ground rules at a comfort level you can cope with.
Try and get DP to limit the time they come over for - eg an afternoon, a morning - rather than whole day, use doctors appts or shopping trips as
excuses. I know it sounds like soft soaping rather than being direct - but better to do this first as a couple - then you cause less offense and keep
them happy, then you can gradually just say : " oh a short visit works better, baby and mum don't get too tired then" etc - you have developed a culture of short visits.
Your DP sounds great - please ask him to be your buffer for now.
By the time you have your next child - your inlaws will know there place.

Valdeeves Sun 18-Nov-12 05:21:59

Sorry I think I posted twice!
The thing to remember is your inlaws are being way
over the too here and have forgotten your best interests.
FIL is being an idiot btw.
Your DP needs to tell them what you need - eg rest, time to bond
quietly with first baby. And also a new born baby
needs those too and most importantly - they need their mum.
Above all others - you may feel you can be replaced - but you can't.
I wish you luck as I know this is all going to drive you crazy for a bit!
Don't blame yourself or be hard on yourself for any angry
emotions you feel - and if you need to chat, feel free to PM me xxxx

LadyKinbote Sun 18-Nov-12 05:30:06

Poor you! It may get easier over time especially if other DGC come along. Is this their first? Just remember that as far as your baby is concerned, you are Mummy and will always be the centre of his world.

And don't feel bad about breastfeeding - lots of us can't and it's fine.

Thumbwitch Sun 18-Nov-12 05:33:44

YANBU at all. Your ILs are being totally overbearing and insensitive and if I were you I wouldn't go over to theirs any more for a while, just until you've got yourself into a decent routine etc.

Just bear in mind that you ARE DS's mum and you have final say (with your DH of course) and that they can just sod off.

akaemmafrost Sun 18-Nov-12 05:46:01

Tbh there would have been an explosion when I arrived back to find the surprise party. When I came home with each of my dc, I fell immediately onto the nearest bed and slept till woken for a feed.

Your FIL sounds AWFUL. How exactly is your son not being well looked after?

Quite frankly I'd tell them all what I thought of them and to Back The F*ck Off with immediate effect. My in-laws were never as bad as this but were told in no uncertain terms when they went OTT.

Thing is you will be feeling very sensitive ATM, NOT oversensitive though. What I am saying is this will feel overwhelming to you right now but it isn't. They need telling and both you and your DH need to become very assertive. A "Don't be ridiculous!" Followed by a disbelieving laugh and then doing things exactly as you want to do them covers most eventualities I have found.

CheungFun Sun 18-Nov-12 06:45:25

They sound awful to be honest sad

The good news is that your DH is on side. I think the best thing is to put some distance in and avoid seeing them for as long as possible. You need time to find your feet, bond with your baby and rest instead of dealing with cr*p like this!

I agree with the advice from the other posters of just taking your baby back. I've had to do this with my FIL and I tend to talk directly to DS and say "come on DS (holding arms out to take him) lets get you off to bed/nappy change etc"

getagoldtoof Sun 18-Nov-12 06:57:12

my mil threw a huge surprise party when my ds was 1 week old. had invited us round for a quiet meal. i was really upset and couldn't hide it. i really love her, but this has always stayed in the back of my mind as something quiye insensitive to do. dh was quite supportive and stayed while i left after an hour with our new baby. YANBU

WhenSheWasBadSheWasHopeful Sun 18-Nov-12 07:26:39

The welcome home party sounds hideous.

They sound similar to my parents and parents IL in that they just wanted to hold / cuddle dd all the time. The vast difference is they always made a point of me being her mum and always said I was doing a great job (especially if I was having a shit day).

I do remember thinking ok hand my baby back to me now on quite a few occasions. I think the other posters are right you need to be firmer with them as to when they are welcome round.

If it were me I would try and make myself as unavailable as possible, go out to every baby group possible hang out at other mums houses if possible. This way if they keep popping round they get an empty home.

OpheliaPayneAgain Sun 18-Nov-12 07:46:23

On the face of it everything they have done (bar FIL) is lovely - a party! how lovely hmm, Popping in! hmm, enthusiastic!hmm, giving you a break from the baby!hmm

On paper it's wonderful - in reality it is overwhelming and really thoughtless.I really doubt they meant to upset you - is this a first grandchild? Emothions running high? Everyone 'wants a go' of a new baby - infuriating.

Provided you can get through this sheer lunacy you will find they will become your staunchest allie, but remember that you too will be ultra sensitive at the moment with hormones all over the place

You have to put your foot down now. If they have a spare key to let themselves in - get it back.

DP has to tell them that they are over enthusiastic. One visitor at a pre arranged time. You are recovering from surgery. You all need time to adjust and to bond as a family. If they want to be helpful they do the washing/shopping/cleaning/ironing.

NorthernNobody Sun 18-Nov-12 07:53:54

Caring for someone means doing what they need rather than what you want them to need.

If any family member cannot get this then they don't care.

I would say careful communication of your needs is important. Give them a chance to understand where they are upsetting you...if they then continue you are free to politely but firmly refuse to cooperate with their plans for you.

I removed battery from my doorbell when Dd was born. Best thing ever - easily ignored all unscheduled callers.

Secondsop Sun 18-Nov-12 07:54:48

This sent a shiver down my spine, not because I've been there but because I'm about to have my first baby and you've pretty much described my nightmare post-baby visitors scenario and the precise thing we're trying to avoid by setting out our ground rules now. Poor you! Everything sounds awful - the overbearing need to get your hands on your baby, the criticism, the bloody party! Obviously your in-laws are going to want to see your baby and it is great that they are excited about him but this shouldn't be at the expense of your recovery and your experience. he is YOUR baby not theirs, so I think you would be perfectly reasonable to withdraw contact for a little while and spend time at home with the baby until you've had the chance you need to spend time with your baby on your terms. Good news is that it does sound like your husband gets it, so can help support you, even though he's caught in the middle, so focus on that and make sure he knows how important a role he has to play in sticking up for you and being your advocate, being firm with his parents. Perhaps stay at home and don't visit them for a while and get your husband to say that unscheduled visits from them won't be taken and that he'll literally not let them in the door if they come round unannounced. Perhaps he could say to them that he knows they were just keen to see the baby but that it's got out of hand, what with company the minute you got home from hospital and everything from then onwards.

At my NCT class we were given some advice about managing visitors, and were warned that some people who want to come round in the early days aren't doing it to help you - they're doing it to get their hands on the baby. Sounds like this is exactly what's happened to you! It's not too late at all to lay down some firm ground rules so that you don't spend your precious early days with your baby on someone else's terms rather than yours. Good luck!

SuffolkNWhat Sun 18-Nov-12 08:04:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SuffolkNWhat Sun 18-Nov-12 08:05:29

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

OwedToAutumn Sun 18-Nov-12 08:09:29

I agree with what others have said about being assertive about taking your child back. If they really care about their DGC they will allow him to bond with his mother, as that is the best thing for him.

I'm not sure what your DH has said to them, but it needs to be "We feel....." rather than "Wertrude feels.....". It needs to be clear that it's not him vocalising for you, but that you and he are a team. It would be very say for him to shift the blame for what he is saying to you, to keep himself in the clear, IYSWIM.

(I am not implying he has done this, but it's something to consider.)

sleepneeded Sun 18-Nov-12 08:12:17

Wertrude - I hope you are getting some sleep, and congratulations.

NorthernNobody makes a good point - they are not doing what you need.

I really don't get people who don't support mums as that is what baby's need but many people on this planet are pretty self centred!

How weird the party thing shock - when I came home from hospital (after a traumatic birth) I remember sitting on my bed, feeling overwhelmed and having a rush of hormones like the baby blues over a couple of hours - and it was emotions that I have never felt before or since - so I was really glad it was just me, my DH and the baby.

My MIL (who lives overseas) so we have respite! sounds similar.
She made me feel like a baby machine. In the end my Dh coped by kind of laughing. Only interested in her grandson. Does not speak to me.

When my son was a baby she used to physically try get in the way - so bizarre. Here is one example - when my baby was at nursery I was still bfing when he was one so I would pick him up to collect, take him home and know that he needed a big feed. She'd interject and try pull him out of my arms - saying "he doesn't need a feed, here let me hold him, play with me" - I'd have to go - "No he needs a feed". It was awful.

Now my baby is a toddler she skypes him with promises of taking him to disneyland - just her and my toddler ofcourse -..... yes like we are really going to send our precious cargo on a plane to meet her and let her loose with him.

Anyhow get your DH to screen visitors - or pretend you are not in. If they turn up then say - sorry you have a medical appointment, baby weighing clinic or got to get ready to go somewhere.

You can try build your own support network - other mums with new babies and so on when you are feeling stronger.

Here is a brew and another brew and some thanks

How awful for you, OP. A silver lining is that your DP seems to be on your side! There are so many on these threads who are too soft to speak to their mothers.

I think you need to build a set of stock phrases "pass him here, sounds like he needs Mum" when he cries etc.

Let them stew at the moment - their attitude was rude so I wouldnt pander to them now.

Oh and try to laugh off any "next one must be a boy" comments "ah FIL if only we could choose we would pick a girl specifically to piss you off "

LaCiccolina Sun 18-Nov-12 08:23:37

My mil is nuts. Changed the day I had dd. She is bearable just only now 2yrs later. It's taken those 2yrs for dh to realise she's not being kind but frankly creepy. In 2010 the bbc ran a drama where the mil bumped off the new mum for the baby. I couldn't watch as it felt like my life. It's a joke on my side (v quietly!) that should I kark it they check with a lawyer for a letter accusing her....!

I'm rather interested to see wot happens with dd 2 due jan. I have a suspicion she's not actually interested. Said some very odd things recently.

Best tips? Visits are short. Just lunch. Ideally these are shared. At urs the stuff is in unfamiliar places. It's always worse at hers verbally but does mean u can control when u leave. It's a trade off. As babe gets bigger u have to take advantage and say u and dh go out for a bit to shops or similar and leave babe with her (assuming she's doting/nuts not scary nuts). Also biggest tip avoid alcohol if poss. I used to drink with mil pre dd. I rarely do now. I can't. She invariably will and means I keep the upper hand and high ground. It's blooming irritating but wen she's maudlin about how she rarely sees dd if I'm sober I can respond better. Or at least know ill mean wot I say without regret.

Wish u luck and hugs. I'm half wondering if its just boy mums this happens too!!

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