To say no to their request to visit so soon after the birth?

(52 Posts)
chocolatesolveseverything Tue 07-May-13 23:50:39

Feeling stressed about this so (gulp) hoping that the collective wisdom of AIBU can help...

I'm due to give birth to our first child on 27th July. None of my family live nearby and they rarely visit so I was surprised to get an email from my brother (who lives in the USA) yesterday suggesting that he and my sister (who lives in the UK) would like to visit for a week, starting on 14th August. It would be the first time either of them have stayed in our new house which we bought a year ago, and obviously, they'd like to meet the baby.

DH is not naturally a sociable guy and finds having houseguests very stressful at any time, but he's totally freaked by the idea of people coming for a week so soon after the birth (which given our collective family histories, could easily be a couple of weeks late) and thinks it's extremely presumptive of them to suggest it like this. He insists that he doesn't have a problem with them visiting, but it would have to be in later weeks. For myself, I feel a bit uncomfortable about the idea too. On one hand it might be helpful to have other experienced parents around to offer advice, etc. But I guess I don't see enough of them throughout the rest of the year to feel that having them around the entire week would be completely relaxing. I would feel I had to play hostess to some extent IYSWIM.

But I know that they both have family and work commitments and pushing things into a later time may not be possible for them, particularly for my brother who is so far away. I'm genuinely touched that they want to visit, and don't want to cause offense by saying 'no'. Them staying in a hotel is not going to be an option on cost grounds as it'll be the height of the tourist season here.

I get on fine with my siblings, but we've never been very close, largely because they're both over 10 years older than me. I think I could probably explain my feelings to my sister and she'd understand, but my brother might not. I already sent them both a message pointing out that if I was late and had a difficult birth, I might only just be out of hospital by the 14th and he responded with a 'Well you can't plan for the worst all the time. Babies are unpredictable. That's life. We'd manage.'

Are me and DH being silly getting wound up about this or would others see it as a totally normal thing for families to do? Any tips on how to suggest that it's not a good time without coming across as stand-offish?

If it's relevent, our mother died some years ago and we have different fathers so there is no parental involvement to this.

Thank you!

SirBoobAlot Tue 07-May-13 23:58:33

YADNBU. They want to stay with you for a week when you will potentially have a baby that is only a few days old? No. No way. If they are planning on coming to the UK anyway, want to stay elsewhere and pop in a few times, then fine, but no way on earth should you have to have anyone staying with you at that point in time if you don't want them to.

IneedAsockamnesty Tue 07-May-13 23:59:45

Yanbu.

If you don't want house guests having them will drive you bat shit crazy

Pyrrah Tue 07-May-13 23:59:52

I would reply with a list of hotels in the area and tell him to book well ahead.

Totally unreasonable - I very nearly died having DD and after spending over a week in hospital and numerous blood transfusions, I was still very unwell by the time I got home.

If you are planning on breast-feeding then the first few weeks are generally grim as well. I spent most of the first month sitting in my pjs and crying. No way on earth would I have been up for house guests at all.

You really, really won't want them to be there, it will stress you out and deprive you and your DH of time being just the 3 of you.

Do they have kids themselves?

FlatsInDagenham Wed 08-May-13 00:00:43

No this isn't normal. Your reaction is totally understandable.

Kewcumber Wed 08-May-13 00:01:26

I'd be firmer. No, you won;t be having anyone to stay so close to the birth. You'd be happy to see them later much later.

pigletmania Wed 08-May-13 00:01:50

Point them in the direction of the local travelogue or premier inn

WinkyWinkola Wed 08-May-13 00:04:06

There is No normal for this kind of thing. You have to decode what you are comfy with.

From personal experience, I thought I would be okay with visitors after the birth of my first child. I really wasn't.

Huge shock, huge adjustment and huge impositions made by several people in our families.

IME, it's best to be cautious and wait and see. You just don't know how you're going to feel.

Make sure you have space. It's very nice for family to show interest etc but at this potentially vulnerable time, it had to be on your terms or you will deeply regret it.

I consider new parents preferences to be paramount, regardless of how precious seeming because you just do not know how they are coping and I think they are the best judge of what they need.

Don't be afraid of saying what you prefer. You will have had a baby but it's still your important time.

WinkyWinkola Wed 08-May-13 00:04:30

decide not decode.

Bloody phone.

WinkyWinkola Wed 08-May-13 00:05:26

And breastfeeding really isn't necessarily grim either!

Far to early for them to stay, I've just had my third and she's 6 weeks old and I still wouldn't be able to tolerate guests

DorothyMantooth Wed 08-May-13 00:12:58

I'm afraid I don't have any useful advice, just sympathy as I have recently been in a similar situation.

DH's mother lives overseas (although nowhere near as far away as USA). Before the birth of DD in March (first baby, first grandchild for all of the parents) DH had to have a very difficult conversation with her regarding what would happen after the birth. MIL had assumed she would be coming to stay with us from the day DD was born for the first few weeks. DH had to tell her that she couldn't stay - we blamed it on the fact that we live in a very small 1 bed flat but in reality we wanted space to get used to our new little family. We were expecting visitors, but also hoped to get some time to ourselves to get to know our baby and learn the ropes without spectators. MIL did not take this well and didn't speak to DH for several weeks.

In the end she came the day DD was born and stayed in a hotel nearby. However she came to our place early each morning and didn't leave until after 10pm every evening. At the time I was so physically and emotionally overwhelmed by the birth that I just went with the flow. However in hindsight I really wish that we'd had more time with just DH, DD and I. We had tonnes of visitors, so it really wasn't all MIL's fault, but I did feel invaded by how much she was there (and took over the baby).

If I can advise you anything it would be to set some limits on the amount of time you let visitors come over. Maybe let them know in a nice way that you can't have visitors after 6pm, maybe blaming tiredness? I was so touched by the fact that so many people wanted to see DD that I felt I couldn't say no to them but it really was exhausting.

I don't know what to suggest re your siblings as although I'm grateful that DH told her that she couldn't stay with us, we ended up feeling invaded anyway and causing a lot of friction besides. In any case it doesn't sound like an option for you. Maybe you could appeal to your DSis's memories of her postpartum period and when you feel she's onside get her to bring it up with DB? I'm a fine one to advise though as I can never say no to any visitors, whether I want them or not! Good luck!

WinkyWinkola Wed 08-May-13 00:14:38

Always always lie about your due date by at least two weeks.

SilverSky Wed 08-May-13 00:17:59

Def try to push them back!

You will be tired, emotional, getting to grips with bfing/rock hard boulder boobs/difficult feeder etc. YADNBU to want to veg out in your own home. Last thing you need is to arrange meals/catering/extra laundry for house guests.

You will have the MW visit you at home post birth and then your discharge appt thereafter.

You will never get this time back again. I would really advise talking them out of it.

Do they really want disturbed sleep and half cooked meals? As that is the reality of a newborn.

mameulah Wed 08-May-13 00:21:55

I am not sure that this is helpful but......

I/we are exceptionally close to my parents and they were very, very hesitant about coming to visit us immediately (the first week or so) after our ds was born (he is five months old now) because they said that it was so important for us to learn how to be three.

We persuaded them to come and stay, and it was only for one night, and they don't live that far away but they would never, ever have assumed that their company was what we needed.

I guess what I am saying is that if your siblings don't recognise and can't offer you that then you need to make sure you get it for yourself.

If I was you I would make myself the victim. If you have to sound like you are not coping etc to make it alright for them. But if it would be a big deal having them around at the best of times then you absolutely don't need them when you and your dh are enjoying your pfb together.

" he responded with a 'Well you can't plan for the worst all the time. Babies are unpredictable. That's life. We'd manage.'"
Um, how does that old maxim go now? Oh yes - 'hope for the best but plan for the worst'. Good advice, I've always thought so shove that in your pipe and smoke it big brother. And 'We'd manage'? It's not about 'we', sunshine, it's about the mother who has just given birth! Sorry, but that whole response of his just reeks of overbearing, patronising entitlement; and had I been on the receiving end it would have rubbed me up in a very, very wrong way angry.

YANBU. If you have not already responded to him, I would suggest something along the lines of fuck off you git 'Whilst we would love to see you and have you meet our baby, we also want to ensure that our first weeks adapting into our new family are just us three. I may feel up to hosting once the baby is 8 weeks old or so (assuming no complications), so I'd say you need to look more to October for coming over'.

You are not BU to refuse.
You could say it would be lovely to see them but you'd like to be able to enjoy their company properly, have evening meals together, go for walks etc and your midwife has said the first few weeks post partum, when you're bleeding, stitches healing, up at night feeding every few hours and recovering from birth, hormonal and settling into massive new life stage of parenthood is not a good time for house guests, even family. When baby older and you can go for picnics and walks and put the baby down for naps in pushchair will be much nicer for everyone,

Enjoy your new baby and good luck with the pregnancy and birth!

Jenda Wed 08-May-13 00:48:48

I am shocked they have even suggested it. Just no! I haven't had my first yet but when I do I can't imagine wanting anyone round for more than a few hours let alone a week. Don't worry about their diaries, you won't get those lovely first few weeks as a three back.

wonderingagain Wed 08-May-13 00:56:06

Why are they coming? Are they worried about you? Do they think you need help?

BonaDea Wed 08-May-13 00:58:23

Yanbu. This is a stupid idea of theirs. Try three months down the line for size.

Just. Say. No.

Thumbwitch Wed 08-May-13 01:00:17

YANBU at all and your brother's reply shows that he's not thinking about YOU at all, only himself (and at a push your sister). It's not about THEM managing - it's whether YOU AND DH will manage, with houseguests and a new baby.

So say very politely that you're sorry, you can't accommodate them at that time. Maybe a month later if you feel like that's late enough but definitely not in August.

olivertheoctopus Wed 08-May-13 01:16:16

Yanbu. It's way too early, esp if you go overdue.

Bogeyface Wed 08-May-13 01:18:12

"What a wonderful idea, I cant wait to see you! HAve you already decided on a hotel? If not then I can recommend a really good one...." etc

Make sure that all of your emails assume that they are not staying in your home, if they say "oh we thought we would stay with you" reply in a jokey fashion "Hah! Good one! Seriously though, X hotel is really good" do not be bullied.

You will spend the rest of your life worry about your child and defending him/her from bullies, might as well start now as you mean to go on.

We've got the same due date smile

You aren't being unreasonable at all. If you and DH are not comfortable with the idea of visitors, be firm and tell them that although you would like to see them, it would be better for them to wait. You have important commitments too!

When DS1 was born, I knew I wouldn't want overnight guests immediately. I don't have family nearby, and DH's family are a few hours away. DH didn't understand at first why I wanted to wait before MIL came to stay, but he accepted that I was nervous about how I would feel physically and emotionally after the birth.

It was easier for us though as MIL could be a bit more flexible about her travel plans as she just needed to book a train once she was given the go-ahead. She was itching to meet DS, had never visited our house before, but I knew that I wouldn't need to entertain her.

She stayed for a week, 2 weeks after DS arrived and I was fine with it, partly because I knew that if I had asked her to wait a bit longer, she would have. She came when it felt right for me. She offered real help (not just holding the baby), didn't mind if I disappeared to rest/have some quiet time, and most importantly didn't make me feel uncomfortable in my own home.

Bogeyface Wed 08-May-13 01:20:53

Oh and for the record, my children are 22, 15, 11, 8, 7 and almost 2. The last time I had an overnight guest was.... oh yeah, I have never had an overnight guest wink

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