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Desperately need help to save my marriage with 9 week old baby(147 Posts)
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I am going through a really difficult situation at the moment and really don't know what to do.
My wife and I (married for 3 years, together for nearly 10) are in our late 20's. We are privileged to be blessed with the most beautiful baby girl who is just over 9 weeks old, and we had been trying for 2 years for a baby. We love each other and consider each other true soul mates. Our lives are very settled and we have alot to thankful for.
But we have a major issue which has come to its head now and is now looking likely to cause the break up of our marriage.
My wife has had problems with the way my mother behaves towards us and her. She feels that over the past 10 years have been numerous occasions where my mother has been manipulative and spiteful towards her. I am an only child who has a close relationship with both my parents. We have lived for the past 10 years some two hours drive away from them and slowly over time our communication and visits to them have disappeared. In fact we have only ever been twice in 10 years to my family home, in comparison to regular visits to her family each year.
The stress of my mothers behaviour has become too much for now to cope with. She doesn't want to see my parents, and wont let our daughter out of her sight. Since she has been born, my parents have spent an our in the hospital with us 2 days after she was born, 30 minutes visit to our home where they had to look at her through our dining room door because she was asleep and 5 minutes with her whilst my wife held her on another visit. Her Mum has been with us for weeks on an off.
She sent an email to my mum expressing how upset she was, to which my mum replied. My wife didnt think that she understood the cause of the problem, so allowed me to speak to my mum, who replied by email again and apologised for hers and my dads behaviour and hoped they could move forward now to a better relationship in the future. But yesterday my dad was out of order with me, which I dealt with and was resolved, but my wife is so upset that this behaviour has happened again, feels they will never change, she can not have a relationship with them, and feels I have to choose to accept they wont be in our lives as much as they should be,or for us not to be together.
I am distraught and on top of that, whilst her mother was with us recently, her mother told me that I didnt care enough for my daughter. Anyone who knows me would say that is the most ridiculous thing that could be said but now my wife tonight has said she agrees with her mum.
My parents are selling their house I grew up in for 20 years and I really wanted to take my daughter home to have a couple of photos with her there which I wont have an oppotunity to do again as the sale completes in a couple of weeks. My wife wont entertain this at all so I was going to go home myself on Saturday. When they offered to drive me back, see the new house they are buying and drop me home to see their Granddaughter, my wife took our daughter drove off and intended to stay in a hotel as she could not comprehend the idea of seeing them. I talked her back into coming home thankfully
I want to save this for the sake of my daughter and our relationship but have hit rock bottom and don't know what to do
What exactly is the behaviour that your wife objects to? With a small baby, and recovering from pregnancy and birth, your wife must be feeling very vulnerable right now and very protective of her child. If your parents can be "out of order" with you, it seems possible that your wife doesn't trust them to treat her baby with kindness, in which case I imagine she's terrified of having them around right now. The strength of her reaction suggests that, too.
Their behaviour sounds emotionally abusive, on which basis I frankly would not trust their apology - people should not NEED to be told not to be manipulative and spiteful.
My parents often speak before thinking and instantly react to thinks thinking about how it will affect them first.
Ok I never do this but... Try rewriting your post from your wife's point of view. Genuinely give it a shot - you don't need to post it if you don't want to. But try writing down how she feels (then multiply it by 10 to take account of the fact she has just given birth).
I think this will help you clarify what's going on.
So what do I do? Accept that she is so upset by my parents that they are not going to see my daughter? Is that fair?
Yes. If they are behaving that appallingly towards her. What are they actually doing? What have they said? I know you said they speaking without thinking, but about what specifically? 'They think without speaking' is a huge cop out if it's constantly rolled out as an excuse for your parents behaviour. They need to think before they speak if it brings their DIL to tears.
I'm an only child- I get it, but sometimes our parents are tits and they need to be told. Your loyalty is with your wife and baby girl now, and they need to stop upsetting her
Can you give any kind of example? Sorry, it's just hard to imagine why your wife's reacting like this without an idea of how severe this behaviour actually is. When they speak before thinking, do they insult you/her? When they think about themselves first, is that when she feels they're manipulative - do they try to make other people do what they want?
What do your wife and her mother mean when they say you don't care enough for your daughter? Do they mean you don't do enough of the hands-on daily care, or do they mean you're not concerned enough for her? I ask because so far it sounds like your wife perceives your parents to be a threat, and maybe she feels she can't trust you to keep your daughter safe from them - maybe she worries that your loyalty to your parents blinds you to what she is afraid of.
Or maybe your parents are just mildly irritating and your wife is being heavily dramatic, I've no idea! That's why I asked for examples - what would you say was the worst behaviour they've shown, the thing that's upset her most?
Are you and your wife from very different backgrounds/cultures? Again, it's difficult to work out, without more information, whether your wife is being oversensitive or whether your parents are being horrible to her. Were you, for instance, brought up to believe that women should obey their husbands and 'respect' (ie never disagree with and always submit to) their inlaws?
I remember your last thread , many people predicted a divorce if your issue weren't resolved.
OP I recognised you as soon as I read your post. Congratulations on the birth of your little girl.
Can I ask, when your parents visited at the hospital, was your wife in agreement to the visit? After the lengthy thread you had before, and the lengths posters went to, to explain how things would be for your DW after she gave birth, I'm concerned that the problems you are experiencing stem from the very issue you posted about initially. Have you been supporting your DW, protecting her from the pressure/stress she feels in relation to your parents? Or have you been pushing for them both to have more contact/involvement despite how that seems to impact/affect your DW?
Among other things, do you think a few photos of your baby in your old home are worth a relationship break up?
I don't think I have followed your previous thread, but if your wife is the one who treats you with love, consideration and respect, then stick by her and stick up for yourself and detach from your parents.
They speak before they think because they think
know they can get away with it with you.
If they are emotionally abusive, you're not losing much and you are protecting your children.
Sinbad your wife does not owe your parents a relationship. You've never given anything more than vague examples . What actually happened between you and your dad , in what way was he out of order ? Can you give some examples of the speaking without thinking ?
You were told and told last time that unless these problems weren't resolved there was likely going to be a divorce. Tell us in detail about the email your wife sent to your mother , a your mother's response to that email.
I agree with the others. We need examples to really have an idea of what's going on.
Either way, your wife has just had a baby and is still emotional. Right now she needs your support. That means keeping your parents separate from her right now.
If you want photos outside the family house before it's sold, take your wife and child WITHOUT seeing your parents.
Your wife needs to trust that you trust her opinion and have your childs best interests at heart, and this means noticing, and stopping, your parents (or anyone) when they're out of line. not excusing them "because that's just how they are". My MIL is a narcissist, that doesn't mean I need to accept her behaviour. When your wife trusts that you see your parents flaws, and trust your wife as a mother and as your wife, she may be okay with your taking your child to see your parents without her supervision. It won't be for a while though, she's still feeling very mama-bear.
Your poor baby is only 9 weeks old. Whatever is happening now should be all about her and her needs. Right now she needs a loving mother and father. If you have to turn your back on your parents for a while, that's what has to happen. The family dynamic has changed now. It is no longer appropriate for you to pander to them and their destructive ways.
Ok, so for example, yesterday I was talking to my parents about completing on a house purchase and the sale of ours. My Dad, who has been retired since his early 50s and is now very much stuck in his ways previously had experience as a bank manager and dealt with many wealthy private individuals who often would buy and sell properties. He was adamant that we should sell and complete on the same day to minimize the risk to us of something going wrong and us being left with two mortgages. I told him we have enough confidence in the situation to not to that and he was furious with me and put the phone down. This has happened a few times when I have discussed things with them if I havent taken their advice or said I would do something that would cause them stress and worry. I called them straight back, told them this behaviour was exactly what frustrates us and particularly my wife but they were still insistent that we should take their advice, or not talk to them about the matter. I came home to my wife annoyed about this, told her about it and she has taken the matter personally and using this as the latest example of how my parents wont change their ways and therefore makes it impossible for her to have a relationship with them, and therefore me.
Obviously I dont like the way my parents behave when they do these things, but I cant ignore that they are my only parents and still love them as much as I did before. Im annoyed with them, but just as any parent loves their child no matter what, I love my parents no matter what. I also love my wife no matter what. She wants me to protect her from them or not see them if they might behave like this in the future.
I was really disappointed that my wife wouldn't go back to my parents with me but have accepted that she wouldnt be comfortable and so havent put any more pressure on her to come with me just hoped in the back of my mind that she would have a change of heart...but thats almost irrelevant now
How do you come to discuss these issues with your parents? Do you ask them for advice, or do you mention the situation and they probe so that they can advise you?
In any case you don't have to take their advice, of course. (personally I'd be inclined to agree with your dad, but advice is nothing but advice, not orders nor instructions - you can take it or leave it)
And, btw, don't push her.
If she is to change her mind, work on it slowly and lovingly with her.
She is right to protect herself, and it seems she loves you enough to want to protect you too. The last thing she needs now (and, as a consequence your baby) is stress in her life. The baby provides enough, and stress for the parents affects the children, particularly a mother (is she breastfeeding?).
On the other hand, I am getting a feeling that she may be very inflexible and intolerant, and I don't particularly like the comment by her mother and then her that you don't care about your daughter.
Have you chosen as a life partner someone who is not that dissimilar to your parents? Or maybe she is simply assertive. We don't have enough information.
Their behavior does sound manipulative and bullying.
It really boils down to the fact you need to make your wife and daughter your absolute priority. Your baby is still tiny, and right now your wife's emotional needs need to be met, for the best of your baby. I see your wife's view, that you don't care about your daughter that much, if you're not putting her needs first - not that you actually don't care, but how your actions make it appear.
The solution for saving your marriage is so simple, I don't know why you won't take it. Right now, your parents don't need to see your newborn daughter as much as your wife needs to feel secure in a vulnerable time.
My wife was happy for my parents to visit, but not for long and her mum had to be there. It was really awkward, her mum didnt talk to my parents, and on one of the brief visits my parents have made to our house since she was born, my mil was at the house but sat in a spare room whilst my parents visited as she couldnt face seeing them in case she said something to them about how my mum has upset her daughter in the past. My brother and his family have also come to visit from a long distance away. Shortly before our daughter was born, my brother who has never got over the death of our grandma wanted us to refer to my parents as someone other than grandma and grandad for fear of upsetting him. it really was a daft situation that has been sorted now, but again the mil was there when they visited but because she again couldnt trust herself to say something out of turn, again sat in the spare room on her own for 4 hours!
I have supported my wife in allowing her to dictate who visits and when, but the balance of her mum being with us and my parents visiting is so far apart its become a bit silly. Never for one second do i begrudge her mum spending time with out daughter, but i would hope that I could share some of that joy she has with her mum, with my parents.
" he was furious with me and put the phone down. This has happened a few times when I have discussed things with them if I havent taken their advice or said I would do something that would cause them stress and worry. I called them straight back, told them this behaviour was exactly what frustrates us and particularly my wife but they were still insistent that we should take their advice, or not talk to them about the matter."
So, to re-word this, your parents attempt to control your life? And when you don't do what you're told, they get angry and say that they'd rather know nothing (or put another way, withdraw affection).
I have to ask, how often do they tell you what to do? And what percentage of the time do you do as you're told, ditto not do as you're told?
i would hope that I could share some of that joy she has with her mum, with my parents.
You have to accept that it won't happen. Your parents don't seem to do joy particularly well.
It's not silly, it doesn't have to be balanced. From your wife's point of view, she wants her mother there in this stressful, vulnerable time, as her mother is someone she trusts completely, someone who has raised her, changed her nappies, taken care of her when she was ill, etc. It's entirely different to have your own mother there when you're bleeding, have your tits out every other minute, are weeping from hormones and exhaustion and all the other glamours of the first months with a baby than someone else's mother, who you've only known as an adult and have reason to be wary of/have your guard up around, has form for upsetting you, and judging by your example, won't respect your choices.
But she can't share that joy with them BECAUSE of how your parents are. She's not doing it out of malice. Why should your wife, 9 weeks after giving birth, fake a smile provide your parents with joy when you agree that they are manipulative and try and control both of your lives?
Knowing what you know about the fragile relationship between your wife and your parents , why on earth did you go home and effectively whinge to your wife about this phone call ? If it was resolved , why repeat it ? And for what it's worth I have always sold and completed on the same day , I think it's madness not to.
It's worth examining your own role in this. It sounds like your wife's pregnancy was full of conflict about your parents , your baby is now two months old and there's still conflict. You did something similar when your wife was pregnant in that you had called your parents about a non event , then informed your wife that you had done so. She was understandably annoyed , and I don't think this incident is much different.
You have created this latest drama by relaying the phone call. You know how your wife feels about them and I really can't see what you were hoping to achieve by relaying the details of that call. Of course they sound unreasonable putting the phone down , but you are equally unreasonable for relaying it. Did it even need to be mentioned ?
You strike me as someone who goes back and forth between your wife and your parents relaying negative stuff. Your insistence that your wife suffer a visit from them after recently giving birth was conflict that was avoidable. It seems you enjoy the drama of wife versus parents , seeing yourself as some poor dutiful son caught in the middle. As stated on your previous thread , I think your wife will resolve this with a divorce eventually.
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