Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Feeling hurt by in laws and want to move on

(38 Posts)
satsumagirl Thu 16-May-13 07:55:57

I'm really disappointed by my husband's side of the family.

We've been together for almost 10 years. During that time his family had been very nice, thoughtful and welcoming to me. In truth I probably idealised them a little as I had a poor relationship with my own family (now much better, thankfully).

We had dc2 last year and as we knew there was a possibility I would need another c section we asked my mother in law to come and stay with us to help. The plan was for her to look after our older child when we were at the hospital having the baby, and then she would stay for a while after to help out. i have always got on very well with her and thought of her as one of my closest friends.
She came down to stay when I was 39 weeks PG as we originally thought I would need to have a c section then.

DC2 was late - more than 42 weeks late. Just after I hit 42 weeks, my mother in law announced that she was going back home (she lives at the other end of the UK). Fortunately I then gave birth and she left 2 days after the baby was born.

We had DC2 last year and as we knew there was a possibility I would need an

satsumagirl Thu 16-May-13 08:10:49

Sorry, got cut off there. Posting on phone. Anyway, she left. No explanation. My husband said he got the impression she thought she 'wasn't welcome in our home' although both of us totally baffled as to why she would think that. It's conjecture anyway as she didn't discuss why she was leaving with us.

As you can imagine, it was a bit of a nightmare for us all recovering from c section and looking after toddler and baby, but we coped. However, my mother in law has barely been in touch since the birth and baby is Almost 6 months old now. She sends the occasional email, some money and clothes for the children. But she used to call us every week and she and I were fairly close. Husband has two sisters and one of them (who professes to adore my oldest child) has also not been in touch since birth. She has sent Xmas and birthday cards but that's it. His other sister has been similar although he is not that close to her. My father in law, mother in law and neither of his sisters has suggested coming to see the baby.

I feel incredibly hurt by this on behalf of my family. I can see how much it has hurt my husband and I am so angry for him. Also angry and hurt for DCs. I don't think it's fair for my in laws to just dip in and out of my children's lives. If there was some issue they should have manned up and raised it with me/ my husband.

Husband says that he is going to take baby steps approach with all of them to rebuild relationship. I will support him in whatever he wants to do. Previously I had thought of mum in law and the sister who was closer to my husband as very good friends of mine. Not anymore. I think we will just be civil to each other.

How can they not want to see the baby, and my oldest child, who they all declared they were very fond of?

They've broken our trust. I just want to stop hurting so much.

AgathaF Thu 16-May-13 08:18:41

Have you actually asked them that is wrong? You say your H got the impression that she felt unwelcome - why was that? Did she say that? I think that given your previous closeness, the most obvious thing to do would be to phone and try to talk it through with them, or write to them saying you miss them and wonder what has gone wrong.

satsumagirl Thu 16-May-13 08:25:01

Thanks Agatha.

I've talked about this a lot with the husband. He has called my mother in law several times but he felt that she wasn't ready to discuss it. He thinks it will be better to discuss it when he sees her in person, whenever that is.

I really don't want to interfere as they are his relatives. The important thing is that he rebuilds his relationship with them.

LandOfCross Thu 16-May-13 08:29:14

Well... You really are only going to find out what their problem is by asking them.

I agree it sounds awful.

harryhausen Thu 16-May-13 08:29:55

As difficult, awkward and hurtful as it is I think you and your DH need to have a proper chat with the inlaws and find out what exactly the issue is/was. Otherwise it will eat away at you, wondering constantly what it was that you did 'wrong'.

It must be incredibly hurtful.

Its not really the sane situation but I had a no holds barred conversation with my dsis (who lives abroad) last summer about 20 years of frustration and anger I'd felt over her alcoholic, abusive DH. He'd been the elephant in the room for all that time. The whole family got involved. There was lots of crying but lots of feelings were revealed. Things for my dsis haven't changed and its not discussed anymore, but somehow a 'peace' abd respect has been achieved in that we all know how we feel and why. I know it's so so hard though.

I think it really unfair of them to distance themselves from you and your dcs without giving you the respect to even let you know why.

X

CarpeVinum Thu 16-May-13 08:33:57

3 weeks is a long time to be a guest.

It may have been a reaction to a sub conciously misconstrued comment becuase she was desperste to go home after three weeks of being a guest in somebody's home far far away from her own home, friends, family etc.

Or maybe in the hiccuppy land of late preganancy with a houseguest for an extended period somebody did say something with an edge to it.

There is a long stable history of good relations. Give it a bit for the dust to settle and most likely fences will mend without the need for big dramatic "he said:she said" episodes that can sometimes deepen rather than repair a temporary rift.

AgathaF Thu 16-May-13 08:36:33

A couple of comments you have made "he is going to take baby steps approach with all of them" and "He has called my mother in law several times but he felt that she wasn't ready to discuss it" make me wonder if she has acted in this way before? Is she someone who people normally tiptoe around to keep her approval - hense your H not really having it out with her, and his sisters backing off from you because of her?

AgathaF Thu 16-May-13 08:37:42

hence, even

ajandjjmum Thu 16-May-13 08:45:32

Seems very odd. But to be honest, I think it's odd that you've left it six months and not contacted her. Pick up the phone yourself - she's your friend!

cornypedicure Thu 16-May-13 08:48:49

I think that's a selfish way for your MIL to behave.
She must be aware that you don't know what has actually offended her and that you will be fretting.

The fact that your dh hasn't been able to just phone her up and ask her what the problem is illustrates that it's usual for him to walk on eggshells around her perhaps?

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 16-May-13 08:50:59

I think I agree with CarpeVinum. Three weeks is a long time to be away from home for someone, especially if she was really just waiting with you, and it sounds like something has been said/not said/done/not done that upset her or didn't make her feel appreciated. I wouldn't leap to any drastic conclusions if you've always had a good relationship in the past.

satsumagirl Thu 16-May-13 09:07:15

She is not someone who we walk on eggshells around. I haven't raised it with her as I think it's best I stay out of it whilst DH rebuilds his relationship with them.

It's just a shame they have all missed out on DC2's early months.

We tried to be as welcoming as poss to mother in law. In a 2 bedroom flat though so sadly we don't have a spare room, but we did our best to make things as nice as we could for her. She also spent some time staying at my sister in law's place (not far away) where she could have her own room.

photofinish Thu 16-May-13 09:12:31

I'd like to think that if I was staying with my DIL or other relative/ friend who was just about to have a baby, especially a C section, that I would be a bit more understanding than your MIL obviously is.

CarpeVinum Thu 16-May-13 09:21:06

In a 2 bedroom flat though so sadly we don't have a spare room

Sorry, not sure I understand and want to clarify. Who was in the second bedroom? And if not MIL, where was she sleeping/having private "my own space" time ?

satsumagirl Thu 16-May-13 09:24:13

Carpe- my older child sleeps in the second room.

We offered her our room but she was adamant she wanted to sleep on sofa in living room.

We gave her plenty of space/ time for 'me time.'

CarpeVinum Thu 16-May-13 09:28:06

that I would be a bit more understanding than your MIL obviously is

Nothing is truely obvious when you are getting only one person's truth in the scenario.

It is a bit odd that a previously well maintained and non drama ridden relationship that one person should react to absolutly nothing and throw an extended "wobbly".

There is at leat a reasonable possibility that the OP in the fug of late pregnancy, birth and newborness has inadvertanly failed to see the scenario from anther perspective.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 16-May-13 09:28:21

I wondered that as well CV... From her perspective she volunteered to drop what she was doing and help out for a C-section birth which didn't happen. She then spent three weeks twiddling her thumbs far from home either in a small flat with two adults and a toddler or with her DD (SIL?) who has a spare room. Did it cost her to travel from the other end of the UK and is that why she didn't go back home when the c-section was called off? Was there anyone waiting for her back home who needs her for other things? A FIL? Friends? Groups she belongs to?

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 16-May-13 09:30:42

"We offered her our room but she was adamant she wanted to sleep on sofa in living room"

No-one in their right mind would insist that a heavily pregnant woman sleep on the sofa. I don't know how old your MIL is but it's really not comfortable sleeping on a sofa for any length of time.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Thu 16-May-13 09:33:56

Just call her and ask her if anything is wrong, satsumagirl, and if so, what.

Her being miffed at you is just conjecture at this point. Talk to her. Set your mind at rest. Be prepared to listen if she actually is upset about something, and be prepared how to tell her kindly and directly that you were upset/concerned by her abrupt departure and minimal contact (in a non-blaming way, just a "this is how I feel" way).

CarpeVinum Thu 16-May-13 09:35:49

It can be extremely hard for some people, espeically an older generation to accept "an offer" outright. They do the "oh don't fuss about me" skit. Long standing social dances die a hard death when they are the product of an early lifetime of it being drummed in. The protocol if you don't want extended stay guests (particularly those who grew up in a different era) ending up feeling all upset is not to offer, but to provide a done deal.

You move your child into your room and say "this room is yours welcome guest"

I'm not saying this is your fault. It is likely a generational culture clash.

If you want this fixed and are willing to swallow some high ground to get it, a lovely letter apologising (with no if, buts, and maybes and "well ypu should have"s) for not having made better arrangments so she was more confortable will probably do the trick. Say that in retrospect you feel you and her son should have set things up differently with a greater focus on her perspective.

It's not nice eating humble pie especially when from your lens you are justified in saying "well heck we did offer, you were part of how you ended up feeling desperate to go home". But as a means to an end, if the result is really important to you, worth holding your nose and stuffing it down.

2rebecca Thu 16-May-13 09:47:18

I wouldn't invite someone to stay unless I had room for them. It sounds as though your house just wasn't big enough for your MIL to stay and in that case I'd have paid for her to stay at a local b&b or just accepted that your husband would have had to look after your oldest daughter or take her to a relative's for a few days. Having someone sleep on the sofa for 2-3 weeks is a daft idea, as would have been a heavily pregnant woman sleeping on the sofa. It all sounds poorly thought out.
If you want to try and sort this out I'd get on the phone to her, you should be repairing the relationship for its own sake though not for your children "missing out".
If you decide it's your husband's relationship to repair then leave him to it and stop fretting. The fact that he hasn't already been round to sort things out makes me think that he doesn't regard this as unusual behaviour for her. Also why does FIL get let off the hook again? He hasn't been in touch either. Perhaps your husband could phone his dad to clarify things. They all sound rather passive and disfunctional.

AgathaF Thu 16-May-13 09:48:46

I think if there reassly is no history of her behaving like this, then you should just get on with sorting it out with her. She may well be really hurt that you have just not mentioned her obvious upset, and really hurt that you have withdrawn for 6 months and made minimal effort at contact with her.

Have you or your H asked his sisters what the problem is?

AnAirOfHope Thu 16-May-13 09:52:23

I would send an email and be as polite as poss and none blaming and say sorry you dont know why she has backed off but you want to know and work thru it.

Tell her you are greatful for her help and that you value her help, opioin and advice and that the kids would love to see more of her as would you.

There is no reason why you cant contact her and discuess it reasonable with her as you are the mother of her grandchildren and its important to maintain that relationship.

Three weeks is a long time to put your life on hold for your adult children and she has her own life and two dd that will expect the same when they have children. Also she stayed three weeks and ur dh had two weeks maybe she felt that was more help than she got and is now leaving you to be a family?

But you will not know untill you ask.

CarpeVinum Thu 16-May-13 10:08:19

Oh I missed the bit where you offered her YOUR room and not the child's room.

That wasn't an offer she could have accpeted. Picking herself over a heavily pregnant woman on the sofa.And perhaps you didn't realise that, but you basically forced her onto the sofa.

For three whole weeks.

There's probably the issue. She went out of her way for you both and your collective attitudes towards making her comfort a priority during her stay doesn't shout gratitude, or even a great deal of thought from the perspective of the guest.

You two have a choice. Choose your children having a healthy and happy relasionship with what sounds like a really nice grandmother for as long as she is around. Or make a priority of you and your husband not being in the wrong in any shape or form and let this go on until it is too late to resolve easily.

It's not fuck up of the centuary, and around the time of childbirth does make it harder to see other perspectives becuase it's so all consuming.

I was a fecking monster at the end of the preggo, after the birth and for a good six months after he was born. One huge hormonal self obsessed mess.

Stand next to me and you'll feel about six million times much more evolved in comparision.

I think everybody in the vicinity breathed a huge sign of relief that we chose to stick to one child. grin

oldwomaninashoe Thu 16-May-13 10:15:02

Putting myself in your MIL's shoes I would have been a little put out that it had been arranged that I should come down at 39 weeks then spent 3 weeks sleeping on the sofa!!
I don't know how old your MIL is, I am in my early 60's and it it were me I would have expected you to have your toddler in your own room and arranged a proper spare bed for me.
If you don't why she's a bit miffed, then I think you need to look long and hard at yourselves.
Unfortunately it seems hard for a younger generation to appreciate that sleeping on a sofa is just not physically comfortable for many older people!

A1980 Thu 16-May-13 17:15:15

Why not make a start by sending a lovely card from the children saying they would love to see their grandmother.

A1980 Thu 16-May-13 18:17:07

Why not make a start by sending a lovely card from the children saying they would love to see their grandmother.

diddl Thu 16-May-13 18:28:47

Was your husband at home with you after the birth?

If so, I can see why she went home after alread being there for three weeks-on the sofa!!

A1980 Thu 16-May-13 21:02:10

Out of interest why was it a.nightmare for you and your husband to cope with a.baby and toddler after a section? If.your husband had leave especially. does it need three adults?

Some women don't have a partner &do it alone.

DaemonPantalaemon Fri 17-May-13 07:52:55

Yep, I agree with the others that it is the space issue. And the bed. Why didn't you offer her the DC's room, then the DC could have come in with you? You really gave her no choice but to accept the sofa. And what about at night? Did she have to hang around while she watched telly before she could go to sleep? And did she have to wake up early as she was sleeping in a shared space. Three weeks of that would drive me nuts, I have to say. It really does sound as though you did not put much care into her time with you as your guest. The other family members are also probably just reacting to her discomfort. I suggest you talk to her directly about it.

DaemonPantalaemon Fri 17-May-13 07:54:41

Sorry, while YOU watched telly, not while she watched ...

Selba Fri 17-May-13 08:02:47

On a general point of your inlaws not coming to see the baby, some people are not that into babies or children. Especially if they have to travel some distance!

I am astonished your MIL agreed to the original arrangement. I think that's mighty generous of her

Selba Fri 17-May-13 08:03:30

why don't you go and visit HER?

CarpeVinum Fri 17-May-13 08:08:36

why don't you go and visit HER?

I think the OP and her DH have to mend fences first. Not sure inviting themselves up for a visit is really possible or advisable until the extended hiccup has been overcome.

It's a bit sad really. Such a small issue relatively speaking, and pretty much fixable with a genuine and heartfelt apology from the pair of them and everybody could be happy. But....from tiny acorns of failure to see another perspective, giant oaks of family rifts can grow.

CarpeVinum, spot on.

love the oaks analogy.

EldritchCleavage Fri 17-May-13 17:20:26

I can see why you both think your DH should deal with it but honestly, I think your husband is being completely daft. And odd.

If you want to know what's wrong in the relationship with his family, ask them. If he feels his mother isn't ready to discuss it, he should ring one of his sisters and ask her. Probably your MIL is doubly hurt because she feels by not raising the (to her) obvious issue your DH is uncaring about it or sweeping it under the carpet.

Selba Sat 18-May-13 00:37:27

No, I meant why not do the legwork to visit her rather than getting the kids to send a card asking MIL to make the journey to OP's place.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now