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AIBU re post-birth visiting

(254 Posts)
BraveLilBear Fri 17-May-13 14:20:49

I'm nearly 31 weeks with our first child (tho DP already has an 11-yo son), and I am being tortured by the pressure of visiting times after birth.

My family live a long way away (2 hours+ drive). This is a choice I made several years ago to take up particular jobs, and I have now settled here and very happy. This is my choice, and I made it at the time understanding this may restrict my support opportunities later in life.

Fast forward to the impending birth of the first baby in the next generation of my family. I understand that they can't wait to meet him or her and I, equally, can't wait to introduce him or her to its wonderful extended family. Despite the physical distance, we are fairly emotionally close and I am very blessed to have such a loving family.

However, I have serious concerns about becoming overwhelmed in the days after birth. I have never had a child before, and this will be a huge change for me, and to my relationship with my DP. I am pretty sure that I will not be in a position to play hostess whilst in pain, bleeding, tired and attempting to learn to breastfeed. DP will be trying to support me, and will also be tired. He is not exactly a great host at the best of times - there's no chance he's going to suddenly become a master at this in these circumstances.

So I have said I don't want any visitors for at least 3 days after we get home in order to adapt. Ideally it would be longer, but I think this is too selfish.

I have also said we do not want any overnight guests for at least a month, for the same reason, and that we would prefer people to come in the daytime (ie leaving before 7) so that when DP goes back to work we can have some family time in an evening and he can chill out after two long commutes a sleep-disturbed night etc.

Anyway. I have started the task of communicating this to people so they can get their heads round it. My mum, who had offered to come and stay for a week after DP goes back to work (we have declined because we can't handle anyone staying over so soon, and would want some space in the evenings), has used phrases such as 'you're going to ostracise people' and 'when you decide you want to share, I'll see if I can fit you in the diary'.

She says that she has/had expectations of suporting her daughters when they have children, and is obviously upset with me for challenging that.

The added complexity is that I could be in for 5 days or could be out in 6 hours, so I can't offer a guarantee of hospital visitation so our families can get that initial newborn baby fix.

AIBU to ask for space to settle in? I feel terrible, but also that I know we will never ever get this time again...

<sorry for epic>

BraveLilBear Wed 22-May-13 10:51:27

Mumngran thank you so much for your unique insight. Your DD is very lucky to have such a wonderful mum.

It is a very good idea to attempt a proper heart-to-heart but it is rare we get the opportunity. She has an awful lot going on in her own life - my parents are under 60 so still work very hard full-time, she is in the throes of a new relationship and also has my other two sisters to worry about, which means that conversations generally turn in her direction.

I am not an emotional over-sharer at the best of times (she came to stay just after my early miscarriage and she never once asked me how I was, so I never even told her about what had happened - although I did mention it at a later date), and live in fear of upsetting her - when growing up I ended up being her confidante through my parents' divorce and when she gets upset I feel very guilty, so I do try to avoid confrontation at all costs.

But equally, it might help if I try to explain myself. I have tried so far, but it seems she just thinks I'm being selfish.

Additionally, I have no problem with people coming to the hospital (within reason) to visit - but the issue is not knowing how long I will be in for, or what state I will be in.

Btw, we know the 'us' time in the evenings won't be just me and DP - but we need 'us' time as a threesome, too!

MumnGran Wed 22-May-13 12:33:55

LilBear ....
I am the worlds worst for wanting to organise and cross bridges ahead of time, but in this case I think you just need to wait for the big day and see how you feel before deciding on visitors. You can pre-warn people that you may be OK to have visitors, but equally might not be able to see anyone ......and that you promise your DH will keep them up to speed.
That keeps everyone happy that they will be in the loop, gives them a heads up that visiting might not be a free for all ....and leaves you able to make your choices depending on how you feel at that time.

My daughter is also protective of me, and guilt trips herself if she thinks I am upset. Thats love.....and it comes as a bit of a shock to us parents of adults, when you turn the tables and become uber-protective of us :-)
If you haven't been able to talk openly and easily, then maybe this is the right time to start? - as you are on the threshold of becoming a mother yourself. Do you think your mum held back on asking about the miscarriage (I am so sorry sad ) for fear that talking about it would upset you more? that is quite a common reaction.
I sense a lot of love and real caring exists within your family ......if you can start to tell your Mum more about your emotions, you may be happily surprised by her response when you do.

BraveLilBear Wed 22-May-13 12:49:31

Thanks mumngran - I hadn't thought that perhaps she doesn't realise how responsible we feel for her mental wellbeing!

The miscarriage was difficult, but it was early, and happened before we had told anyone we were even pregnant. I wanted to tell her about it, but simply didn't have the opportunity despite some one-to-one time with her. I didn't feel like she wanted to know (she never asked me how I was at all!), and thought it would be too selfish to bring it up.

I need to sort my relationship with her out - I need her to be onside to shield me from the wider family (including my dad) but that's not going to work at the moment as the message will eb construed in snarky comments to everyone about how 'we don't want anyone to meet our baby' etc!

This is all so messed up <digs out Jeremy Kyle number>...

MumnGran Wed 22-May-13 13:16:33

Brilliant idea to start out by telling how much you need her help.....all mums of adults have times when we feel totally redundant. We mostly are grin but it does feel good to still be needed now and then.
That is just what I meant by getting her onside. You can explain what you want her to explain to others ....and unless she has the intelligence of a gnat (which I doubt!) she will apply what you tell her to herself least to some degree. You can spin it any way that works for you .....not wanting to feel judged by people until you have a handle on caring for your newborn .....wanting to make sure you are functioning enough to ensure house is sparkling etc. Just be as honest as you can ..... but make sure there is plenty of time, so that if you hit a sticky patch in the conversation, you can talk it around and end on a good note.

One final thought may end up wanting her there, after all, so don't be more adamant than you need to in case you want to backtrack. It might be best to take an "I think I am going to want to ......" stance. I expected to be kept firmly at arms length in the early stages, as my DD is very very independent. The reality has been an added closeness, more invites to pop over than I ever expected, and asking for my thoughts (I hate to say advice!) on the usual mothering issues we all have at the start.
That said.....I never ever "pop-in" grin

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