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Family staying and due date - what's 'normal'?

(38 Posts)
lucycoco Wed 26-Nov-14 12:27:58

Now, I realise it's up to each individual to work out what's best for their family and circumstances, but.... I'm after some general perceptions of 'normal'!

I live abroad (Europe - couple of hours flight), I'm expecting my first baby next year and was assuming that close family (like my DM, and my DP's closest relatives) would come out to visit as soon as they can, once the baby's born.

However, noises have been made about it being more normal for some family to be staying for the birth - not in the delivery room (!) but staying with us at the time. My DM hasn't said as much directly (she wouldn't) but I'd hate for her to be upset if IABU in my assumptions about this. She is extremely sensitive about our relationship because I've chosen to live abroad, and this will be her first grandchild, which I really want her to enjoy!

It's partly for practical reasons - I don't know when PFB will arrive so it could mean having people staying with us for weeks, assuming they'll want to stay to get to know the baby once it arrives! We work from home and I already anticipate this being a stressful and tough time, potentially made harder if we have people (albeit much loved family) staying with us in the flat.

Just to add, family would stay with us - I wouldn't want to suggest they stay nearby.

So, I'd be so grateful for people's own experiences, and ideas of what is reasonable / unreasonable / normal!

skylark2 Wed 26-Nov-14 12:30:24

"noises have been made about it being more normal for some family to be staying for the birth"

Who by? Someone without kids, I assume.

No, it's not normal at all - a "term" baby can arrive anywhere between 37 and 42 weeks, you'd have someone staying for over a month!

FaFoutis Wed 26-Nov-14 12:32:10

Not normal in my world. They come and visit afer the birth when I feel ready.

Mammanat222 Wed 26-Nov-14 12:35:55

God no, they come after baby is born.

And then they stay in a hotel.

WreckTheHalls Wed 26-Nov-14 12:36:22

Hell no. Just NO. Thats my opinion, anyway.

I had my MIL turn up unannounced two weeks before my due date and announce she was staying to 'help' when the baby came. It was hard work. I didnt enjoy the end of my maternity leave because of it, to be honest. She is a kind woman, but overbearing and took over with preparing the babies room etc.

In the end I went 18 days over my due date and with only a few days to spare, DH gently persuaded her to stay with his brother nearby instead. Thank GOD.

I really didnt want anyone staying with us in those first few weeks. Not even my own lovely mum. I was shattered from the birth, struggling to establish breastfeeding and up every 2-3 hours at night feeding. It would have been really to have anyone other than DH around.

Even visits were knackering. I loved the people who came with cake, made tea, chatted for an hour and left. I was less impressed with people who rocked up for the whole day and expected me to host food and stay awake/dressed/interested in small talk with a newborn hanging off my breast.

WreckTheHalls Wed 26-Nov-14 12:37:06

*really HARD

Littlef00t Wed 26-Nov-14 12:37:16

Yes, make sure if they have to pre book flights that they come at the very least 2 weeks after your due date.

If baby is late they are there just after the birth, if baby is early you get some valuable time to recover and bond.

googietheegg Wed 26-Nov-14 12:37:47

My situation was very, very similar to yours and I'd say 100% don't let this happen. It caused huge problems with me,my mil and my DH. Basically I wasn't aware of the 'fourth trimester' and someone unhelpful around was the last thing I needed when trying to establish breastfeeding and just the huge changes going on. Wait til the baby is at least a few weeks old unless you have someone super helpful who doesn't give you unwanted advice.

onthematleavecountdown Wed 26-Nov-14 12:41:01

Silly to have them stay before baby is here, as others say, baby could arrive anytime.

You don't know if you will have a vb or a cs, what physical and mental state you will be in, will u be bf etc? In such uncertainty I wouldn't want to be playing host to anyone.

This is a special time for you and your partner and your baby. You'll never get those first few days back.

If your only a few hours away why cant they book some flexi tickets or just wait till baby is actually born so they arrive after you are back at home and more settled.

Its your baby first and foremost, not your extended families. I'm only so vocal on this I have seen the horror of what it did to my friend - of having family stay because she thought it was "the right thing".

Snowflakepie Wed 26-Nov-14 12:42:13

No, no, no. Obviously it's difficult being abroad but I would absolutely not have anyone staying, even nearby, before baby arrives. You need that time to rest, be left alone, do what you enjoy before things change forever. And after baby arrives you need time and space. If they want to book flights then make it at least 2 weeks after your due date, and definitely a hotel too. No matter how well your birth experience goes, you will not want to be scrutinised, questioned, bothered constantly - and no matter how lovely they are, they will be in the way.

Better to manage expectations now, find a nice place for them to stay and recommend it, tell them the best dates and flights etc. Then you can be in control and they know the score. Good luck.

GwenStacy Wed 26-Nov-14 12:44:41

I think it's very much down to you! Some people I know wanted their mums there, and had them staying before the birth and then for weeks after, and said that they couldn't have coped without it.

We had parents pop over the next day for a brief visit and then that was it for a couple of weeks. Having anyone there would have stressed me out beyond belief and any practical help would have been negated by that.

If everyone is in Europe, surely if you change your mind someone could be there within a few hours?

ChickenMe Wed 26-Nov-14 12:46:23

I think there is no normal apart from what you, in your heart, would like to do.
It's hard when you feel a little emotionally held to ransom by people. Remember, feeling sensitive is your mum's issue not yours. She is an adult and you aren't responsible for her feelings.
You, your partner and baby must come first. If your mum's feelings are hurt that is unfortunate but she will be ok.
Personally I find the best course of action would be, since you are abroad, to give yourself some breathing space after the birth because people descending unwanted would for me be a fast track to PND. Also, start being a bit cagey. They don't need to know when you give birth do they?
I know they think they must see the baby straight away but they have waited 9 months and can wait a few weeks more!

AlPacinosHooHaa Wed 26-Nov-14 12:59:55

I would have loved nothing more than having my DM on site to be with me through out ( not in labour though) but not DF and not PILS>

nottheOP Wed 26-Nov-14 13:05:12

DPIL booked a flight for what would have been 43 weeks with the plan that he should definitely have arrived by then. He arrived at 39 + 5 and I was home on his due date. DMIL came over at 40 + 5 for one night and then back again on their pre booked flights.

It was okay and I understood that they wanted to see their grandchild. I had misunderstood the nature of sleepless nights to mean waking up for feeds rather than actually getting no sleep at all. This is hard when you have guests in the house as you're so aware of minimising noise.

I'm not having anymore but if I had my time again, they'd be in a hotel.

I'd also put them to work. Sod 'hosting' them!

I don't know how it works for arriving for the birth. They'd be there for so long, it's not an exact science.

Fresh01 Wed 26-Nov-14 13:06:06

I lived on the other side of the world from our families when I had DC1. First grandchild on my side. We got my mum to come stay from when baby was 3-5 weeks old. Then inlaws came to stay from 7-9 weeks. I get on well with my mum and in-laws.

Was glad we had first 3 weeks ourselves as I had trouble establishing BF and spent most time in first 3 weeks doing that. But when my mum came DH was back at work so it was nice to have moral support whilst we started doing short outings out.

With inlaws it worked ok as again it was good moral support whilst I had to BF outside the house for the first time. 7th grandchild on their side so he wasn't bothered being in the same room with me if I was feeding.

So for us it worked out ok but we definitely needed the first few weeks working out what to do with a baby ourselves before family arrived,

elelfrance Wed 26-Nov-14 13:10:17

I was in the same situation, but it never crossed my one that when LO was born (she's our first & only for now) that anyone would come stay before she was born. My DM arrived a week after she was born, and was much appreciated then, but there was never any question - for her or for me - of her coming beforehand
I could understand it better in the case of a second or third baby, coming over to help out with LO before baby is born, and being there to mind them when mum & dad have to dash off to the hospital
No need for a firstborn IMO

elQuintoConyo Wed 26-Nov-14 13:17:54

DF arrived five minutes before my discharge papers from hospital, he stayedwuth us, in our tiny 2-bed flat, 3 nights.

We then had one night to ourselves and to clean all the bedding because... DM arrived the following night. For 3 weeks.

Neither parent did fuck all. Fuck. All. I was in extreme pain for the whole time due to forceps birth, I couldn't sit, stand or walk comfortably. My iv drip puncture got infected, DS had cholic.

It was horrendous. Oh, and I cooked three Christmas lunches. Because I'm stupid.

When DS arrived I just wanted to sleep, cuddle and gaze, in my pyjamas. I'm still sad that didn't happen for the first month. DS is 3yo.

If you are sure family would help you - and by helping, I mean also fuck off out of the house on their own to give you a couple of hours. My mother wouldn't even go to the shop for us. <still bitter>

Poolomoomon Wed 26-Nov-14 13:18:54

Oh god no... MIl and BIL came to stay with us for ten days a month after DC2 was born and that was bad enough. I still felt kind of tender, rough around the edges and really quite antisocial, probably because I was so knackered! Most days I wanted to be able to lounge around in pjs and just chill the fuck out but with them there I didn't feel like I was able to. We had to 'host' and go on a few day trips out with them too. It was really awful and looking back I think it ruined the early newborn days a lot with DC2. Mil was constantly insisting on feeding and holding her and fussing over DC1 who was 16 months at the time.

Also DH got a snotty email once she'd returned home (they're from South Africa) in effect saying I was lazy but worded differently because DH always cooked the evening meals and made the cups of tea! I didn't even want them there, let alone running around cooking and making their fecking cups of tea for them angry. It was awkward at best, I wouldn't advise it to anyone tbh.

But if you're as intent on it as you seem to be I'd wair at least two weeks after the birth before anyone turns up. Would they need to book flights in advance? Just thinking you could inform them when baby arrives and they could book flights for in two weeks time rather than doing it advance and the baby arriving late or early even! Good luck.

saintsandpoets Wed 26-Nov-14 13:20:42

I'd only let them get on a plane after the baby was here safely.

I say this thinking of my best friend in Canada, who had a perfectly healthy pregnancy, flew parents, aunties and uncles to her home 10 days before her due date, and then lost her DD.

It was awful for everybody involved and DF needed space for her and DH to grieve privately.

Anything else feels like counting chickens before the eggs have hatched to me.

lucycoco Wed 26-Nov-14 13:24:57

Thanks ever so much everyone - it's really helpful just getting some idea of 'normal'. I suppose it's a situation that's much more common these days, not quite as common a generation or two ago.

I think I'm going to phrase it as a big "I'd love to have you come and stay once the baby's arrived - let's book flights for a couple of weeks after due date". My DM can be a wonderful support when you're feeling a bit fragile and not a bossy type at all. Also, v easy to cater for, won't expect big meals or day trips!

I just wanted to make sure I wasn't taking away a 'rite of passage' mother and daughter experience without realising it! I'm sure if I lived down the road from her, she'd pop in for visits over the first few days onwards, and the fact she can't do that is my 'fault', hence it's a sensitive situation to manage.

saintsandpoets I've just seen your post, that's heartbreaking. I'm so sorry for your friend.

yomellamoHelly Wed 26-Nov-14 13:26:51

Not with first. PIL came to stay for 3 days when got out with ds1, but gave me lots of space, cooked fab food, did all the shopping ...... (And stayed elsewhere.) Was great. We were both quite shell-shocked by the change to our lives. (Ds hard work from the start.)

Came down for numbers 2 and 3, but weren't really much help by then. Think in part because I'd grown up, and we had our own routines and ways of doing things as a family, commitments and our own lives still going on around us generally and life didn't just get suspended because of the new baby. (And a few lessons learned with ds1 about giving them too much control over how we managed!) Knew I had to make this work from the off.

meglet Wed 26-Nov-14 13:34:41

No no no! I discovered I couldn't even stand visitors after I had my dc's. I was in pain, living in milk stained pj's and wanted to concentrate on my baby in the early days. Visitors ruined the early couple of weeks with DC1 angry. I told them to keep away with DC2.

Girlwhowearsglasses Wed 26-Nov-14 13:44:26

I would plan for a couple of days just on your own with you, baby, DH; the new family. Really realyl you want to be the first to meet and get to know your PFB before anyone else. You will be glad to see them when they arrive a week later, stay in a HOTEL (unless you have a large house), and look after YOU ;-)

MomOfTwoGirls2 Wed 26-Nov-14 13:48:12

Both my DDs were born abroad.

For DD1, I asked my Mom to come a week after DD1 due date (and stay 3 weeks). I was assuming I would go past my due date. I actually went a week early and there was a airline strike which delayed visit by further 5 days or so.

But it worked out wonderful. Those first two weeks with just DH, DD1 and I were lovely. And gave me 'space' to find my way to do things. And gain a bit of confidence in looking after DD1. (I'm not a very practical person, and had no experience with babies or small children).

If we didn't have those two weeks alone, I'd never have know what I missed. Because my Mom was the perfect guest. She was really easy going, and very helpful around house, getting meals, etc. She was also an ex-midwife, so knew importance of Mom gaining confidence with first baby, so she let me handle all the baby stuff, only stepping in when asked.

For DD2, my sister flew out the day before my due date. My lovely OBGYM agreed for me to be induced on my due date if I hadn't give birth already. My sister was there to mind DD1 while I was in hospital. She was another really easy guest. For both my mom and my sister, we travelled around doing sight-seeing,etc. But it never felt like a chore. And I was delighted for my Mom and sister to meet and get to know my babies.

One last thing to add - I was quite bored the last two weeks of maternity leave. If either my mom or sister would have been there, we would just have hung out and relaxed and enjoyed each other's company. And being the great guests that they were, they would have looked after meals ad some light housework too.

So it depends. What do you want? and how easy a guest is your mom?

Girlwhowearsglasses Wed 26-Nov-14 13:48:21

Also don't plan to 'do' anything with them! I remember visiting PILs when DS1 was 12 weeks and he went on BF strike from 7am. When 11am came around and we were supposed to go out with them all I stupidly went, and then had to hide in a corner desperately trying to force screaming baby on boob, and look composed, and hold a conversation. He fed at 3pm and and was totally beside himself by then. Argggh.

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