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Getting it off my chest - Mother has cancelled visit from abroad for birth of DC - has made me feel guilty - warning - long post!!

(20 Posts)
lynniep Mon 26-Feb-07 11:18:07

I'm having a rant now - I think I just need to type stuff down rather than it swimming around in my head all the time. I was about to call it justification but its bl**dy not - I don't need to justify myself. I really don't think I'm being unreasonable!

I posted previously on the thread about parents and IL's coming to visit after birth of our first child. Well this is kind of the outcome of that story.

Basically my mother (whom I barely know - she moved to USA after losing long custody battle when I was around 5, have only met her twice since, once when I was 15, once when 29. I speak to her, maybe once every 6 months, but there have been v. v. large periods of non-contact at times) decided she was coming to visit for 2 weeks around the birth of our first DC (due 3rd March - 5 days away - yikes!) after I told her I was pregnant just before Christmas.

She asked if she could come stay with us, and [my interpretation of the conversation was that] we agreed that I'd have a think and call her back. Having discussed with DH we came to the conclusion we couldnt handle her and step-dad staying with us for a fortnight, and that I'd would be better for them to wait until DC was at least a few weeks old. I phoned her the next week, and said this, but she said she'd already booked the flights for 1st March.
I said ok, but can you find a hotel because we really need the time together and tried to make it clear that no-one else is coming to stay either (ie my dad and SM, or my MIL and FIL) so its not like its some kind of rule against her in particular.

I should say at this point is quite hard to talk to my mother - I like her a lot - shes generally a well meaning, sweet and funny woman, but she's also quite pushy and although I try to understand what its like for her I don't think she can see it at all from my point of view (I'm her daughter and despite our fractured history she recalls me as the baby girl she had 32 years ago and has very different memories from me - I just recall a childhood being visited intermittently by a young woman who didn't have much patience with me and my being scared to death she would take me away from my nanna )
I don't love her and she can fish (and boy, she fishes) as much as she likes but a) I'm British and v. polite ;-) and I just don't tell people I love them (apart from DH) even my lovely dad who has been there my whole life and doesn't need telling, but more relevantly b) I just don't love her. Why would I? Unconditional love from a child comes with familiarity, which I've never had.

Anyway, she called last night after about two months of me waiting to hear from her. I was going to call anyway as she was due in Heathrow on Thursday, but she got in there first. I had posted her a letter with details about local hotels in the interim, but not sure if she recieved this and didnt ask. Yes I could have called to find out what her plans were earlier, but I didnt. I have enough to think about. We had a very stilted conversion where she asked about the baby and I could tell she was dying to have a go at me but wasnt because obviously she does care and was trying not to upset the 9 months pregnant lady. Every comment was loaded though which we both knew and I just feel so, I don't know, something - guilty, frustrated, indignant?

She asked me how much baby weighed - I said I don't know they don't check that here - she then said well why don't you ask - whats wrong with them - they should tell you. I kind of shrugged it off with a 'well its not that accurate so theres no point ' but rather than accepting that I quite obviously don't care about that she ranted for a bit about how I should find out, then asked who was coming to stay with us and I said 'no-one' to which her response was 'well thats just wierd' - she clearly didn't believe me. Can it be the concept of just visiting for the day or overnight is beyond her? Why is it wierd that relatives arent hanging out for weeks? Maybe its a culture thing.

So, she then said they weren't coming (breathe sigh of relief) and I said 'but you said you'd booked flights' and she started mumbling about if they couldnt see me there was no point coming over. I can only presume that by 'couldn't see me' that she meant 'couldnt stay with me' because I certainly never said they couldnt come visit. (even though she initially said 'if you'd rather we find a b&b just tell me - thats fine) I bit my tongue because she could have told me this rather than letting me think they were coming over, but in fairness, I just buried my head in the sand the last 8 weeks and never checked with her either. I just said 'oh' a lot to this news - well I couldnt deny that I'd rather she didnt come over for the birth, but its not that I don't want her to meet her GC- I just would have liked some time with DC first without full time house guests.

Besides the emotional toll, we just can't manage it financially - we just moved back here in July after living in Oz and moving back drained our finances - we had to buy a house, furnish it completely, get jobs, car, and buy everything you need for a new baby as well. We might have a spare room, but we can't afford to furnish it for visiting guests right now and frankly its not top of the list. Plus visitors cost money no matter how well meaning and we're obviously one wage down right now, with no savings left. I don't think she even considered this.

Back to the conversation, she then asked the sex of DC - which is fair enough - but my response was 'well you won't have to wait very long to find out' to which I got a long sigh in response (the tired response of someone who thinks I'm being completely unreasonable) I told her on the phone last time that no one knows but me, because DH doesnt want to find out, and that I think its unfair anyone else should know when he doesnt. She can't seem to grasp this either. Or doesnt believe me and thinks I'm holding back this information specifically from her.

Although I'm relieved she isnt visiting, its like now I'm just waiting for a huge long rant from her which won't come until after DC is born, but I'm pretty sure it will. I don't want to have to justify myself - I don't think I'm being unreasonable and I can't believe I'm having to go through this again ( we had a similar period of 'awkwardness' when she wasnt invited to my wedding - which barely anyone else was either - I only had four guests on my side) I can't believe shes put a downer on the next happiest occasion in our lives but I'm trying to see it from her point of view because she must feel like shes being ostracised (she isnt), she's being asked to respect our need for time alone as a new family. I also see that she wants to be involved -she even suggested she be there at the birth - good lord no. Theres no harm in building bridges but there are limits to how quickly you can do that. Plus on the other hand the stroppy teenager in me feels like, well you havent been to visit me for 27 years, so whats the blinking hurry? Is this GC more important than I was?

Anyone who's made it to the bottom of this thread, well done, and thanks for listening. I'm hoping now its written down I won't dwell on it quite so much and stress out DC because I need him/her to come out now and not hide in my massive tummy any longer!

ellceeell Mon 26-Feb-07 11:22:11

I read it all!
I have no advice but just wanted to wish you good luck when the baby arrives.

LRWG Mon 26-Feb-07 11:28:32

I read it all too!

In my humble opinion, you are NOT being unreasonable. This is your baby and your life. Your mother hasn't been a part of your life for so long, she has no right to think she can barge in when she wants.

Good luck with your baby and I hope that you, your DH and DC are very happy.

Saturn74 Mon 26-Feb-07 11:35:13

lynniep, you have done really well to deal with all this calmly - I'm not sure I could have been so understanding!
It is really unfair of your mother to pile all this extra stress on you, especially at this time.
You have been more than fair to her, and it sounds like you're right in that your mother feels she is being left out, when quite clearly she isn't.
I also understand your feelings - the "stroppy teenager" bit about her not visiting you for a very long time - I think it is only natural to feel like that.
If she does cause a fuss after the birth, perhaps your DH could speak to her? He may be able to convince her that she is not getting any less access to your baby than any of the other GCs, and you won't have to deal with any veiled comments?
Best of luck for the impending arrival.

Rhian101 Mon 26-Feb-07 11:40:12

I read it all too!
Good luck with the baby. You are not unreasonable at all and have done exactly the right thing. Don't let her get you down (trust me, when you've got your DC in your arms she'll be the last thing on your mind - there is no way that she can ruin that moment)

Paddlechick666 Mon 26-Feb-07 11:46:39

i read it all too and i am impressed with your reserve in dealing with your mum. i wish she could recognise your effort in trying to see her perspective and keep things civil.

no real advice to offer as i have a very short fuse where my own mother is concerned - whether i'm pregnant or not!

the only thing i'd say is, put it out of your mind now. you've got a few days to relax and prepare for your new arrival so don't let your mother's attitude spoil that.

and once your LO is here you won't have time to think about it for while!

Good Luck!

lynniep Mon 26-Feb-07 12:02:07

Thanks for your comments everyone. I do feel better now I've got it off my chest. And also that you're reassured me I'm not being unreasonable, which I kind of knew but its nice to hear

I did talk through it with DH last night, but he's just angry with her and probably a bit annoyed with me for being so polite about the situation on the phone to her (I don't know how else to talk to her apart from 'polite' unless I'm drunk but obviously thats not an option at the mo )

He has offered to speak to her and if it comes to that in the next few weeks, then I may just pass the buck to him. I don't want to ruin the relationship I have with her, however minimal that is, and I think its wonderful that our DC will have three sets of doting GP's, but with my mother, I think its a case of waiting for the next installment and taking it as it comes!

crazylazydaisy Mon 26-Feb-07 12:14:50

You are so not being unreasonable- I'm not pg but am still getting all hormonal and annoyed on your account!
You have dealt with it brilliantly and now its down to her to do the same. We all make choices in life and your priority- sorry dont mean to sound preachy- is keeping calm for your LO and dont let anything or anyone take the shine off these special weeks for you and dh.
btw this is also the only time you can say exactly whats on your mind and everyone HAS to forgive you cos your preggers, so make the most of it!!!

superloopy Mon 26-Feb-07 12:23:57

It sounds to me that your Mum wants to have a starring role when your baby arrives and you aren't giving her that. Rightly so, this is your baby and you do what you want and it is none of her business.

If no one is staying with you so be it. That is what B&Bs and hotels are for. When I havd my DD my parents came to stay for a few weeks and as much as I love then and loved having them here, at times it was a strain.

If your Mum wants to stay at home and eat worms then that is her choice. She is the one who will miss out on time with your beautiful baby.

I think you have dealt with the situation very well and probably the same way as I would have.

Good luck with babys arrival!!

lizziemun Mon 26-Feb-07 12:56:47

No you are not being unreasonable.

My freind mother peeled her off her leg when she was 3yrs old, to go to the shops and didn't come back.

Fast forward 20yrs her mother decided to get back in contact, but she wasn't concerned about how my friend had managed but she only wanted to bragg about how well she had done and tried to buy back her love by trying to give her money, which she always refused although she could have used it, she just wanted her mum to love her for her. Once again her mum broke of contact because she couldn't get her own way.

10 yrs later my friend announced she was getting married, once again her mother turns up, saying i will give your XXX amount of money if you get married here, like this, and invite these people. She get married abroad without anyone knowledge her mother has never forgiven her and has stopped contact again.

I guess what you i am trying to say is don't feel guilty about this as this is not your problem it's hers. Enjoy your baby when it arrives with your dh.

She will have to accept that she doesn't have a say in your life, and will have to fit into yours if she wants to be part of your family life.

BigCookLittleCook Mon 26-Feb-07 13:17:52

Definitely not being unreasonable. When DS was born (our first and only child so far), I would not have wanted my own parents to stay, and I have a fabulous relationship with them and we are very close. My MIL did suggest coming up and I was adamant that I wanted it to be just me, DH and DS. Some people like to have mums / dads etc around, it can be really helpful or reassuring, but we wanted the time on our own with our new baby. Considering your relationship with your mother she cannot expect you to put her and her husband up for two weeks (even two nights would be too much in my opinion...) It would be such a strain on you. If you had said she couldn't see your new DC, then fair enough, but if she hasn't made the effort to visit in so long (did you say 27 years ), then surely she cant expect you to drop everything for her.

Good luck with your impending birth, hope it all goes really smoothly, you sound like you will make a great mum as you are clearly very patient!

ernest Mon 26-Feb-07 13:33:23

def not being unreasonable (you, not your mum!).

of course you don't want a practical stranger hanging around for 2 weeks when you've got a new, and more importantly, first baby. bloody hell, leaky breast, learing to feed, omg, I won't go on too much about that that, but you'll need peace and quiet. even half hour visits will be too much sometimes.

I think actually she made the right decision to cancel the trip, although she didn't present it in the best light.

Try to ignore her, don't upset yourself or let her put a dampner on such a precious special time. maybe communicate lots by e-mail, so you don't have to directly talk, send tons of pictures and news so she doesn't feel too left out, and invite her over when the dust settles and you feel in control (so in about 5 aerys time)

best of luck and enjoy your dear lo.

yomellamoHelly Mon 26-Feb-07 13:36:56

Sounds perfectly reasonable to me. I think your hormones can send you into worry overdrive towards the end (did me anyway). Would honestly try and forget about your mum for now.

My PIL looked after ds1 whilst I was giving birth to ds2 and stayed, albeit in a hotel, for 2 weeks. I think they're brilliant and generally don't have anything bad to say about them, but I did feel tested at times, just wanting to bed us in as a family of 4 which of course I couldn't do. (With ds1 they came and stayed in a b&b for 3 days and that was a much easier length of time to handle.)

SNOWBall4girlz Mon 26-Feb-07 13:50:23

I have not got much to add but having read the post feel that you are not being unreasonable at all.

Congratulations on the new baby enjoy your time with your new arrival

NewDKmum Mon 26-Feb-07 19:56:54

I don't think you are being unreasonable!

When I had my dd, my sister wanted to fly in from abroad and stay with us for a few days shortly after the birth. I said no; deeply offended her and felt guilty, but boy was it the right decision!

You don't need to justify yourself. I hope you can put it out of your mind and thoroughly enjoy the time with your newborn. Good luck with everything!

WestCountryLass Mon 26-Feb-07 22:21:29

Awwwwww, you shouldn't have to worry about this.

Do you know what though, if you redrafted this post into a letter and changed a few words around it would be an excellent letter to send her


Hang on in there, it's no your Mut long til baby comes and believe me when your child arrives what your Mum thinks will be somewhat irrelevant!

colditz Mon 26-Feb-07 22:25:46

She is being a brat. She is trying to barge her way in like she could when you were 5. Well done for being strong.

edam Mon 26-Feb-07 22:34:13

No, don't think you are being at all unreasonable. In fact I think you are very wise - those first few days are fragile enough anyway, you don't need any more emotional baggage to deal with at that point. Blimey, I fell out with my mother (who I adore and know extremely well) for six months after she stayed when ds was born. God knows what would have happened if I'd have been dealing with someone where the relationship was already fraught.

Try to go a bit gently on the understandable reluctance to let her try again with the next generation though - she may have let you down, but it's possible she wants to put things right and actually have a real relationship with your dc. Would be nice if it worked out, on terms that are acceptable to you.

Good luck!

Judy1234 Mon 26-Feb-07 22:45:02

You are doing so well at handling her. My mother was really good - she sort of remembered how you want to be alone sometimes and kept away longer than she wanted. I think fathers have an important role when you've first had a baby to keep others out of the way too. It doesn't matter what she thinks. You don't love her and there isn't the connection. By all means keep in touch but don't have her to stay in the house. It would be in your case like a stranger staying.

That doesn't mean she can't get to know the grandchild. You could ask her to be god mother for example if there'll be a baptism.

PrincessPeaHead Mon 26-Feb-07 22:55:02

No you aren't being unreasonable, as everyone says.
But in relation to your last point "well you haven't been to visit me for 27 years so what's the hurry" - I just thought I might add a different perspective.
Maybe the reason she is so keen to see you isn't so much that the grandchild is "more important" than you, but that the grandchild gives her a perfect excuse - or reason rather - to begin to get to know you better. As you say she really hasn't been around for much of your life, and I'm sure she has all sorts of issues and feelings around that - and it quite often takes something new to change the dynamic of relationships. Perhaps she sees the birth of your child as a sort of kick start into a new relationship with you.
After all we all have seen masses of examples of not-so-good mothers and fathers turning out to be really-quite-excellent grandparents - showing all sorts of qualities of tolerance kindness etc that they never managed to show to their own children. Maybe this could be the beginning of a new and different and much better relationship between you two.

If you think that is possible, maybe once the child is born you could phone and invite her to come at a time that you can manage and see what happens?

Best of luck anyway, I look forward to seeing the birth announcement!

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