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Touching baby bump- was I mean?

(56 Posts)
Dryshampooagain Thu 23-May-19 22:45:34

I don't have a great relationship with in laws (understatement). I don't want to type out the huge back story but have put on here before about them (nc) and been told to go nc/low contact. Because I know dh loves them and they are his parents and that he is always one hundred percent behind me we do have contact. We see them maybe 4/5 times a year.

I am now 36 weeks pregnant. I last saw them at about 24 weeks and mil commented how huge I was but other than that was on her best behaviour. I know she is very excited to be a gp (whole other thread there as I am struggling with this as they have treated me very poorly in the past and now expect that to be forgotten and contact to increase).

Anyway! On Monday they came around for tea and mil said how blooming I was etc, and then went to touch my bump. I kind of stepped backwards and she said 'oh can I not touch?' I said that I'd prefer if she didn't as I am not a fan of being touched and kind of laughed it off (dh joined in at this point by saying how I'd had to fight off an old lady in the supermarket the other day). In truth I don't mind people touching me if they ask and I have a good relationship with them, sorry I'm not explaining that well but what I mean is I have friends who I would hug hello/bye etc and have invited them to feel baby if they have expressed an interest.

Part of the reason I said no to mil is because she is almost like a stranger to me except tbh worse. I am very anxious around her visits etc due to the past and I just don't want her in my personal space. I am already trying very hard to recognise that contact is increasing with the arrival of our daughter.

After this all happened we had a nice evening, they ate the meal I made etc and all was fine. Fil made a few sexist comments about women being lazy on maternity, that I was big because I've eaten too much etc but I ignored all this as I can't see the point in making an argument.

Tonight mil has text dh saying she is disappointed I wouldn't let her feel baby as she likely won't see us now until after dd is born.

Was I bu? Should I have just let her have a quick feel? Even though there wasn't actually anything to feel at that point as dd tends to only stick her bum etc out every now and then or wiggle when I'm sat down.

Sorry this is so long!

Dryshampooagain Thu 23-May-19 23:17:23

Thank you all for the reassurance :-)

I also had a lady in work the other day try to lean on my bump as I was helping her walk 😂 I'm not sure if she was just really rude or thought I was incredibly fat but I do have quite a hefty baby bump! 😂

EKGEMS Thu 23-May-19 23:17:54

I'd have pushed back had my dragon of a MIL had pulled that and I'd have also responded to the shit your FIL said at dinner also,probably something along the lines of "Yes I will be able to lose the baby weight very soon but you'll be an asshole forever"

justilou1 Thu 23-May-19 23:29:44

Would you simply start ratting around in her handbag? No... that would be an invasion of their boundaries and their privacy. Surely touching someone’s belly is more intimate than riffling through someone’s handbag. ESPECIALLY if this person is someone who has unresolved bitchery issues. No way! (Also - hell to the no for babysitting and overnights when baby comes!)

Alsohuman Thu 23-May-19 23:36:45

If you want to touch a bump - I love feeling that new life - you ask. And if the answer’s no, you move on.

Afreet Thu 23-May-19 23:40:38

I once smacked an idiot colleague in the lift at work in mid-lunge. Honestly, I don’t think we were even on ‘hello’ terms — she worked in another department — but suddenly she was coming at me like I was a life raft in the middle of the Atlantic. She will have thought twice about doing it again.

PurpleFlower1983 Thu 23-May-19 23:44:14

I didn’t mind when asked but hated it when someone just went for it, including my own DM who I love dearly. I never said anything though.

When you have a baby it’s both very lovely (and annoying) how many people want to be a part of it though!

SeaToSki Thu 23-May-19 23:54:09

You could consider writing down a list of your boundaries with both PIL for when the baby arrives and stick it on the wall. (Go through it and agree it with DH first). It might make you feel better to see it in a concrete form and it may well be helpful for when you and DH are both sleep deprived to be able to point to it and go ‘look we agreed that this was our boundary’

Then write a letter to the PIL, detail every slight and insult, rant and rave at them, get it all out on paper. Then print it and put in in a safe spot, every so often read it over and add to it if necessary. Dont send it. Its just for your use, its your shit list - the evidence of what you have put up with and are adult enough to rise above. Forgive but dont forget is a very good management strategy when employed with well enforced boundaries

Dryshampooagain Thu 23-May-19 23:56:00

@Afreet laughed out loud at that!

@PurpleFlower1983 yes that's how I feel! Everyone is telling me about how they'll visit, or take her out, or do such and such 😳 I'm like guys she's still attached! Let me get to know my baby before I start trying to palm her off 😂

Dryshampooagain Thu 23-May-19 23:57:04

@SeaToSki that actually sounds like a great idea, especially the letter. I might do that tomorrow 😊 thank you

DroningOn Fri 24-May-19 00:00:41

let her for the sake of keeping the peace

This is how CF's the world over get their way, by being persistently rude until the person on the other side of their behaviour gives in.

I know it's hard OP and it'll get harder when your baby is here and you're tired but please stand your ground. Firm resistance is often all it takes to put these people in their place.

SmarmyMrMime Fri 24-May-19 00:02:34

I've asked close friends before, but never gone ahead unsolicited. I was happy to give permission with my bump, but my skin was stretched so thin by rapid, significant growth, that it was very sensitive to touch and quite uncomfortable to be touched without warning. Mentally expecting a touch was much easier.

It's not the done thing to randomly grab at any other body parts.

Skittlesandbeer Fri 24-May-19 00:05:02

Read up on ‘4th trimester’ and make it your mantra to everyone who tries to pry your baby off you for the first months. Tell them your midwife/HV is very big on it, latest research, etc.

Then come up with something else, until they get the message. If pushed, tell your PILs that unfortunately they don’t get to cherry-pick what ‘family’ means. Love is as love does, and since they’ve been very unloving towards you and your DH then that is the path they chose. Regardless of how big YOUR family may get. Tell them to consider your child as just one more person they’ve fallen out with, thanks to their past behaviour.

Yes, the joy of a new baby can bring a family back together. But not when some parties are still holding axes.

PickAChew Fri 24-May-19 00:07:43

Not unreasonable. Being pregnant doesn't turn you into a petting zoo.

ReindeerTails Fri 24-May-19 00:41:48

It's just another form of control and something to whinge about. YANBU. Best to ignore it, not because you should, morally (sod that!) but literally because it will infuriate her all the more. She's looking for a reaction, anything you say won't go well and will give her all the more ammunition to whinge and try to direct, control, spoil things and stir up trouble during a time which should be one of the happiest for you.

Focus on your DD, do exactly what you want, shut the door on it all when you want. She is likely miffed at being usurped (in her mind) as the "mother" in the family and is trying to draw attention onto herself by any means possible. Don't give into the nonsense or give the nonsense the time of day any more than possible.

<Bitter experience>. It will mess with your head which would absolutely delight her if she senses it. Then she's won. It's not about the bump touching. It's about stirring up trouble, causing debate at which she is at the centre. It's your DD and you and DH who's at the centre.

YesimstillwatchingNetflix Fri 24-May-19 00:54:39

You are not mean. It's your body, she has no right to touch it.

These people sound fucking awful. It will be worse when you have the baby so get used to enforcing strong boundaries. They will use emotional manipulation (oh I'm disappointed 😭 oh I just want to be a loving granny 😭) to make you feel like the bad guy. You're not. If they want a relationship with their GC then they need to work in their relationship with you and DH.

You are under no moral obligation to accomodate emotionally abusive behaviour, sexist comments, insults etc just because you are raising their grandchildren. In fact, I think you have a greater obligation than ever to hold them to a higher standard of behaviour or show them the door because you are going to be raising a young person who will be shaped by the behaviour she or he witnesses in childhood.

They have no right to come into your home and insult you, expect to touch your stomach like you're an incubator and not a person in your own right.

Hold fast to your boundaries- these people will test them at every step.

YesimstillwatchingNetflix Fri 24-May-19 00:56:38

I just want to second what a PP poster said - 4th trimester. All the way.

Send them a link explaining it, and then you've bought yourself at least 3 months of guidelines which involve them stepping back.

YesimstillwatchingNetflix Fri 24-May-19 01:03:05

sorry my third comment (because your MIL sounds exactly like mine and I wish I'd gone into parenting with a better plan to manage her):

Fuck anything along the line of it being your responsibility to:

'Keep the peace'
'Not make waves'
'Bite your tongue'

It is sexist bloody twaddle that makes it a woman's responsibility to silently accomodate people being disrespectful and crossing her boundaries. It enables bullies like your PIL to get their way because you're the bad guy if you don't go along with their nonsense. They don't give a shit whether you are uncomfortable so why should you tiptoe around in an effort to please them and avoid their tantrum?

You're the mum, you call the shots now. Don't encourage more contact if you aren't comfortable with it.

Catren Fri 24-May-19 02:25:36

Agree with pps saying you're absolutely NBU and it's your bump, not the baby! I only let close friends touch my bump, i.e. the ones who ive known forever and am very physically affectionate towards anyway.

My own DM went in for a weird gropey hug the other week when my bump wasn't very big at all, and i had to step back and tell her not to be so creepy. She'd defended herself saying she only wanted a cuddle so she could have a feel and the intended stealth grope REALLY freaked me out! Just bloody ask, and then respect the answer if it's a no.

Catren Fri 24-May-19 02:31:07

Oh and given you have a strained relationship, you'll have to set some pretty strong boundaries for when baby comes. She'll likely want to feed the baby, comment on everything you're doing and feel a sense of entitlement. You are well within your rights to tell her to back off and respect the way you are parenting, unless you specifically ask for her advice. She isn't owed anything just because she's her grandmother, and if she wants lots of contact she can also offer lots of help when she comes round. Maybe I'm being a bit harsh, but it's based on my experience.

MinnieMountain Fri 24-May-19 06:03:59

MIL was very excited at the thought of becoming a GP. She never once touched my bump as she's a decent person and knew I value my personal space.

Sleephead1 Fri 24-May-19 06:32:27

I'm going to be honest mumsnet isn't at all representative of my life and it really surprises me the reaction on here to people touching bumps. Most of my colleagues and people I know touched my bump but I don't have a problem with people touching me in general. I think it's probably slightly different in different areas it's very normal with people I know to touch bumps and out of all the people I know who have been pregnant I don't know anyone who has been upset by this. I can't imagine being offended by your husbands parent touching your stomach but obviously if you are ( and it seems like pretty much everyone agrees with you ) them that's up to you and you shouldn't have to be made to feel uneasy. I do think it's just a personal preference and don't really feel your mil has done anything so terrible you refused and she didn't persist in trying to touch you. Good luck with the rest of your pregnancy

Minxmumma Fri 24-May-19 06:32:56

My MIL used to rub my bump - drove me insane so I took to wearing a top that said hands off the bump! And dh told her she is not Aladdin and my bump is not a magic lamp so stop touching!
As for your FIL I would have reminded him that at least my bump will produce something amazing what does the world gain from him being obnoxious?

I get that they are excited but seriously it's your body still and your child.

Slicedpineapple Fri 24-May-19 07:33:45

YANBU. I hate people that I know well touching my bump without asking (with the exception of DH) let alone people I don't really get on with. I wouldn't randomly go and rub somebody's stomach so don't expect them to do the same to me. I side step a lot of the outward reaches.

Chocmallows Fri 24-May-19 07:55:38

Sleepy you may be a naturally more tactile person and enjoy this, but it isnt something I consider natural. While I cuddle my partner and DC with adults I would only pat someone's shoulder or offer a hug if someone was upset. I think that people would ask me to come into their personal space if they wanted me to.

I think the problem is not only that she didn't ask, but that she complained after and she wanted OP to know she thought she was wrong. It wasn't a sorry I do/don't understand, either way won't do it again. It was a case of OP you're wrong.

Cariadne Fri 24-May-19 07:58:19

You were definitely not unreasonable - being pregnant doesn’t mean your boundaries suddenly don’t matter, or that your MIL’s whims take precedence over your comfort. She should never have texted you that, it was inappropriate.

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