To not be able to get over how DS and I were treated in the first few weeks of his life?(147 Posts)
I’m sorry, this is a long one...
I gave birth to DS in November last year on a Sunday. At the time we were living with PILs (long story, more than 1 thread about it if anyone cares enough to look it up!). DS ended up being delivered by ventouse and I had to have an episiotomy.
We brought DS home the day after he was born. As soon as we got in the house, the first person to get him out of the car seat and give him a big cuddle was... FIL. Not me. He scooped him out of the car seat before I’d even had a chance to take my coat off. I had been looking forward to sitting and having a big snuggle with him when we got him home but that moment was taken away from me.
We already knew before I’d had DS that BIL and his GF were planning on coming up to stay for a weekend, arriving on the Friday morning- it ended up being the weekend after DS was born. I was in no way ready for yet more people to see me in my raw post partum state but didn’t feel it was my place to object as it was PILs house. When DS was two days old DH and I heard MIL on the phone inviting relatives round on the Friday evening “yeah, come round and see the baby whenever you like!” DH and I were like um, do we have a say in this?! DH spoke to her and asked her very politely to run it by us if she was going to invite people round to see our baby, and she got all upset and offended. So when DS was 5 days old I had to make myself presentable as BIL, BILs GF, MIL’s cousin, her son and his wife all descended on the house. Mercifully DS was asleep in his Moses basket the whole time they were there so I didn’t have to deal with them passing him around like a sack of spuds, but at one point FIL, wanting to show off in front of MILs family, thought it would be a good idea to tickle him while he slept!
Both MIL and FIL had a habit of taking DS out of his Moses basket when he was asleep and holding him for hours instead. Or MIL would get home from work, say she wanted a quick cuddle and several hours later still be holding him. It got to the point that I felt like the only time I ever got to hold my own baby was when I was feeding him. They would also tell us he didn’t really need feeding when he quite clearly did, just because they didn’t want to let him go. At one point FIL even told us we are supposed to wait until DS is screaming before we feed him!
When DS was 4 days old, DH popped round to see his Grandad and invite him round to meet DS. He’d taken DS downstairs and left him asleep in his Moses basket and put some laundry on whilst I got dressed etc and then he went out. When I came downstairs FIL was sitting on the sofa holding DS, having taken him out of his basket. I knew he was due a feed but he seemed ok at the time and I didn’t want to be feeding him when DH and his GD got back, so I went in the kitchen and got the washing out of the machine. DH then text me to say GD had declined the invitation so I could go ahead and feed DS. I went in the front room and told FIL that GD wasn’t coming and I could see DS starting to root around wanting a feed, so I said I was going to feed him. FIL stood up and went to hand DS to me when I said “I’ll hang the washing out afterwards”. FIL sat back down with him and said “No, put the washing out now, you can feed him later” I said again that I wanted to feed him and reached out for him, but FIL actually put his arm out to stop me and in a really patronising voice said “Angelo, babies are hardy, you have to learn to leave them.” (To reiterate, he was 4 days old at this point.) at no point did he offer to put the washing out for me so I could feed DS... but that would have involved letting him go, wouldn’t it?!
Well, I did it. I put the fucking washing out. I cried the entire time, I felt so awful that I’d let FIL bully me into doing something utterly unimportant before feeding my hungry baby. I felt like an awful mother. Whilst I was outside DS started crying, so FIL actually shut the kitchen door so I wouldn’t hear him. By the time I was finished he was properly screaming and I was in flood of tears. I know I should have stood my ground but I was alone and exhausted and didn’t have it in me to argue with FIL in his own house. DH arrived just as I was taking DS upstairs to feed him. He was angry but decided not to say anything as he was grateful to FIL for not having a row with him after he “upset” MIL about the visitors thing. It felt to me like in that instance he was more concerned about not upsetting his parents than he was about his parents upsetting me.
A week after DS was born we had to go back to the hospital as I was concerned that my stitches had split. DH told MIL where we were going as it meant we were going to miss breakfast with them, BIL and his GF and DH’S GD but asked her not to say anything. When we got back she came out to the drive and asked how I was, saying she didn’t want to ask in the house in front of the others. Unfortunately FIL had no such concern for my dignity. The minute we got through the door he was in the hallway with his booming voice “how are your stitches Angelo, alright?” with everyone else sitting a few feet away in the living room. I was mortified. It was bad enough having to face DH’s whole family when I looked and felt like absolute shit, without them knowing all about the fucking stitches in my vagina...
When DS was about a month old PILs decided it was time to decorate the house for Christmas. DH, DS and I were sleeping in the converted attic bedroom at the top of the house and all the decorations were kept in the eaves storage cupboard, so we had to tidy the bedroom so they could get everything out. So we left DS to sleep in his Moses basket in the kitchen. Once again MIL decided to get him out and hold him instead. At some point he woke up but nobody bothered to let me know, and it somehow ended up being me who helped DH and FIL haul boxes of baubles up and down two flights of stairs while MIL cuddled my baby in the kitchen and sang Christmas songs to him.
Looking back now I feel like the first few weeks of DS life are completely overshadowed by all this for me. I feel like nobody gave a crap about me once he was born or how all this made me feel... from the minute we got back from the hospital I had to share my baby with PILs and I really worry about how it’s affected my bond with him. At one point I even thought that DS wouldn’t know I was his mummy as MIL seemed to spend so much more time holding him than I did! I honestly think it’s a miracle I didn’t get PND, especially since I’ve had trouble with depression in the last.
I know that letting us live in their house was incredibly generous of my PILs, they are essentially decent people (once you get past them being typical Daily Mail reading Leave voters) and I am grateful to them for the kindness they showed us. The thing is, I don’t know how to get past the feelings of pain and resentment that their behaviour in those few weeks have left me with. I dread every visit from them, and would happily never set foot in their house again as long as I live. I know I need to get past it, but how? What do I do?
OP, you will get people telling you to get over it, no doubt. but I know exactly how you feel. My various IL's behaved terribly when my DD was born, almost 7 years ago. This was while I was lying ill in hospital recovering from surgery, awaiting a blood transfusion, connected to a catheter and unable to even sit up. They all came into the ward, swooped my baby up and carried her about everywhere taking pictures near other women's beds (for "good lighting") and being completely inappropriate. I was too weak to speak. I had barely cuddled her myself. All they said to me in this time was "you look awful". My OH, who was at home catching up on sleep at the time, bollocked them all. I never got an apology. But so many years later I'm still FURIOUS about it. Not least because it made me feel like a vessel who delivered their precious grand baby/niece and therefore I was no longer relevant or important. Something I've never forgotten!
Once I had a bit of strength I apologised profusely to the other women on the ward, I still feel terrible their moments with their own babies may have been ruined by my embarrassing ILs
I have no advice sorry just empathy and the reassurance that you're not over reacting. I made sure with my second that no one but my friends were allowed to see my baby until we got home. It upset them of course but they clearly can't behave themselves in postnatal wards!
You need to cry and grieve for the time you're not getting back, be angry about it (to yourself), acknowledge your feelings and accept them, and accept that your PIL are who they are.
Then let it go so that it doesn't spoil any of the present or the future, and develop strategies to defend your boundaries going forward.
I don't think they behaved awfully, I think it was a really tough situation for you and so you're still bruised. I really sympathise. I think, do everything the way you want to with ds now, as much as you can - hold him, sing to him, rock him etc instead of doing chores or anything else you should be doing - be the sort of mother you planned to be in his first few weeks. You won't get the same weeks back, but it will soothe you. I had very difficult feelings about my labour and birth of my DD and it took 18 months or so before I could talk or think about it without being really angry and/or crying. That's just how long it took. But then it began to get easier and now she's 3.5, I don't feel very angry at all. That seems a long time to wait obviously, but what I'm saying is, I think eventually you WILL get past it but it can't be forced.
@AngeloMysterioso I was thinking oh they're being a bit overexcited and it'll calm down but when I read your FIL actually held his arm out and stopped you taking YOUR baby from him and made you hang up washing I'm 😮😮. If I was you I would be having a serious conversation with your DH about how his parent's treated you and how he needs to grow a spine and back you up quicksmart!. Just because its their house it doesn't give them the right to pick your baby up and actually push you out! They've had their time as parents now its yours. You need to put down some firm boundaries with them and stick to it, for starters move out of their house that way you can limit the contact and actually bond with your baby. If they don't like it tough shit. I would find it very hard to forgive them especially FIL for stopping you taking your baby to feed him. That alone would make me pack my bags and be gone to my mums with baby. Maybe some counselling might help you resolve your feelings which are completely valid here your FIL sounds like a cunt pardon my language and I would certainly be putting my foot down with him and making it clear that what you say goes and if he doesn't like it then too bad.
You and your baby were treated with such disregard. They just sound so obnoxious, especially FIL. The fact that you, a few days after delivery, were putting out laundry while an able bodied adult kept your baby from you instead of helping really says it all.
I haven’t ready yours other threads. Are you out of there now and in space where you can control who comes and goes?
I am really not used to the lack of edit capaibilties!
Look at the end of the day your DH didn’t help you enforce any boundaries - if you need to be angry with anyone it’s him. These people are his parents not yours, and for the first few weeks after delivery he should have tried to protect you and the baby a bit better.
This could have been a really short thread, you really only needed to say about the laundry. The rest dilutes your point to a certain extent because none of it sounds particularly bad. The laundry situation is bad though because although I am sure the baby was fine, why the fuck didn’t FIL or your DH do your laundry?
I think it’s all pretty awful. Inviting people over to see the baby without even asking first. Just so inconsiderate of OP and Baby.
Having company while OP is back at hospital, yelling about her stitches. Ugh to all of it.
I didn’t even let people visit when my cat had kittens! She clearly didn’t want people looking at them or handling them.
The only thing that seems remotely 'wrong' is the laundry bit and that's only because someone SHOULD have done it for you.
Honestly can't see the problem with the rest and, if anything, not having things the way you want them is surely a consequence of having a baby when you have to live in someone else's home?
Clearly it affects you though so perhaps some counselling would be helpful.
I can actually picture a newborn crying and it's Mum desperately wanting to go to it but being forced not to, that memory must carry with it a lot of negative emotion for you, both in guilt and anger I imagine.
Have you talked to your husband recently about how you feel? If not do you think it would help to express how you feel.
Ultimately the clock cannot be turned back and holding on to anger when the people you are angry at will never come to your view point is a futile exercise and will hurt only you.
For your sake, forgive but do not forget, you will feel better once you get to that point. Enjoy your baby now, cuddle him as and when you want, make memories for yourself, breathe in his baby smell and watch him grow and change every day before your eyes. These early years hold days that are long but months and years that disappear so quickly, try not to let the past stop you from enjoying the now xx
Having read the responses that came in while I was writing my post I wanted to add that all of the stuff that you have written about would also bother me greatly, the over sharing, the inviting visitors with out checking first and the picking up of baby while it sleeps.
Having had issues with my FIL I also understand that once you have the 'bigger issues' all the 'little' issues become big issues too as everything they do become a source of tension unless things are resolved.
That sounds awful! Luckily we don't live with my inlaws, as I'd imagine they'd be the same with our two! I have no idea why people think it's acceptable to pick up a baby without being handed them directly, especially when they're asleep, or those people who kiss a baby! REALLY flips my b*tch switch! So inconsiderate and dangerous! As for refusing to give you your newborn, there are no words or excuses for that behaviour, ever!
Agree with @CJsGoldfish.
I read a lot of these type of threads and I just don’t get it. You have a tongue in your head. You need to learn to use it to stand up, not only for yourself, but also for your child, now you are a parent.
I don’t think anything sounds bad at all - other than the laundry thing. But I would have stood my ground there.
The other occasions, you stood back and let others hold your baby. I see absolutely nothing wrong with others holding a baby, think it can be good for them etc... If you’re not happy though, he needs feeding etc... then take him back. How were they to know if you allowed it ?
I’ve never got this whole seclusion thing after the birth either. So people are interested and want to meet the baby... how dreadful. If they weren’t interest you’d be quick to whine about that.
You sound a bit PFB about it all. I’ve never seen a new born genuinely confused about who their mother is...
You need to move on. Or let your DH deal with them if you can’t. You say they’re good people do a relationship between them and your DS is good for him. You’ll have to learn to put up for your child’s benefit.
You have a right to grieve your loss. You are not obligated to work at getting over other people's abusive behavior.
You are obligated to sort out how you will protect yourself and your DS from their well meaning cruelty in the future.
"You and your baby were treated with such disregard. They just sound so obnoxious, especially FIL. The fact that you, a few days after delivery, were putting out laundry while an able bodied adult kept your baby from you instead of helping really says it all."
They obviously think of you as not a real parent yet, and they are "real" parents who know how to handle a baby. It won't help but lots of people go through that at first. It's a shame you are stuck under their roof. Sounds awful.
@Stephminx Not everyone has an easy time of it when they have a baby. I was in labor for 36 hours and came home traumatized. I remember resenting being shamed into coming down to show off the baby when I felt like I had just been hit by a truck. Seclusion after childbirth is a part of many cultures for a reason.
I understand your frustration but as other posters have said you could have spoken up.
When I had my DD my ILs were with us for the first three weeks, as well as my mother and two sisters for a few days. I was hormonal and clearly should not have been surrounded by so many people. The resentment I have towards my MIL for that time has really cast a shadow over our relationship. However, I have come to a point where I realize that I was very emotional, sometimes people are stupid, and I've moved on from feeling that the first few weeks were ruined. I learned my lesson and when I had my DS I let them know I wanted privacy and it was finally as I wanted it. I understand your sadness, but enjoy the time you have with you baby now. You can't change the past or how other people behave, just your reaction to them.
If she didn’t want to see others, then she could have, and should have, said so. My point is she should stand up for herself and her child. If she was truly incapable of that, then she should have enlisted her DH to do it for her.
She has gone along with what others wanted and is now upset about it. The situation will repeat unless she can stand up for herself.
She also says the PIL are good people, so it is in her child’s interest to learn how to make the relationship work. She needs to be able to state her boundaries. Otherwise, the PIL will think everything’s ok and they will continue to act in a way the OP doesn’t want (even if I think they’ve not done much wrong beyond the laundry thing - that is irrelevant in how the OP should move forwards).
You have a right to grieve your loss. You are not obligated to work at getting over other people's abusive behavior
You are obligated to sort out how you will protect yourself and your DS from their well meaning cruelty in the future
Abusive behaviour? Cruelty? 🤣
Have to wonder how some people actually function in the world.
How is telling the OP that her ILs were abusive or cruel really going to help her? Just builds it up into something even bigger when it wasn't that big to start with.
For the sake of herself and her child I DO think the OP is obligated to work at getting over how others behaviour affected her so much.
I see a lot of similar things that happened to me when I had our baby. I had a similar delivery and baby and I ended both ended up in hospital for a week after (postpartum haemorrhage and infection) and my husband had to convince me I was strong enough to walk around the garden a couple weeks after DS was born. We weren't living with my in laws but my family was in another country so I felt pretty overwhelmed by his (very lovely!) family. My MIL was constantly saying "oh DS just needs a cuddle" when, similar to you, he just needed feeding! Or telling me to stop trying to be quiet in the house when DS was asleep... like you know you're supposed to make noise so they learn to sleep through it but in the bloody moment you just need your two week old baby to sleep as long as possible so you get a break!!!
I do agree with other posters that you need to find a way to get past it - it is still really really early days, you really will feel a lot better and a lot stronger and more able to set boundaries. Time really will help you move past how the first few weeks went - it took me a long time to get over how rubbish my labor and delivery ended up being due to the complications - but it isn't something I feel like I need to talk about any more really.
I know you say you don't have PND and you probably don't - but know that it and other postpartum FEELINGS (because giving birth makes feeling feel HUGE!) manifests in lots of different ways, for me it was anxiety and insomnia and feeling like I still needed to talk about and tell people about my birth experience. I saw a counselor through the local council self referral service and it was great. We did CBT and I think even if I hadn't had anything other than new parent anxiety, it would have really helped me put things in perspective. I would really strongly recommend it. The CBT we did helped get to the root of the anxiety over things like you described about visiting my inlaws!
I'm also going to refute what some folks have said about standing up for yourself - I'm a very outspoken person and have no trouble standing up for myself normally... but faced with a birth that left me feeling like a physical wreck, feeling isolated from my family and the total exhaustion of having a newborn, plus first time mum anxiety about "maybe they ARE right that my baby only needs feeding 3x a day (or whatever rubbish the older generation comes out with!)", it's really tough to put boundaries in place.
That said, a few months after the birth, when you've had a chance to get some space from the birth, that is a great time to sit down with your DH and agree on what and where boundaries do need to be set, whether it's you that sets them or him. For example, my DM called me to tell me she was taking DS out on Sunday afternoon, I said, that sounds nice but I'm going come too because I want to spend time with DS. It's an easy conversation to have now, but when you're deep into the newborn fog, it can be really hard.
It’s really difficult to “stand up to people” when you are at their mercy staying in their home, and physically weak.
I don’t have the physical or emotional energy to deal with this kind of disrespectful boundary stomping during the most minor illness, like a cold or headache. I’d have been blindsided by the PIL and thinking maybe I was the crazy one, actually. I cannot imagine being able to do so while caring for a newborn and my own healing body after giving birth.
Isn’t it the most basic common sense to leave new mommies and their babies in peace?
Stephminx It's not uncommon to feel very vulnerable after having a first baby. (Personally I think it takes having a second baby to feel like you know what you're doing.) It also changes relationships -- you go from being someone's child to being someone's parent. It's hard to stand up to someone's parents, when you aren't really sure of yourself as a parent yet. Plus they sound really pushy.
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