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If your MIL said this to you, how would you react?

(57 Posts)
StarsInTheNightSky Tue 15-Apr-14 09:18:25

"As soon as he's born I'll want to see him a lot, and you'll have to hand him straight over to me. I get very possessive and I'm not going to like seing you holding him, I want to be the one feeding and cuddling him."

So, how would you react to this?
A bit of background, it wasn't said in jest or even in a humourous way, but very seriously and firmly to me, as if I were a naughty child being given a talking to. I'm 33 weeks pregnant, will be having an ELCS at 39 weeks and will be formula feeding (physically can't bf). To add some context, MIL sees another family baby 3-4 times per week and always thinks that isn't often enough.

DH and I are private people, and although this will be our first DC, we've had losses before and we want some time to ourselves to enjoy our family unit when our baby arrives. We had told family that we will have no visitors for the first two - three weeks (and no visitors at hospital) and they all seemed to accept this happily, which I was a bit suspicious about as I didn't think it would be a popular decision. Then I get this from MIL.

In response, I laughed and acted as if she'd been joking, I said firmly "good luck with that as DH and I are very possessive too!". DH then explained very firmly that she wasn't so much as to try to touch our baby without my permission, and that all contact etc would be strictly on our terms. MIL seemed to back down and agreed, but I'm a bit hmm.

We (DH and I) usually have a good relationship with MIL, however she has tried unsucessfully to throw her weight around in the past and bully DH and/or I, and for the first few years of us being together she was a nightmare and really resented me for taking DH away from her. Not sure why as he is the complete opposite of a mummy's boy and their relationship was already on very rocky ground before I came into his life.
Her starring moment was when, two days after I'd had a terrible accident and was paraplegic and critically ill in hospital, she phoned my parents and told them that she "didn't want any son of hers saddled with a cripple for life" and that they should make me leave DH as it it would look bad on her to have a cripple for a daughter in law.
This was after she'd spoken to DH and tried to get him to leave me as I was apparently "good for nothing now". She was told where to go in no uncertain terms by DH, who refused to have anything more to do with her after that, and my parents (who had a recording device on their telephone as they'd been getting a lot of harrassment calls, so they played DH and I the tape of her phonecall.) I have since learnt to walk again, despite being told I'd be paraplegic for life, but it look a long long time, and DH was my carer and my absolute rock through it all.
DH still hasn't forgiven her, but as time went by I tried to patch things up so that we were all on good (ish) terms as it's just easier and nicer all round, and I am usually a forgiving person. Things have generally been pretty pleasant since. This was on the strict condition that if she ever put a toe out of line again, then we go non contact for good.

Sorry, that was longer that I thought it would be! Didn't want to drip feed though. So back to the original question, how would you feel about that? I feel pretty affronted but also feel that it was a really surreal and weird thing to say, and for some reason I can't get it out of my head, so I guess I'm just trying to get my mind around it.

PenguinsLoveFishFingers Tue 15-Apr-14 09:25:36

I would think she was an utter loon and that it was your DH's job to protect you and your (using your in the plural there) baby from her bonkers behaviour.

It is your child, not hers. She needs to understand boundaries, and it sounds like they will need to be very firm. Good your DH is on side.

Mignonette Tue 15-Apr-14 09:28:25

Oh dear.

All I can say from experience is-

Set your boundaries early and stick to them BUT also prepare to be surprised by how you feel. What we think we want when we are pregnant and what we want afterwards aren't always the same. Lots of strongly held beliefs can fly out of the window.

We also had a visitor embargo for the first ten days because I had heavy duty births and also wanted us both to become confident handling our baby before somebody more 'experienced' swooped in. This worked pretty much fine; my Mother turned up on day three but I forgave her that as she was a) excited and b) lived faraway and I needed to accommodate her needs too.

I can read between the lines just how hurt and angry you still feel about her very ugly comments- that kind of thing is impossible to truly forget I imagine. Have you ever told her clearly how this made you feel?

Holding the baby so to speak, gives you the upper hand. Having the knowledge of her cruelty in the past gives you the moral upper hand. But be careful that these incidents aren't used to frame everything that happens in the family life you are going to have because if you cannot move past them and address them, they could retard any attempt to build a family life that works for you all- one that doesn't feel like a permanent battle ground with your children stuck in the middle of it.

Good luck with the birth and new baby!

Beanymonster Tue 15-Apr-14 09:30:32

I'd just go with (sarcastic smile) 'oh we would love you to be involved, of course, just make sure you ring first because I won't be answering the door to anyone if they haven't called ahead..' And stick to it, it's what I did, my mil and mum turned up on my doorstep unannounced several times, and knew I was there because my car was, but I didn't even answer the door, as they hadent called ahead..... They do now! Also, if they call ahead and won't take no for an answer? 'Sorry, we are just climbing into bed for a nap, il be turning my phone off and disconnecting the doorbell so please don't disturb us..'

StarsInTheNightSky Tue 15-Apr-14 09:30:55

Thank Penguins I'm really glad I'm not alone in thinking it was down right weird. DH is very supportive and overprotective of me, so I didn't want to make too big a thing about how much it bothered me in front of him as he reacted very strongly to it anyway, and I needed time to process it rather than have a knee jerk reaction, if that makes sense.

PenguinsLoveFishFingers Tue 15-Apr-14 09:31:09

As ever, Mig's point is more eloquent and nuanced than mine. What she said smile

PenguinsLoveFishFingers Tue 15-Apr-14 09:31:34

Cross posted there. Good luck smile

StarsInTheNightSky Tue 15-Apr-14 09:41:18

Mignonette thank you, I have sat down and talked with her in detail about her comments, and they weren't the only ones, nor was it the only time she called my parents in a drunken fury to rant about me/call me a "son-stealing slut", tell them that I deserved to be raped as I "had it coming" etc etc. Her comments have been absoltely vile. She has, several years down the road, apologised for her comments, and I have accepted her apology.
She has also physically attacked me, again when she was drunk and in the very early stages of DH and I being together, and I'm not the only family member she's taken a swing at. I didn't add the background because I haven't moved past it, as I have, but the simple fact is that however much I have forgiven her, I don't trust her and I wanted to show that it wasn't just a my MIL is a pita sort of issue, it goes deeper than that. DH and I worried about our baby being around her as she has been violent towards children/toddlers in the past, well, I mean that she has massively overreacted to crying/naughtiness even when they aren't her children, so we will be keeping her more at arms length anyway.

Beanymonster that sounds like a really good idea thanks, and great to hear that it worked for you. I think we'll have to do the same.

StarsInTheNightSky Tue 15-Apr-14 09:43:04

I should add that I have honestly never done anything to provoke her, have never retaliated and have never said anything horrible to her.

Mignonette Tue 15-Apr-14 09:43:19


Oh I think she is completely out of line and sympathise totally.

In the light of your most recent post, this changes things. If she has been physically violent towards you then I am afraid I can only advise you to keep to supervised and controlled contact.

NO unsupervised contact at all.

StarsInTheNightSky Tue 15-Apr-14 09:44:08

I do know that it isn't me per say, but more me as DH's wife, and MIL did similar to DH's ex girlfriends.

Mignonette Tue 15-Apr-14 09:46:00

I cannot see how you could move past this to be honest. There's toxic and then there is dangerous.

Is she an alcoholic?

drLu Tue 15-Apr-14 09:49:03

It's not weird at all. You will be taken aback by how you feel. My inlaws are lovely but they came on day 3 and never put my daughter down.(I had her for feeds that was it) my dh found me crying that night in the bath because I hated not holding her close. You've had them growing in you for 9 months and need to hold them afterwards. DH was fab the next day and made sure I had her. They had the odd cuddle but he stopped them taking over. You're so emotional. Don't let her push you around and good luck xx

shakinstevenslovechild Tue 15-Apr-14 09:50:32

In all honesty I would cut all contact completely. She is nasty, violent, it sounds like she drinks a lot and has no respect for you at all.

What positives will she bring to the babys life?

squizita Tue 15-Apr-14 09:51:29


I mean I thought some of my family were overbearing (to a needing therapy extent) but this is ... Something else!

Be firm, keep things on your terms. Even when you need help (if its like the person I know, they keep favours like IOUs and expect to be able to control, years later 'in return'). Always be firm!

gunwalloe Tue 15-Apr-14 09:51:41

Wow you must be a really lovely person as I would have cut her of long ago you just don't need the extra hassle in life and I wouldn't even want her touching the baby.

StarsInTheNightSky Tue 15-Apr-14 09:51:41

Mignonette yes, I believe she is. The thing is though, when she's not drinking she's lovely, and we have great fun together (I see her quite often without DH). Everything she's done to me she's done in front of DH, and time and again I have had to persuade him not to go non contact. It's quite odd for me, my family are all very close knit and supportive, and the rest of DH's family are lovely too, so I just feel that if DH went non contact he might regret it, and I also think it's really sad for MIL.

Still, we are emmigrating in just over a years time, so I suppose it is a resolving situation.

Mignonette Tue 15-Apr-14 09:51:57

I remember being so enraptured by my newborn that I wouldn't put him down, even when eating. A MW walked over and said "you can put that baby down you know! and tried to take him off me.

I was very taken aback by my instinctive reaction - I actually snarled at her. I bared my teeth. blush. I apologised (and cried) and she said it wasn't the first time that she'd seen this happen.

weebigmamma Tue 15-Apr-14 09:53:33

Good on you and your husband for being firm. I find it massively difficult myself. Had a section 6 days ago and everyone wants to visit and I just want to hibernate for a bit. Am feeling crap about it and family just totally expect me to have everyone over so I feel really guilty.... but this thread has made me feel better as I can see a few people are taking some family time out. It's partly baby blues but I feel really sad that they're only thinking of their own need to see the baby and not the fact that I've just had surgery. Good luck to you. Your MIL sounds like an exceptionally difficult person to put up with and you've done admirably so far if you're still in contact after her past interventions. xxx

Mignonette Tue 15-Apr-14 09:55:39


The thing is that to manage risk effectively you need to assess a person in the light of their worst behaviours, not their best. But I can see you know this and I think you know what you need to do.

Keep on absorbing DH into your family to make up for the lack of his own balanced Mother. It never quite heals but goes a huge way.

Yes it is sad for MIL but that is of her own making. She is lucky to have you and maybe one day she will address her behaviour and change. She may be one of the lucky alcoholics who hasn't totally alienated her entire family but I imagine this will be because of your good grace. flowers

Itsfab Tue 15-Apr-14 09:56:49

Keeping contact with someone because of who they are is not always the right thing to do and tbh if I was you or your were my wife I would be fully NC. I have NC with my parents. My father has never been in my life and my mother was 100% shit and I haven't lived with her since I was under 2 but much as I wish I had a mum, and a grandparent for my children, it is not worth the risk of the damage she could do.

If you feel you must, give her one more chance but seriously, after that I would be all over for me.

I can't help thinking how your parents must feel when this vile woman is near you and the baby.

StarsInTheNightSky Tue 15-Apr-14 09:57:11

drLu thank you, that really helps. DH is extremely supportive and always backs me to a fault, so that makes me feel better.

shakin she can be lovely though, it's just jekyll and hyde, and I always feel like I should give her another chance as I feel unreasonable otherwise.

Squiz thanks and yep we have some IOU family members too. It is really reassuring to know it's not just me who thinks it's so weird.

gun thank you, I just keep thinking that at the end of the day she's DH's mum, and I'm so close to my mum that it makes me really sad she can't be lovely all the time, it's like knowing two separate people.

weebigmamma Tue 15-Apr-14 09:59:49

Yes, it occurred to me after I'd written my last post, that you shouldn't feel guilty about breaking contact if that is what is most helpful to your family. You are not responsible for managing her behaviour, even if she is an addict. Emigration sounds good!

Suzietwo Tue 15-Apr-14 10:04:57


No chance this woman would be spending any time with my children. Not least because I wouldn't want that level of insanity catching on!

StarsInTheNightSky Tue 15-Apr-14 10:10:18

Mignonette thank you, your advice has really helped. DH has a fantastic relationship with my family, they adore him, and my parents think of him as if he were their own son. I keep on hoping that she'll change as I don't think there is much more time I can keep persuading DH not to cut contact if she keeps pushing her luck. DH did not have a happy childhood and he is determined that our baby will not have to put up with what he did. It is reassuring to hear about your snarling, I think I will snarl too if someone tries to take DS away from me!

weebigmamma congratulations! Sorry to hear you're being a bit bombarded at the moment but I'm glad this thread has helped a bit. I think people do get a bit baby obsessed and forget about the mum sometimes. Thank you.

Itsfab really sorry to hear about that, it sounds awful for you sad. DH already has nc with his father (who is a drug-abusing, manipulative alcoholic), so I suppose I am grasping at straws a bit that I don't want him to lose a relationship with his mum too. My parents haven't forgiven MIL, they are civil to her when they have to be but they cannot stand her and cannot get over what she's said. It makes me feel awful for them as they are such lovely, gentle, kind people sad.

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