Tips for dealing with MIL(47 Posts)
I'm 17 weeks with our first DC and starting to get a little bit worried about how my MIL is going to behave around the time of the birth. We've always had a slightly strained relationship and manage to rub each other up the wrong way without trying.
Recently my DH's cousin and his GF had a baby and GF was in hospital with an infection for weeks. Their wishes were no visitors until she was back home and feeling up to it and MIL was outraged. She ended up going anyway, from what I can only assume was still against their wishes, as it sounds like the visit was very tense.
She's already making comments about our baby being 'hers' and how she is going to be 'outside the door' while I am giving birth and how she knows I won't be as rude as cousin's gf and not let her see 'her baby'.
Thing is, I think I'm going to want a few days to ourselves after the baby is here, maybe longer if things don't go to plan or one of us gets poorly. I know I definitely don't want anyone else there except my DH for the birth. I just don't know how I'll feel and want to have some control in a situation where all control will be taken out of my hands in the moment. How the heck do we talk to her about this?
Feeling a little sensitive this week also as she put a pregnancy announcement on FB without asking us first (we haven't put anything about the baby on FB thus far) and I know I'm being totally unreasonable because she's clearly excited but I can't help being really cheesed off.
DH thinks I'm worrying about nothing but that we do need to talk to her. Both dreading it. Any tips?
Please start as you mean to go on. Whatever you allow now will set a precedent. It's not her baby - talking that way would rile me as much as I'm sure it has you!
If you've told her a due date, change it for a few weeks later. Say you've had another scan and they've adjusted it. Don't tell her when you go into labour. Don't tell her baby is born until you're ready to receive her as a visitor. If she visits when you're in hospital, you can ask the nurses to move her along after twenty minutes.
You don't need to 'have a talk' with her if that's too stressful. Just act as you see fit without having to explain it.
I never understand MILs who do all this interfering. Mine thinks I'm a bit standoffish. Good!
Honestly - fall out with her now. Get it out in the open that you sympathize a lot with DH's cousin and GF, also want to be v private and were upset about FB. And that only DH will be at the birth. If she says 'her child' then pull her up straight away - be v nice and say if she carries on like this you will fall out which you don't want because you believe GPs are so important.
She will be raging but you then have the rest of the pregnancy for her to calm down and you will have set the ground rules from the start.
If you set out trying to placate her from the outset you and she will both be miserable.
you are NOT unreasonable, it is not her baby! You, and by this I mean your DH, has to put his foot down. You are having this baby and therefore your wishes will take priority over anybody else's.
How to talk about this - well, by your description, she's not a person who will take a hint, or even a direct request. So you have to be as thick-skinned as she is and make it really, really clear that you a) do not want her behind the door and b) will let her know when she can come and visit. and c) it is YOUR baby!
You will find many stories on MN, how the first hours and days with your new baby were ruined by insensitive relatives barging in. People are bitter for years.
How about just not telling her when you go into labour then she can't follow you to the hospital! You could then see how you are feeling afterwards and then decide what to say to her about visiting before you call to tell her the good news that her new grandchild is here? It would really annoy me if anyone else (other than DH) referred to our baby as theirs. Grrrrrrr!
I found that when I was pregnant with DS and DD that there was always one person who grated on my last nerve. That was my mother.
You should just laugh off what she says and take it with a pinch of salt.
If you don't tell her when you are in labour, she will never know!
You could always tell her the hospital policy is only 1 person with Mum in labour, and that you do not want visitors until you are home and ready.
Truth is, she will of course be happy and excited to see baby, so try not to make her feel too pushed out (although it is tempting!).
When I was in labour with DS various people kept calling my ex and asking if they could come to the hospital. I was like tell them to FUCK OFF i'm having a baby here!!
I did unfortunately take a turn for the worst in labour and spent a week in intensive care - my immediate family visited me but I asked for visits to be kept to an absolutely minimum.
My mother turned up on day 4 and I was dreading it, but she was actually very useful! I felt a bit bad after, but at the time I got her to measure me and sent her out to buy me a bra and gave some food and magazine requests.
If mother in law insists on coming round, accommodate her, but use her! Make her run some errands, feed the baby whilst you take a bath, put the kettle on, make you tea.
Don't be afraid to say when time is up and you want to rest.
I think half the annoyance and fear comes from feeling that they will try and take over, but you are ultimately in control.
Just make sure you have a word with OH (gently) and ensure he is ready to back you up.
I am currently expecting DC3, no one is interested after 2 haha x
yep agree with GingerbreadPudding, the less info she has, the better...stick a few weeks onto your due date, don't tell anyone when you go into labour, and happily announce the birth when you're ready for visitors !
pull her up now on it, and whatever you do, do not tell her when you go into labour
Don't tell her when you go into labour, unless you want to. Labour can last days. They do not have the right to be on the ward. If it comes to that, neither does your DH if you decide that's what you want. You are the patient, and your child.
Don't feel like a bitch for screening calls or turning off the phone if you need to. You could be asleep, or feeding, or changing a nappy. You are not there to be at their beck and call. You have just made a new human.
Don't let her have house keys, and get a good lock for the door. Make sure it's always on.
Make sure your DH knows how you feel about this. My DH & I very nearly split up over his parents behaviour after DD was born, & his lack of ability to step up & do anything about it, as they had done a total number on him. Make sure he knows what's at stake here.
Are PILs local? If so, ask them to ring before coming round, to ensure you're in. If they don't, don't answer the door if it's not convenient. You don't want them thinking they can wander in & disturb nap time whenever the fancy suits them. It's very unhelpful in the long term (voice of bitter experience). If/once they they turn up & are unable to get in because you are out & about/asleep/whatever, perhaps they will realise it's better all round if they check with you that it's convenient for you before popping round.
If you feel they are taking liberties/outstaying their welcome, don't be subtle. "Must put the oven on for tea". "Must start running DC's bath, it'll be bedtime soon".
Hopefully, you will not need to do any of this. However, from what you have said about your MIL's visit to the other baby, against the parents wishes, you will need to be clear and firm from the start.
Agree with HazleNutt that DH has to put his foot down. Would also say it might best if he does this on his own DS to DM, making it clear he is a lion guarding you. Might be effective to if he is able to refer to sometime she felt intruded on by another family member e.g. her MiL, DM, Auntie, SiL etc. do this first so she is absolutely in that mindset of remembering how it felt. So she is seeing it from your point of view before it even gets to the subject of GC.
But maybe make it clear and stick to it, that both sets of grandparents will be the first visitors allowed. That way she gets to feel special , the most privileged but knows your boundaries too. Maybe even outline 2 or 3 "special visit occasions" that will happen in the first while (fortnight?) you are receiving visitors, so she's knows in advance when next visit is happening and feels less need to pop round unannounced. add caveat that obviously this will have to be rethought in event of any mother or baby poorliness...
If she has spare key, get it back off her.
Thank you all for your replies.
I'm pretty sure she will sulk whatever we do - GingerbreadPudding, I'm pretty sure I have a reputation for being 'standoffish' as well. I've been told I'm rude before, for not doing things the way 'other people do' (our families are very different).
I'll definitely talk to DH about not telling people when I go into labour, hopefully when it comes to it I won't give a flying rats arse who's pissed off with me!
RojaGato - I will ask DH to make it clear that GP's will be the first to visit, that's a good idea. I think she needs to feel 'special' to be happy with any arrangement we make so that will help.
We were going to ask them to look after our dog when it all starts happening to keep her busy, but I've just realised that will alert her to what's going on - maybe I will get a friend to do that ...
Only my sisters knew that I was in labour, when my mum phoned one of my sisters said I had forgot my mobile and was shoe shopping with dh, she believed it too . Put your foot down and when she does turn up you can always take baby for a lie down whenever you like! Oh and if she wants to be useful tell her to bring a lasagne or something round, or better still ask her to pick up some more maternity pads and large knickers for you
Oh and if she says "my baby", point at dh and say "that's your baby, this one is ours" then smile sweetly and repeat as necessary!
Honestly, when she says she will be outside the door, tell her 'Well, you won't actually!' even if you do so jokingly. If she says the baby is hers, say something there and then.
I think it is great that you recognise she's excited and are planning to involve her. It is still better be be very clear about boundaries. While she may sulk, ultimately a relationship in which boundaries are clear is much less likely than one where they aren't and the resentments pile up.
Sorry, I meant to say 'much less likely to founder than'
Great advice already but just wanted to add that for me it was way easier to control visitors at the hospital than at home. Nice restrictions on number and hours etc. So if I were you I'd say that mil and your parents are the only ones allowed to visit you in hospital (to make her feel special) but after that you will want some quiet time at home to bond with the baby and you will not be having visitors unless specifically invited for 3 days, 5 days, 2 weeks etc. Also when I was in labour the midwives were really good at fielding phone calls from mils, mine looked at me with a raised eyebrow and said I told her you'd call them when there was some news! Good luck with everything x
I'd treat it as a war of attrition and pick her up on all the small stuff now, firmly but nicely. Leave her in no doubt that you will not be run roughshod over.
DH can make a joke of it, "god I'd murder you if you turned up to the hospital while Pepperfish was in labour, ha ha" but you probably can't.
Or you could buy her a month in the Caribbean/Shetland Islands around your due date?
OP - A genuine question, but why isn't your DP sorting this out? You shouldn't be stressing about these things. It's his mother, and right now, you should be his absolute number one priority.
I think you need to make it very clear what you want to your DP, and tell him that this needs to be put to his mother in whatever way he thinks will be most effective.
And do start calling her out on the weird comments. This is not "her baby". If she says it again, say to her politely "you know, I keep hearing you say that, so just to be absolutely clear, this is in absolutely no way whatsoever YOUR baby. This is OUR baby". If she starts mouthing off then laugh and ask her how irritating it would have been to have had other women referring to her children as "theirs" when she was pregnant.
Yy to being able to control visitors more easily in the hospital than at home.
You can have a word with the ward staff in advance and they'll gently move visitors out for you, plus a great idea by pp to say it will only the gp visiting you in hospital so they'll all feel special/privileged and you can have a week or so of peace at home
Just wanted to back up the poster that says this is not a small matter and that you need to deal with it now - don't leave it until the baby is here. My MiL shoved in where she wasn;t wanted and, whilst my traumatic birth wasn't caused by her, her interference meant that DP was focused on dealing with all her shit and not on supporting me when I most needed it and three years later I still feel hurt and abandoned and bitter. These things matter. Make sure your DP knows.
Congratulations on your pregnancy. I hope all goes smoothly.
Oh - and block anyone from being able to tag you on FB without you approving it or she'll announce the birth for you too
You really have to make it clear that she is not welcome to be waiting outside the door! Giving birth is stressful enough. You do not need the added stress of worrying when exactly MIL will walk in. And by clear, I do mean it - I remember a poster who did not want her MIL there, but she didn't care, barged in when the poster was in the middle of contractions and ended up holding her leg while she was pushing!
Agreed, deal with it now. You're hormonal now but it will be so much worse towards the end and you do not want to be fighting for control when you're big and tired and at your most vulnerable.
Definitely don't tell her when you go into labour, be very very clear to your other half if that's what you want to do though, because they do often just tell them anyway (especially if they're calling/texting dozens of times a day checking if you're in labour yet) they have an uncanny way of making you feel like a fucking vessel, depriving them of their grandchild.
and also, when your other half calls her to tell her the news, make sure you post your facebook announcement during the phonecall, or (trust me) she will do it FOR you as her grandchild has been born, and she won't give two shits that it isn't her baby. She'll happily steal your thunder. I know this won't matter to some people but it did to me in the same situation. I worked bloody hard to grow them and push them out, I wanted to announce their arrival!
Be clear also on visiting arrangements. Does she live locally? Mine didn't, so after a horrendous birth I had to pack up and leave hospital within 24 hours so that I could get home and clean the house up because she and two other members of his family announced that they were coming to stay. She stayed 9 days. First night at home, baby cried for a few seconds in the night, bedroom door bursts open and suddenly in she came to "get the baby". I was naked from the waist up trying to latch him on. A few days later, she tried to help him latch on by grabbing his head and my boob.
When he was two days old she gave him his first taste of chocolate on the end of her unwashed finger. I felt so powerless and totally unsupported, dp totally on her side and I was a "psycho bitch" apparently. I cried and cried. Everything I did was wrong, I bathed him wrong, and I wasn't allowed fruit or veg in case it gave the baby wind. Every mw visit was conducted with her there so I couldn't discuss my stitches or anything. If anyone else came round to visit she would sit smugly holding and kissing the baby jealously, not handing it over to anyone unless I got up and physically took the baby off her and passed him over. When my own family visited she made them feel so unwelcome they couldn't stay to help, she was clearing them off after an hour or two apparently so I could "rest" but it wasn't them I wanted a rest from! I'd lost my mother only two years prior so actually I could have done with my family round me, not some fucking stranger.
Don't be me, don't be bitter (I can't help it) You will not have the energy to fight after the birth. Stand your ground, she's had her babies. All you're asking her to do is have normal boundaries, see the baby a normal amount. Not saying she can't see it.
Firstly your DP is responsible for dealing with her. Make DP aware that the consequences of not being assertive with her will be years of resentment towards HIM as well as her.
My MIL is a lovely person but she got carried away and stated she would be in the room which filled me with horror. I was blunt and said no way. Then it was "I'm going to be outside". Again "no you are not". There was sulking and insisting. Do not be moved. Just say no and don't explain. DH saw how upset I was and he backed me.
It also helps to be vague. I felt the same as you - "she's trying to take over". Mine has to know the ins and outs of my cervix. She even asked me when it was conceived!!
So how can you take control back? Don't tell her the sex, don't tell her the names you've chosen. Say you want it to be a surprise. Re visitors just say no to what you defo don't want and say "we haven't decided yet" to everything else. Be the adult to her child.
Kaykayblue - he's prepared to have a talk with her if necessary and all credit to him, he's willing to walk into the dragon's den if I ask him - we are just trying to figure out a bit of damage limitation. Past experience has taught us that we have to tread carefully - the usual reaction is the silent treatment.
I remember when we moved into our first home, she told us she was coming for lunch on moving day. We politely asked her to come in the evening as we wanted the day to celebrate our new home and unpack etc. she turned up at lunch anyway, spent an hour with a face like thunder, ignored me entirely and then an hour later stormed off home. DH then got the silent treatment for a week because he'd dared to tell her off for her attitude. Telling his mum off doesn't come naturally for him (no one tells her what to do in his family!!) but I have to give him credit - he will do it if she upsets me.
I never thought I'd end up with a difficult MIL, I'm generally quite and easy going person!
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