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AIBU to not want FIL from overseas coming to visit immediately after baby born?

(38 Posts)
Frugal15 Fri 26-Dec-14 13:17:32

DP is from the other side of the world. We're expecting a baby together in a few months (not the first for either of us but our first together), and DP's dad has told us he will be coming to meet his new grandchild around the time baby's due/the early weeks afterwards. And I don't want him to.

I do plan to have my mum over loads in the early weeks/months, because she's completely non-judgmental, will be really helpful with cooking and cleaning, and will be an empathic shoulder to cry on when it all gets a bit much. I won't mind sitting in front of her in my pyjamas, boobs out, no make-up, baby blues – letting it all hang out. She'll just be a fab support, as she was when I had DS.

But I've met DP's dad only three times. He's not said anything about coming over to help; he's coming to meet baby. He's fundamentally a nice man, but he is full-on. When he has stayed twice before, it's put quite a strain on DP and I, because we get virtually no time together for weeks at a time. He talks forever and is quite judgy, and FIL needs to be kept busy, which means either DP keeping him entertained whilst on paternity leave (which is surely to support me/get to know baby), DP taking annual leave to keep Dad entertained (and we need to bank this leave for school holidays and a build project we're working on), or me keeping FIL entertained in the early weeks – nightmare.

This time, FIL doesn't plan to stay with us but with a close relative of DP's ex-wife, who he built a good rapport with when she and DP were still together. So on the one hand, he won't actually be staying here - a plus. The problem is, DP's ex-wife has caused us so much stress and upset, and even though FIL won't be staying here, I feel on edge thinking about him relaying the ins and outs of how we're getting on with baby back to DP's ex's family; that makes me feel pretty vulnerable and exposed at a private time. Plus, even with not staying here, he'll be over for hours at a time every day, and I'll feel under pressure to be up, dressed, on good form, awake – all when I might feel sore, like sleeping when the baby's sleeping, tearful and hormonal.

I've talked to DP about how I feel, and he's close to his dad and says he'll need support too – and I'll be having my mum over lots after all. But I don't think it's the same. And, without wishing to sound like a diva, I think it is a lot about me here: it's my body, my recovery, me trying to establish breastfeeding, me riding the hormonal rollercoaster. I think I should be able to say what I'm comfortable with and decide who comes and when.

AIBU? FIL will get on and book up flights any day now – there's no "Does this plan work with you guys?"; he sent me a message just yesterday saying he's looking forward to meeting baby in a few months. He has also told us he'll be visiting friends in Europe too beforehand. On this basis, and so as not to hurt him, would it be mean to suggest he just comes across to us for a few days? Otherwise, it'll be potentially weeks of him and I'm getting stressed just thinking about it - so not helpful with relaxing in preparation for birth/avoiding PND!

Any advice would be really welcome. Thanks.

Bonsoir Fri 26-Dec-14 13:24:49

You poor thing! Your FIL sounds very inconsiderate! I think you and your DH need to tell your FIL exactly when and on what terms he is welcome and, yes, encourage him to visit friends in continental Europe and to pop over to see your baby for a couple of days either side.

Can you enlist your own mother's help in managing your FIL when he is over? Can she play a mother hen role and protect you and your baby from too much of his presence? He might be more intimidated by her bossing him around than by you and DH being polite?

Frugal15 Fri 26-Dec-14 13:33:20

Thanks, Bonsoir.

My mum is too mild/polite to get tough with FIL! She's a fairly quiet, very sensitive and thoughtful woman - not really a matronly mother hen type.

I'm on the brink of telling FIL to hold fire with his plans, but I think this should come from DP. DP should understand how I feel, and be my champion here, and tell FIL himself that we feel a better plan might be XYZ. But I sense that it's pissed DP off that I've voiced unhappiness at FIL's plans - I think he feels a bit hurt that I'm rejecting FIL - and I'm not anticipating him stepping in and being assertive on this unfortunately.

But thanks for your empathy, Bonsoir.

Mammanat222 Fri 26-Dec-14 13:39:37

Based on what you say your DP wants his father here and I guess you have to respect that. despite all your (well founded IMO) reservations.

Just make it abundantly clear to DP what you expect from him and how you expect him to manage his father.

Out of interest, did you have a hard time with your first baby? It's just you seem very focused on the negatives?

Frugal15 Fri 26-Dec-14 14:07:37

Thanks, Mammanat222.

I don't think I had any tougher a time with DS than any first-time mum, although looking back, I think I then developed mild PND for maybe the first six months to a year, and I really hope to avoid that this time.

It was a long time ago, but I do remember being sore for weeks, having bleeding nipples - which were out a lot! - and bursting into tears in front of then MIL, which was humiliating. I just didn't want her round being a busybody, telling me what to do, and unfortunately that coincided with the baby blues. Although I've long settled into being a happy (and I think good) parent to DS - we have a great relationship - I do remember the early weeks being tough, and I don't want to go through them again with an audience I'm not that comfortable with (particularly one who'll be filling DP's ex-wife in). To me, this settling down phase feels private.

Also, DP might like his dad here - but what if the timings work out such that DP is then back at work anyway, and I am keeping his dad entertained? DP won't be able to "manage" his dad then. And what if DP spends most of his paternity leave off out having coffees with his dad? Sigh.

Frugal15 Fri 26-Dec-14 14:21:33

I've just trawled through a few older threads about managing overly keen in-laws when a new baby arrives, and the consensus seems to be that they shouldn't be so interfering and insensitive and need managing - but these all cover PILs who live in the UK, if not nearby then only a few hours away. I think what makes this situation tricky is that FIL lives so very far away. It's all or nothing. Of course he wants to meet his new grand-child and I completely understand that, but it feels as though it will have to mean him imposing (not very helpfully) for weeks, which will seriously get to me, or us calling the shots and saying no, which will upset him and make us (me) the bad guys. It would be a lot easier (I imagine) if he lived nearer and had his own life to get on with around the odd baby visit.

TheCheeseBoardStinks Fri 26-Dec-14 14:25:13

Don't tell anybody the baby has been born, until two weeks after it has been born. Don't answer the phone/facebook/email etc. Then you can have two weeks of peace to get over the birth.

Frugal15 Fri 26-Dec-14 14:35:48

Thanks, Cheese. We can't not tell the DSCs though, and the eldest is linked to his grandad via social media. So that won't work unfortunately. But I like your thinking!

itwillgetbettersoon Fri 26-Dec-14 14:35:55

I think you are bring mean. I have two sons - I hope any future daughter in laws allow me to be involved as much as their own mums.

Your husband needs to step up and be the gatekeeper. I'm sure your fil does not want to sit in your house for hours on end watching you feed baby. He sounds like he is planning to see his friends etc and get out and about but it just happens he is timing it with the birth of his grandchild. I don't know why you are jealous of his relationship with the ex wife either.

Chill out and enjoy the attention. He probably will not be around much at all - he just wants to see his new grandchild and son - perfectly reasonable. He will probably want to hold the baby and then visit his friends.

TalkingintheDark Fri 26-Dec-14 14:42:47

God it sounds awful and no you shouldn't have to suck it up.

Of course there's a massive difference between a woman wanting her mum there after giving birth and a man wanting his father there. Your DH does not have to carry the baby for 9 months, give birth, breastfeed, cope with the massive, massive changes to his body and (thanks to the hormones) mind too. Yes, it is about you, and a good DH would understand that.

I am quite worried for you that your DH is being obtuse about this.

The last - very last - thing you need to be doing after your baby is born is entertaining your insensitive, judgemental and demanding FIL. (He sounds like a peach.) For a period of weeks, if I understand correctly? Or the alternative of all your DH's paternity leave being used up looking after him. And if you add in the worry about intimate details of your precious home life being shared with your DH's XW, it's just even worse.

You have to take a firm stand here. You have to be prepared to piss your DH off hugely and you have to be prepared to let him know very clearly that he is pissing you off even more hugely. It's your DH's job to put you first in this scenario, and if he doesn't get that... It's not great, is it?

I can understand FIL wanting to meet his grandchild but he should be negotiating a time to come that suits you, not imposing what he wants unilaterally. And from what you say of him, I somehow don't get the idea he would pay much attention to the baby once he's with you; just wants the bragging rights really.

I think you do need to contact FIL and tell him to hold fire, pronto. Sounds like sorting things out with your DH will take time that you haven't got, if he's so close to booking his flights.

Chottie Fri 26-Dec-14 14:43:34

I think you are being very reasonable, all you asking for is some space and time to heal and get to know your baby and form a family. The fact that your FiL doesn't get that raises alarm bells for me.

I speak as a MiL and a mother of a son too. I really hope all works out for you.

TalkingintheDark Fri 26-Dec-14 14:50:32

Oh and sorry after all that, I didn't answer your question properly - yes, I think you are entitled to ask him to limit his visit to a few days only, and to give you at least a good couple of weeks breathing space after the birth to establish breastfeeding and so on. If he has other people to visit in the UK, maybe he could do a few days with you first and then visit them, then come back for a few more days after a couple of weeks or so - not so intense for you, and he gets to see how the baby has developed in the meantime.

slithytove Fri 26-Dec-14 14:57:35

I think you are bring mean. I have two sons - I hope any future daughter in laws allow me to be involved as much as their own mums.

I think this is completely unreasonable. My mum saw me give birth twice and helped me establish bf. I wouldn't want another person in the world to do that, let alone my mil - a perfectly lovely woman btw.

The mum/child relationship is unique, why would an in law want to replicate that? They have their own kids.

HansieLove Fri 26-Dec-14 15:20:27

I'm having trouble with your DH needing support too. Why? He is not pregnant, he won't be going through childbirth or breastfeeding. He needs to be committed to taking care of you, the baby, the house, meals, laundry, etc.

Frugal15 Fri 26-Dec-14 16:20:40

Thanks for further posts and your understanding. I'm not being completely unreasonable then!

itwillgetbettersoon, that's a bit harsh TBH. FIL doesn't have a good relationship with DP's ex-wife - he finds her horrendous - but has a good rapport with ex-wife's relative, where he'll stay (apologies if I didn't make this clear). And that is, indeed, fair enough; I'm not "jealous" of anything here. (I think DP would cut his dad off if he was still pally with XW herself, given all the hurt she's caused DP!) I just feel vulnerable with him staying there, relaying the ins and outs of how we're getting on with baby to his host, and this all getting back to XW. We have had to adopt an absolutely-minimal-contact approach with XW to save our sanity.

Also, I would agree with the poster who said a good mother-daughter relationship has a unique place when a daughter has her own baby. Would you really be comfortable with a FIL you didn't know that well watching you trying to feed, having a little weep, and looking/feeling a bit ropy, for days on end after the birth of your baby?

I have a son and hope one day to be a grandmother, and while I'd love to be involved and will offer lots of help, I would not dream of presuming to just rock up to support my DIL, unsolicited, when it suits me. I think that would make me a pretty insensitive MIL. I want FIL to meet baby; I just want to have some say in when/for how long this will be - not be dictated to.

Good point, HansieLove. TalkingintheDark, that's a good idea to halt plans ASAP. I'm fully prepared to do the dirty work myself; I'd just rather have DP on board and doing this. Will chat to him tonight when liveliness with the kids has died down.

It will be difficult, though, to hold FIL off for two weeks after the birth, as we just don't know when baby will come - early/late - and FIL plans to book flights ASAP and come when it suits him.

Thank you again.

TalkingintheDark Fri 26-Dec-14 16:33:34

Was your DS late/early/on time? That could give you some idea of what to expect. Or you could just add on 2 weeks to your due date, to be safe, and then add on a good two weeks to that, to be sure of having some breathing space.

It's not really going to affect him if he doesn't see the baby till it's 6 weeks old, but it will affect you if he's there before you're ready.

wallypops Fri 26-Dec-14 17:07:09

itwillgetbettersoon - Sorry to be blunt but why would you think your future DILs would be comfortable breast feeding and all the rest in front of their MIL? I think you may need to start readjusting your expectations.

Honestly Frugal I think you need to telephone him yourself and deal with this today - don't wait and let it get bigger than it already is. Tell him (don't explain) that you are happy to see him for 2 days (or whatever, but start low). You can also ask how he sees himself spending his time? New borns sleep and eat and that's about the sum of it so that's going to get boring for him pretty fast. Anyway your husband will be doing night feeds with you etc so won't be able to entertain.

nihatsgirl Fri 26-Dec-14 17:18:38

I am also of the opinion that you are being unreasonable. He won't be staying with you, yet you want to begrudge your partner his dad visiting to meet his grandson. I really can't empathise with that. He is as much family as your mum is. Unreasonable to suggest you need your mum, but your partner has no right to have family support.
Agree a time he can visit of course whilst he is here. Your objection however to him coming over is very unreasonable

Meerka Fri 26-Dec-14 18:17:24

okay from what you say, FIL is not a bad man, just too full on. As a new-again mum you need your space.

He's full on. I think it's reasonable for him to come over and see the new grandchild. It's nice that he's interested tbh, not every new grandpa is. But to make this manageable your husband has to have a very plain speaking conversation with him.

He needs to make it clear that you are likely to be in a vulnerable state and that that visits can be for a couple of hours every couple of days but not more.

This needs to be set in stone. If he doesn't want to come, then fair enough. Can say that this is the way it is, so it may not be worth his while coming but that at about 6 months you will be recovered and he can come for longer, more often. That's a reasonable compromise.

If he agrees to it good. If not, the compromise is the only way forward.

If he comes and then expects more, there will need to be one very difficult convo when your husband tells him the way it is then says that he is only welcome at those times.

Im sorry but your husband needs to grasp the nettle here. It's ok to say what is manageable for you as a mother. It's ok to tell your father in law this. He may actually appreciate the plain speaking. Quite frankly the UK habit of subtly sending messages is actually rather difficult sometimes for people from other cultures and sometimes saying what is ok and what is not, is actually appreciated.

Bonsoir Fri 26-Dec-14 18:39:37

I think that you need to work on your mother - explain the situation and try to make her understand that her help as gatekeeper will be invaluable. She may be a very mild and polite person but if you are all in it together to keep FIL under control it will be easier all round.

HaPPy8 Fri 26-Dec-14 18:49:57

I think YABU. if he was wanting to stay with you it would be a different matter but he is planning to stay somewhere else. You can't tell him he is not allowed in the country until you say its ok!

slithytove Fri 26-Dec-14 20:24:15

How long will fil be in country for?

Can you arrange for your mum to be with you that whole time, put a stop on DH taking any annual leave until baby is born, at which point he takes 3/4 days to be with YOU.

Then he takes his paternity leave after your parents have gone so you can have family bonding time? We did this and it was great.

Visit are set by you and controlled by your mum. Fil can see baby on your terms when you are comfortable.

itwillgetbettersoon Fri 26-Dec-14 21:31:15

I agree with those that say as a mil I can't expect to be in on the birth or the breastfeeding - why would I!!!! However I would be very sad and hurt if the DILs mum was there all the time and I had to make an appointment to see my grandchild. I'm sure the fil isn't wanting to be there when the op breastfeeds!! But he does want to see his grandchild before it is 2 mths old. I think that is reasonable. He isn't staying with you so I still cannot see what the problem is. It is nice that he wants to see his grandchild.

1charlie1 Fri 26-Dec-14 22:30:28

I'm sure the fil isn't wanting to be there when the op breastfeed!!
DS was breastfeeding pretty much constantly for weeks after he was born. If fil is happy to pop in for low key visits when convenient to the op, that's fine. If he's coming for the day, it's really, really not. The fact is, my mum and dad were welcome to watch me struggle with DSs latch, dissolve constantly into tears and walk around topless. My inlaws were not granted this intimacy. As the mother of a son who is less than 8 months old, I am already coming to terms with the likelihood that this pattern may repeat with my baby's babies. And I accept this. Babies don't spontaneously combust once they leave infancy. There's plenty of time to develop close bonds.

1charlie1 Fri 26-Dec-14 22:35:12

And OP, I'm not impressed by your DP's assertion that he will need his dad's support in the way that you'll need your mum's! It's not a bloody competition. And it doesn't sound as though fil is a 'roll up his sleeves' type of bloke anyway.

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