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Newborn- forseeing upset MIL, help!(180 Posts)
Currently 36weeks pg and a teensy bit hormonal and anxious. I already have DC1 but this is number 1 for DP.
His mum lives a 6/7hour drive away (could fly in 45mins but chooses not to do her DP always comes too to drive).
They've booked to come down for a few nights staying in local B&b 2weeks after due date so potentially only days old if baby late which wasn't met with any enthusiasm at all, in fact DP had to coax them into coming as they weren't staying in house.
DP mentioned last night that he believes that she'll expect to be asked to come for a week or so to help shortly after and refusal will be interpreted as limiting access to baby etc and likely to cause drama.
I don't know how best to deal with it? I'm a really private person, I've had social anxiety issues over the years, I find house guests for more than a few days difficult. I don't want 'help', the thought of someone taking my baby from me or doing my washing or even being around the house while I'm trying to BF (didn't manage last time) or even still bleeding and up during night makes me want to cry.
They are nice people and truly mean well, I want to have a good relationship with them but I find it very overbearing and I don't know how to help DP understand or how we should deal with it. Does anyone have any advice?
On one hand, you might be relieved to help but on the other, recovering from the birth and settling into family life would be difficult with an overbearing MIL.
It's your family and your baby. It's perfectly ok to not want help and don't be frightened to say no, why should you accept to prevent her feeling hurt, what about your feelings?
If she came again, could she stay in the b&b again? You could offer to pay for it?
To be honest, with an older DC you may welcome the help when the time comes. She prob won't expect to do much with the baby, but putting on some laundry, making some freezer meals, etc might be great even though you don't think so now.
You could have an honest conversation with her - tell her that you're quite shy and private but you really want her to be involved. And you're so happy that she wants to be part of it and help - but tell her that stuff like making freezer food, playing with your older DC would be the best thing.
But it is your little family. It sounds like she just wants to be useful. Be honest with her - getting in the way and being a burden is the opposite of what she wants to do (I would imagine) and she'd probably be mortified to know you're secretly worried about her visit.
DP won't suggest b&b again, she was so insulted this time.
I just can't bear the 2 of them hanging round the house for that length of time. I'd feel like I'd need to spend the week before changing beds and doing all the washing etc. She definitely wants time with the baby esp as DC1 isn't DPs.
I'd find it very difficult to talk to her, somehow everything ends up being about her and I don't know how to deal with it without either backing down and agreeing to things I'm not happy with or causing drama.
Would rather deal with this and try to get DP comfortable with plans before DC here and I'm even more hormonal! Families eh?
This is the time for your DP to put his big-boy pants on and deal with his mother. Suggest something like, "DP, this arrangement isn't going to work for me, please can you deal with it?"
Whenever I deliver someone, I tell the other parent that the best thing they can do is be the gatekeeper for well-meaning but often over-enthused relatives.
You haven't got pregnant in order to give MIL a baby to play with, you don't owe her a share in your new born, she's already had her own babies.
Do what you feel most comfortable with for your own peace of mind, tell DH to stop trying to pressure you into satisfying his mother's needs. He's using a bit of emotional blackmail on you in order to placate his mother. He needs to focus on what you want, not on what will please his mother.
When the time comes, if you feel you need help you can ask her, but see how you feel before you plan anything with her.
Hope all goes well for you.
What does your man here think of his mother's behaviour?. He is also key here; can he assert himself properly or is he really a mouse when it comes to his mother.
Overbearing people are not nice and do not mean well either. Those thoughts need to be banished from your head as of now. Its not about what his mother wants; its about your own early days with your newborn. Your feelings do matter.
Put boundaries in place re his mother, these seem far too low currently and she has used your previous lack of boundaries and your own social anxiety against you. You probably have not come across someone like his mother before either; your family of origin are probably nice and emotionally healthy. Your DP has not been so lucky.
Agree with PPs, if you don't feel comfortable talking to her, it's definitely DH's job.
You're pregnant and you'll have just had a baby - this is about you and what will make you feel comfortable. It's hard enough with a newborn.
Tell your DH to tell her they're welcome to visit (as per the plan you already have in place) but houseguests will be too stressful so soon.
He is happy to 'deal' with it, however it comes with a warning that it will make life difficult, there will be drama etc (effectively insinuating that whatever the fallout is is my fault). Does that make sense?
DP mentioned last night that he believes that she'll expect to be asked to come for a week or so
This is really simple. Don't ask! You're not refusing, just don't ask!
If she asks to come, THEN you have a problem and then you need to refer to all the advice regarding getting your DP to stand up to her. You will get posters saying that she should have equal access in comparison to your family / that your DP's feelings in this matter too etc., etc. but if he's going to be back at work, and you don't want her hanging around for a week, you have to be able to say that with confidence.
Problem is IMissGin is that he doesn't see the context yet because he's never had a newborn.
Sadly, having these conversations with DH was WAY easier the second time around (we actually didn't have them the first time around which ended up in a bit of upset on my part which was a bit unjustified as I hadn't made my position clear the first time) as he'd lived through the first time and saw where I was coming from.
Then he is being manipulative too. He's not in an intimate relationship with his mother, he has his own family now, neither of you responsible for her wellbeing. If there is drama and upset, leave them to stink and get on and enjoy your newborn. Not your circus, not your monkeys.
Let him deal with her, hopefully he is up to the task. People like his mother live for creating drama and making it all about them. If she cannot and will not behave decently then she should not be seeing any of you. Bad behaviour from relatives should not be at all tolerated or rewarded. After all you would not tolerate this from a friend.
He has grown up with her and could well think this is to some extent normal.
It is not your fault or his that she is like this. You did not make her that way.
This sounds like a dp problem. He's basically telling you now he will take MIL's side ("Sorry mum, I'd love you to stay but Gin says no, no I don't know why either, yes it does seem unfair") and you have to put up and shut up. You need to tackle this with him NOW.
Oh she sounds like a nightmare! At first I thought she was just an over-enthusiastic first time grandma who wanted to help.
Maybe show your DP this thread so he can see how you feel? Like turnip said, it's his job to be the gatekeeper and keep this stress from you. Yours is having the baby, which is a much bigger deal!
The fallout wouldn't be your fault. If she makes life hard and causes fights, the fallout will be her fault for trying to turn such a wonderful thing for your family sour.
Cross post with other PPs. I agree, turnip, and like that circus expression!
She'll definitely ask. Sadly! She's mentioned it about 5 times already re letting her know when so she can reschedule other commitments, I've just been non-committal so far.
You're right though, I think her perception is that my family will get more access/have a better relationship because they are closer. Actually, we see way more of them in terms of actual time as it's always a few days at a time and while my family are great, we all have busy lives and don't live in each other's pockets just. Why much there if we need each other but don't take offence at not being needed.
Due to timing of work it's likely DP will also be at home for much of the first few months so I'm fairly confident that 'help' isn't actually needed, although suspect it's less about help and more about time with GC.
Look I think doing things for people who have no insight into their own behaviour towards you isn't going to help you. You will be doing it for them but not for yourself. the time after birth you should be able to put yourself/baby first, not MIL first.
People have a strong urge to be connected and involved, but this can be achieved in many ways not just the traditional sitting around the house holding a baby kind of way, which trust me I also hate.
It's no good hoping she will help you around the house - if she isn't one of those types now she won't turn into one unless you specify what you want help WITH.
My sister and I have an understanding for years now that practical help is the help we want and when she helped me with my kids it was always shopping/housework and now I regularly visit her and forgo my 'urge/rights' to sit for hours holding the baby and I actually Help her.
If you don't have this relationship where you can say 'look it's very nice to have you around but it's going to be chaos, I could do with some practical help though, how about you pop round between 2pm and 4.30pm on x,y,z days, but I will text you first to keep you in the loop how i am feeling that day, maybe I will be up for more, but likely I will be tired. I'm sure you understand'
Then make sure you send them millions of photos etc, get DP to call them and text them to keep them in the loop. I've found the further you hold people back the more they fight to get to you, it's almost like s reflex action! So you have to or DP has to be up front and honest.
Don't be scared of them taking this badly, if they are nice but clueless they will probably feel embarrassed they don't want to impose on you.
This is really one for your DP to handle he needs to prioritise you and your new baby.
You need to discuss this with him tell him you will be hormonal, bleeding, exhausted, trying to establish breastfeeding which will take time and patience.
You do not need the fear of offending his family thrown into that mix.
You are not banning them from seeing the baby. They can see the baby when its born but you will be in no condition to be hostess.
Tell him straight you do not intend to get out of bed to cook and clean for them or to give the baby to them whilst your trying to establish breastfeeding as skin to skin is important for both you and baby in the early days.
Do you even have room for them to stay at yours? Is your DP planning on taking time off to care for his parents when they're around?
My DP's mum is mad excited about our baby and wanted to be there at the birth, DP just made clear to her that he loves her she is welcome to be the first to hold the baby if she wants but we need privacy during the birth and afterwards I will be resting.
She didn't even suggest she comes and stays for any amount of time in the first few days altho she has extended an invitation for us to go to her and stay at hers for as long as we wants, and frankly I don't personally mind if she comes and stays with us either we have room for her, she's not the type to expect being waited and hand and foot and is sensitive and understnading. I'm going to suggest to DP we go to her for an extended weekend so she can get as much baby cuddles as she wants, I can fully understand her excitement and am touched she is so happy.
It's a fine line but your DP is the one who should be gently speaking to his mum about it, he needs to explain to her that you will need to find your feet (both of you) with baby and she can come and go but you and baby will need rest and peace and quiet whilst you get thro the first few days therefore staying for a week after you've had the baby is not realistic.
IT's a DP problem you have he needs to man up.
Will make 'not my circus...' my mantra! It's a good one! Thanks!
KitXi- that's exactly my fear
I think you need to explain your concerns to DP and say that you are not agreeing to anything until the baby is here and you know how you are feeling. If you end up overdue and needing a c section or an instrumental delivery, you may come home feeling very battered and bruised. If you have a very quick delivery, you could be home in 6 hours and feeling fab. But the point is, you don't know what's coming and I refused to agree to any plans regarding visitors until I was home with baby and knew how I felt! I was anaemic after my 1st delivery and a bad haemorrhage and felt absolutely rotten for the first two weeks and we were bombarded with visitors. Needless to say, with the next 2, I was in control and not our families!!!
In this situation when OP's leave it up to DP, it usually turns out DP just hoped Op would change her mind, therefore continued to be encouraging to MIL all along and then OP is lumbered with this on day 2 post birth.
He has to deal with this NOW
It is a mantra that has served me well with a number of emotionally-manipulative relatives over the years ;) It does get easier saying no, I think Justine Musk on her website has a good poster print out of ways to say no without directly saying it. "This doesn't work for me" is a favourite of mine
BumDNC it would all be so much easier if they were closer and I could just invite them round every fortnight or so for tea, cake and baby cuddles or even have them watch sleeping DC for a couple of hours of an eve so DP and I could pop out for a bite to eat. That's what I'd love!
The help on offer though I find intrusive and hard work. I've being trying to explain the concept of help only being helpful if it's wanted to DP.
I do need to deal with this now, however is hard for DP to get as another poster said, for him it's all hypothetical.
I do want to get it right too, I don't want bad feeling in the first few weeks, it's the last newborn I'll ever have and I want to enjoy my little new family bubble without the stress of arguing with DP or feeling like people are upset.
Ask him if he thinks warnings of possible drama from his Mother are really what you need when you're preparing for the birth.
I had my eldest daughter from a previous relationship before I met my DH, we've had 3 DCs together. There was that different dynamic when I was pregnant with my second daughter, I knew what to expect whereas everything was new for DH.
I'm like you when it comes to house guests and also really wanted our privacy as a family just after each of our DCs was born.
Just say no but that you're looking forward to seeing them and them meeting baby in a few weeks when they stay in the B&B. After baby arrives he'll likely get why you've said no to her staying with you on a separate visit.
Exciting times, all the best.
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