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AIBU - Cover for when I go into labour

(36 Posts)
Frates Tue 15-Jan-13 14:07:50

Hi All,

Quite new to all this, so please bare with me.

Am after some honest feedback from both step mums and mums.

I am pregnant with my first baby due in March. My DH and I have 50 / 50 shared access with DH's ex to their daughter who is 6.

This works out pretty well and the relationship (ex's) is mostly amicable as they put their daughter first.

We often have DH's daughter more than the allocated 50% due to (ex wife's) work commitments, which is fine as we get to spend more time with her especially with the new one on the way (want her as involved as possible so she doesn't feel pushed out etc..).

However, there are some dates around my due date which we have been asked to have DS (these are 'additional). We have said yes, however with the caveat that there is organised 'back up' should I go into labour. 1 )For the obvious reason, want my DH there, and 2) As we want to keep things as calm and stress free for DH's daughter as possible.

At least if we can tell her that she may be going to x she will be (hopefully) more assured. We can then get on and introduce her to her baby brother or sister and resume the usual routine, keeping things 'normal'.

The problem is my DH's ex has said that she is not able to help with cover and that we will have to 'see what happens'. This frustrates me on so many levels. The fact that she is willing to let her daughter (potentially) have nowhere planned to go when it happens. The fact that she is local to our town, has a aunties and friends nearby (DH and I don't - no family near, and friends that don't have children or know DH's daughter enough for her to feel comfortable), and if I'm being really honest that we are covering or her (as we often do).

Personally, I don't think it's unreasonable to have an action plan, in fact it's a must!

I can kind of see the ' your baby, your problem' argument, NOT that that has been said openly. However, cannot understand why she would be willing to risk her daughter having nowhere to go or being left with a virtual stranger.

Arrgghhh!! feel better now.....

Petal02 Tue 15-Jan-13 22:44:14

Neither me nor the OP were suggesting that weeks and weeks are kept clear. Just the days around the due date. Is that really too much to ask?

mumandboys123 Wed 16-Jan-13 07:55:02

I would express caution when assuming mum is being deliberately difficult. For me, dealing with my work commitments is my top priority because if I lose my job, I lose an awful lot more. Mum may well be thinking 'well, she's on maternity leave now so looking after DD for an extra day isn't an issue as she's a good girl and won't cause any trouble' rather than 'what can I do to stress her out at the end of her pregnancy?'. When you have a 50/50 care situation, you obstensibly have back up care which pretty much rules out the need for making other arrangements. My ex isn't helpful - so I have back up and back up for my back up! But that's not something that has ever been needed here so I don't think it would necessarily occur to mum that doing something different might be the 'right thing' to do. Your baby is nothing to do with her and it has little affect on her life when it comes down to it.

I struggle to see why making arrangements for the child to be cared for in the even that she is with you when you go into labour is any more a problem than it would be for non-separated families. Mum has made her feelings clear - her work is her priority and she trusts you to do make sure she is cared for. So make those arrangements with your partner's family and be done with it. Don't stress over it any more than that!

allnewtaketwo Wed 16-Jan-13 08:13:16

I see what you're saying mumandboys, but if I was the ex, I would want to make sure I was there for my own child at this time, not to do my ex a favour, but to make sure my child's need to feel loved etc. at this time was paramount. The idea of my child being shunted out to a random friend/relative he's not overly familiar with at a time when he is likely to be feeling sensitive over the new arrival, would mean I would make sure I would be available to look after him. No-one one is going to get sacked for taking a day off/working from home at short noticed as a one off fgs. At the worst she can take a day unpaid emergency leave and ask her ex to compensate that. But refusing doesn't sound very child centric to me.

theredhen Wed 16-Jan-13 08:48:40

If I was the mother, I'd make sure I had some decent back up arranged for my daughter as I'd expect my ex to have other priorities if another child is about to arrive. That doesn't mean i would expect contact to stop or change but I'd be prepared for my ex to not be able to have dd at the drop of a hat and make sure I had cover arranged for when that happened.

I wouldn't leave it to him to arrange especially if I had support around me. I would want the security of knowing my dd was looked after and contingency plans were in place.

But then I'm a sucker for taking on responsibility and I am coming to realise not everyone thinks the same way.

purpleroses Wed 16-Jan-13 11:28:39

allnew - parents obviously difffer. Maybe I'm a dreadful mother, but if I've got an important work comitment and would be letting colleagues down if I abandoned it, or am away from home because of work I don't feel a desparate need to make sure I'm available to be with my kids at all times. If they're in their dad's care, and he shunts them off onto someone else to cope with an emergency (eg childbirth) then as long as they're safe and looked after, that's absolutely fine by me.

Agree she's unlikely to be sacked if she says she has to take a day off, but can also see why she might well think that it's her ex's job to sort out cover for times when he has DD but might want to be with his wife in labour, not hers.

allnewtaketwo Wed 16-Jan-13 12:23:11

I don't make myself available to my children at all times either, as I work full time. But I would certainly for important life events when he might need me (and although the birth of his new half sibling would not be an important life event for me, it would certainly be so for him)

NotaDisneyMum Wed 16-Jan-13 17:31:29

I guess it depends how you view 50:50 care - does the DC have each parent for 50% of their time; or both parents 100% of the time?

I used to consider myself 'off duty' when DD was with her Dad - as she's got older and more independent, I've realised that she benefits more if she has two parents looking out for her all the time, regardless of where she is actually spending that time - rather than taking it in turns with her Dad.

In the past, I would probably have said "your time, your problem" to my ex if he'd been in the OPs situation; now, I'd be making sure that I could be available for DD if at all.

Frates Wed 16-Jan-13 18:00:41


Thanks for all of the responses - again!

There's too much to respond to, only to say that we have never ever expected DH's ex to put her life on hold, just to help assist help find additional days of care, purely because of the fact that we have few people locally we can expect to be on hold for a long period of time. Assisting with the 5 or so days out of a month (or half of) would help as we don't have too many people to ask, that's just the way it is - won't bore you with the why's are wherefores... I totally accept that we have responsibility to arrange cover for the 'standard' days, although I do personally feel that DSD is better of with her Mum if it can be helped.

Additionally, I don't think the ex is being difficult for the sake of it, without going into detail (again) she has her own life and like the rest of us is a busy woman, so would doubt this is the case. I do however accept, that she may have concerns around the impact of a new baby on her DS. DH and his ex may not always see eye to eye, but who does (especially with an ex - I can tell you!)

As for the work thing - yep we juggle too, work is of paramount importance without doubt agree. I guess rather like some previous posts I go with the maxim that we do our best to back up (work and social events), purely for DSD, so naively thought the situation might be the same in return. Certainly refusal of caring for DSD is not an option (for us anyhow), as she is the only one who loses out - shunted from pillar to post.

Anyhow, it will get sorted out, they are talking dates and I am sure the best possible option will be found. My post a few days ago was one of frustration but it all seems a little clearer now smile. Here's hoping but v hard not to get stressed about it...

mumandboys123 Thu 17-Jan-13 16:02:54

why on earth would you consider this 'shunting from pillar to post'? It's a couple of days at most...and that's if it comes to it which it probably won't.

Allnew - there are people who may well lose their jobs if they are unable to attend at short notice, particularly single parents who may well have had a lot of time off to deal with illness in their children etc. It's not impossible to be on a 'final warning' for this kind of thing. I have had very, very unsympathetic employers and very good ones - it's the luck of the draw. I also think that the OP said mum goes away with work - which to me implys overnight stays. In these circumstances, it is unlikely she would be able to return at the drop of a hat.

Mum has made her position clear. If I were the OP now I would simply look at putting in place the necessary arrangements and leave it at that. She has done what she can.

Lafaminute Thu 17-Jan-13 16:16:22

I went into labour 2 wks early at 2am and had no-one to leave 6 yr old dd with - she came to the hosp with us. I had to labour painfully and quietly so I didn't frighten her but then had an epidural and then baby was born quietly and with minimum fuss while dh took dd for a walk around the hospital to wait for my friend to collect her. She managed to be with me for most of labour and the hosp were very accomodating & understanding. However, dh missed the birth of his son which didn't bother me too much as it was my second baby. I think this would've upset me if it was my first baby though. It's a tough one but you really need to have sd going to someone during the birth - does she really want her 6 yr old to witness a birth???

Stepmooster Sun 27-Jan-13 22:43:49

hi Frates I don't know if you're still reading this thread, but I just wanted to share my exp of my DD birth (my first). We had DSS10 over on his EOW visit. DD was born 2 weeks ealry and we ran through with him the drill if I went into labour when he was with us, this turned out to be the night I actually gave birth. My waters went at 2am and I went straight into 1 minute contractions, I had no idea I was going to have a fast labour. We all went to hospital thinking we had hours and plenty of time to call mum at a civilised hour ( she lived over an hour away and had others kids to take care of). DH sat out in visitors area with DSS and I went into delivery room. DSS was scared and would not let his dad leave him and apparently they could hear me howling the place down. DH got hold of his brother who was jumped in a taxi and arrived just in time for DH to see baby born. TBH midwife and I were doing fine, and DH was just annoying me with his questions when he did come in to be with me. So I wouldn't worry about labouring alone, you will almost certainly have a midwife. I didn't want DSS to be there when I gave birth, but in the end I knew he was child and I had to get on with it. Best bit though was DSS got to hold his sister as soon as she was born. And now I think it so much better for him to have been there and have to wait maybe 13 days or so for next visit. DSS still talks about it now in a very positive way.

Whatever happens you will be fine xxx

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