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needing a virtual hug

(40 Posts)
syberia Mon 19-Mar-12 10:52:05

Sorry everyone, but I am feeling sorry for myself and tearful today, it has all got a bit much!

As you all know, I am due to be a grandma very soon. Trouble is, I feel as though I have to walk on eggshells when speaking to DD. She has not felt well all through and I do understand that it has made her unhappy.
I see her about every six weeks, she lives in Yorkshire and we live in Northants. She has not been able to travel down because of nausea, and that is fine, we are happy to go there. We speak on the phone a couple of times a week.
It's just that NOTHING I say or do is right!
I have always been a mum that steps back rather than push myself forward and have never interfered with any of her life decisions, (even if I have privately rolled my eyes! )
We have always been close and I am glad for that.
She has been very grumpy, she admits that herself, but every time we speak I am left with the feeling that I am either stupid or an embarrassment and I feel I am being pushed away at a time when I want to be closer. (DH agrees, it is not imagined).
A while ago, when speaking about when baby will be born, I asked if it would be okay to go up and be around when little one is born. "Why on earth would you want to do that? The last thing I need is to be wondering what you are doing while I am giving birth!" What does she think I am going to be doing? Because my daughter is having a baby I want to be able to help if I am needed, if I am not needed fine, I will just come and see you all when she arrives "We are not going to see anyone for 2 weeks after she is born as we want to bond". Okay, I get the bonding but I would like to pop in and see you all. "God mother!"
Is it me? I have not gone "baby shopping" with her, I have not been involved with any of it really. I have been very careful about what I have bought as there are so many rules, and I have bitten my tongue on so many occasions.
She doesn't seem to realise that it is an important event in my life, too.
The thing is, I have now had enough. I sent a card to them both for Mother's Day from baby thinking it was a nice thing to do and that was wrong too.
I am just finding it all too stressful and a bit of me wants to say what I really think, but of course the last thing I want is to fall out.

Sorry, but I just needed a shoulder

Greatnan Mon 19-Mar-12 10:58:28

Have my shoulder with pleasure - I am something of an expert. She is just being drenched in hormones, I expect and may be a bit anxious about the birth
You can only offer and she will know she can call on you if she changes her mind.
'How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless child'. (Lear).

susiecb Mon 19-Mar-12 11:00:08

I'm so sorry this sounds really rough and I don't know what to suggest- its sounds as though you cant do wrong for doing right as they say here. It sounds as though you need a little me time though. Have a little break from trying to please someone else and do something nice for you today. here's a hug to be going on withflowers

MrsJamJam Mon 19-Mar-12 11:00:14

How horrid for you. Here's a big ((((((hug)))))) from me because I can't offer anything more constructive.

kittylester Mon 19-Mar-12 11:07:37

syberia our middle daughter is often short tempered which we have worked out is related to her blood sugar levels, as gn says your daughter's short temper is probably hormone related. If I just ignore our daughter's snappiness she often comes round herself later on and acts as though there was never a problem. She gets particularly riled if I forget something she has told me - which of course, very rarely happens grin

Surely, you have been made to feel stupid or an embarrassment for years already - I know I have!!hmm

You can use my shoulder anytime and here's a ((((hug)))).

Carol Mon 19-Mar-12 11:10:16

(((Big Hugs))) syberia. Your prickly daughter will be telling herself off for being so horrible with you, I'm sure, You're a safe person to vent at, as she's sure of your love and support; others might take the huff and tell her where she can stick it!

My daughter was brimming over with IVF and pregnancy hormones and was constantly irritated by everyone around her. She wasn't well, either. We all knew when to keep a low profile, and when we were around her, we would give each other private knowing looks - she was miserable, and after writing several 'sorry' cards to her partner for when he came home and she was lay on the bed crying, she went to Costco and bought a 40 pack of blank cards! Meant as a joke and a wry way of saying she was riding this out as well as us, and would need to keep accepting this is how it would be until after her babies were born.

Before she brought each of her premature twin babies home, her anxiety levels about infection from visitors rose, and she announced that no-one would be visiting or touching - we respected her wishes, which changed daily by the time they were due home, and I'm sure this will happen with your daughter. We were there in the thick of it, enjoying her and the babies when the time came. Just ride the storm flowers

wotsamashedupjingl Mon 19-Mar-12 11:19:34

Have you asked the dad-to-be if she seems ok? I think some mums get pre-natal depression. Might be worth checking. Apart from that I think you just have to wait, and excuse anything she says in these last few weeks.

Some couples do prefer to have a 'babymoon' for the first week or two. I know that will be hard for you but I don't think there is anything you can do. She might change her mind once the baby is hear and decide a bit of help would be good! I hope so.


gracesmum Mon 19-Mar-12 11:20:35

Here's another shoulder - you deserve it! I too have suffered and had to tread very gently at times. If it is any consolation as a mother herself she will find out one day. It is hard to hold back, but you may have to. Some women relate brilliantly to their mothers, others do not and at present she will be feeling totally self- centred, for a very good reason. She may also be worried/afraid/nervous and often mums are not the people grown up girls want to reveal that to. You will need an extra layer of skin, but I would just say you would like to pop in to see the new arrival and his/her parents at some time in the first few days, you will not stay, you will bring a present, look adoringly at your new grandchild and then be prepared to walk away. There will be plenty of time later and if the offer of help has been made you can do little more. She sounds a very independent girl, but be patient. PS this "bonding" business gets me - we coped well enough without it. Feeding every 2 hours seemed to do the business for me, but I assume your SIL will have his paternity leave so they will want to make their first forays into parenthood alone. flowers and wineto you and congratulations on imminent granhood

syberia Mon 19-Mar-12 11:22:37

Thanks girls, feel a bit less tearful now! So glad of the support and wise words I get on here.

Notsogrand Mon 19-Mar-12 11:34:10

I feel for you syberia, I really do. I've experienced similar situations over the years with one or the other of my daughters. Sometimes they need a safe place to vent, and Mum is usually 'it'.
This whole thing about being on their own for initial bonding seems to have come about with the advent of paternity leave. Once your SIL is back at work, I'm sure your daughter will want to see much more of you.
I agree with the comments about hormones! It's like being injected with mind-altering certainly have scant control over your feelings and responses.
Deep breaths. All will come well! (((HUG)))

bagitha Mon 19-Mar-12 11:35:04

I think greatnan has got it bang on – blame hormones and not yourself. In your shoes I think I'd be tempted to step back a few paces and just wait.

Thinking back to when I had my first child, which was also my mother's first grandchild, it never occurred to me to ask her to be there for the birth. I was having enough trouble persuading my husband to be there! She didn't ask to be there either. I don't think it occurred to her.

I wanted to see my mum soon after the birth, though I hadn't asked her to come the 200+ miles. We had already arranged that she would come for a few days' visit when the baby was about six weeks old. BUT my parents just decided to come anyway, visited me in hospital, stayed overnight in a B&B, visited me again and went home. It was lovely to see them. The other grandparents, about 60 miles away did a similar thing but just came for the day.

None of them got to hold the baby. I was in an old fashioned (but lovely) hospital and the babies were kept in nurseries into which only mothers and medical staff were allowed.

When I got home with the baby, I was trembling with the responsibility of it. I don't think I could have coped with anyone else in the house but my husband.

The first grandchild is a big thing for the grandparents, but it's an absolutely phenominally ENORMOUS life-changing thing for the first-time parents. I think it's important to bear that in mind and if they want to be left alone, leave them. They'll be tremblingly coping with the most awesome thing that's ever happened to them (it has happened to grans already) and should be allowed to do it their own way.

None of which means you've done anything wrong, syberia. I'm just being devil's advocate, as usual. Hugs. xx

artygran Mon 19-Mar-12 11:37:48

If it is any consolation, my DD was exactly the same five years ago when expecting her first child (especially the period after she gave up working and had a lot more time to think!). She was never a confident child and I think she was just overwhelmed by the whole business. Would the baby be okay? Would she be a good mother? Had she left it too late to have kids, etc. She was very touchy and snappy and we, like you, were going in with a whip and a chair. Then, about three weeks before the baby was born, my perfectly healthy, slim, active 37 year old son in law had a heart attack and had to go into hospital and have stents fitted. This around the time of her birthday on which date, having toughed it out and refused all offers of help, she broke down and howled. It got a bit better after that. SIL was out of hospital in time for the birth and all were well and happy. Hang in there, Syberia and keep your powder dry. She probably knows what effect the things she is saying to you is having, but, like my daughter, she just can't help herself at the moment. What she says and feels now, and what will happen when the baby is born will probably not bear much relation to each other!

Butternut Mon 19-Mar-12 12:03:09

Big HUG syberia! I don't think I can add anything to the insightful responses already given. Step back, take a deep breath, know it's not you and rest. sunshine. All will be well soon.

mrshat Mon 19-Mar-12 12:20:58

Syberia I could have written your message! I have been through this twice in the last 3 years, with the same daughter. It is not easy and best to bite your lip and walk away. Nothing is worth falling out over and once baby comes she will want you to be part of her (baby's) life but on DD's terms. There will be so many rules and you will probably need to walk on egg shells for some time, but hang on in there. I am sure it is hormones and it is only within the last 2-3 months that I can see the daughter I brought up emerging again. Like your daughter she was very ill througout both pregnancies and will never be 100% again, but refuses to talk about it and always has an excuse not to return to specialists, etc. etc.
It is a toughie but as the others say, just offer to help and if it is accepted great, if not, hang on in there and try to show you are not upset. As they say, 'you are damned if you do and damned if you dont'. In other words, you can't win. Once baby arrives tho' it will be worth it all.
My shoulder is always available - I wish I knew about Grandsnet in 2009! flowers

greenmossgiel Mon 19-Mar-12 12:42:30

Here's my shoulder and a warm arm around yours, syberia. 'A mother's place is in the wrong' as we all know. My younger daughter was wrought with tension throughout her second pregnancy, and a lazy, unsupportive husband did nothing to help the situation. When I visited her in hospital just after the birth of her baby, she was actually quite hostile. She's always suffered awful PMS and I think the hormones that kicked in after the birth 'put the tin hat on it'! If you can try and step back a wee bit and make some time for yourself, things may fall into place bit better. See how many of us have suffered the same issues with our daughters? Most of us, by the look of things! flowers

Maniac Mon 19-Mar-12 13:12:37

syberia a big HUG from me too.
give yourself a hug as well and when you do think of all the GNs sending you hugs

Nanban Mon 19-Mar-12 13:43:12

I hold on firmly to the hope that our children hit us because they are so absolutely sure they can - we have made them absolutely sure of our love and that we won't let them down - and most likely they have to keep it buttoned with everyone else. Maybe that's a bit like drowning man and lifebelt. Not greatly helpful but hopefully a little consoling. I so hope it all comes right when the baby arrives.

nanachrissy Mon 19-Mar-12 14:23:15

Syberia ((Hugs)) from me too. Such sensible advice on here that I can't add to it.
Just be ready, as she may well decide she needs her mum,and when she does you'll be there! sunshine

Mishap Mon 19-Mar-12 14:34:19

Hello Syberia.

I am sending you a hug too - amongst so many. I am sure that you are getting the message - you are not alone!!!

My daughter endured ante-natal depression - she underwent a complete personality change from a sunny generous personality to a sick person in bed for 4 months and unable to engage with the world. It was a dreadful time for all of us. It may be that your daughter is suffering from a mild dose of this too.

The whole being present at the birth thing is a difficult one. One of my three daughters wanted me to be there - I was with her throughout the early stages of baby no.1 then she went for a C section (her OH accompanied her to theatre); I saw baby no.2 born; and arrived just too late for baby no.3. But she was clear that she wanted me there.

Daughter 2, who suffered the antenatal depression did not want me there for either of her births - this was hard to swallow as she and I are very close (and very similar). I took it on the chin though and left her to make her own decisions.

Daughter 3 has not yet embarked on reproduction.

I really do think that you have to go with the flow - believe me I do know how hard it is - it is such a special event for us too. But the most important thing is to secure your long term relationship with her, her partner and the new baby. Above all, do NOT take it personally!! - her hormones are influencing her behaviour; as too are fashions. The idea of bonding as a nuclear family is relatively new concept and in days gone by mothers were only too glad to have the support of the wider family - things have changed - we cannot fight it. I suspect that she will be jolly glad of your help when the time comes; if it has become a big issue between you, she will find it hard to back down and ask for help.

Rule No.1 is to express confidence on HER ability - even when you think she is getting it wrong!

You are embarking on an exciting new phase of your life and it will bring you great joy - and endless opportunities to bite the tongue!!

Try and let some of this wash by you - treat it lightly and she is likely to settle down a bit. It is not to do with you - believe me - it is the way things are now.

expatmaggie Mon 19-Mar-12 14:44:19

It all sounds very familiar to me, although I was warned in good time. My first awaited grandchild was miscarried and of course I rushed to see my daughter as soon as we heard the news. She was sitting on the sofa, having discharged herself from hospital (she is a midwife) and never spoke a word to me.
We just sat there - her not speaking.
After a while we decided to leave so before going I asked my son in law for some advice on a computer problem and went to his study.
Then we left and drove the 100 miles home.
Later she accused me of just coming to see her husband about computers!

After that I backed off ( I felt so very hurt) and disciplined myself to say nothing and tried to keep a distance. This attitude has paid off and both my daughters are now mothers and all the births have gone well but I never went until asked to come and now we all have a very good relationship.

Try not to feel hurt. It will all pass over in time. It is not your baby and your daughter needs to have the feeling that she can decide what is best for her baby without having to consider your feelings.
In time you will see enough of the child you can be assured of that. Be patient.

Annika Mon 19-Mar-12 14:53:11

syberiaHere are some ((((((hugs)))))) from me to you.
I know only too well what it is like to feel what you feel at the moment. flowers

syberia Mon 19-Mar-12 15:16:46

Thank you all so, so, much for all your constructive comments, they really have helped. It is a relief to think it is perhaps "normal" for her to be so grumpy!!

I think it is relevant that her partner is also female. They are more than capable of managing every eventuality between them ( that is not meant as a slur on the male population! ) so perhaps I am a little less needed because of that.

I shall bide my time, bite my tongue and be there when she asks. sunshine

Mishap Mon 19-Mar-12 16:59:57

Well done Syberia - chin up!

JessM Mon 19-Mar-12 17:15:39

Little squeeze from me too syberia - good old GN I say. What a team!

NannaJeannie Mon 19-Mar-12 19:53:32

Big hug Syberia, keep giving your unconditional love and understanding. Let them have their 2 weeks baby bonding (unless they ask you to pop up for the day). It will come right in the end trust me, I know, it has only taken me 4 years with my DD (different circumstances), just hang on in there. You're her mum, its your job and sometimes its tough.