Gransnet forums


To consider not telling the grandparents?

(29 Posts)
BetterNotBitter Tue 12-Nov-13 14:06:58

Hi everyone, I'm imposting on your site again I'm afraid.

As I've said before, I am a mummy not a grandma yet and not for a very long time as our little one is only 2!

As some of you may recall, we have had an awful time with my husbands parents and now don't have any contact with them. I won't bore you with the details, other than to assure you I am not one of the nasty DILs that some of you on here have the misfortune of having and my husband is perfectly lovely also! It was after a long period of trouble that my husband made the call to go no contact, after a month or so I persuaded him to give them another chance hoping they'd change their ways but it didn't happen and my husband decided he'd had enough once and for all and sadly I agreed with him. That was at the beginning of this year.

My husband has no qualms about this and nor do I really, other than to feel wholly saddened by the whole situation, my husband doesn't share this opinion.

I have a few situations I'd love your opinions on.

A) do we send a christmas card? We have no contact at all usually.
B) we are trying for a another baby. If were lucky enough to fall pregnant, do we tell them?

For me, it would feel wrong not to tell them if there were another baby on the way BUT, and it's a big but.... I find conflict with them extremely stressful. After a particularly horrible visit from them a year or so ago, I suffered an early miscarriage which could have been entirely unrelated but I'm very worried that if we tell them, a similar situation could arise again.

Also, we don't want them back in our lives at the moment. So is telling them giving them false hope that we're doing so to make amends? Will it mean we have all the stress and pain of having to cut ties again? If we don't tell them while I'm pregnant, do we tell them once the baby comes? Unfortunately, they won't be welcome to be involved with us in any way, so is it making things harder for them to know?

I really don't know what to do for the best?

janeainsworth Tue 12-Nov-13 14:15:05

Bitter how do you think they feel about your son having cut off ties with them?

Either they don't care, in which case you are wasting your time and emotional energy sending Christmas cards or telling them about any baby, or they do care, and are deeply unhappy, in which case re-establishing contact for whatever reason, could be interpreted as cruel, unless you intended it to be a proper reconciliation.

Without knowing the details of what your inlaws have done in the past, it's impossible to judge what you should do.

But don't put yourself and your husband in the wrong - and sending them good wishes for Christmas would be wrong if you didn't really mean it.

yogagran Tue 12-Nov-13 14:16:02

Just one little question while I ponder on your post - are you in touch with anyone else on your DH's side of the family. In other words - if you decide not to tell DH's parents, is it likely that they will hear from other members of the family?

I really feel for you, it must be such a difficult situation for you flowers

Tegan Tue 12-Nov-13 14:16:30

Whatever you decide don't do anything that could endanger the baby; once we become parents our priorities change and, at this moment in time your priority is your unborn child. I hope it all goes well for you this time.

gracesmum Tue 12-Nov-13 14:21:18

I would
Yes send a Christmas card - and ne from your 2 year old to Granny and Grandad.

2) I wouldn't worry about the "next baby" scenario until "it" is safely on its way - and if anybody asks why you left it late-ish to tell them you have the perfect excuse that having had a miscarriage you didn't want to tempt fate.
I would not dream of prying into the rights and wrongs of your situation, but your 2-year old has no issues with his/her grandparents and in my opinion for what it is worth, there should be an avenue of communication from him/her to them. The occasional picture or card does not commit you to a 100% reconciliation - but the relationship between grandparents and their grandchild is a precious one.
If the above does not apply - forget I said it and forgive me for talking through my hat.

gracesmum Tue 12-Nov-13 14:22:28

FF syndrome again - that should have read "one from your 2-year old"

Minty Tue 12-Nov-13 14:48:47

gracesmum, what very good advice.

BetterNotBitter Tue 12-Nov-13 15:23:37

jane to answer your question, they're attitude can be described as 'it's our way or no way' so I suspect their feelings about being cut off from their son & his child follows suit. They were not willing to compromise on they way they wanted things to be at all so they made it clear that either we gave in and did things their way or they weren't interested.

yoga we are in touch with my husbands brother but that is it, he has a large family but my MIL made it clear to them that they just choose sides, they couldn't be in contact with both them and us and naturally they all chose them. My husband was never close to any of them anyway so we can understand that totally. We have very, very little to do with his brother as he works abroad but when we see him we get along very well with him. He's already said that he understands our decision not to see his parents and also not to tell them about any future pregnancies, he doesn't have a problem with not mentioning anything to them. We did say to him that we completely understood if he'd rather not know as I wouldn't feel comfortable keeping a secret like that from my parents but he feels his parents are in the wrong so that's his choice.

Thanks tegan, that's really kind of you to say.

graces I agree with minty wonderful advice. The reason I'm eager to resolve this before pregnancy is that I suspect it will prompt 'discussion' between my husband and I as I will probably feel sorry for the in laws and my husband can't understand this after all they've put us through, so I'd rather avoid the stress of conflict when pregnant!

As for the bit about our LO not having any issues with grandparents, I agree fully as LO has no idea who they are, even when we were in contact with them, they weren't very interested in our baby anyway. However, in spite of that, given my strong feelings about the importance of grandparents in a child's life I still tried to include them by doing as you say and sending pictures, videos & drawings from the LO which were always met with disappointing responses such as 'I don't like the clothes LO is wearing' or 'LO looks too much like you in that one, send one where LO looks like our side so I can show people cos I'm not showing them that one!' Or 'Has LO only just started doing that now, my friends grandson has been doing that for months already!' So as you can imagine, this didn't fill me with desire to continue seeing them things.

Anything we do send will be basic, a simple christmas card or a simple pregnancy/baby announcement.

FlicketyB Tue 12-Nov-13 16:34:58

BetternotBitter Given your last email, I fully understand the estrangement. I think you are right, limit contact to a Christmas card with good wishes and may be one sentence of news and send a birth announcement card but leave it at that

When one has a happy relationship with ones own family and your partner has decided, for good reason to cut contact with his, there is always a little kernel of thought that thinks the other side might change because their way of thinking is so incomprehensible, but from what you write. I think accepting their estrangement is the best thing.

Your LO, will not be the only child growing up with one set of grandparents. Children just accept the status quo, there may be a question or two when he is a bit older and you can explain the situation as kindly as possible. It will be a question from curiousity rather than seeking justification for their exclusion from his life.

Smileless2012 Tue 12-Nov-13 16:38:08

Isn't it a shame Betternotbitter how these awful situations come about. Having your 1st child should have been a wonderful experience for you and your hubby to share with your family and friends. As a gran who hasn't had any contact with my gs for over a year, when he was 8 months old, I simply cannot understand why your i.l.'s are being this way.

As Gracemum says, sending a card from your 2 year old is keeping a line of communication open with out making any firm commitment. I think it is wonderful that despite your problems you continue to try and include them in your child's life.

Perhaps for now you should try not to focus on this too much, and see how you both feel when your next baby is safely on the way.

flowers for you, for being a thoughtful and caring d.i.l. If only they were all like you and your i.l's. realised how fortunate they are.

Mishap Tue 12-Nov-13 16:55:10

I can hardly believe that your ILs are so insensitive. What can they be thinking of? Do they have any idea about why you have had to cease contact? Do they have no grasp of what the problems are? Do they give the same grief to the other DIL?

It is their loss and all you can do is enjoy your lovely little family. Hope you are lucky with another one. You cannot rule your lives round people who are so insensitive - it is just a pity that they happen to be your in-laws.

I get the feeling that your OH is not up for discussing the whole situation and has made up his mind on the best way forward - they are his parents, so it should perhaps be left to him to decide. You do not want too many "discussions" to sully your lives together. Ask if he would like you to send a Christmas card and if he says no then leave it at that and move on.

Who knows, time may improve things - but time is the one thing that we grandparents do not have so much of, and it is very unwise if your ILs not to realise this.

MargaretX Tue 12-Nov-13 17:07:12

Firstly they are not your parents and you don't have to take responsibility for the estrangement. There is probably no woman good enough for him on the planet according to her. ( I know this from experience)
Some mothers are in love with their sons and flip out when he takes a wife.
If he wants to send a Christmas card then let him send one. You can back off and if there is to be another baby then he can let them know.
Please do try to keep your distance and don't worry about it too much. I cared too much for years until my DD2 finally told me to STOP IT.
And I did. I wasted so many years trying to please her.

If she wants to be a nice Gran then she will come round to it. Otherwise if she is going to critisise then you are better off without her.

Nonu Tue 12-Nov-13 17:12:44

May I wish you luck in this horrible situation you find yourself Bitter.
You will I am sure take the best way forward , as only you know the people involved !

Nelliemoser Tue 12-Nov-13 17:20:12

Just a thought here. It seems your DH who knows his parents better than most people might just be being very realistic about how difficult it is to deal sensibly with his parents.
Send a card from the grandson.
I would say never close the door on that relationship completely though, just keep the sort of polite distance you need to without getting yourself really stressed!

Agus Tue 12-Nov-13 18:44:32

That could be my post MargaretX! I tried for approx. 20 years to please my MIL, nothing worked. I had stolen her precious boy. No matter how much I tried to include her in our lives and that of her GDs, I was wasting my time.

Our 2 DDs decided themselves, as teenagers, they didn't like her and comparing her to my DM, knew what a loving Granny should be.

When I realised, a good few years in, that I and my DDs never would be thought of as part of her family, I let DH make arrangements with his family. He eventually told his mother that we came as a unit and if she didn't want his wife and children, then she wouldn't have him either and he cut all ties with her. That was 10 years ago and to be rid of the constant stress of the upsets she caused us, was the right decision.

So BetternotBitter, think carefully about trying to make a relationship for your children with her. I have two GDs and nothing would keep me apart from them. Like my own DDs, they are my breath. Your own family take priority now.

Grandparents are very important in a child's life as you say, but, it depends on the grandparents. Best of luck for the future.

grannyactivist Tue 12-Nov-13 18:48:59

better I spoke today from someone in a similar situation to you who sent a birthday card to the estranged grandfather only to have it torn to pieces.

grannyactivist Tue 12-Nov-13 18:56:07

Sorry - that should read 'to someone' of course.

MargaretX Wed 13-Nov-13 10:38:31

Thanks agus When I came to Germany with my husband and our 3 year old daughter you would be surprised at all the things I did wrong. My own mother had just died and I was ready to be loving to my Mil. I had no experience of such coldness and criticism. My fault was that I was English! But my German sister in law was from Berlin and somehow that wasn't right either.
To have married one of her sons was like winning the lottery and we had to be thankful and everlastingly happy and content just to have won this prize!
She died at the age of 98 and I inherited some jewellery. I went straight to the place where Gold is valued and had the lot valued and bought a computer!

annodomini Wed 13-Nov-13 11:32:56

Sweet revenge, MargaretX.

BetterNotBitter Wed 13-Nov-13 11:52:04

Thank you all for your replies, as always they're very helpful.

flickety if it were just the responses to our emails etc I would have been able to put that aside and continue with contact, the problem was that this rudeness and unkindness was present in every element of their behaviour. Coupled with extreme selfishness and no respect for their son (or me for that matter) it just became impossible to keep going. You're absolutely right about me not being able to believe they won't change and I suppose I didn't realise it until I read what you wrote, like you say mine, my husbands and our little ones relationship with my family is wonderful and this kind of behaviour is unconcievable for me so I think I have always (probably too freely) given the benefit of the doubt.

Your point about curious it's rather than seeking justification was also really helpful and something I'd not thought of in that way, so thankyou.

smileless you're right, it is such a shame. Especially as they aren't terrible people if you see what I mean. It's not like they would be dangerous to our child or have been abusive towards my husband. Thank you for your kind words.

mishap the problems we have had are a whole load greater than just a few insensitive comments I'm afraid. I think My MIL has a big need for control and despit my husband being nearly 30, both his parents still believe he should follow their orders. During the many conversations when we tried to discuss issues with them, my mother in law would cry and say she just gets carried away at first but after a while it became apparent that they could see no problem whatsoever with their behaviour. I have to take some of the blame for not letting my husband be as firm as he wanted to be at the very beginning of the problems. I was too eager not to upset my inlaws so I always persuaded my husband to say everything 'gently' when in fact had he been abit more harsh the situation may not have escalated as it did. I don't think they truly do understand the reasons we ceased contact, in one of the last conversations we had with them, his parents said things to my husband like 'were your parents and you'll do as we say' or 'you knew us before her so we should come first'. They really believed that it was only me who had the problem with their behavious when in fact their son was more angry with them than me. I think because they were under this false belief that they didn't take my husband seriously when he was asking them to change their behaviour.

Margretx I think you're right! they aren't my parents and if he isn't bothered then I need to try to do as you say and just stop worrying about it. I'm sorry to hear about your problems with your mother in law, especially at the time you'd just lost your own mother. It must have been very hard for you.

nellie in hindsight I should have trusted my husbands opinion re his parents and particularly his mother a lot earlier than I did, foolishly I thought that he was unkind keeping them at arms length as they seemed nice enough but turns out he was right! Like you say, he knows them best and he anticipated every problem we would have. I do agree with not closing the for completely though, even if we only keep it half open in our own minds. Hopefully with time they will come to see that they need to change a little to have a relationship with their grandchild and this may be enough to make a difference.......unlikely I suppose, but you never know!

agus you're right about it depending on the grandparents in question. I think the reason I've found it so hard to accept is because as I've said, they aren't bad people. I don't know if the issue is that MIL always wanted another baby herself and just couldn't seem to understand that our baby wasn't hers! As well as sadness about the situation, I have to admit that like my husband I do still carry some anger for the misery she cast over what should have been the most special time in our lives, when everything else was perfect. There was no reason for us to have any stress in the time our baby was born, we have good jobs, We were fortunate for me to be able to give up to be a full time mummy, we have a lovely home of our own, great friends and family and yet so much of our first year with our little one was overshadowed by this awful situation so I suppose I resent her for it and I'm not sure if I will ever get past it. In the early months of LOs life we barely had a day that wasn't ruined by her. Only hours after I got out of hospital (she'd been to visit the day before when LO was born in the hospital) she turned up my husbands dad and her best friend and her husband (who I'd never even met before) demanding to see baby, we were upstairs, my husband answered the door and said we were resting and she replied 'it's ok, she can rest upstairs all she wants, nanas here to take over now, just give me that baby down here I want to show him off' my husband obviously said of course not and explained that like he'd already told her before the baby arrived we didn't want visitors unless we'd had abit of notice as I was trying to establish feeding etc. to which she replied 'oh she's not going through with that breastfeeding stuff is she, well she can't do it while were here, it makes us feel sick'...... Things got worse as the weeks went on!

Stansgran Wed 13-Nov-13 12:46:49

I think one of the problems is what some one said in another thread that your child's child is like your own. But it isn't . You'd lay down your life for both of them but not necessarily their partners. And the interference / concern does look like a control struggle especially if money comes into the equation. Sometime ago my DD said about DGD "she's got two mothers." I thought it was a compliment now I'm not so sure. I've learnt a lot and modified my behaviour reading these threads.

JessM Wed 13-Nov-13 13:50:02

It is a kind of life crisis becoming a grandmother - sometimes a wonderful one and sometimes a really big shock that one is no longer "the mother" and is, in a sense, on the fringes of "the family" all of a sudden, rather than the hub. This MIL obviously not coped at all well. Don't fret OP, let your husband decide.

Nanban Sun 17-Nov-13 19:53:38

They are your husband's parents. What right have any of us to impose our standards on others, to expect others to react according to our rules. What right to judge who is and is not in our childrens' lives. Accept your husband's parents for simply that. Get over any 'issues' you may have, think yourselves the 'bigger and better' if that helps. They are not just your in-laws, they are your children's genetic heritage, they are your children's history for good or bad. Bite on it, get through the days. Give yourselves a huge pat on the back for your compassion.

Tegan Sun 17-Nov-13 20:44:58

And if they make your life miserable instead of happy drop them [imo]. It sounds to me as if the woman is making her life hell. If this was a marriage we were talking about we'd say 'get out and get out now' [imo]

Nonu Sun 17-Nov-13 21:04:42

Bitter. you should forget about the whole lot . it must be getting boring for you !