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New baby

(29 Posts)
Babyboomer Wed 08-Jan-14 23:35:45

I was thrilled when my daughter told me the other day that she is expecting our first grandchild. We have always been close and get on well together, and I have a good relationship with her husband, too. They live 20 minutes drive from us, and we see each other often, so I offered to help out when she comes out of hospital after the birth, as my mother did for me. I was astonished when she said there would be no need , as her mother-in-law will be doing this.

Her parents-in-law live abroad, and when she and her husband phoned them to break the good news, the in-laws said they intended coming over for the birth and would stay at their house. My daughter said she was quite happy with this, as her mother-in-law is a retired midwife, so is experienced with new babies. An aunt and uncle are also coming over, and my daughter asked if I would put them up, as they are not well off.

I smiled, and acted as if I was happy with all this too, and agreed to put up the aunt and uncle. I did not let my daughter see how hurt and disappointed I was. After all, she is the one having the baby, and has a right to decide who she wants to be there. I'm trying to be positive about this, but I can't stop thinking about it, and I'm afraid that one day I may let my feelings show. Do you think I am being selfish in feeling this way? And has anyone got any tips on coping with this graciously? I don't want to spoil this happy time by causing ill-feeling.

Scooter58 Thu 09-Jan-14 00:04:36

Don't think you are being unreasonable at all,I would feel exactly the same way and would have difficulty hiding the fact.And I would probably resent the fact that I was expected to provide B&B as well.Very difficult to deal with,no easy answers on this one,perhaps her Dad could have a word in her ear,gently letting her know that you are feeling upset and hurt?

posie Thu 09-Jan-14 00:13:49

My daughter and I have a close relationship and I was present at the birth of my 2DGS at her request. So I can well imagine your hurt and disappointment.
However I can see it from her side. I think it makes quite a difference that her in-laws live abroad so will be staying there and also the fact that mother in law was a midwife. She maybe feels a bit apprehensive about it all and thinks it will be good to have an expert on hand. Things maybe seem a bit scary to her at the moment?
I'm sure however that when the time comes she will want her mum around.
Not too sure about aunt and uncle coming to visit at the same time though. As I said I was there for my daughter at the births and also hospital visiting. Then I backed off a bit to give her and her husband time together with their Baby as I knew she didn't really want visitors in the first week. She knew I was just a phone call away if she needed me.

Tegan Thu 09-Jan-14 00:18:52

Oh crikey; bit of insensitivity going on here. Did the in laws not at least ask if they could come over for the birth? Anyway, how do they know when it's going to be..could be early, could be late. You could have lodgers for ages. No wonder you're feeling hurt. The only thing I can think is it's a culture sort of thing with her husbands family perhaps?

FlicketyB Thu 09-Jan-14 00:51:33

Bear in mind that the PiL live abroad, while you live 20 minutes away. Once they return home, you will be the available grandma and will have all the time in the world to be with your grandchild. This may be guiding your daughter's desire to let her husband's parents stay and help for the first week, just because they will have far fewer opportunities than you to see the child that is their grand child too

Imagine how you would feel if you were the distant grandparent knowing that other grandparents were constantly seeing and helping with your joint grandchild that you can probably only visit a few times a year.

We are distant grandparents (200 miles) while DDiL's mother lives close by. We are very fortunate that both sets of grandparents get on well and act like one family. We always sleep at the other grandma's house when we visit and she comes and stays with us. A really good relationship with the your SiL's parents will make grandparenting so much enjoyable for all of you, including your DD and DSiL and beloved grandchild(ren)

Granny23 Thu 09-Jan-14 00:53:36

Oh Babyboomer I can see why you would be upset and disappointed and don't think you are being selfish in any way. I expect that your daughter is just taking your support, help and shared excitement for granted. You are her Mum and she will expect you to be involved, throughout the pregnancy, the birth and beyond, whereas she will be delighted that her in-laws are willing to go to great lengths to come and meet and help care for their Grandchild. I well remember when my MIL first came to see our new born in hospital and insisted on cleaning our house from top to bottom and being there to welcome us on the day we got home she never once asked me how I was or how the birth had gone, because all she was interested in was her new DGD. One of my DDs has a similar tale to tell about her MIL. Both of us just wanted our Mums at that very emotional time.

I presume there are still months to go until the baby is due and the plans made now may well change. As we know babies can arrive anything from a few weeks before to two weeks after the due date so when will the In-Laws come over? How long will they stay? Who is going to shop and cook for 6 adults? Having an ex-midwife MIL in the house might be a blessing but will your DD really want her FIL (not to mention an Aunt and Uncle!) around all the time while she struggles to establish breast feeding etc. Most couples, while grateful for some help, appreciate having time alone to 'bond' with their baby.

Please do not let this effort by your daughter to involve her in-laws spoil your own delight and involvement at this ultra special time.

thatbags Thu 09-Jan-14 06:55:53

Mothers have no right to be with their daughters when their daughters give birth. They have no right to expect to be the one who is there helping out in the first few days. And they have no right to feel upset if someone else such as the new baby's other granny is the one who is helping for whatever reason. flickety has pointed out one of the reasons – the other granny is not around most of the time and won't be. Your turn will come.

I don't think your feelings are unreasonable but I admire the fact that you have put a brave face on things for your daughter's sake. After all, who knows, she may not be perfectly happy with the arrangement but have accepted it because it was offered and she felt it would be rude to refuse.

You are wise to go with the flow. All the best for the birth and afterwards. Enjoy your grandchild. flowers

harrigran Thu 09-Jan-14 15:42:02

I am the MIL who was there to help when both babies were born, though not actually at the birth. I stayed a week for each child, cooked washed, shopped, walked the floor with fretting baby. After one week I went home and DIL's mother arrived to visit and I took a back seat. I see GC and look after them at least once a week whereas the other Granny only sees them a few times a year. I could never be jealous of the time she spends with GC as I get the lion's share.
Congratulations on being a first time Granny to be, welcome to walking on eggshells smile

Babyboomer Thu 09-Jan-14 15:53:32

This is a big thank-you to the people who responded to my post of yesterday. I was feeling a bit low when I posted it, and started to feel better as soon as I had got it off my chest. I felt better still when I read the advice and support you all sent. Thatbags is quite right - I don't have a God-given right to be there, and I am very lucky to live so near to my daughter and grandchild-to-be. The aunt and uncle will only be staying with me for a few days, and I should be able to manage that OK. The parents-in-law will probably be there for several weeks, but they live on the other side of the world, so I shouldn't resent them. I will have other chances to be involved.

I think Gransnet forums provide a very valuable service - it is much better to let off steam in the safe space of a forum than to blow your top and risk causing offence to a family member which may last for years. I'm guessing that the ability to smile while keeping your thoughts to yourself is probably an essential skill for every grandmother - this will give me a chance to practice it!

merlotgran Thu 09-Jan-14 15:55:05

When your daughter is fed up with MIL the midwife and other family members under her feet while she tries to cope with a newborn she will turn to you for a some understanding of the situation. You will be able to rise above it all when she looks at you with raised eyebrows and hisses under her breath.

I've been there. I was the one in the kitchen (I know my place grin) cooking for all and sundry while the other granny clucked and cooed over the first GS.
My daughter's hug and 'thanks, mum' made all the pent up envy and disappointment worthwhile. She was glad to see the back of her MIL and I then had my DD and GS to myself.

Hang on in there.

Kiora Thu 09-Jan-14 16:00:20

Keep acting and smiling and all will be well. It's hard but remember that your feelings are just that...your feelings. It's understandable, it's normal to feel as you do. Don't beat yourself up about it. If your not comfortable about the aunt and uncle coming you could talk to her about that. But don't spoil things for her or you. Good luck and keep us posted. Good luck.

JessM Thu 09-Jan-14 16:03:11

Yes I agree. Good advice here.
Lots of new grans feel pushed aside these days because fathers have paternity leave and there is much fretting about fathers bonding. Once the MIL and co have gone back home your help will be much appreciated. And you won't be the one that gets the blame for not saying the right thing on day 3!
Hope the MIL has the sense to tread lightly. I once witnessed the Nigerian version of grand mothering in the first week postpartum - next door neighbour, not her first born, gathering of the grannies and aunties all telling her (loudly and forcefully) what she could and couldn't eat etc poor thing! UK mums lead sheltered lives grin

FlicketyB Thu 09-Jan-14 16:30:26

* Babyboomer*, you are so right, once something is said there is no going back, but let off steam elsewhere, especially somewhere you can be anonymous, and you can then sit and think things through calmly.

I have learnt never to criticise but also to be quick with praise and admiration. It is hard sometimes, but worth it.

kittylester Thu 09-Jan-14 17:00:26

babyboomer - great news!

Grandchildren are around for ages and ages after they are born - your turn will come and you will get to see much more of the baby's development than the other GPs. Take your time. smile

J52 Thu 09-Jan-14 18:10:16

Congratulations Babyboomer, welcome to the world of Grandparenting! It is a delicate place to be! Others have given good advice. As the MIL grandmother I know how easy it is to be sensitive when the mother's parents seem to be preferred and see the grandchildren more frequently. I remind myself that it is not a competition and there is enough love, in all directions, for all of us to share. Enjoy every minute. X

jinglbellsfrocks Thu 09-Jan-14 18:23:59

As the inlaws live on the other side of the world, how will they manage to organise their trip to arrive just at the right time for the birth. Estimated dates of delivery are rarely adhered to! confused

I think you have been amazingly accommodating. I hope you can keep it up. Good luck. smile

Mishap Thu 09-Jan-14 18:43:47

Don't be upset - I know it is hard sometimes, but I know that you will be No.1 gran when babe is here and the in-laws have flown. The fact that MIL is a midwife may be what is influencing her thinking; welcome the uncle and aunt - be the prefect hostess and do your DD proud.

I was present at some of the births of my GC - different DDs had different wishes. I tried not to let myself feel hurt if they did not want me there. To be honest I would not have wanted my Mum there! Salt in the wound with one of my DDs is that she chose to have some ghastly alternative therapist/dula there - and she just happens to be someone I cannot stand!! - I think she is a total charlatan. I gritted my teeth and smiled.

You have lots of joy to look forward to. Try not to let this initial spasm of hurt feelings stand in the way of any of that. Give your DD a hug and say how wonderful it will be for her to have a midwife on tap and how happy you will be to care for aunt and uncle. She will thank you in the long run believe me.

J52 Thu 09-Jan-14 20:39:32

Why should the mother's mother be 'No1 grandmother'? Why should there be a 'No 1 ' grandmother? Both grandmothers should be loved and respected equally. X

eliza Thu 09-Jan-14 21:31:47

Totally agree with you J52--I am the fathers mother but I have stood my ground when need be

Example, we were told that baby not coming for his usual weekend visit, which would not have been a problem but he was not coming because Mum was being mean

I called her and told her whether she likes it or not baby also is part of our family too, and always will be, I told her he belongs to us too.

Anyway it all worked out for the best, I had no bad intentions just wanted to say my piece. And she was acting like the penny had dropped and she came to realise that I was indeed correct

Penstemmon Thu 09-Jan-14 22:07:14

Goodness Eliza you took a risk! Grandparents have no ' right' to access grandchildren and the children certainly do not 'belong' to anyone except maybe their parents!

She could well have dug her heels in and you could have destroyed the relationship! You were lucky!

Nelliemoser Thu 09-Jan-14 22:59:29

Babyboomer You are only 20 mins away and t'other gran lives abroad and as you say is a midwife who can give a lot of reassurance.

You will get to see a lot more of your DGC than she will in the months to come.

My DD wanted us to see the baby as soon as possible, which was next day, and then leave them to it but visit every 2weeks or so. I can see its disappointing but it's not worth making an issue of this.

My DGs t'other gran lives round the corner from him (I am a two hours drive away) DD and DGSs tends to call round to Mil quite often for a change of scene and a brew.
T'other gran has mobility problems and cannot walk far at all, so doesn't get the chances I do to go out and about with our DGS. We do get on quite well and we seem to be able to share him OK with no rivalry.

However I think that being put in the position of hosting other in laws is a bit out of order at this time.

absent Thu 09-Jan-14 23:37:34

I think we have all mostly forgotten that quite frightening state when a first and oh so vulnerable baby is suddenly entirely our responsibility. I spent almost all the first year with the vague feeling that some time absentdaughter's "real"mother would come and collect her. Of course I knew I was her real mother – I just didn't feel grown up enough to be so. For goodness sake, I was 32. Having a midwife in the family who will be around for the first part of the baby's life must provide immense reassurance, especially as hospital stays are very short these days, as long as it doesn't make your daughter feel that she and her child are being taken over.

As for being there in time, I flew to New Zealand for the births of my eldest and youngest grandchildren, arriving somewhat in advance of the due dates and staying for a while afterwards. Unless a baby is massively premature – elder granddaughter was only 28 weeks when she was born – it is relatively easy to organise the trip.

BabyboomerI think you will find a deepening of your relationship with your daughter, however good it already is, once she becomes a mother too. It's a bonus that I hadn't anticipated and continues to be a joy.

pinkprincess Fri 10-Jan-14 01:18:43

Hel;o BabyBoomer and congratulations!

While I sympathise with you about feeling left out I must admit I was very lucky when my grandchildren-I have five-arrived.
I do not have any daughters so was expecting to be left out a bit when my first grandchild was born. DIL's mother just did not want to provide help.While I was beside myself with excitement DS and his wife made it clear from the start they wanted no help from anyone.I respected their wishes and only visited when invited. This scenario was repeated with their next two children including one who was a premature baby born at 30 weeks.I did not have a good relationship with DIL but she knew when to ask for help with childminding which I greatfully provided.
DS and her eventually got divorced, he got married again and had two more children with present DIL. Her mother was just like the previous one, she came to visit in the hospital, made a great fuss of the baby then made it clear she was not going to help.DS and wife 2 moved in with me and DH just before their first child was born so I had it both ways.They still live with us, including one of DS's daughters from his previous marriage.
Your SIL's parents might be here for the birth, but it will be you getting the lion's share after they go back home.It is not just the birth and early days that matter it is what comes in years afterwards as well I know.Providing childcare in school holidays and picking up grandchildren from school etc will be very much welcome.The days following the birth are the easy ones IMO.
At this moment I am coping with the problems of having a difficult teenager in the house.
Look forward to when you are the grandmother who is always availble at short notice.Your daughter, SIL and grandchild will love you for it.

Babyboomer Fri 10-Jan-14 09:26:21

Thanks to everyone who has taken the trouble to post. I am feeling a whole lot better about the situation now, and I'm very glad I didn't say anything about it to my daughter at the time. The "other" granny is actually a very nice person, and I will do my best to treat her the way I would like to be treated myself. I also have a son (as yet unattached) so no doubt I will be in the position of being the new dad's mother myself one day.

Reading all the posts, the overall message seems to be that all grannies should keep their tempers and their sense of humour, whatever the circumstances!

Mishap Fri 10-Jan-14 09:30:19

You've got it Babyboomer!

Enjoy the good bits and grit your teeth with the rest - the former outweigh the latter!