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Birth partner and "The 4th trimester" - Advice please!!!

(94 Posts)
amberdogxK9 Wed 24-Feb-16 15:03:33

Very well organised only daughter and her partner are expecting first child very soon. I have been asked to be 2nd birth partner and as our first GC am honoured they want me to be there.

I have read up on it and made it very clear to them on what my function is going to be - to be there in the delivery room when needed , to support them both or severally as and when invited into the room.
They are both happy with that.

The partner's mother is quite amazed that I do not want to be with her/them for the whole duration, as she never left her own daughter and husband "for a second" throughout her 2 labours.

Having said that I feel it is a personal thing, but to be there throughout does not seem right to me personally. I think the couple and that the bonding between the parents and baby should be paramount.

The latest news from only darling daughter (*ODD*) as of last evening is that the couple will be adhering to the "4th trimester " guidelines which I also have read up about and I can see the logical nature of it.

Therefore for the first month no uninvited visitors to allow a bonding period between the three of them.

I can remember 29 years ago not having a moment alone (over 2 weeks in hospital and baby in SCBU) with my (second) husband when ODD was born after an emergency Caesar.
The house was full when I came back home and remained so for the next two weeks. Great up to a point and I appreciated friends, family, even my lovely ex in laws visiting, but real life only started once we (baby and I) were alone (no paternity leave of course) and I must say it was a while before I really bonded with the baby.

However after all that essay as background I need advice on 2 points, if you are still awake ! So I am trusting the experts.

I know that the baby's other Gran ("Nanna") - will be totally bemused by this plan, not to say very hurt. She is younger than me but slightly disabled and divorced. She is a "natural" when it comes to babies, also very supportive and loving. I know I will make a good active and fun Gran - our styles are different but will happily complement each other. We also like each other and I hate the thought she may feel hurt.

Sometimes I feel a little ambivalent myself about this one month "exclusion zone" - my DH mark 2 just shakes his head and smiles.... but we bow to the fact it is their baby, their choice.

"Nanna" has as yet no idea that after one visit she will be effectively barred from visiting again for a month without an invitation.
Her ex husband lives in Thailand and is coming back for one month to see the baby. He has no idea either. (By the way they have an amicable relationship.)

DH mark 2 and I feel that the couple themselves should be the ones who establish what is best for them..... but I feel it is rather draconian to limit someone who is flying long haul to just one visit, and to hurt the feelings of someone to whom the GC are her life.

I hesitate to interfere in any way with the couple's decision and my husband and I are fine with it. We are both happy to stay away for the settling in period of one month without any angst.

I just have concerns about how I can broach the subject without it sounding like interference. Our daughter does have a pretty analytical brain and a determined , even selfish streak. I have no problem with it and am quite prepared to go with the flow, but hate to see the other grandparents hurt. Ideally I would like to suggest they be allowed to visit baby together as a couple a few times and everyone else be limited to one visit, as I am fine with that. Does all this make me unnatural ? What shall I do ?

Elrel Wed 24-Feb-16 15:12:31

I think you should leave it to the parents. Your daughter and SiL, knowing when his father will be in the country, may well be planning to invite him to visit more than once.

tanith Wed 24-Feb-16 15:13:36

Sounds like coldly over thinking the whole new baby thing to me , I'd keep right out of it and let the parents do their own thing whatever that seems to be .. confused

amberdogxK9 Wed 24-Feb-16 15:16:58

I am far from a cold person Tanith

NanaandGrampy Wed 24-Feb-16 15:26:22

Congratulations on getting to be part of such an important occasion. It's going to be very exciting.

I read your 'essay' with interest . I hadn't heard of this new idea and have to be brutally honest and say I hate it.

Strong words I know but I would feel exactly like the other Nanna . Id be hurt. Whilst I certainly don't advocate over running the new family, I fail to see how an hours visit can do any harm in the bonding process. Babies grow so quickly, in 5 weeks they are no longer tiny babies and you've missed so much.

I personally advocate common sense rules. If Mum and baby are weary, politely decline visitors. Visitors must ring first and if its convenient then a short visit is fine. My daughters were both keen and proud to show off and share their new babies . I could hardly wait till I was allowed to visit. So I know I couldn't wait a month.

Also , for long haul visitors it seems incredibly odd to say 'Oh yes you've flown several thousand miles but your 20 mins is up - off you go'

I'm not suggesting that you interfere but i think there is a middle ground that they haven't even investigated. I hope they find it with your help

Elrel Wed 24-Feb-16 15:26:36

I think your approach to being birth partner is sensitive and thoughtful. You may be a little too concerned about your SIL's parents. Step back and reassess the situation as it develops, once the baby is born your daughter may be less rigid about her plan.
All good wishes to you and your family, keep us posted if you would like to!

janeainsworth Wed 24-Feb-16 15:34:24

I don't think Tanith meant you were a cold person, Amber.
I think she meant these 4th trimester guidelines were coldly overthinking what should be a heartwarming occasion - the arrival of a new baby into a family.
It seems a pity to me when these trumped up rules take the place of common sense and courtesy.
Of course you don't want the whole neighbourhood turning up at all hours of the day and night.
Of course the new parents want some time to themselves.
But that doesn't mean you have to exclude close family members who are going to love the child as much as you do.
As a paternal grandmother I feel really sad for your daughter's MiL.
And just to add, my first DGD was born in America. We went over when she was 3 weeks old. DS and DiL welcomed us with open arms, we stayed 2 weeks and they are eternally grateful to us for the help we gave them - your DD might find new motherhood more difficult than she imagines.

JessM Wed 24-Feb-16 15:37:00

Just paddle your own canoe and let the in-laws sort themselves out.
This latest fashion is a reaction against dads being elbowed aside by grans (and society in general) during the neonatal period. It is of course an over reaction. For entire history as a species we've lived in extended family groups/tribes etc. I doubt whether at any time mother and father have been secluded from all the other people who might bond with the new arrival.
But now we live in nuclear families so it's much more important that dad's be closely involved.
The down side for the dads is that they get to do all the washing, shopping, cooking and tidying up smile

tanith Wed 24-Feb-16 15:45:36

Thanks janeainsworth that is what I meant in my rather clumsy way smile

I certainly didn't mean to be offensive amberxK9

Imperfect27 Wed 24-Feb-16 16:09:27

Oh amberdog I see myself in this ... I have been a granny for 7 weeks now and I think my DD and SIL meant to observe the 'fourth trimester ' too! What a journey we all went on ...from me being asked to be 2nd birth partner and then them opting for a home birth (had to be hospital in the end) and me realising I would not be needed at all ... from expecting to be outside the labour ward when the baby arrived to finding out by a generic text that he was here! And then the uncertainty of visiting!

Well , you sound as if you are doing ALL the right things and making all the right noises to the parents-to be. I think it is a sudden lesson in being pretty silent at times and waiting and watching. Not easy! Also I am so glad you have such a positive relationship with the other granny too - this is my experience and it has been lovely to share the joy of the new arrival.

Back to the 'fourth trimester' - after being told, albeit apologetically, that I would not be needed at all in the first little while a) I got to see DD and baby for a very brief visit on the day he was born (invited!!) - as did MIL and b) by day 5 they were very ready to welcome me and very grateful for some assistance!!! I had kept distance and silence - so foreign to me as I am very close to my DD, but come day 5 I text to say I was thinking of them all and to let me know if /I could be of any help and then the invitation came ...

Where this thinking about the need for undisturbed 'bonding' comes from I do not know, but I think it overlooks the new parents very real need for affirmation and support that comes through sharing the joy of a new baby. All I can say is we go there in the end and haven't looked back since. Seven weeks in, my little GC is beginning to know me and smile with real recognition - and there are no words to say how wonderful it is.

Please take heart, go on being patient and sensitive and I think you will be cuddling your little GC before you know it. xx

amberdogxK9 Wed 24-Feb-16 16:12:34

Thanks everyone . Tanith I misunderstood your post ! x No offence taken. Bit of an information overload just now, I tend to be quite analytical myself and needed some good common sense advice. Must say a bit of a shock last night and my first concern was this would really upset the other Nanna. I have more of a thick skin. JessM Great info and point ! Hoping that perhaps ODD's partner will be the one to break the embargo on the exclusion zone !
Feel much better and will take everyone's advice to keep well out of it.
Thanks to all

amberdogxK9 Wed 24-Feb-16 16:15:26

Sweet and helpful advice, in fact quite perfect - Imperfect27 xxxx thank you

Luckygirl Wed 24-Feb-16 16:18:12

Fourth trimester+ - what a load of rubbish! I have never heard anything quite like this. Clearly it is just plain common sense to limit visitors a bit and see how things go. They need to go with the flow a bit - with my DDs they were just glad to have people around keeping the ship afloat during the first difficult months: shopping, cooking, cleaning etc. They will do a hell of a lot more bonding if all these things are under control.

tiredoldwoman Wed 24-Feb-16 16:18:40

Plans always change ! Just go with what they say at the time , be kind, be humble , be happy !

Synonymous Wed 24-Feb-16 16:30:42

Oh my goodness amber I can't see all that panning out somehow.
The only reason that these sort of books get written is to make money from people who don't know any better. grin

The whole family will be bonding over your precious GC and there will be such happiness that the parents won't be able to stem the flow! In any case it won't take very long before sheer exhaustion means that they will be begging for visits from happy helpers. I would suggest that you back off in the meantime and keep your own counsel, these things have a habit of sorting themselves out - and least said and all that! smile

Congratulations on the new GC flowers

Indinana Wed 24-Feb-16 16:54:49

Oh thank heavens neither of my two followed any such nonsense guidelines. Mind you, our DD didn't even have a partner, so she came straight home to us and stayed for the first six weeks (following a C-section). She has often said she doesn't know what she would have done without our help!

Our DS and his ex wife were more than happy with visitors from day one - we always rang or texted first of course and never stayed long.

I do think amberdog that, as others have said, you should leave the other granny and the ex coming from Thailand to do their own worrying. I understand you feeling hurt on their behalf - I would be terribly hurt (actually, terribly annoyed to be perfectly truthful!) if I'd flown halfway round the world only to find I was permitted one visit shock. And if he is allowed more than that, I can see all sorts of hurt feelings going on among others who are being excluded!! But.... try to leave them all to sort out their own arrangements, no matter how much you care about them.

And finally, and most importantly, congratulations on the impending new grandchild! You have so much to look forward to - that first month will fly by and before you know it you'll be a hands-on granny enjoying every minute smile

annodomini Wed 24-Feb-16 17:55:05

How did we cope in the days before paternal leave? I agree with Luckygirl about this - it's nonsense to ban members of the family who may well be going to play a big part in the child's life. I needed my parents there when I came home from hospital and they would have been very hurt if I'd banned them. But then, that was back in the dark ages - 45 years ago.

annsixty Wed 24-Feb-16 18:04:36

How dis we cope at all? And how did we ever bond with our babies in as annosays the dark ages. ? Somehow we managed ,so much tosh talked.

Indinana Wed 24-Feb-16 18:07:46

There's always someone ready to reinvent the wheel if there's a book in it smile

jinglbellsfrocks Wed 24-Feb-16 18:12:27

A whole month before the grannies and aunties can visit?!!! That is just cruel. And ridiculous! hmm

NotTooOld Wed 24-Feb-16 18:21:45

What a fuss. Who dreams up this stuff? 4th trimester indeed - and of course you can't ban someone who's travelled so far from visiting the baby. 2nd birthing partner? More nonsense! I was glad to have the traditional role of being in my own home whilst DD was in labour. Being at the bedside (oh, alright - being the birthing partner, first AND second) is for the father-to-be, if he is made of stern enough stuff. grin Surely mother-of-the-mother-to-be should keep in the background unless father-to-be is not around?

annsixty Wed 24-Feb-16 18:42:47

In the dark ages ie 50 years ago my H was sent home after visiting hours, "'7 til 8" leaving me in the early stages of labour, and was told he had a daughter when he rang the next morning. He visited in the afternoon "2til3" normal visiting hour and was taken to see his daughter in the nursery for a quick look. I was lucky to go home the next afternoon.
I don't want to go back to those days but a 4th trimester is beyond normal family life.

Iam64 Wed 24-Feb-16 18:49:00

I have a 5 week old grandchild and was initially invited to be 2nd birthing partner. I was relieved when my daughter and her partner completed the hypnobirthing course together and decided they'd rather do it together than involve me. I would of course have been delighted to be there but felt relief my daughter felt her partner was the "right" person rather than her mum.
We, that is the paternal grandparents (who divorced years ago), ourselves, our other daughter all in the birthing suite within half an hour of the baby's arrival. it was an absolute joy.
I have since seen a number of Facebook posts from the 4th trimester and I've agreed with all of them. I haven't seen the one the OP refers to that suggests one month with no visitors to allow the parents to bond. The posts I've seen have all struck me as both sensible and supportive. I agree with the majority here who say most first time parents welcome the support offered by close family and friends. I took the inevitable casseroles, spag bog ready to heat up, lots of soup/salads etc when i visited so the new parents didn't need to cook much. The pat gran had been before me one day and my daughter told me how kind she'd been, 'mum she mopped the floors, walked the dog, did the dishes and sorted the nappy box'. that's the role of grandparents imo - doing the practical stuff and being there always, when we're needed emotionally. If I hadn't visited, would my daughter have phoned at 5pm weeping, because her 6 day old baby was feeding on the hour. Would she have felt reassured when I told her, that's what happens my darling girl - if I'd been kept at a distance.
I'm not suggesting daily/lengthy visits, or visits without invitation and prior agreement - but I certainly remember my mum being so important

annsixty Wed 24-Feb-16 19:56:30

For some reason and I don't know why , this is incensing and exercising me. Do these young people feel they will be better parents than we were? Is this not a damning of their own parents? Will they regret their stance or feel some embarrassment at their actions? I truly am perplexed by this. I have been reading today about "seeding" the practice of swabbing a baby delivered by caesarian section with the fluid from the mother's womb which has been deemed dangerous by some. Are our young people being brainwashed by fanatics.

etheltbags1 Wed 24-Feb-16 20:21:21

what a load of rubbish some people talk. I was with DD all the time over 4 days in labour as her partner was at work, luckily DGD was born on a sunday and he was available. I stayed with them and DD wanted me, I left them after DGD was born after I had had a cuddle. I then visited on the normal visiting hours the next day and then after they came home I called every other day to seek shopping etc and have a cuddle with the baby. What gran can do more.
'Fouth Tremester' is rubbish made up by silly midwives who have never given birth themselves. It should be a rule that no -one can be a midwife unless they have given birth themselves.