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Feelings of a new grandma

(55 Posts)
B1nn0 Sat 27-Jun-20 17:36:40

Hi, I’m new to this and just need a sounding board. After 6 rounds of IVF my son’s partner gave birth to twins at 34 weeks on Tuesday. They are our first and probably only grandchildren so you can imagine our elation! However, after copious socially distanced celebratory glasses, all sorts of other feelings have crept in, some of which I’ve listed below. Am I being selfish and irrational?

1. My sons partner is not my daughter - she is sharing the experience with her own mother which is natural, but I feel left out. My son is doing his best but it’s not the same.
2. I can’t see the twins and it’s breaking my heart.
3. The little girl is poorly and having tests for all sorts of nasty things and I’m worried about her. I’d feel so much better if I could see her and hug her.
4. I’m worried that the maternal grandparents will see them more. (am I a bad person?)
5. I’m worried about my son being dropped into fatherhood with premature twins after the anguish of getting pregnant in the first place. He’s doing a great job and I’m very proud of him but I can hear the concern in his voice. I can’t even hug him.
6. The twins won’t know my face or my voice when I see them.
7. My husband is feeling the same but apparently I have to ‘suck it up’.
8. When they come out they’ll need support - a single newborn to first time parents is enough of a shock, let alone twins! If the virus is still about I won’t be able to offer any and presumably the maternal grandma won’t either.

Thanks for listening - I’m not normally an anxious person - I’m a capable professional still working part time but this has reduced me to rubble when it should be a happy time!

MamaCaz Sat 27-Jun-20 18:09:08

First of all, congratulations on becoming a grandma. smile

My advice is to try to go with the flow.

Whatever the circumstances, new parents are just that - the parents - and they are ones to shoulder the responsibility and take the decisions. As a grandparent, be guided by those decisions and try to be supportive of them.

As a mother to two married sons, and no daughters, I can assure you that your role can be just as important as that of the maternal grandma, but it's not a competition. It's not a race, either - you might not be the one who has most involvement to begin with, but these things evolve over time.

I can understand (and am sorry ) that you are worried that your little dgd is poorly, but again, there really is nothing you can do, unless asked, except be supportive.

I really hope that all goes well for both the new family and your part in it smile

janeainsworth Sat 27-Jun-20 18:10:53

Firstly, many congratulations on your grandchildren! Once Covid is over, I’m sure you will have lovely times with them and they will bring you great joy.
To answer your specific questions
1. I’m afraid you just have to accept that being the paternal Grandma isn’t the same as being the maternal one. Your DiL has only been a mother for 4 days, her emotions will be all over the place and you can’t expect her to consider your feelings just now. And your son’s priority right now has to be his partner and his children.
2. Yes, it’s awful, you have my sympathy. All we can do Is look ahead to better times.
3. That is a real worry, but think of how your son & DiL must be feeling & try to support them.
4. It’s not a competition with the other Grandma. It’s best to try to forge a friendship with her & eliminate any feelings of jealousy that you might have. Having loving grandparents who all get on with each other is the best support any family can have.
5. Of course your son is anxious and concerned. He’s looking to you for support.
6. Hopefully it will only be a matter of weeks before you can see them. Don’t worry, there will be plenty of time for them to get to know you.
7. ‘Accept the things you can’t change’ is a better way of putting it, I think.
8. I agree that’s a worry too - you don’t say how close you live to them, but if you live close enough you can always deliver precooked meals (or pay for ready meals from somewhere like Hello Fresh) or take away bags of laundry & deliver it back washed & folded.

I hope that helps. Don’t spoil being a Grandma by worrying unnecessarily and whatever you do, don’t let your son and DiL get any inkling of your insecurity re the other grandma. The last thing anyone wants at that stage of their life is a needy parent.

Good luck - try to look forward to all the happy times you have ahead,

MamaCaz Sat 27-Jun-20 18:42:42

As an afterthought - when I was a new mum (admittedly still quite young, at 20), I don't think it ever crossed my mind that the grandparents, either on my side or OH's, had any particular expectations.

In my mind, we were just a new young family striking out on our own. It's only with hindsight that I realize that grandparents have quite a different perspective on things!

Tangerine Sat 27-Jun-20 18:47:10

Congratulations! Take things day by day.

The more you agitate to see the children, the more likely things are to backfire on you.

If you are warm and friendly and don't interfere, I am sure you will see plenty of your grandchildren.

Don't make it into a competition with the other grandparents either.

PinkCakes Sat 27-Jun-20 18:47:54

Firstly, congratulations. It's great having grandchildren, and you've got 2 straight away.

1. I should hope your son' partner ISN'T your daughter!

2. The babies were born a few DAYS ago. You'll have plenty of time to be able to cuddle them and be in their lives. They don't know anyone or anything yet. They WILL get to know you and to recognise you.

3. I'm sure the baby girl is getting the correct treatment and she'll be fine.

4. Yes, the maternal grandparents will possibly see more of the babies than you (didn't you see your own mum more than your MIL when your son was little?)

5. Your son is a grown man with responsibilities, something he's chosen to do. He will manage fine without mummy cuddles. (we all muddle through it)

4. The babies are a few DAYS old. Stop thinking so far ahead. You'll have years with them.

HAZBEEN Sat 27-Jun-20 18:53:49

Congratulations Blnn0! Its wonderful being a Grandmother for the first time but oh how I remember the doubts as well.
I was lucky in that my DD was no longer in touch with the father (long story not for now!) so I was the only Grandma but that brought other worries! Could I be as good a Grandma as mine had been, would I be able NOT to interfere, and of course wasnt I too young to be a Grandma!?
My Grandson was also ill shortly after birth so worried about that as well.
I got through all that and I love the bones of GS ( but still get told off for interfering sometimes!)
The day is coming when we can hug them all. Yes your twins will get to know your face, and yes probably your DIL will gravitate to her mother but that is normal.
All I can really say is be supportive and loving from a distance for now and dont forget to tell your DIL (and son) how proud you are of them producing these 2 darlings.

Treebee Sat 27-Jun-20 19:42:21

It’s an anxious time.
My daughter has just had her first baby, a tiny boy under 5lbs by caesarean.
She lives nearby and all I’ve been able to do is admire him though a window, talk to her by zoom and message her.
She knows I want to help her more than I can.
As a new parent you need support and answers to those worrying questions that occur.
Let her know you’re there for her but don’t pass on your anxieties.
And it’s not a competition with her mother.
Like you I long for cuddles, and they will happen.

welbeck Sat 27-Jun-20 19:44:41

i wouldn't be angling to do their laundry.
that's one of the things that can really upset/ annoy new parents. unless they specifically ask you to do this, don't suggest it.
hello fresh do not provide ready meals, as far as i know. they are a collection of ingredients and directions for fancy meals.
not the priority need at the moment.
have a read of MN, where the MIL issue comes up a lot.

V3ra Sat 27-Jun-20 20:20:37

Your emotions must be all over the place! What a long awaited event.

Send your son's partner a personal message of congratulations, not just one through your son.
Say you know her mum's on hand but ask her to let you know at any time if there is anything you can do to help.

One thing they will certainly need plenty of is nappies, so maybe they'd appreciate a regular delivery of them? Have a look on Amazon if you're not near enough to drop them off yourself.
My daughter was always grateful when I took nappies when we visited, but make sure you check the size they want first.

You could also send the other grandma a nice message/card/flowers saying how much you're looking forward to when you can all get together.

Please try not to come across to them as needy, even if that's how you feel. (Save that for on here).
Your son's role is to support his partner and children and yours is to support him and his new family. Don't make him feel he's got to worry about you as well.

I do hope the little girl is ok.

Those babies will know your face and voice, you will build a relationship with them but it's not an overnight thing so have patience and it will happen.

Congratulations to you and Grandad!

V3ra Sat 27-Jun-20 20:28:50

Should add if you're buying nappies (or anything really) ask what brand they prefer as well, as they do vary and parents have their favourites.

agnurse Sat 27-Jun-20 20:58:38

What V3ra said.

Keep in mind that how much time the other grandma spends with them is not really your concern. The children will get to know you.

When I was growing up, Mum's parents lived about 2 hours' drive away so we saw them every couple of months. Dad's parents lived 6 hours' drive away, so we saw them 2 or 3 times a year. But we knew exactly who they were. I have fond memories of coming to their farm, walking in the door, and seeing a batch of Grandma's homemade buns or her famous cinnamon buns on the counter, of riding in the tractor with my uncle, of going down to the barn to see the cows or down to the river for a picnic.

My sister and her family live in New Zealand (we are in Canada). My mum went to visit them a few years back, and it was about the second time my nephew had seen her, the previous time having been several months before, at least. Mum said that when she met them at the airport, she could see that nephew recognized her. Maybe he didn't know exactly who she was, but he knew that he had met her before.

janeainsworth Sat 27-Jun-20 22:03:20

have a read of MN, where the MIL issue comes up a lot
OP I’d stay away from Mumsnet if I were you. The milk of human kindness is in rather short supply over there, and if you’re not already paranoid about your relationship with your son’s partner, you will be after you’ve read a few of the MiL threads on there 🙄

sodapop Sat 27-Jun-20 22:14:53

V3ra is right, its not a competition with the other grandparents, don't let resentment spoil things.
Your son and his partner will cope, it may be difficult at first but they need your support, its not about your feelings.
Finally congratulations on your twin grandchildren, they will bring a lot of love and pleasure to both families.

Luckygirl Sat 27-Jun-20 22:20:30

What lovely news! - congratulations!

All grans (new and old) are finding the limitations imposed by lockdown hard - so you are in good company. This too will pass!

Don't spoil the lovely moment by fretting about things you cannot change.

Of course your son will find it hard - any parent of twins would - but I am sure you have brought him up to be resourceful, so just trust him.

Hithere Sat 27-Jun-20 22:57:35

Let the relationship develop, babies are only a few days old.

OceanMama Sat 27-Jun-20 23:34:57

Congratulations on your new grandchildren. To answer your questions:

1. The babies are only a few days old and in special care. Other than the babies and parents, I expect everyone is somewhat left out of seeing the babies. A few days, especially when one of the babies is unwell, is not enough time to decide if you are left out or not. Give it time. Things are still fresh and unsettled for the new parents. I doubt they have given a moment of thought to grandparent roles as of yet. They are occupied with other things.
2. Of course you want to see these babies and are sad you can't. I know I'd be itching to visit. With Covid and their premature state though, what's best for them is that you stay away for now. That's being a good grandma, that you do what is best for them even if it isn't what you want.
3. It's natural that you are worried about the baby being unwell. Hugging her is probably not in her best interests though. Probably her parents are having limited time with her as it is.
4. You're not a bad person but don't make it a competition. You don't know how the relationships will work out yet. It is natural she is closer to her own mother and might see her more, but it doesn't have to mean you aren't important or excluded. It's just different. How proactive is your son at including you? If it's not as much as you'd like, don't blame the DIL for it.
5. He has a sick baby, of course he is concerned. He'll do fine though. He's an adult and will find his feet like any other new parent. I understand your feeling anxious about not being able to be there in person to hug him and support him though. He's a grown up though and him and his wife are no doubt supporting each other. Just give him a listening ear.
6. The twins will come to know you in time. Everything and everyone is new to them.
7. Your husband is right, as hard as it is. The last thing these parents need is a grandparent adding stress with their feelings. Look for support with a friend or on here. They will remember if you made these days stressful with your feelings. It's best they remember that you were supportive and easy at this time.
8. I was a very young Mum and I didn't need support or find the transition to motherhood a shock. Remember they are adults. When they are home, ask if you can bring them a meal, hold the babies while Mum gets a moment to take a shower or nap, do some housework for them, pick up some shopping, or just deliver something to their door step. Don't assume they are helpless or can't do it without support. When you offer support, make sure it doesn't sound like you think they can't do it without you.

ElaineI Sun 28-Jun-20 00:34:45

It is a very worrying and stressful time when this happens (without Covid-19 also in the maelstrom).
Your DiL will always go to her Mum first for help - it is the natural way of things but does not diminish what you are and what you can do unless you make it so. My DD1 had IVF and DGS1 was born at 31 weeks. It was the most worrying time of our lives! We had the call during the night that her waters had gone and they were rushing to the hospital and were asked if we could go to their house and clear up multiple towels in the bathroom and bring a bag to the hospital. PiL were going abroad on holiday and next day were advised to continue with their plans so they went - nothing would have made me go but I was a nurse and knew what might happen. DD1 developed an infection and then went into labour and DGS1 was delivered healthy but premature. We saw him next day in SCBU when he had CPAP (what they used with Covid patients in ITU) but was stopped fairly quickly. He had antibiotics as did DD1 in case of sepsis. You can't put into words how worried we were about both of them and her DH came to sleep at our house so had to support him too. We were despatched to JL to buy preemie vests and baby grows and preemie nappies and we just dealt with things on a day to day basis. We visited SCBU every day - grandparents had a pass - and read him stories through the incubator and did washings, fed SiL and provided things they needed. His parents were updated while away and we kept away when they came home to allow them time to bond with their grandson. He is now 6 and just had an excellent school report even with lockdown. He has a sister now - also IVF and also had her problems but not as serious. We are quite different from PiL but get on well with them and we all give as much help as is required and the children accept us all as we are and love us all. My DD1 does approach us with problems first but that is the natural way of things and it is best not to over analyse but accept that your DiL has her own Mum but try not to feel put out by it. I expect if my DS and partner have a child his partner will want more help and support from her own Mum so I don't know how I would feel - maybe the same as you. The thing is just now both parents will be extremely anxious about their daughter and trying to cope with their premature babies, and beginning life as a family in a hospital setting with coronavirus still around so try to downplay your fears and do what you can - washing, providing food, getting a list from SiL of things they need.
I do hope that your granddaughter is ok and you can all prepare as a family to welcome the twins home soon xxxx

Naty Sun 28-Jun-20 01:12:39

Hi! I'm a DIL and my in laws became too pushy and by nature they are resistant to change. They have a daughter who has 3 kids who were all taken care of by grandma within the first months. I haven't left my child with MIL yet (or anybody!). I don't have a mom, so I don't know about maternal grandparents, either.

I will say that

1) do not get insecure or jealous. You'll feed that wolf and it will only get bigger. You'll always look to confirm that bias

2) don't get pushy or they will push right back

3) always be available for childcare as much as possible

4) you don't have to worry about your grandkids needing to hear your voice or know your face. They don't need you. They need their primary caregivers: mom, dad and medical professionals

5) the mom may need her mother. She may not. The maternal grandma might get more time with the kids early on. Oh well. If you are easy, free and happy to be included, you will also get lots of access to these kids. But you have to let them go through the storm first...they'll open all doors to you when they are ready.

6) Reiterate how much you are available to them and make sure you take care of the mother and father. The babies really need healthy parents. So when you go over, give them prepared meals and do cleaning IF they want that. Don't hog the babies and always defer to Dil to ask her opinion first. Give a crying infant to its mother or feel her wrath.

7) It's going to work out. Don't get paranoid or needy. They have enough on their plates.

Enjoy being a grandma. You'll have plenty of good times.

Naty Sun 28-Jun-20 01:28:30

Oh and don't read MIL threads...they'll destroy you. Just keep those opinions in your head.

A DIL can tell her mom off for her offenses with a newborn...but a MIL's offences are just barely tolerated.

My MIL is an amazing person. I love her. But we're going through a rough patch. I think we are realizing that MIL and DIL with young kids can be like trying to co-parent with a well-intentioned stranger...

Be kind to yourself!

Txquiltz Sun 28-Jun-20 01:35:13

Congratulations to all. What a wonderful outcome after all the interventions. I know you cannot wait to be with them, but the times make that impossible. Be proud of your son. He is proving what a good man you raised. He will be up to the demands with the support of all that love him. Maybe you could do daily voice messages for your son to play to the babies so they will hear the love in your voice. If the babies do not have breathing tubes, he could record their sounds for you. I worked in critical newborn ICU years ago and as a rule of thumb, the babies must get to what would
have been the due date before everyone can take a good deep
breath. This time is usually a week or two shorter for twins.
Start a journal of your feelings during this time to share with the babies as they get older. I wish all of you the best.

Loulelady Sun 28-Jun-20 01:36:42

Remember your DIL’s mum isn’t there for the babies, she’s there for her daughter, who has just given birth/and or had major abdominal surgery and will be shattered and hormonal.
I doubt she will be having much contact with the babies while your son is on paternity leave.
It’s a terribly worrying time for them, of course you are worried, but they are the parents and it’s really important you don’t burden them with your worry, worry your husband or friends with that but not them. The circles of support all lean inwards, not outwards.
The babies need as much time as possible with the primary caregiver in the early weeks, to build their bond, feel secure and not experience stress and raised cortisol. Even without Covid19 and any health issues, it’s best for other family and friends to keep their cuddles brief unless asked to hold the baby while the parents do something.
The twins won’t remember their first year, these first weeks and months are no predictor of what your future relationship with them will be like.
I hope the poorly little girl does well flowers

Naty Sun 28-Jun-20 12:56:27

Oh yes! And be well aware: a daughter's mother is usually interested in supporting her daughter. A MIL is mainly interested in the baby she has produced. This dictates how much access people get. It's just how it works...

Hithere Sun 28-Jun-20 13:45:54

Let's not forget some parents do not want help and want to take care of their kids themselves.

Let them call the shots and give this time to evolve.

It will all work out

Nansnet Mon 29-Jun-20 07:20:36

Congratulations on becoming a new grandparent! Your feelings are not selfish, or irrational, they are perfectly normal!

We all know that most daughters will gravitate towards their own mother, rather than their MiL, it's just the way it is, and completely natural. As a daughter, I remember having my own children, and mainly only wanting help from my own mum. But, having become a GM myself, I totally understand that many paternal GMs can feel left out. Take it from one who knows, it's a feeling that is best kept to ourselves but, I promise you, that it does get easier.

I wish that I had found Gransnet before I'd become a first-time GM, and listened to some of the great advice offered here. Without going into details, we had a few issues with the maternal GPs (who we've always had a great relationship with), and I stupidly let my feelings be known ... a mistake that I regret to this day! However, testament to our great relationship, we managed to sort things out, and now have a mutual respect, and understanding, for each other.

Be respectful of your DiLs relationship with her mother. Let your son and DiL know that you are there for them, to offer any kind of support you possibly can. Whether that's just lending an ear listening to their concerns ... offering any advice, but only when asked for ... or any physical help, such as cooking a meal, or doing some laundry. Obviously, due to the current situation, some hands-on help won't be possible, but just letting them know that you're there for them, if there's anything at all you can do, will be very much appreciated.

There will be plenty of time in the future for you and your husband to enjoy spending time with your grandchildren, and they will get to know, and recognize you.

Due to living overseas and, because of the current situation, not being able to fly, we've not seen our little GD since December but, thanks to regular video calls, she's not forgotten us!

It's a very emotional time for all of you, especially with one of the babies not being well, and needing tests. You are allowed to feel the way you do, and reduce to rubble if you want to!

All the best to you and your family. You'll have many happy times ahead to look forward to!flowers