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Grandparenting

Over protective daughter in law

(58 Posts)
Tynsall Tue 27-Sep-16 23:04:33

Hello everyone,
I need some advice please. I have been staying with my son and very new daughter in law in Canada. It has taken me many sessions of hypnotherapy and CBT to get me on the plane. I am very proud of myself as I did it without any real problems.
I went over to see my son and his wife and new baby. Even though I was with them for a month, I have spent the whole time walking on egg shells as she has a new kitchen etc in her new house so felt we couldn't do a lot in there.( she thinks someone will damage the granite top!!!
The worst part about it all was I wasn't allowed to pick my grandson up, not allowed to walk him in his pushchair so basically had to wave to him or hold his hand while being breast fed. ( he was attached to mum almost 24/7) I feel very upset but concerned because of the way she was.i did hold him a few times when my son had him so quickly took photos.
I did talk to my son and he was unhappy about it because she was like it with everyone, he was the only one allowed to hold him.
Has anyone ever had this problem? I won't see him again for about a year.
Tynsall

cornergran Tue 27-Sep-16 23:45:56

So sorry tynsall, you must have been so disappointed. Hugs with Gran are so looked forward to. Firstly, huge congratulations for managing the flight, It sounds as if you went alone, well done you. Perhaps the effort you put in is highlighting the difference between your hopes for the trip and the reality. Forgive me, but it doesn't sound as if you have had the opportunity to know your daughter in law well before the baby arrived. Is that so? I'm wondering how she was before the baby arrived. She sounds to be very generally anxious and I wonder if this is new or if high anxiety has always been part of who she is. Being allowed to hold your grandsons hand while he was breast fed sounds to be a very intimate contact, even if not as you imagined so it doesn't sound as if your daughter in law is hostile to you. Your son says this is generalised, so definitely not personal. You don't say how old your grandson is, I assume only a couple of months? I haven't a clue about medical systems in Canada but it may be your daughter in law has elements of post natal depression which may be picked up by routine checks. The distance will, of course, make this feel all the more difficult. I don't think it's unusual for first time mums to be overly cautious with their baby. If your son is worried it is likely that others are too. You don't mention your daughter in laws family, does she have her own Mum to help? I'm sorry, too many questions. There are many here who manage long distance relationships with their grandchildren and will be able to better support you. In the meantime, chin up, you did your part, you have seen your lovely grandson and his parents and there will be a next time. flowers.

Hilltopgran Wed 28-Sep-16 01:36:08

Well done for making the flight, I had to come to terms with getting on a plane if I wanted to see my grandchildren as well.

I do not think it unusual for a new Mum to keep baby close in the early weeks, both my daughter and Canadian DIL nursed their babies and hardly put them down for first couple of months. I have always taken my lead from the new Mother, and just admired without getting many holds or cuddles, I think I spent most time washing up, ironing and generally helping.

The medical facilities in Canada are very good, but there are differences in the advice given officially in Canada and in Britain to new Mums, the advice given by health visitors/midwives to Canadian DIL in this country has been different to that given to her sister who also had a baby at the same time in Canada.

As the babies have grown, Skype has been a wonderful way to watch them develop and to be a face they recognise. I know it is hard to have to wait a long time betwen visits to actually be with a new grandchild, but there are ways to feel close without physically being there.

I see my daughter and her children twice a year if we can manage the air fares, but photos, emails and Skype keep me in touch.

f77ms Wed 28-Sep-16 07:24:51

How upsetting for you to go all that way then not be allowed to hold your GC . I think there is a difference between keeping baby close and excluding family from even being allowed to hold said baby ! Did you ask to hold the baby and were denied or did you go along with this behaviour ? As for the worktop , this sounds completely OTT . Postnatal depression or worse springs to mind , I hope someone is keeping an eye on this new Mum . I am sure others will be along to say this is normal but for me this would ring alarm bells . If she is not suffering PND then she may just be very thoughtless/controlling and you do not have much hope of a relationship with your GC.

RedheadedMommy Wed 28-Sep-16 07:27:13

Put yourself in her shoes, giving birth, recovering from that, new baby, then having your MiL live with you for a whole month while trying to establish Breastfeeding, routine and being a new mom.
And then having your husband explain that his mom is upset because you hogged your baby the entire month.
I would feel very ganged up on and wouldn't be very happy.

In a years time when you visit, things will of changed.

RedheadedMommy Wed 28-Sep-16 07:30:53

Also PND did spring to mind depending how old the baby is.

thatbags Wed 28-Sep-16 07:43:12

She doesn't sound over-protective of the baby, especially if it's a first baby. Don't forget what an absolutely life-shattering (in a nice way) experience having one's first baby is! As someone else said, holding baby's hand while he was being breastfed sounds pretty intimate to me. I wouldn't have been keen on that even with my second or third baby. With my first I don't remember grans or aunties (or anyone else) seeming desperate to hold the baby until it was a few months old. Have things changed or did I just have sensitive relatives?

And as another someone said, doing practical stuff like cooking, clearing up, cleaning is more what to expect in a baby's first weeks

She does sound over-protective of the granite worktop.

f77ms Wed 28-Sep-16 07:58:26

redhead We have all been in her shoes if we are Grandparents ! Did the husband explain to the new Mum that his Mum was upset? , I didn`t read that he did .

It is just not normal behaviour and also is very hurtful.

Riverwalk Wed 28-Sep-16 07:59:52

She does sound over-protective of the granite worktop grin

This attachment-parenting style is very popular - I'm not a great fan but think it alarmist to be talking about PND because DIL is being a bit precious.

Maybe your trip was badly-timed hmm

thatbags Wed 28-Sep-16 08:05:36

It is normal behaviour, especially if the mum is a highly strung person anyway, and anyone who's anxious about a granite worktop sounds highly strung to me.

People are allowed to be highly strung when they have a new baby.

I think some of us have forgotten that we probably were too. I reckon I was even though one of the midwives at the hospital (where I was for five days with DDs 1 & 2; remember how they looked after us back then?) thought my first baby was my third or fourth because I seemed 'natural' (whatever that means) with feeding her. I reckon it was more DD1 being natural with me! (And her liking mother's milk).

I don't think it's in the least unreasonable for a new mum to want grans, etc to back off.

thatbags Wed 28-Sep-16 08:11:15

On the whole I think it's better, especially if one has to go a long way and get over a fear of flying in the first place, not to impose oneself do a long visit to new parents until the newness has worm off a bit. Give them a chance to find their feet and a rountine with their new born little dictator.

f77ms Wed 28-Sep-16 08:15:11

thatbags You had sensitive relatives ! I thought it was normal for relatives to come and hold the baby almost as soon as it was born. I was delighted if friends and relatives wanted to be involved in the new baby`s arrival and wanted a cuddle .

Christinefrance Wed 28-Sep-16 08:32:17

Well done Tynsall, to overcome your fear and make such a long flight was brave indeed.
I agree with other posters the young Mum would be stressed with everything happening, she needed to keep some control over the situation. Think this was probably the case with the worktop issue as well.
Of course she may have PND but think things may resolve themselves as she becomes more confident.
It was a stressful time for both of you , I am sure at your next visit things will be better.

NanaandGrampy Wed 28-Sep-16 09:15:40

I'm with you f77ms . I thought that first cuddles were very special and its a shame the OP was denied that .

I presume she was invited for the stay and did not just turn up unannounced? If so I don't think it unreasonable during that entire to expect a cuddle or two. Maybe even to be allowed to take the baby out in the pram , even with DiL if not alone.

I'm sure she tried to be as unobtrusive as possible and help out where she could. Maybe if she had been allowed some interaction with the baby her DiL could have caught up on her rest or just had some down time.

A huge shame in my opinion .

Soupy Wed 28-Sep-16 09:17:37

Well done on overcoming your fear of flying to make it out there.
How old was your grandson at the time?
I must admit that I find it very strange that you weren't even allowed to push the pushchair; wonder when that's going to change?
I wonder what she's like with her own parents. Surely grandparents are looked on as a massive help to young families or maybe I'm living in a former age?!

Izabella Wed 28-Sep-16 09:24:40

I agree with other posters in that this new mum is anxious and in need of support. Attachment parenting (if that indeed is what she is consciously adhering to) is very different from what most of our generation will have experienced.

I think there are several clues here from the OP. A "very new daughter in law" - so I am assuming as well as a new baby there is a "new MIL" or unknown quantity for the DIL? A great stressor in any situation. A very new DIL also implies (I may be wrong) a newish relationship between DIL and husband. It could reasonably imply she was not actually planning motherhood just yet, and I have no way of knowing. However, all would add to a stressful situation. You do not mention if her own mother is around. Also a need for hypnotherapy and CBT to enable a journey would signify a certain degree of stress and anxiety for the OP. (I am so impressed you managed it and please do not take this as criticism, I am merely trying to set a scene of "surround stress and anxiety"

There is no way we know the DIL's personality and you do not say if this type of behaviour exhibited itself prenatally. Either way all you can do is communicate via Skype or some other method and offer non judgemental support. Advice in Canada is different for new mothers but she will have access to professionals there who will pick up any psychological issues I am sure. They will be aware of any risk factors for PND e.g. of new house, new (ish) relation ship and new baby, plus medical history and family dynamics.

Finally, caring and loving someone brings all sorts of complications to our lives and the distance factor is making things worse for you. There will be many other grans coming along offering you support and advice which hopefully will enable you to put some distance between this awful situation and your feelings. I wish you well, and please come back and post as often as you need.

Luckygirl Wed 28-Sep-16 09:44:52

I know it is hard because they are so far away (and congratulations on the flight!)and it feels hard to just bide your time. But I think that is the right advice - much easier to do if they were just around the corner.

The fact that you had travelled so far when you find that hard means that you might have been hoping for everything to be perfect at the other end - and this puts pressure on the situation.

My DDs were happy for me to hold their babies from day one - BUT....I am their Mum and they know me well (with all my faults and virtues!) - I am not an unknown lady who has jetted in from thousands of miles away!

You do need to give her time - she will come round and I am sure there will be some jolly skyping sessions and future visits.

Congratulations on the arrival of your GC!

oldgoose Wed 28-Sep-16 10:06:48

Yes, it is normal to feel protective toward a new baby but lets get real here. Poor Tynsall overcame her fears of flying, spent a lot of money and travelled a long way to see her Grandchild. She deserved a cuddle of that child and her son and daughter-in-law were being over the top and very selfish toward her. I don't think I would have been able to keep my mouth shut. Treating her like some sort of intruder and someone who is unable to hold a baby properly is insulting.
OK the next visit might be better, but there is nothing in the world like holding your tiny grandchild, and not to be able to do so must feel like torture.
You are a better woman than me Tynsall.

thatbags Wed 28-Sep-16 10:27:15

The OP's problems that she overcame so impressively (well done! 👍) are irrelevant when it comes to how she relates to her daughter-in-law who is a new mum.

I guess my approach is that every consideration and acceptance of quirkiness, stressedness and the like, are deserved by a new mum and dad. For me that's all there is to it. That weird time passes fast enough.

I actually don't think it matters what relatives "expect". I think it is unreasonable to "expect" anything except to be very, very sensitive to a new mum's needs and idiosyncracies, even when one doesn't like it. Grans and other relatives are not the important ones in these situations. We all need to put our wants and expectations on the back burner and accept how the new parents want to run their show.

If that means they happily hand over the baby to others for cuddles, that's fine. If it means they don't do that, that's also fine. People are not all the same.

I'm wondering if the OP had ever met her daughter-in-law before.

NanaandGrampy Wed 28-Sep-16 10:51:01

Should there not also be some respect Thatbags for the grandmothers feelings? Is she not entitled to the same thought and care no matter if this is a first or last visit?

I'm sorry But I share Oldgooses stance - a whole month and not ONE cuddle .... that's just cruel. She wasn't trying to run the 'parents show' just have a moment to bond with a grandchild on the other side of the world. Its not like she can pop round next week and try again.

I appreciate this was a new baby but millions of women all over the world give birth every day . We'll have to disagree I think this was 'precious' behaviour from a grown woman who surely with her new born in her arms must have known the value of just one cuddle ?

thatbags Wed 28-Sep-16 11:03:17

A gran is entitled to the normal respect and politeness one would give to any house visitor. To my mind that doesn't include consideration for her expectations with regard to my new baby (supposing I were the new mum).

What I'm saying is exactly the same attitude that I had towards my own daughter, including in my house rather than hers. In my view the new mum is entitled to every consideration.

A visitor, especially a visitor one hardly knows, even if she is one's husband's son, is entitled to no more than common courtesy and civility. If she expects more then, in my view (and, yes, I know others think differently), she expects too much.

So, yes, I guess I'm saying that I don't think the gran's feelings about the baby in this situation need to be considered. The new mum's are paramount. Even my mum understood that and she is not the most sensitive person I've ever known.

trisher Wed 28-Sep-16 11:08:28

Congrats on all your achievements Tynsall a new GC and a long haul flight-Well done. I think sometimes it is difficult for new mums now. We had our family to give advice and help, they have books and baby gurus. Being the MIL is difficult both for you and your DIL, she doesn't know you and she doesn't know how you behave with babies. Surrendering that tiny precious person even to someone you know can be difficult and sometimes the mum just can't do it. I'm not suggesting that you would behave with anything but care and love but parenting styles do differ. My own DIL was very careful with me when she had her first baby. I always did everything she asked, handing back baby the minute she asked, patting back if she suggested it, etc. Basically it wasn't vastly different to the way I would have acted anyway. By baby Number 2 she knew I would do very much what she would do and was very pleased to hand him over and have a rest.
Try not to be too upset this baby will grow and be there for cuddles for a long time. Save up your pennies and go again when he is a bit older your DIL might be very grateful for some help then.

12rg12ja Wed 28-Sep-16 11:15:39

I feel really upset on your behalf Tynsall I only have one grandson but my daughter thought it was important he have as much contact with all his extended family as possible. It does sound as though she does have problems is it possible you could form a better relationship by e.mail just chatty interested notes about your DGS . THEN AT LEAST SHE MAY BE BETTER NEXT YEAR.

ajanela Wed 28-Sep-16 11:41:25

"She was like it with everyone ". And would only let her husband care for the baby so it wasn't just you she didn't trust to care for her baby and your son did let you have a cuddle when he could.

Having yourself needed hypnotherapy and CBT to get on a plane which many people would find illogical and strange, then you must understand your DIL 's fears for her baby which you find illogical and strange. Could not have helped her having a stranger in her new home at a stressful time when she needs peace and privacy. You were also her husbands mother so maybe she would see you as taking up her husband's time when she most needed him and she wasn't use to sharing him with other family. (Been there).

We don't know the babies age but it sounds as if you visited too early and maybe it would have been better to wait until the baby was 7 months and sitting. A month is along time to have a stranger in your house,

You mention the granite work surfaces and this is the most unlikely thing to get damaged but they are very expensive and she is use to living in this emaculate home. Wait to the child starts toddling. We have all experienced someone spilling something on our new carpet.

Keep in touch by Skype or FaceTime or similar and put it down to experience. Give her a chance and she will let you take a toddler for a walk.

Tizliz Wed 28-Sep-16 11:46:30

I remember my mil in her later years, saying that she was most upset when DS1 was born and I got him ready for a walk (we lived with them at the time) and she asked if she could take him and we went together. I had no idea that she wanted to take him out on her own, never occurred to me. I didn't know about grandparent/grandchildren relationships then. I can't understand why she didn't say - I would have appreciated an hour on my own!

So perhaps you should speak up.