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New grandparent

(115 Posts)
Mortaff Sun 23-Jul-17 14:06:41

Please don't judge me but constructive help would be very much appreciated. My son and his wife recently had their first child. Her parents were really excited, my husband was also but I was actually quite worried/concerned that I was not looking forward to the birth. I have never wanted to be a grandparent and certainly hated the idea of being called Granny etc.
I love both our sons, struggled to bond with the first son but have no problems now, adoring both. People I spoke to and voiced my concerns said they had no doubt that I would be excited when the baby was born and I really hoped that would happen. Sadly now the baby is here, I have not had a change of heart and I feel dreadful that I don't have any feelings towards it and feel I am not being honest by trying to pretend I am excited. I do not want to pick it up or cuddle it. I would look after it if asked but I don't want to.
The whole family came around over on the weekend and whilst I stayed around and socialised, all I wanted to do was run away.
Am I alone in my feelings or are there others who feel this way about their grandchildren? We are forever being congratulated on the birth and people expect to hear lots of excited grandparent news but I cannot raise the enthusiasm and I find it depressing that I seem unable to change my feelings. It's almost like having post natal depression. I can only hope that I will get used to the situation and learn to accept it.
Can anyone offer any advice?

Ilovecheese Sun 23-Jul-17 14:20:33

All I can advise is that you pretend that you love the baby, so as not to hurt your son.
I am not judging, you can't help how you feel, but I don't think it would help other members of your family if they knew this is how you feel.

Imperfect27 Sun 23-Jul-17 14:52:06

Dear Mortaff - no judegment here and not denying all that you have expressed, but I agree with Ilovecheese that you need to guard against transmitting negative feelings. you have so much time ahead of you to establish a positive relationship with your new grandchild and maybe you will find yourself 'falling in love' with the new baby just as you did with your own sons sooner than you know.

When my DD had our first - and only - GS to date, I was more uptight and anxious than I realised and, having had a traumatic first birth myself, I think that this was the source of all my worries. I spent the first day of DC's life just sobbing between phone calls where everyone was so 'pleased' for me! I think it took me a couple of weeks to find some equilibrium.

Fast forward 18 months and My DGS has captured my heart. I didn't expect to love him as dearly as my own children, that just took me by surprise. I hope that this will happen naturally over time for you too.

By the by - I really didn't oike the idea of being a 'granny' - just conjured up images of white haired ladies from fairy tales and I couldn't identify myself with them at all! I actually feel younger as a granny now - it makes me remember so many of my own young mum days.

Best wishes to you and yours.

gillybob Sun 23-Jul-17 15:03:41

Being a grandma is different for everyone . There really isn't a template to follow. I would hate to be called Granny too and eventually you could ask the little one to call you by your name. Can't see a problem with that . Who knows you might just developed your own kind of grandparenting style . Also I wonder is this all to do with not wanting to get old or be thought of as old ?
I was a grandma at 44 ( but I was a mother at 18) being grandma does seem daunting at first when you think "how could I be anyone's grandma ? My friends are still having babies"
I do hope things get better for you Mortaff smile

cornergran Sun 23-Jul-17 15:44:28

We're all different, mortaff, so there are as many types of grandparent as there are people. It's all right to be as you are. Not everyone feels an immediate affinity with a baby. You may come into your own with a toddler or even a teenager. I wonder, though, if somewhere you expected to struggle as you did with your first child? May be helpful to remember you overcame that and wait and see a bit. I do agree that a little bit of acting would be a good thing right now. when the family get together no one will mind if you aren't monopolising the baby. Perhaps you can be the one providing drinks and snacks? If you are handed the baby try to relax, smile a bit and then offer to share the baby around. Especially if there is a dirty nappy smile.

Regarding a name for you, for now why not say you'd rather not have a grandparent-name but prefer to see what the baby chooses for you in the future? If you really want to be known by your first name then just say so quietly. Please don't give yourself a hard time, relationships take time, this one is no different.

Norah Sun 23-Jul-17 16:40:15

Just pretend to like the baby, someday you will probably accept being a grandmother. If you do not want to be called granny, don't allow that to happen, you have rights to your name.

Deedaa Sun 23-Jul-17 22:57:54

I wasn't over the moon about GS1 as life seemed to have gone on quite well without any grandchildren. 6 months later I was volunteering to look after him 5 days a week. I was then surprised to find that I was rather underwhelmed by the arrival of GS2 although, admittedly, I didn't have much to do with him for the first year. Now I can't imagine life without him.

Floriatosca Sun 23-Jul-17 23:29:42

Mortaff - I can understand how you feel. Becoming a grandmother is a realisation that you are moving up in the family tree and sometimes this can be a bit of a "wake up call". No one applies for the job of Grandma. We choose to have a job, a boyfriend, a husband and children but no one asks us (and they shouldn't!) if we WANT to be a grandparent - it is just thrust upon us whether we like it or not or feel ready. So as you have found having this status now does not automatically mean you are going to be pleased with your new found position. Hopefully in time you will come to love and appreciate being in your new role. I have three lovely grandchildren but can honestly say if my three sons had remained childless I would not have minded at all. Any day now I am to become (!) a GREAT grandma - at the age of 67!! This has caused a bit of rethinking on my part (never imagining I would be married to a Great grandpa!!) Just take your new role as it comes and hopefully in time you will accept it.

ElaineI Mon 24-Jul-17 00:29:40

This is fairly unusual reaction to me - my life has change so much for the better with the arrival of my 2 grandchildren and I love them so much. I cannot understand your indifference to a new baby genetically related to you. Are there things going on that do not allow you to feel the immense love and pleasure grandchildren bring? Family issues? Depression? The only thing I can think of is that it makes you realise how old you are becoming (I know some are grandparents at a very young age) but I do sometimes think at 61 how long I will have with my family and although my mother is still around at 81 will I have that long etc. But fleeting thoughts as I am still working and do not feel that I am old! Just put on a show for now and I am sure the love will come x

suzied Mon 24-Jul-17 05:44:50

Some people just don't go gooey over babies and find them a bit boring. Maybe you're just one of those people. Maybe you'll enjoy them more when s/he is a bit older and more interesting. Maybe it's a reminder of ageing and mortality - what's good about that? Maybe it's a bit of both. Just be happy for the parents, buy a present, and say "I'm not great with babies. don't ask me to look after them" - and get on with your life.

Mortaff Mon 24-Jul-17 08:37:37

Thank you all so much for taking the time to comment and offer positive advice, I am really grateful. Nothing will change the fact I am now a Grandparent and I am sure the acceptance will come. Suzied, thank you, you offer sound advice and pretty much what I have said to my son and his wife. I am only 53 and often feel much less so mortality does not worry me. I am fortunate at this point that they live an hour away by car so I can have time to prepare for any visits but I think the family gathering pushed me almost to breaking point and I became concerned I would alienate my son and daughter in law by doing/saying the wrong thing and that I would be 'judged' for not wanting to pick the baby up.

Blip over and I will strive to become a better grandparent, hopefully without the 'g' tag which I still don't want!

You are all brilliant for coming to and helping me in what I felt was a lonely place. Xx

TillyWhiz Mon 24-Jul-17 10:03:47

Not everyone is excited or interested in little babies. However, they develop quickly and I believe you will find a stage where your interest starts - just keep pretending, you'll get there and you will wonder why you felt as you did.

radicalnan Mon 24-Jul-17 10:05:34

You don't have to be called anything you don't like, invent a hop name for yourself........however, I expect you will fall in love at some point........babies sell themselves to us.

Marion58 Mon 24-Jul-17 10:06:57

Whilst you cannot help your feelings, as others have said you will have to pretend. As the baby grows older imagine how it will feel if it has an inkling of negative vibes from you. Family are our world whilst we are growing up and mean everything to us. Plenty of time later in it's life to find this isn't always the case.

Mamasasq Mon 24-Jul-17 10:09:38

I have just logged on & read the posts. Mortaff, I was wondering, would it have anything to do with you not bonding straight away with your first son? I'm not a grandmother yet but I had difficulties when my first son was born, i.e, depression, my father dying suddenly (in his 50s) shortly after the birth. sometimes music, something someone says, a deja vue moment can resurrect those feelings of anxiety etc. Do you think this might be affecting you? Do you think the baby has brought back these feelings/memories?

frue Mon 24-Jul-17 10:09:56

Lots of medical advice now about not letting babies be picked up too much in the first month
Hope the baby morphs into someone really special for you

rileydog Mon 24-Jul-17 10:10:18

It might be useful to talk over your feelings with a professional. I'm sure your GP could put you in touch with someone. It clearly won't change the situation but could definitely help you to understand why you feel like you do and take steps to improve and enjoy your relationship with your new grandchild. Best of luck!

lesley4357 Mon 24-Jul-17 10:11:17

I think its quite telling that you call the baby 'it' - are you trying to distance yourself by not assigning gender?

Juggernaut Mon 24-Jul-17 10:12:17

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morningdew Mon 24-Jul-17 10:15:14

maybe your not a baby person not everyone gushes over babies , there is nothing wrong with that ,keep on as you are at least your not monopolising the baby , when you get your first smile meant for you feelings will probably change , as far as the name you decide what you want to be called , don't beat yourself up take it a day at a time ..

Blossomsmum Mon 24-Jul-17 10:16:50

I don't like babies . I loved my own boys but couldn't wait to go back to work to get away from them . We fostered for over 20 years but always teenagers. I have been a grandmother since I was 38 when one of my adopted daughters had a baby . I choose to be called Granny lol.
I am now a great grandmother and have a large brood or grandchildren /great grandchildren I adore . My family are aware that I am not a baby fan and that I much prefer them when the are toddlers onward .
Please give it time and yes put on an act if need be . It's a big change when you suddenly become part of the grandparent generation but not the end of life as you know it .

quizqueen Mon 24-Jul-17 10:19:42

Luckily for me, the MIL was already established with the 'granny' tag with pre-existing grandchildren so I opted for nan/nanny (my daughter asked me how I wanted to be referred to). I didn't feel instant love for my first grandchild although I certainly liked her and was pleased to have her.

It was lovely to see how my daughter fell instantly in love with her though just as I did with her (all throughout my pregnancy I hadn't felt that I really wanted children at all and only agreed to do so because I was 30 and my the husband wanted them.

With my second grandchild I did feel more love for her straight away. My daughter commented that she was amazed how she could love another child when she loved her first one so much (but I knew that already). We both had two girls so have a lot in common and I had kept most of their toys.

I'm sure you will bond with your grandchild over the years but don't feel pressurised to do any large amounts of childcare that you don't feel comfortable with as it will build resentment.

Ramblingrose22 Mon 24-Jul-17 10:19:45

Mortaff - your honesty is refreshing and there is nothing wrong with you for feeling this way. Not everyone is busting to be a Gran, just as not everyone wants to be a parent.

As it is still not "PC" to say so, I would pretend that you are excited about the baby, show an interest in how the baby is getting on and keep your feelings to yourself as they may (or may not) change.

My friend's DH absolutely hated the baby stage with their 2 boys and kept his distance from feeding, nappy changes, etc. But when they started walking and talking, a protective streak kicked in and he wanted to help them communicate and he has never looked back.

You are a young Gran and have plenty of time to develop a relationship with the GC in time if you want to. And choose a name you are happy with, not what others think you should be called.

Perhaps other Gransnetters can suggest different names?

margaretmc Mon 24-Jul-17 10:20:50

I'm not judging, but, try to stop referring to your grandchild as "it"

LesleyC Mon 24-Jul-17 10:21:15

The first thing I noticed was that you haven't mentioned if it is a boy or a girl, just "it". At this stage I can understand that you don't feel anything or want to cuddle "it" but I'm sure when the baby develops its own personality and reaches out to you and smiles at you, you will develop feelings for him/her. A very strong feeling that I had was that my grandchildren were the product of my own children who I loved and this was just an extension of my love for them. As you said you struggled to love your first son, I am sure you will eventually develop feelings for this new baby. As you don't live too near, you are not having to see the baby on a daily basis and if you can I would just try not to worry, but as others have said, certainly disguise your feelings to your son and wife.