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Grandparenting

The Grandma that never was

(66 Posts)
Moomintwo Wed 20-Feb-19 00:44:45

I have had six children, five alive and one in heaven. Now adults. One grandchild of nearly two. He should be the light of my life. I've waited for him. Its all turned into a nightmare. My daughter, for her own reasons, decided to turn parenting into a degree course, she was in competition to prove she is better than I was. I did my best. On my own. My ex husband ran away when our daughter died and I was left to raise the survivors. Three went to University which I paid for, one got offered a place but decided not to take it up and the other has learning difficulties. All now successful, do not claim benefits and have successful relationships. Not so bad then. I've never been told I can't see my grandson, I am not asked to baby sit, I am not allowed to have him on my own. Have never got to the bottom of why. I've had him on my own by default a hand full of times and everything went well on each occasion. Four times over Christmas I tried to arrange to take him to Circus, to see Santa to go on the Santa Express. Excuses all the way. Now he hides if ever he sees me, runs to his mum and says "I'm shy". I have no idea why, I've tried acknowledging him but not pushing contact. He doesn't say this to anyone else. My daughter will only say how precious he is to her and she couldn't cope if anything happened. This is the crux. My daughter died in an accident at home. No one's fault. An accident. I wonder if this is why, that I am somehow in her head to blame who knows, I can't push it. If that were the answer and I was somehow being punished for losing a child it would end our relationship. I love my daughter. I'm very sad at her behaviour. What advice can you give?

absent Wed 20-Feb-19 03:47:02

How old was your daughter when her sister died? I wonder if this might be a confused picture that has become locked in her mind since the accident and since was a child. Almost all mothers are fiercely protective of their children – and quite rightly – but perhaps she has conflicting feelings about you and about protecting her son. I am not suggesting for a second that you are a threat to him, or even that she consciously thinks you are.

GrandmainOz Wed 20-Feb-19 04:08:08

moomintwo It must be hard. Does your daughter allow others to care for the little one, or is it just you? If she doesn't let anyone babysit it could be that she has a real fear of "something " going wrong if she doesn't watch him 24/7. She could still be traumatised by what must have been a horrific experience for your family. After all, she now knows, unfortunately, that the Worst CAN happen.
I'm so sorry for the loss of your child

BradfordLass72 Wed 20-Feb-19 05:04:00

What an unbearably sad situation, I'm so sorry you're going through this.
People do things for their own reasons and we rarely understand why.
I'm sure your daughter must have been incredibly shocked and distressed when her sister died so even if it's never even crossed her mind to blame you, she would still be on tenterhooks that a similar accident may befall her precious child.

Two year old are often shy, my younger boy suddenly became shy of his grandma and his daddy for goodness sake at 2 years old, but it soon passed. Ironically, he'd go to a stranger without and hint of this shyness. smile

If you can talk to your daughter about how much this hurt, please do so but I doubt it would get rid of her fears.
As moomin says, she knows the worst can happen.

I am sure the little boy will relax in time and enjoy coming to you and that alone will help his Mum to accept time away from her. flowers

RosieLeah Wed 20-Feb-19 06:02:22

How disappointing for you. Other people complain that they are taken for granted and expected to be available for child-care at a moment's notice. The little boy is losing something valuable too. You don't mention your daughter's in-laws. Does she have the same attitude towards the other grandmother?

BlueBelle Wed 20-Feb-19 06:39:31

How do you know your daughter is in competition with you’re parenting ? Has she said that? Or are you thinking that?
Was you’re daughter innocently involved in your daughters accident ? Or were you? I think this may be at the bottom of her reluctance to let the little boy away from her care

Why don’t you try doing things with her involved instead of wanting to be on your own with the little boy invite her as well and build up a relationship with them both you say she hasn’t stopped you seeing him just doesn’t want to leave him so I think that’s your answer

Lumarei Wed 20-Feb-19 07:35:22

I empathise with you and I am so sorry for the loss of your child. You Did so incredibly well raising your children by yourself and you should be proud of that.

It is difficult to evaluate your DD’s behaviour without more background info. Has she become distant towards you since GS was born? Is she a full time mum? Does she let other people child mind?
All I can say is - be patient and don’t appear to be desperate to have him on his own. Enjoy him when you see him with the parents and play with him in his own environment.

Your GS acting shy is not unusual and could be just a phase he is going through - I mind my GD 3 days a week and she went through a phase (at 2 yrs old) when she clung unto her parents every morning she arrived. But it stopped as suddenly as it started after Christmas.

Anja Wed 20-Feb-19 07:38:56

A mother’s worst fear is that she will lose a child. This will be even more of an anxiety for your daughter than most as she knows this can and does happen. To most people it’s something that won’t happen to them, not so your daughter.

I don’t know how old your little one was when you lost her and I’m so sad for you still. I think you might have to wait until your GS is older and your daughter feels more secure about this issue. Till then just be as patient and as supportive as you can for her.

sodapop Wed 20-Feb-19 08:36:56

Yes I can't add any more to Anja's comments. A sad situation for all of you, just be patient and supportive. You have cared for your family so well over the years I'm sure your daughter will come to realise this.

Moomintwo Wed 20-Feb-19 08:45:31

She was ten. We were in awe of her and how she handled things I arranged counselling and took older ones to bereavement camp. She came with me to hospital after we found my daughter who had died. She read poem at her funeral. I don't know where my little pal has gone we were once so close. I understand sometimes you can't help how you feel. So much hurt and pain

Anja Wed 20-Feb-19 08:51:24

That was such a bad time for you all Moomintwo and the pain doesn’t go away, we just learn to take it with us, somehow.

I think that deep down you understand your daughter’s fear for her own child and that has brought back so many of the feelings you felt at the time.

Willow500 Wed 20-Feb-19 09:01:18

How dreadfully sad and I can't really add any more. It does sound as though the birth of her son has perhaps triggered some kind of PTS related to her little sister's death. At 10 she would be well aware of what was happening and the fact that you say you were all in awe of how she coped maybe shows that she bottled everything up and now it's coming out in her behaviour. I hope you manage to talk this through with her or perhaps her siblings may be able to help.

Maggiemaybe Wed 20-Feb-19 09:17:53

I hope things improve for you all, Moomin. thanks I’d echo what a previous poster said - for the time being, just suggest outings with your DGS that include your daughter. This way I would think that he’ll get better used to you and she’ll see this and become more confident about leaving him with you in the future.

Moomintwo Wed 20-Feb-19 09:38:37

Thank you. Yes others do look after him including other grandmother. I'm pleased for them that he has so many people who love him.

Moomintwo Wed 20-Feb-19 09:40:54

There has been a little animosity at times with other grandmother but no sense baby-sits for them. Just me it would seem.

Luckygirl Wed 20-Feb-19 09:42:17

How very sad - and hard for you.

Your DD seems to be reacting to the loss of her sister and the break-up of your marriage. And she is now a parent herself and has realised the fierce love that we have for our children.

I have no easy answer to offer here - but I hope very much that there will be other GC with whom you are able to have a closer relationship.

Moomintwo Wed 20-Feb-19 10:37:58

Thank you for all your kind words it has helped

Bagatelle Wed 20-Feb-19 11:00:52

You do know what the problem is, and as others have said, there is no easy answer.

Somewhere in her mind the notion seems to have lodged that a child died on your watch, but although your daughter seems unable to talk about it to you (maybe for fear of upsetting you both and being unable to cope with that) it doesn't mean that she is punishing you. How old was the child who died? Is the one with learning difficulties still at home, and if so, how much attention does he/she need? I ask that because I wonder whether your daughter is worried that her son wouldn't have your undivided attention.

You did so well to cope with five. It could be said that there is nobody better placed to know what can happen and that you are the person least likely to take their eyes off him for even a moment.

My elder granddaughter went through a phase of being shy of me when she was that age, although she would soon get over it. I think it was because it had been left to her to make the first move and she didn't know what to do, so we made our greeting a high five and that worked.

Would it be OK with your daughter if she came on the trip as well? Would it be any different if you offered to look after him at their home rather than yours?

Could you write to your daughter? As a mother herself, and your daughter, this must be really hard for her, too.

Yorkshiregirl Wed 20-Feb-19 11:16:28

My heart goes out to you x I would say that this is a very complex situation, and your daughter needs further counseling. She's been traumatised as I'm sure you all were, but something deep down still has not been dealt with.

You must not blame yourself in any way at all, as you seem like an excellent mother. Unfortunately shock especially as a child can be extremely difficult to overcome, and of course nobody can make her seek further help.

My sister lost her 3 year old son years ago, and I was just a teenager so I know how these things can also destroy families. I do hope things improve for you x

grandtanteJE65 Wed 20-Feb-19 11:18:36

I wonder if this is not mainly caused by the fact that your daughter coped so well when her sister died? Some kind of trauma resurfacing now that she herself is a mother.

Most two year olds go through phases of being shy, and lots of them are shy of one person at a time. Your grandson is going through a phase of being shy of you and it will pass.

I second the advice given to try and do things with both your daughter and your grandson.

GabriellaG54 Wed 20-Feb-19 11:21:51

I'm saddened to read your story, however, I can only agree with other posters who say that the root cause may lie with the death of her sister.
The fact that you have, by default, cared for your GS on a few occasions and successfully, is obviously not enough for your daughter to fully entrust your GS to your care except when she has no other choice.
There is every probability that she knows you will care for him properly, however, her inner voice tells her 'what if' and that is the voice she needs 95% of the time.
I really hope things improve, as they no doubt will especially when he starts nursery or school.
Meanwhile, carry on being the resourceful, loving, caring mum you have always been and just offer support as, when and if she asks for it.
Best wishes from me...flowers

GabriellaG54 Wed 20-Feb-19 11:23:15

needs needs. blush

GabriellaG54 Wed 20-Feb-19 11:24:02

NO.
needs heeds. 😊

sarahcyn Wed 20-Feb-19 11:24:16

How painful for you. You've answered your own question really - you feel your daughter blames you for the accident and the chances are, you're right.
Have you considered family therapy, mainly for you and the mum and dad of the toddler but possibly involving other members of the family too?
Family therapists are trained to get families to talk constructively about their relationships. When we did it (part of my daughter's eating disorders treatment) it was brilliant - a safe place to talk honestly.

Kerenhappuch Wed 20-Feb-19 11:52:11

This sounds terribly painful for you, bringing back the trauma of your daughter's death for both of you.

I agree with others who suggest organising occasions when you can spend time with DGS with his mother there, which will allow him to get over his shyness. We don't get to see our grandchildren very often because they live overseas, so we've largely got to know them by inviting the whole family on holiday when they couldn't easily afford a family holiday.