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A different sort of grandparenting?

(21 Posts)
Henny2020 Fri 29-May-20 16:54:26

So - a few weeks ago, about 3 weeks into lockdown, my son (who lives with us) announced that his GF (who lives about 10 miles away) is pregnant. He was very happy, so we have been happy too (if a little apprehensive!) They have not announced the pregnancy outside of the family - having decided to wait until 20 weeks (as nobody is going out seeing anyone anyway)
However - their relationship has not survived the separation of lockdown, although they are remaining in touch and he plans to be the best dad he can.
I am just wondering where we go from here as grandparents - will we even have a role?

Has anyone else been through this?

Newatthis Fri 29-May-20 18:06:14

I think this will depend on your son and what type of relationship he will have with the new baby. If he is a loving, supportive dad then I am sure that the GF will welcome you into their lives. So sad that the relationship has not lasted. If it were me I would stay in touch with the GF and offer your support, first checking with son to see if this is OK. I would also voive my concerns to my son.

Bibbity Fri 29-May-20 18:28:35

I completely agree with Newatthis
If they manage to stay civil then you could hopefully visit soon.
However stay calm!
She may be conscious of people she doesn’t know being around her to soon after giving birth so may need some time to settle in.
And it’s unlikely the baby will be separated from mum for a good many months so if you and her can become friendly that may help.

Bibbity Fri 29-May-20 18:28:51

Sorry forgot to add.

janeainsworth Fri 29-May-20 19:24:49

I haven’t any personal experience of your situation Henny but I do feel for you,

I think if your son really wants to be involved in his child’s upbringing, he’ll have to recognise that will involve financial support and my advice would be to see a solicitor to find out how to formalise whatever arrangement he comes to with the child’s mother.

That’s not to be confrontational, but just to set out agreed ground rules so that everyone knows where they stand. I agree with Newatthis, be as friendly and supportive as you can to the child’s mother, without making her feel you’re imposing your views on her or any conditions on the relationship.
Good luck thanks

agnurse Fri 29-May-20 21:15:35

Your best bet is for your son to arrange for you to see the child. The child has a right to a relationship with both parents, so your son should be able to see the child, and you can see the child during your son's time.

OceanMama Sat 30-May-20 00:30:05

I agree with agnurse. Your time to see your grandchild will be during your son's parenting time. The exception would be if you have an independent relationship with the child's mother already existing. I'd talk to your son about his plans and how you can fit in with that. Be prepared that while the baby is small, especially if breastfed, that s/he will most likely spend most time with the mother. You might need to be prepared to wait till baby is a bit older to see much of him or her unless the mother invites you into her life.

There are all kinds of ways of approaching the relationships here but in the end, your link to this child is through your son, so discuss with him.

Henny2020 Sat 30-May-20 07:49:10

Thanks all - a good idea to talk to him, maybe nearer the time. I did get on well with her, but they have only been together a few months so we don't really have a relationship. She lives in a different town - so I guess he will mainly go to her, rather than her visiting him with baby.
He does expect to help support financially but he lost his job a few weeks before the lockdown - and he has always worked in retail or hospitality, so that isn't looking good for him.

Furret Sat 30-May-20 08:14:44

Make a connection to the future mum too. Her plans of a future together have fallen through. Reach out to her, gently and kindly.

vickya Sat 30-May-20 09:42:53

I have two daughters and the older has a son about to be 14. She and the father have not been a couple since he was two. His father is very involved and they agreed to share parenting. As mum's parents, granddad and I did a lot of childcare after nursery/school etc, but the other grandparents are very much a part of grandson's life too. We get on well with them and have seen them at events over the years. Grandson goes with his dad to visit them quite often and both parents have spent several Christmases with his family, and been on holiday in Italy to their family and to a wedding there. Grandson also stays with them sometimes and he and his younger sister love being with the cousins.

Not just that, but daughter then got married and had a daughter who is just 5 now. Grandson's dad's family have always treated her like another grandchild. Other gran knits wonderful things like doll's clothes for granddaughter. granddaughter went on holiday abroad and also to a wedding with the family in Italy with her mum and brother and goes to visit the family.

Grandson's dad is the favoured baby sitter. Daughter divorced her husband, granddaughter's dad, three years ago. That was a little less amicable but he is involved with his daughter too. His parents are dead so no role for them, except his other daughter, living abroad, is a big sister to granddaughter when they can meet.

I think if everyone loves the grandchildren and tries their best it can work well. For the five year old's birthday 3 weeks ago we had a zoom party and grandson's father's family were there in strength. I think seven windows were theirs and two young cousins even brought two hens in for me to admire. I occasionally exchange emails with other gran too. I like her very much and we congratulate each other on how well grandson is doing and hear news about the family.

vickya Sat 30-May-20 09:45:38

I should add I like grandson's dad a lot and always want to know how his work is doing and often feel I'd like to swop him for my daughter, who can be difficult smile

Devongirl4 Sat 30-May-20 10:21:33

My son discovered his ex wife was pregnant 3 months after their divorce. ( they celebrated for a weekend afterwards- don’t ask 🙄) It was rocky at first as she lives n her own country. 8 years on it’s really fine. You just have to hang in there, make no comments and make sure son doesn’t either. It can work

Nannan2 Sat 30-May-20 10:33:17

Please let them sort it out first..Dont jump in to ex MiL did this years ago to me when i moved away to another town- my ex hubby & i were barely on speaking terms but were still trying to sort things for our son- when his mother jumped in,telling him what to do,making it worse- also went to court to get access on a 'regular' basis without discussing it with me first- this put my back up (and she only got 3-4 times a year 'allowed' anyway) if she'd discussed it just with me (after his dad& me had sorted things) id have probably given more than that! But doing it as she did made for very awkward 'pushed into' visits for a very long time- its only as our son got older (probably 12/13) that weve become what id say is 'civil' rather than 'friendly'- he's 17 now.But he has never been overly loving with them,even his dad, but that's due to his own personality, rather than amount of visits. But i know when he was younger he resented being 'made to' have to visit, instead of it being a 'treat' to visit . (like when my GC visit me, in normal times) He still groans when i say we are going there& has been happier that during lockdown he hasnt had that to do.

Nannan2 Sat 30-May-20 10:39:34

It did work out they usually get about 6 visits a year,& i did go even after my ex moved down midlands last year, but then lockdown I've made sure my sons rung GP's a couple of times.But he's very reluctant.. So dont push your GC away by you're own actions.hmm

cookiemonster66 Sat 30-May-20 10:55:47

I was 16 when I fell pregnant, way too young I know, needless to say we broke up (he made my friend pregnant!?!) anyway his parents were upset and his mum said 'grandparents are always the unspoken victims of separations, I don't suppose we will see you or the baby again now' I promised her that I would continue to visit so they could have a relationship with their granddaughter, which I did until she was an adult herself and arranged her own visits. They were also very fair towards my next child, buying equal value presents at xmas etc. Hopefully the GF will do the same for you.

Hithere Sat 30-May-20 12:12:03

I would let your son arrange their coparenting relationship first.
While it is good to be friendly with the future mother to be, i would make it very superficial in the beginning and move very slowly from there.

icanhandthemback Sat 30-May-20 12:12:05

Never say never. They may have had a wobble now because lockdown has made everything very difficult but they may work it out as the pregnancy progresses or when the baby arrives. Whatever happens, your son's child has a right to know his father and there are avenues to pursue if that doesn't happen naturally. No doubt your son will want you to be involved when he has his child staying with him so you can be a "grandparent" then. My advice would be to sit tight and just gently encourage your son to try to keep in touch with the girl so he can have a relationship with his child.

Ashcombe Sat 30-May-20 12:57:54

Henny2020. My son's girlfriend left him when their son was two, taking him with her. After some difficult times, they went to mediation where access was agreed. This is working well so far (GS is now four) and the lad is very well adjusted to spending time with each parent. He recently (pre lockdown) spent a night with me quite happily, even though they live over 200 miles away and we rarely meet. I tried not to become too involved in the acrimony early on and all concerned are happy that things are more settled of late. I hope your situation will be similar, Henny2020

4allweknow Sat 30-May-20 13:39:05

Discuss with your son about any contact you hope to have with the mum to be. Very early days yet, things may change by the time the baby is due. Keep contact brief, not to make her feel you are demanding anything, even her to contact you. The baby is your son's child so he will have obligations and rights so you may well have contact with your GC via him. Hope all goes well for all of you.

Theoddbird Sat 30-May-20 13:45:32

There is no point stressing about this. Just say that you want to be involved when child is born and leave it at that. You don't want to push her away. Easily done if too overbearing.

Henny2020 Sun 31-May-20 19:09:27

Lots of things to think about - thank you all!