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Disappointed in son

(122 Posts)
KazzaSJ Mon 20-Sep-21 21:32:08

I have always had a good relationship with my son. Since he met his current girlfriend I have felt disconnected with him. Now she is expecting in December 2021 and not only does she snub all family get togethers my son has also not involved himself with the family and only involves himself with her family, including grandparents and sister but totally ignores his own family and brother, who has moved house and he has never stepped foot in his new house since he moved over a year ago. But he puts himself out for his girlfriends family and friends. It is a fight to get him to attend at any family celebration and now snubs celebrations that have always been in the family. His girlfriend is now pregnant due in December, she continues to snub any family celebrations but now has said that they will both be isolating from September to the birth and now Christmas (which has always been a big celebration) is a no go as they will be isolating for 6 weeks after the birth on the advice of the RCM which I know is not true. We are not even allowed to be at the birth. She has isolated my son and now wants to isolate our grandchild.
I am not unreasonable or expecting anything more only to be involved in the birth of my grandson but she has managed not to allow us anywhere near. She always sees her own family. He used to ring but now even his calls have stopped. We have tried to be supportive to him and help out when needed but he just ignores any attempts. They have hurt me so very much and also the rest of the family.
I don’t know how to deal with this situation and any advice would be appreciated.

Hithere Mon 20-Sep-21 21:51:55

If only women did have this superpower - there would be many more happy marriages.

Please evaluate the role your son is having here - he has a brain of his own and making his decisions
She cannot make him do anything he doesnt want to do

freedomfromthepast Mon 20-Sep-21 21:57:04

I feel it is unreasonable to be expected to be involved in the birth. Doesn't matter if if is paternal or maternal parents. It is a medical procedure that mom is going through, not a spectator sport.

I also feel like it is reasonable to isolate the family both before and after the birth. Here in the US, women are having late term miscarriages due to the Delta variant. And Delta being so contagious to children doesnt help. Many doctors here in the US are suggesting limiting contact with people after birth, even though it is not a CDC requirement. Plus, come December it will be into flu season and a newborn at a family gathering will mean people will want to hold and kiss on the baby. It really could be a recipe for disaster.

That does not, of course, mean that are are wrong in feeling upset in how things are going to go. So much has changed due to Covid and we are adjusting to how things are now.

May I suggest you set down with your son and discuss expectations? I find that many families conflict comes from mismatched expectations. It is up to him, not her, to facilitate a relationship with his family. Ask him to honestly say why his contact has been limited. Be prepared for his answer and work together to figure out your new roles in his family.

theworriedwell Mon 20-Sep-21 21:59:03

We are not even allowed to be at the birth. I think expecting to be at the birth is a bit much. I wouldn't have been happy with my MIL in the delivery room, I wouldn't have allowed it, and I wouldn't expect to be at the birth of my GC except if my DD is the woman giving birth.

growstuff Mon 20-Sep-21 22:08:34

I agree with theworriedwell. There is no way in the world I would ever have allowed my in laws (or even my own parents) to be present when I gave birth.

Bluebellwould Mon 20-Sep-21 22:10:11

KazzaSJ, I think you are being totally unreasonable. You are upset at not being involved in the birth, really on what planet is the mother-in-law supposed to be there. Not one that I know about. My poor daughter in law had to have a caesarean and her husband wasn’t allowed to be there thanks to COVID.
If you are as intrusive as you come across then I too would be pulling away from you. I have 3 sons and have great relationships with my 3 daughter in laws because I do not push for any contact or pass comment on their families other than to be unfailingly positive and kind. If you don’t criticise, push or manipulate then they will come to you. If you show nothing but love and acceptance then you can have a good relationship.
You absolutely have no rights to your son and grandchild and your daughter in law has absolutely every right to look after her child and her family as she and your son decide.
When the baby is born buy something for her, something thoughtful and loving. Then step back and relax.
A baby is not something to be possessed and fought over.

Buffybee Mon 20-Sep-21 22:13:36

I’m curious as to why you have this thread on the Grandparenting forum, when you are asking for help regarding your son.
I see that you are not exactly estranged from your son but I think you may get a lot of help if you put this thread on the Estrangement Forum.
For myself, if this was how my son was behaving towards his family, I would leave him to it and stop pushing him and his wife to attend family celebrations.
It is a fight to get him to attend any family celebrations, this really stood out from your post.
Stop fighting him/them and stop insisting they attend celebrations that have always been in the family.
Leave them alone, just send a card and maybe a gift when the baby is born, maybe some flowers to your Dil, say you realise that it is a very busy time for them but if they need any help you’re there for them and in time you’d love to meet baby and can they let you know when it’s convenient to meet the new family member….. then wait!

Hithere Mon 20-Sep-21 22:21:33

They are doing the right thing not attending any celebrations. Health first.

Luckygirl Mon 20-Sep-21 22:43:21

We are not even allowed to be at the birth. - as others have said, this statement speaks volumes about unrealistic expectations - maybe this is why they are backing off from you.

Grammaretto Mon 20-Sep-21 22:48:55

Fair enough what everyone is saying about not being at the birth etc but surely you can still video call and keep the communications going. It's a bit much to blame covid for everything especially if the couple are seeing her family.
Just ask your DS what they would like for the baby and wish them well.

Bridgeit Mon 20-Sep-21 22:51:59

Can you explain please why you think that you should be at the birth ?

Bridgeit Mon 20-Sep-21 22:53:39

Video call ?🤭oh my goodness !

BlueBelle Mon 20-Sep-21 22:56:27

That would have been a nightmare for me to have a mother in law wanting or expecting to be at the birth (although I liked my mother in law) I had no one with me at any birth I would have liked a husband but wasn’t to be Never had mothers or anyone else around in my day
I think you are expecting far far too much ….when a child finds a partner and starts their own family you really do have to take the back seat and be there if needed or asked The more you push to have your son ‘ back’ the more you push him away
Relax get on with your own life and let them know you ll be there if needed then step back

Bridgeit Mon 20-Sep-21 22:57:22

You say you don’t know how to deal with the situation, perhaps an apology from you would be a big help.

Nell8 Mon 20-Sep-21 23:08:23

Kazza I've just read online that in some cultures it is not unusual for in-laws to attend a birth. Perhaps it would help if you could tell us a bit more about your family background?

freedomfromthepast Mon 20-Sep-21 23:17:45

Since I am the only one who mentioned Covid, I assume Grammeretto, that you were referring to my post.

I did not blame Covid for them not seeing her. I said Covid has changed the way things work in the world. It is unreasonable to expect to be involved in a medical procedure and it is not unreasonable to keep the baby safe both during pregnancy and when the baby is a newborn, ESPECIALLY since both unborn and newborns could be greatly affected by the Delta variant. If that means they are isolating family, that is what it means. We all had bubbles during the first wave, maybe her family is her bubble? We don't know because she is not here to tell her side of the story.

I never suggested that she should not expect to meet and spend time with the baby. I said large family gatherings were unwise right now with a newborn. She is due at Christmas, so any type of Christmas celebration may be taxing for a heavily pregnant woman with or without Covid.

While Covid is not to blame for everything, it HAS changed everything about how we live and it is short sighted to think that societies can go back to pre-Covid. That ship has sailed.

IMO, the OP is thinking about herself not the welfare of her grandchild when it comes to being at the birth and the health of a newborn. Even vaccinated people can carry Covid and that could be deadly to a baby.

She needs to figure out why her son has pulled away. To do that, she needs to ask HIM and not expect her DIL to facilitate a relationship.

It could be the DIL (a popular theory but not as common as we think). It could be the son. It could be the fact that the OP seems very demanding. Or it could be that there are mismatched expectations on all sides that need to be worked through by having conversations, accepting boundaries being set and learning how this new family dynamic is going to work for the future.

fatgran57 Mon 20-Sep-21 23:31:05


Unbelievable comment - this thread must be a joke.

grannyactivist Mon 20-Sep-21 23:40:49

KazzaSJ hello and welcome if you’re a new poster.

Leaving aside all the other concerns you have expressed I think it will reassure you to know that your son’s girlfriend is in fact absolutely correct in quoting guidance from the RCM. Even midwives and health visitors have extremely strict guidance about visiting newborns and their advice to new parents is:

Women and babies in the immediate and early postnatal period may still be still considered as ‘vulnerable’ and should follow the UK Government advice for pregnant women by maintaining social distancing.

Grammaretto Mon 20-Sep-21 23:42:14

freedomfromthepast I think we are both saying the same thing.
At the birth =NO
Seeing the baby a reasonable time afterwards =YES
Keeping in contact in the meantime by talking =YES

The reason I mentioned covid as an excuse was that the DS & DiL are seeing her parents but not his and I fear a festering injustice there.

grannyactivist Mon 20-Sep-21 23:48:35

I should perhaps have said that the quote above is the current guidance from the RCM (published June 2021). The six weeks following birth are usually regarded as the ‘early’ postnatal period.

Here is the guidance for midwives and health professionals for home visits during the postnatal period:

• When phoning the woman to confirm the visit, advise her that she and any household members present are required to wear a mask or face covering while you are in attendance and the room should be ventilated and that they should each take a lateral flow test prior to the visit.
• Midwives and other staff should continue to wear PPE for postnatal home visits, observe social distancing as far as possible during the visit and apply careful infection prevention and control measures.

CafeAuLait Mon 20-Sep-21 23:49:32

Maybe your son never cared much for those family gatherings, so isn't bothered with them now that he's grown and starting his own family?

"It is a fight to get him to attend at any family celebration"
Don't do this. Issue the invitation then leave it to him.

Maybe it's a Covid thing and they are avoiding the gatherings for related reasons? Their choice.

Time to realise your son and his family is not an extension of you and step back before you damage the relationship too far.

CafeAuLait Mon 20-Sep-21 23:51:15


freedomfromthepast I think we are both saying the same thing.
At the birth =NO
Seeing the baby a reasonable time afterwards =YES
Keeping in contact in the meantime by talking =YES

The reason I mentioned covid as an excuse was that the DS & DiL are seeing her parents but not his and I fear a festering injustice there.

There could be reasons they will see one side and not the other. I mean, if my mother worked in a healthcare setting and his was a person who worked from home and didn't get out as much, I'd see the work from home person as much lower risk. I might visit the lower risk person but not the other. Just an example.

freedomfromthepast Mon 20-Sep-21 23:52:19

Thanks for clearing that up Grammaretto. Yes, we do agree.

I can think of some reasons why she would want to see her family, but honestly it is best not to assume. It could very well be a festering injustice. Or not.

I always hope for the best possible outcomes for families. Welcoming new family members is exciting and balancing the needs of the baby and the parents can be tricky.

VioletSky Mon 20-Sep-21 23:58:52

Kazza the baby isn't even here yet and you are fighting with son and DIL, angry they aren't doing holidays your way and thinking you have a right to be at the birth.

Ask yourself this: What is her family doing differently that makes your son and DIL prefer time with them?

You are going to lose this relationship if you don't respect their right to parent their own way, protect their child and choose who they spend time with.

Respect them as adults, deep breaths and take a giant step back, maybe two. The way parents do things now is different, that doesnt make you wrong, it's just different.

We don't want to see you on the estrangement threads, there aren't many happy endings there.

Lolo81 Tue 21-Sep-21 00:23:07

How exactly do you envisage being involved when your DIL is having a baby? What sort of value do you think you would bring to that situation?
Also, how many family events are you talking about here? Once a week? Once a month?
Try and have reasonable expectations. Any adult growing up and forging their own family unit will pull away from their previous nuclear family, because they are creating their own wee unit. That doesn’t mean that in a healthy family there isn’t still calls and contact and visits, but priorities can and should change.
Has your DS gave any indication why he is less available? Work schedules? COVID concerns? There could be any number of things going on, but unless you stop pushing your own agenda of getting what you want and take the time to ask and listen you won’t know. Having a good relationship with them pre-kids will make a huge difference when this wee baby is born.