Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Babies don't always bring families closer together
The family visits with the in-laws are over & besides the annoyance about their ignorance towards Logan's food allergies (they even planned on coloring Easter eggs last night knowing that Logan is allergic to eggs), it was a fairly uneventful week. Uneventful but interesting in realizing how I feel around them (mainly Grandma L).

After burying the hatchet, working on "repairing" an almost completely irreparable relationship & realizing that nothing was going to change after the whole Christmas Card fiasco, I totally gave up. It takes two people to make a relationship work & I felt that the efforts for change were so one-sided it was pointless to keep trying because I was only getting slapped in the face. In giving up, there is a continued lack of trust.

Being around someone I don't trust is much like a cat who's been repeatedly kicked. There may be an effort to be nice a few times, but after getting kicked after every effort, I don't want to be in the same room with them. Pregnancy only exacerbates that reaction.

When planning for this baby, I was up with insomnia worrying about what was going to happen with Bill's family when I was in labor & Logan would be staying at a friends house instead of with them (because I don't trust them to take him overnight & even more so after the events of this last visit). I was (am?) concerned about what we may end up dealing with after the baby is born. Since there is no effort for change, I'm worried about baby snatching, holding them hostage & pretty much every experience I had while Logan was a newborn. If nothing is truly resolved, why expect anything different?

So, my guard is up. Way up. We're not talking about a wall being put up, we're talking about a fort behind a moat. I don't want to share anything about the pregnancy. Sharing is a privilege & I don't think it's deserved in this situation. Plus, the momma bear feelings began much sooner this time around, even before we got a positive test & that intense feeling to "protect" my baby & mostly my newborn experience have me withdrawing from any & all interaction with her. While pregnancy & new babies bring most families closer together, it's the complete opposite in ours.

I've already begun thinking about boundaries & Bill has been pretty supportive of them so far. He supports my desire to have Logan stay with one of my friends while we're at the hospital & he's OK with me not wanting any family visits until 2 weeks after the baby is born. In reality, things are going to be different this time, only because I'm not going to let them happen again. I'm just not looking forward to the typical reactions that are going to happen when people don't get their way.

19 comments:

Jaime said...

As you are already aware, I deal with many of the exact same issues as you, only it's the reverse: my family.

After the birth of our first child we did exactly as you're wanting. No visitors for at least 2 weeks. The kids stayed at home and Jim's aunt watched them while I was in labor, then his Mom stayed the night until I returned home from the hospital (caused a huge can of worms with each child too, my Mom was none too happy).

You're very right in doing what you have to do and it taking both sides. I'm still working on this but it's my Mother so it's a bit different. I can't totally remove her from my life if you know what I mean. (she's my Mom and as such, I will always love her).

I hope things run more smoothly for you.

Poopie said...

I have read your blog for a long time and have never commented. I think that you are too sensitive. I have read EVERY post you have posted and you just don't get it. A grandma loves a grandchild sometimes MORE than her own child. And by you keeping family away for 2 weeks is only going to make it worse. She is the grandmother. Grandma's love to wipe noses, change diapers, give bottles (even with breastmilk in them) babysit, rock the baby and comfort them. This DOES NOT take anything away from you as the mother. This whole mother bear thing you keep talking about sounds like insecurity and you are hiding behind your children to do so. I feel sorry for your husband who has to mediate between you. You are correct that your mother in law is overbearing and wrong on a lot of accounts. But as my mother and grandmother always said, kill them with kindness. Be the bigger person and be happy they do not live closer.

Kristin said...

Poopie, Since when do babies have an expiration date? The baby will be the same person be it 2 days or 2 weeks. This 2 week "break" from family visits is going to allow us time to adjust, heal & figure everything out. This is the same thing that I wanted after Logan was born & nobody gave a flying F how I felt. Then all of that crap happened with baby snatching, telling me that I needed to leave & refusing to hand over my son when I needed to nurse - as I'm sitting there in pain & engorged. She's not going to be there to help anyway, so what's the difference?

A newborn only needs the love & care from their parents - they do not need to bond with anyone else at that point. There's no permanent damage being done to their relationship if Grandma L has to wait 2 weeks to come out. Give me a freakin' break.

Bill doesn't have to mediate between the two of us anymore because I have absolutely no problem telling her what's going on. She's just going to have to learn to deal with it. It's too bad that she's done NOTHING to improve our relationship in earnest & I'm tired of trying to be the "bigger person" (ie, sending her pictures of Logan, emailing her with updates of what's going on & generally trying to be nice) only to have her be sneaky, with a huge sense of entitlement & throw tantrums when she doesn't get her way.

Maybe if she made an effort to be a better person we wouldn't be in this position. But I'm not humoring ignorance anymore.

Anonymous said...

I agree with poopie-your mother in law sounds like a pain, but what she is feeling is normal. She is excited (probably too much so) about her grandchildren-you should not fault her for that. She wants to hold the baby a little longer than you would like-or she wants to change all the diapers when she is around-WHO CARES-let her and then she will go back home and you can have all of the diapers to yourself. You do not have to go into momma bear mode over your mother in law wanting to hold the baby-she is not going to kidnap him/her from your house. You are being very sensitive-there are a lot of kids who do not have grandparents who care at all and your kids have a grandma who cares too much-which is worse???? Two weeks is a LONG time to ask grandparents to wait to see their new grandchild. Put a limit on their visit-1 hour/day or something, but asking them to wait two weeks is insane I think. She is going to be very "grabby" of the baby if you make her wait so long to see him/her. She will also have Logan to distract her so maybe she will not want to hold the baby as much.

Also, I cannot understand why you would not let her use a picture of the grandkids as her Christmas card-I think it is wonderful that she wanted to show off her grandkids to all of her friends. What difference does it make to you what picture she uses or what the kids are wearing in the picture? Your Christmas card could have still had a picture of you and the kids. I think the more you work with her (maybe totally on her terms some of the time if possible) the more appropriate she will act. And whether you admit it or not, Bill is getting caught between you and his mother. I am sure it hurts him everytime you and his family fight.

Anonymous said...

I wasn't going to comment, but you've left me no choice. First, let me sympathsize...my mother-in-law is a total pain in the ass and my husband refuses to say anything to her. She's a guilt dumper as well. However, some mother in-laws obviously did not read the "Once Your Son Gets Married...How to Back Off and Not Smother Your Daughter In Law."
The main reason I am commenting is because it seems like you are WASTING so much of your energy on this situation. YOU are allowing her to make you miserable! I was grateful for any help I received in the first few weeks of bringing my children home (I needed sleep). I agree with anonymous that your older son is going to keep Grandma busy enough. You need to learn to let go a little. As for your husband...he is obviously a saint, because you are putting him through hell!

Kristin said...

Leave it to the post about the in-laws to bring the anonymous comments out of the woodwork. These points of view generally come from readers who have no personal experience in dealing with manipulative, overbearing behavior. Due to lack of personal experience, those readers often have the opinion that I should take the position of door mat & "suck it up".

I did that for a year & you know what that got me? Panic attacks & insomnia. Yeah, that was a brilliant way to deal with the situation. Just let it keep happening.

It's 2 weeks. The woman will live. A 2 week wait is nothing compared to the shit she's put me through over the last 10 years. Also regarding the help someone appreciated after their birth? That's you - not me. I didn't ask for it last time & I don't need it this time. The "help" she tried to give after Logan was born was only invasive & damaging.

And Bill being a saint? I think we missed that tidbit in the 7 months of counseling we went through to figure out this situation. If memory serves me right, he had quite a bit or responsibility in the situation & has worked on that & continues to do so.

Funny how our counselor had the complete opposite advice/opinion as anonymous comments.

One thing I do agree with though, is that I DO allow her to make me miserable & I'm hoping that by continuing to stand up for myself will decrease how much her behavior effects me.

Lydia said...

Just remember, karma. I hope you have another beautiful baby boy so that one day YOU will be the MIL and can get payback. You have put your MIL through HELL. Karma...

Kristin said...

Funny thing is, just like how my mother was the example for what kind a mother I didn't want to be, I've learned what kind of mother-in-law I don't want to be from Bill's mom.

I will never do the things that she has done. She's only going through hell because she's doing it to herself. She the one who chose to act as she has.

Alicia Seevers said...

Ok, I was the second anonymous post and since you claim I don't have the guts to show myself I now will.

However, I went back and read some more of your blog and I am an awe because you lived with your MIL & FIL while you saved money when you were first married and now this is your way of repaying them.

I plan to check your blog for the next 20-30 years so I can see how you handle being a MIL, because it's VERY obvious to me that you have some MAJOR control issues!

Kristin said...

Alicia,

That was before she told me that I wasn't smart enough to be a Dr when getting ready to move to go to grad school, manipulating my wedding date so most of my family couldn't attend then cutting me out of the family & attempting to make me stay home to miss my sons first Christmas.

So, if you're keeping score, I think we're even.

I have complete confidence that I won't be a horrible MIL, because I know what it's like to have one.

Anonymous said...

Sorry that you have had to deal with an overbearing, manipulative, and controlling woman for a mother-in-law. After the stunts she has attempted to pull, I applaud you for even allowing her in your home and near your son at all. The Christmas incident would have been enough for me to turn her away forever. Your hubby, I'm hoping, is heeding the counselor's advice. And, if I were you, if you are not still in counseling, I would get back in to it asap with him to sidestep any backsliding. Too bad your mother-in-law cannot see the damage her behavior has caused her son's family and now herself.

PauaPrincess said...

I wonder why anonymous poster 1 and Poopie feel that the needs and wants of a grandmother should take precedence over the needs and wishes of the woman who has given birth? Two weeks is a drop in the ocean, so what if grandma loves to wipe noses and feed bottles "even with breast milk" what about the mother? Why should the mother be required to express milk and risk nipple confusion just so grandma can get her rocks off all tell all her cronies what a wonderful grammy she is? Why should a new mom have to put up with visitors when she is tired, emotional and at less than peak appearance? Give me a good reason other than its what the grandma wants because that is just selfish rubbish!

Dawn said...

I just can't get over how many people feel the need to express what they would do in this situation yet they aren't living it like you are. One major rule I live by- don't judge unless you are in someone else's shoes.
Kristin, as I always say..you and your husband do whatever you feel is right. As long as you two feel happy with your decisions regarding his mom and Logan's feelings are taken into account, you can't do any wrong.
I do suggest this, though..if you're cool with it- you and Bill should tell her exactly how you feel with the best diplomatic attitude and if she's very adament about coming to see the baby before 2 weeks then she has to be there to clean, help with Logan, etc. That's what the grandma's should be doing. If Natalie has a baby when she's older, yeah I'll want to hold the baby..but I would want to do everything possible to make sure the transition of a family from 3 to 4 is as smooth as possible. That's easy for me to say though...LOL Good luck Kristin. It'll all work out.
=)

Poopie said...

Hey Pau Princess, if you read back, I did not say that it should take precedence. I think that you should think of how others feel, too, and have some sort of compromise. I remember when my aunt had her babies, I wanted to hold them and I only got to for two minutes or so, because people LOVE babies and we had to pass them along to the next eager relative. And everyone felt that way. I made sure when I had my babies that they could hold the child as long as they wanted, AND I breastfed both my children for over a year, NO FORMULA and NO bonding issues! I knew that I was mommy, and that I would have them ALL NIGHT LONG. NO ONE CAN REPLACE MOMMY. EVER. I was referring back to when Logan was older in some older posts and no one was allowed to feed him. I know better than anyone about nipple confusion, I did not give my child a bottle of breast milk until they were 2 months old and thank God for GRANDMA when my husband went back to work because my children would not take a bottle from me, they wanted BREAST. They took a bottle from GRANDMA. It is offensive to assume that grandma is getting her rocks off as you put it. That is disgusting. It is called love.

Kristin, you must be a freakin saint if you do not want help after giving birth. It is hard, and maybe you would be sound and less hormonal if you realize that you need help and it is ok to get help after the birth of your child. It does not represent failure on your part. She must remember how hard it was after having children.

Debbie said...

Wow, a couple of you have some real MIL/Mother issues. Granted, these women have huge faults...but there are some really good MIL's out there. Me! :-) I read the book and know my place and it's ok, I get it. I have plenty of time with my daughter's children and the occcasional visit from my son and his family. I love my son and his family but I know her Mom is there a lot and that is ok. It's the nature of things. What surprises me, Kristin, is why your MIL doesn't devote all her time and energy to her daughter's family.
I have noticed you don't seem to mind her spending money on your child. She seems quite generous. She did take you in when you had nowhere to live. Help you plan your wedding, though now you're upset about that.
She dared to want your child on her Christmas card. For 3 years now all my grandchildren have been on mine. No one minded as they were on their own family card as well.
I wish I could speak to your MIL and tell her that nothing she does is ever going to be good enough and to just sit there hands on lap, lips zipped. It works.
PS. I would be happy to send you my email address and you could forward it to your MIL. I'd love to chat with her.

Debbie said...

If MIL is adamant about showing up before 2 weeks and has been told not to come then Bill needs to stand at the front door and say "Mom, no, we'll see you in 2 weeks." It is not her right to come against their wishes.
I may not agree with the 2 week thing but it is their decision and she should abide by it.

Kristin said...

It's odd how people keep mentioning that because I lived with them for a few short months (when I was 19 & Bill was 21- almost 10 years ago) that I should bend over backward, let Grandma L do as she pleases & except the emotional/verbal abuse that she's been doing to me.

I sat there & said nothing after she told me that I wasn't smart enough to be a Dr. I sat there & took it when she STOLE my child away from me (truly a form a kidnapping). I didn't say a word when she made passive aggressive comments about breast feeding. I didn't confront her when she BARGED into our bedroom when she heard Logan cry to nurse (an ultimate violation of privacy). I didn't do ANYTHING when she tried to race me to the crib. I followed her controlling manipulation after she BULLIED us into a house that we didn't want to live in. I said nothing after she called me FAT on vacation.

I can only take so much & after YEARS OF KEEPING MY MOUTH SHUT - I finally stood up for how I felt. For all of you who sit there & BOO-HOO for Grandma L because she has to wait 2 weeks before she sees the baby are apparently out of your minds to have such strong judgments. Just because some of you take the abuse from your MIL's doesn't mean that I have to follow suit.

Debbie,
She spends money on Logan only after I refused to accept any more gifts from her (because there are strings attached) & both she & Bill tried to get me to change my mind. I told them that fine, if she wants to buy Logan gifts - that's all they are - GIFTS. Just because she chooses to spend her money on him does NOT entitle her to play mommy, ignore our parenting rules or get whatever she wants.

She did not help me plan my wedding, she manipulated a situation & made it so that I had 30 days to put it together rather than the 6 months we originally planned. My Dad missed out on my wedding because of it. I don't see how that is helping & how I should be appreciative.

I didn't think it was appropriate for her to have Logan on her Christmas Card after she missed his first Christmas, first birthday & SEVEN MONTHS OF OUR LIFE because she tried to cut me out of the family. I find it ridiculous that she felt entitled to play Grandma of the Year after what she did & TO TOP IT OFF - We had a VERY GENEROUS COMPROMISE that she only pouted & threw a fit over.

But, yeah...I should let her do as she pleases & take a back seat. I'm just the donating uterus of the family. Rather than planning a family for Bill & myself, I should have thought "OH! Grandma L will love these children. I should have them just for her!" I should just keep popping them out because GRANDMA L wants to feed them, change their diapers & wipe their noses. Isn't that called a surrogate? Shouldn't I get paid for something like that?

Oh, how about this. Maybe I should have children because Bill & I want to have OUR OWN FAMILY. Not because someone wants to relive their motherhood through my kids.

Anonymous said...

I am astounded. I do not know you, and I have just read your whole blog in the past. You take everything that anyone says hypersensitively and to the extreme. I am done reading this trash. I hope your MIL tells you to SHUT UP and STOP your WHINING. If I knew you IRL, I would slap you into reality. I am starting to feel sorry for your hellish MIL. We all agree she is overbearing and wrong A LOT. But you are a NIGHTMARE!!!!!!!!

Kristin said...

Good riddance. I don't write for anonymous readers anyway. I write to record my feelings & experiences as a mother & this post just so happens to be that. How I feel.