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zoedalila

1st grandchild to be born 1500 miles away! when do I go?

37 posts in this topic

Hello all.  I'm new to this site and I need some advice.  My first grandbaby, a little girl, will be born in February.  Her due date is the 16th of Feb. 2014.  I live 1500 miles from my daughter and I'm devastated.  The distance is really getting to me and the thought of not being there when my first grandchild is born is almost too much to bear.  I don't know what to do. Should I go to my daughters before the baby is born and hope she delivers shortly after I get there, or should I wait it out at home, and go visit after my daughter gets home from the hospital?  I work full time so I can't stay more than 10 days - 2 weeks.  This is becoming unbearable to me because I feel like I'm missing out on so much.  Does anyone have any advice for me?  What would you do in my case?  Go before or after the birth?

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Congratulations on the new addition to your family.

My best advise is to let your daughter decide when she thinks the best time would be for you to come. Are you planning on staying in her home or in a hotel?

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First, Zoe, welcome! I'm going to agree with Sue. I'm going on the basic assumption that your DD has already extended the invitation to you to come out for the birth, has she stated when she wants you there? Does she want you to be there for the birth? Or does she want you there to help after she gets home? Perhaps your son-in-law has some time immediately following the birth that they prefer to be alone and she would prefer you to wait a few days after the birth to come when he returns to work when she might need your help more? As Sue asked, is the plan for you to stay in their home or would you be staying in a hotel while you visit? All of these things are very important and knowing up front will help make the trip much smoother. If you are staying in a hotel, I'll gently suggest having set hours that you are visiting them during the day, and returning to the hotel after a set time, especially if Dad has returned to work, to give them bonding time just for their family as well. If you are staying in their home, that same concept applies. And you are probably already familiar with the concepts of help vs HELP and what new moms really need so I won't bore you too much with that.  And maybe I'm assuming a lot. Would your visit be to help DD or just to meet the new grandbaby? Because that is important to know upfront and a very important distinction as well.

 

Sorry, that's a lot to digest, but all fairly important things to know when planning a visit to meet your new grandchild. Congratulations by the way!

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People are so different so I agree with seeing what she wants but looking back not sure how mom felt about this but not sure I ever gave a thought to her wanting to be here when my children were born or at least not to the extent of actually inviting her; otoh wouldn't have mattered because they both came at least a week early and quick enough and we're far enough away that if we'd called her when we knew she couldn't have gotten here in time anyway so I know that's the thought in going early but said all to say I surely did appreciate her being here after when I came home; she was such a help; of course it does depend somewhat on your actual reason for wanting to go and in all fairness I do have to say these 2 weren't either of our first but I didn't live so far away the first time.

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Glad you found our site Zoe, Sue and Beg have given you some good advice.

I would talk to your DD and see what she would prefer.

When my GD was born 1200 miles away my DIL's DM

Went out first to help her DD, and I went out 3 weeks later to help

for a few days and by help I mean I cooked and cleaned for her so she

could take care of GD.

Hope some of our advice has helped. And congratulations on your

first GB. There is just something about seeing your AC holding their

own child, it just made me so happy.

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I am with the other posters saying find out what your daughter would like you to do. We lived 3300km from both sets of parents when my DH and I started having our children. With our first born my parents arrived a few weeks after his birth, we had only been home a day or so as there were complications and we were airlifted from our smallish town to the capital city so DS1 could receive care in the NICU. My parents stayed a week or so and after they left my inlaws arrived and stayed a week or so. 2 years later our second DS was born, my MIL arrived a few days before he was born and FIL arrived the day he was born, they stayed a week or so. I came out of hospital with influenza, DH was back at work - shift work and unfortunately in laws were 'on holiday' lots of baby holding but not much help. DS 3 arrived 14 months later. My parents arrived 3 weeks before he was due and he was born a week late, that was a long month with my parents staying in our home, tropical heat and short tempers as it was too long and they were anxious for me to hurry up and have the baby as they were booked to fly home, their flight ended up being 2 days after the birth, so I then had a newborn, a 14 month old and a 3 year old and DH working shift work. Baby 4 arrived 2 years later and my in laws arrived a few days before the birth, nice to have them there to watch the 3 little ones while I was in hospital.

Had I had more input it would have been nice to time it so that the relatives arrived a few days before the birth, to reconnect with the grandchildren and care for them while I was having the next baby and to stay a week or so after the birth to get the baby cuddles in and help a little bit more in the home.

Definitely ask your daughter what she would like you to do.

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Another welcome Zoe! And congrats on your coming 1st GB (grandbaby)! As a GM (grandmother), myself, I know you must be very excited! Nor is it unusual for you to be nervous and full of questions! The birth of a child is a huge event in the parents' lives, of course, but it's big in the GPs' lives, as well!

 

As for when you should go to see DD (dear daughter) and baby, I agree with PPs (previous posters) that you should check with DD first and see what she would prefer. If, like lizasnan, she doesn't really know, ask her to think it over and get back to you. Or tell her what you would like to do and ask her to think about if that's ok or not and let you know. But an increasing number of young couples, today, have very definite ideas of how they'd like to do things, so she may have an idea in her mind already have when she'd like you to come. Regardless, please accept whatever she decides, as far as the time is concerned, even if it doesn't quite mesh with what you were hoping for. GB will still be "new," no doubt, whenever you get there!

 

I'm glad that some PPs also brought up the question of where you will stay. IMO, a hotel or motel is the best bet - so both you and the young couple can be assured some greater privacy. But if DD feels she needs/wants you in her home, you may prefer to stay there. Just please be sure, as BEG suggests, to give the parents (and may I add, yourself) some room for privacy, including some time to bond as a family unit with their baby. I know this may be hard, especially if you're really crazy about that new GB - and I'm sure you will be - but they will, most likely, appreciate it.

 

Also, hopefully, you and DD (and SIL) are on the same page as to whether or not you'll be there to help and/or what kind of help is needed. Usually, MGMs (maternal grandmothers) assume they're going to help (and often, PGMs do, too, of course) and DDs welcome it. But not always. If you're not up for helping, you need to let her know. B/c that may impact when she'd like you to come and how long she'd like you to stay. If she's the one who says "No thank you" to any help, please don't take it personally. Many dads, today, are more involved in childcare than ever and so, it's not unusual for today's couples to prefer to/feel they can do it all on their own. But this gets back to where you'll be staying. If you're not going to be helping out, a hotel or motel is an especially good idea, IMO.

 

Moms and GMs often have a different idea of what "helping" means, as well. You may be looking forward, for example, to helping take care of baby, while DD may be hoping that you'll take over some household chores (laundry, vacuuming,  preparing meals, etc) so that she has more time to spend with her baby. Or vice versa. I strongly advise you to try to give her the type of help she's  looking for. But if she wants you to help take care of baby and you're very uncomfortable about that, please let her know so she can plan otherwise. Or if she wants you to help more with household chores and you can't for any reason, please let her know, also, for the same reason.

 

If it turns out that you're not going to be helping all that much, it may be better to visit for a shorter period. If you are helping, chances are that DD and SIL will welcome that 10-day visit! But please understand that they may prefer that visitors come for only a few days, at a time, GP or not, helping or not. So even though you can get 10 days off from work, please don't assume that's how long you'll be there. Maybe so. But again, please talk it over with DD first.

 

Regardless, congrats to the parents, too! Hope that DD is enjoying an easy pregnancy and that she has an easy deliver, as well! And, of course, I hope that she and SIL have a happy, healthy baby girl! Please keep us posted! Meanwhile, many joys to all! :db::give_rose::clapping:

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Good Morning everyone and thanks for all your replies.  To answer some of your questions - I would be staying in my daughters home. A hotel is not an option for me because I just can't afford a plane ticket and a hotel as well.  Daughter and her husband have a big 4 bedroom home and I have my own bathroom when I stay there, so space is not an issue.   I would of course be going to meet my first grand baby, but I would be helping out as well - cooking and cleaning, shopping, etc.  I am torn as to when to go.  A while back my daughter suggested that she would need the help more the second week because her husband is taking the first week off from work.  She hasn't mentioned that anymore because I think she realized that I was feeling disappointed and left out.  You see, her mother in law lives 5 minutes away and will no doubt be in the hospital waiting room waiting for the birth, and then she will see my daughter and the baby right after the birth...  while I would be waiting 1500 miles away for a phone call and missing seeing my daughter and new grandaughter right after she is born.  I realize that is somewhat selfish of me and I probably should go later when her husband returns to work but whenever I ask my daughter now when I should come, she tells me to come when I want.  I have asked her to be honest with me and just tell me when SHE wants me to come, but she repeats the same thing and says, "come when you want." 

As I write this, I am thinking I should just wait until my son in law returns to work to go there, but at the same time, I am feeling depressed that I'm missing out on all the best of life because of the distance.  Please help me sort this out so that I can see clearly and make the right decision.  If you were in my shoes, what would you do???  Thanks.

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Congratulations on the new addition to your family.

My best advise is to let your daughter decide when she thinks the best time would be for you to come. Are you planning on staying in her home or in a hotel?

Good

Morning everyone and thanks for all your replies.  To answer some of

your questions - I would be staying in my daughters home. A hotel is not

an option for me because I just can't afford a plane ticket and a hotel

as well.  Daughter and her husband have a big 4 bedroom home and I have

my own bathroom when I stay there, so space is not an issue.   I would

of course be going to meet my first grand baby, but I would be helping

out as well - cooking and cleaning, shopping, etc.  I am torn as to when

to go.  A while back my daughter suggested that she would need the help

more the second week because her husband is taking the first week off

from work.  She hasn't mentioned that anymore because I think she

realized that I was feeling disappointed and left out.  You see, her

mother in law lives 5 minutes away and will no doubt be in the hospital

waiting room waiting for the birth, and then she will see my daughter

and the baby right after the birth...  while I would be waiting 1500

miles away for a phone call and missing seeing my daughter and new

grandaughter right after she is born.  I realize that is somewhat

selfish of me and I probably should go later when her husband returns to

work but whenever I ask my daughter now when I should come, she tells

me to come when I want.  I have asked her to be honest with me and just

tell me when SHE wants me to come, but she repeats the same thing and

says, "come when you want." 

As I write this, I am thinking I

should just wait until my son in law returns to work to go there, but at

the same time, I am feeling depressed that I'm missing out on all the

best of life because of the distance.  Please help me sort this out so

that I can see clearly and make the right decision.  If you were in my

shoes, what would you do???  Thanks.

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First, Zoe, welcome! I'm going to agree with Sue. I'm going on the basic assumption that your DD has already extended the invitation to you to come out for the birth, has she stated when she wants you there? Does she want you to be there for the birth? Or does she want you there to help after she gets home? Perhaps your son-in-law has some time immediately following the birth that they prefer to be alone and she would prefer you to wait a few days after the birth to come when he returns to work when she might need your help more? As Sue asked, is the plan for you to stay in their home or would you be staying in a hotel while you visit? All of these things are very important and knowing up front will help make the trip much smoother. If you are staying in a hotel, I'll gently suggest having set hours that you are visiting them during the day, and returning to the hotel after a set time, especially if Dad has returned to work, to give them bonding time just for their family as well. If you are staying in their home, that same concept applies. And you are probably already familiar with the concepts of help vs HELP and what new moms really need so I won't bore you too much with that.  And maybe I'm assuming a lot. Would your visit be to help DD or just to meet the new grandbaby? Because that is important to know upfront and a very important distinction as well.

 

Sorry, that's a lot to digest, but all fairly important things to know when planning a visit to meet your new grandchild. Congratulations by the way!

Good

Morning everyone and thanks for all your replies.  To answer some of

your questions - I would be staying in my daughters home. A hotel is not

an option for me because I just can't afford a plane ticket and a hotel

as well.  Daughter and her husband have a big 4 bedroom home and I have

my own bathroom when I stay there, so space is not an issue.   I would

of course be going to meet my first grand baby, but I would be helping

out as well - cooking and cleaning, shopping, etc.  I am torn as to when

to go.  A while back my daughter suggested that she would need the help

more the second week because her husband is taking the first week off

from work.  She hasn't mentioned that anymore because I think she

realized that I was feeling disappointed and left out.  You see, her

mother in law lives 5 minutes away and will no doubt be in the hospital

waiting room waiting for the birth, and then she will see my daughter

and the baby right after the birth...  while I would be waiting 1500

miles away for a phone call and missing seeing my daughter and new

grandaughter right after she is born.  I realize that is somewhat

selfish of me and I probably should go later when her husband returns to

work but whenever I ask my daughter now when I should come, she tells

me to come when I want.  I have asked her to be honest with me and just

tell me when SHE wants me to come, but she repeats the same thing and

says, "come when you want." 

As I write this, I am thinking I

should just wait until my son in law returns to work to go there, but at

the same time, I am feeling depressed that I'm missing out on all the

best of life because of the distance.  Please help me sort this out so

that I can see clearly and make the right decision.  If you were in my

shoes, what would you do???  Thanks.

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Another welcome Zoe! And congrats on your coming 1st GB (grandbaby)! As a GM (grandmother), myself, I know you must be very excited! Nor is it unusual for you to be nervous and full of questions! The birth of a child is a huge event in the parents' lives, of course, but it's big in the GPs' lives, as well!

 

As for when you should go to see DD (dear daughter) and baby, I agree with PPs (previous posters) that you should check with DD first and see what she would prefer. If, like lizasnan, she doesn't really know, ask her to think it over and get back to you. Or tell her what you would like to do and ask her to think about if that's ok or not and let you know. But an increasing number of young couples, today, have very definite ideas of how they'd like to do things, so she may have an idea in her mind already have when she'd like you to come. Regardless, please accept whatever she decides, as far as the time is concerned, even if it doesn't quite mesh with what you were hoping for. GB will still be "new," no doubt, whenever you get there!

 

I'm glad that some PPs also brought up the question of where you will stay. IMO, a hotel or motel is the best bet - so both you and the young couple can be assured some greater privacy. But if DD feels she needs/wants you in her home, you may prefer to stay there. Just please be sure, as BEG suggests, to give the parents (and may I add, yourself) some room for privacy, including some time to bond as a family unit with their baby. I know this may be hard, especially if you're really crazy about that new GB - and I'm sure you will be - but they will, most likely, appreciate it.

 

Also, hopefully, you and DD (and SIL) are on the same page as to whether or not you'll be there to help and/or what kind of help is needed. Usually, MGMs (maternal grandmothers) assume they're going to help (and often, PGMs do, too, of course) and DDs welcome it. But not always. If you're not up for helping, you need to let her know. B/c that may impact when she'd like you to come and how long she'd like you to stay. If she's the one who says "No thank you" to any help, please don't take it personally. Many dads, today, are more involved in childcare than ever and so, it's not unusual for today's couples to prefer to/feel they can do it all on their own. But this gets back to where you'll be staying. If you're not going to be helping out, a hotel or motel is an especially good idea, IMO.

 

Moms and GMs often have a different idea of what "helping" means, as well. You may be looking forward, for example, to helping take care of baby, while DD may be hoping that you'll take over some household chores (laundry, vacuuming,  preparing meals, etc) so that she has more time to spend with her baby. Or vice versa. I strongly advise you to try to give her the type of help she's  looking for. But if she wants you to help take care of baby and you're very uncomfortable about that, please let her know so she can plan otherwise. Or if she wants you to help more with household chores and you can't for any reason, please let her know, also, for the same reason.

 

If it turns out that you're not going to be helping all that much, it may be better to visit for a shorter period. If you are helping, chances are that DD and SIL will welcome that 10-day visit! But please understand that they may prefer that visitors come for only a few days, at a time, GP or not, helping or not. So even though you can get 10 days off from work, please don't assume that's how long you'll be there. Maybe so. But again, please talk it over with DD first.

 

Regardless, congrats to the parents, too! Hope that DD is enjoying an easy pregnancy and that she has an easy deliver, as well! And, of course, I hope that she and SIL have a happy, healthy baby girl! Please keep us posted! Meanwhile, many joys to all! :db::give_rose::clapping:

Good

Morning everyone and thanks for all your replies.  To answer some of

your questions - I would be staying in my daughters home. A hotel is not

an option for me because I just can't afford a plane ticket and a hotel

as well.  Daughter and her husband have a big 4 bedroom home and I have

my own bathroom when I stay there, so space is not an issue.   I would

of course be going to meet my first grand baby, but I would be helping

out as well - cooking and cleaning, shopping, etc.  I am torn as to when

to go.  A while back my daughter suggested that she would need the help

more the second week because her husband is taking the first week off

from work.  She hasn't mentioned that anymore because I think she

realized that I was feeling disappointed and left out.  You see, her

mother in law lives 5 minutes away and will no doubt be in the hospital

waiting room waiting for the birth, and then she will see my daughter

and the baby right after the birth...  while I would be waiting 1500

miles away for a phone call and missing seeing my daughter and new

grandaughter right after she is born.  I realize that is somewhat

selfish of me and I probably should go later when her husband returns to

work but whenever I ask my daughter now when I should come, she tells

me to come when I want.  I have asked her to be honest with me and just

tell me when SHE wants me to come, but she repeats the same thing and

says, "come when you want." 

As I write this, I am thinking I

should just wait until my son in law returns to work to go there, but at

the same time, I am feeling depressed that I'm missing out on all the

best of life because of the distance.  Please help me sort this out so

that I can see clearly and make the right decision.  If you were in my

shoes, what would you do???  Thanks.

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If it were me, and take this with a very big grain of salt, because I'm not yet a grandmother...I would wait and go after SIL goes back to work as she originally asked. I know that you feel left out on all of the hospital hoopla and I have a few suggestions for that, but hear me out. If you go, first thing, you'll get to be there for those first few moments. You'll also be there when EVERYONE else is there. Meaning, everyone will be at the hospital, all of those visitors they've cleared for the hospital, all of those visitors they've ok'd to come see the new baby right away, that first rush of "I must see that new baby right away". You will be there when she and SIL want alone time at home while he has that concentrated time off work to spend with his new baby and is able to be home. And you will be there when her MIL is there.

 

You absolutely have every right to your feelings. But you mention that you think she realized you were feeling left out and changed her answer. It's not selfish to want to be there. But I think you have a chance here to really set a precedent for how things work from now on. She has told you that she will need help when SIL goes back to work the second week. She specifically wants YOUR help the second week. That is the time that she wants her mom. That is when SIL will be at work during the day. When she will have control over the first crush of visitors and they will have likely died down to a dull roar. And when you will have some actual time with your daughter and new grandchild. What she is offering you is an actual chance to spend time with the baby. Without all of the craziness of those first few days.

 

As for those moments you are concerned about missing. You KNOW they are going to be taking pictures. MIL isn't going to be in the delivery room is she? Is the concern that she will hold the baby first? Isn't it possible that it would happen anyway? Are you worried that you'll miss baby's first week? Or seeing mommy hold baby? Have SIL send you video or Have them Skype you when they get home if they feel up to it. She's told you that she knows you will feel left out, so perhaps when they get settled in at home she will feel up to spending a few minutes Skyping with you or SIL can email you a few pictures to tide you over until you get there.

 

I really think the best thing all around is to go with what she wanted.

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Do what your daughter wants/needs.

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Thanks for responding so promptly, Zoe, paying attention to what we said and filling us in further. I don't think you're being selfish - I think your feelings are very "normal." But I do think you're confusing/blurring 3 issues. So in the effort to help you "sort this out," as you request, I'd like to try to separate them for you (if I'm off-base about them, of course), please let me know):

 

The Immediate Concern: When to Visit DD, SIL and New Baby - Basically, IMO, DD gave you the answer and your own gut instinct is telling you that, too - the best time would be the 2nd week when SIL goes back to work. They will have had that first week to themselves, as they may prefer, and, at the same time, DD may suddenly find herself wanting more adult company and help when he's not there so much. Also, IDK your SIL, but, TBH, even if you and he get along great, he may prefer that his MIL be around when he's not there that much. :) "Babies don't spoil," as they say. And as BEG points out, you may actually get more time to be with and enjoy baby "without all the craziness of those first few days."

 

The Longterm Concern: Missing Out on "All the Best of Life - I understand that you see your family and your new GB as "the best of life" and I think that's beautiful! But will being there for the birth or shortly thereafter make up for being at a distance after you go home? Maybe you think it will, at least, ease some of your frustration. But what if, as BEG suggests, you don't get as much time as you hope with GB b/c of all the other visitors? What if there are tensions between you and DD's MIL (I hope not but what if)? What if SIL resents having anyone staying at their home while he's off from work or what if they both feel that, even if you stay in your room part of the time, you're still, somehow encroaching on their time to bond as a family unit? Hopefully, none of that would be true but what if some of it is? My point is that being there the 1st week may not solve your overall problem - the problem of distance.

 

Rest assured, though, you are not alone in this problem. That's why this group is here! And GPs here have found many ways to keep in contact with their AC (adult children) and their families, both new and old, There are so many more ways to keep in touch, today, than ever b4. Chances are, you already know about and use some of them - phone calls, email, photos, Skype, FaceTime, cute cards and gifts and, of course, visits back and forth. I know, I know. It may not be the same as being there - but, IMHO, you won't be "missing out on" as much as you think.

 

A Related Issue: The Other GM - I know it's hard not to, but please try not to drive yourself crazy thinking about when the PGM will be where or, later on, how often she will see GB. And don't assume that she'll be in the waiting room or see DD and GB "right after the birth." Ok, since she only lives 5 minutes away from DD and SIL, it's very likely. But an increasing number of young couples, today, are asking relatives to wait till the next day or even till they get home. IDK if that's true of DD and SIL, of course. But my point is that you can't necessarily guess who will be where, when and for how long. So please just focus on what's best for you and your relationship with DD, SIL and GB!

 

And maybe I'm wrong, but I bet getting that phone call will be every bit as exciting as hearing the news in the waiting room! :)

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'Well thank you to all who have responded to my second post. You certainly did raise some good points that I never thought about. I think my mind is made up and I will go and visit at a later date after SIL goes back to work. I was just thinking to myself that one of the struggles that is going on inside me is that I have been trying really hard, maybe too hard, to maintain the same type of relationship and family time that we would have if we lived near each other, i.e. holidays, birthdays, family dinners, school plays, christenings, special events like "births".... but given the distance between us, I have to just let it go and get it through my head that things can't be the same as they would if my daughter lived near me. I think that once I give up the fight, things will be easier for me. I do have a son 20 minutes from me although with his schedule, I don't see as much of him as I'd like to... anyway, I will try to keep myself busy with my job, hobbies, friends, etc. and I will just have to accept things as they are. Thank you all for your support and replies. I will be sure to post in the future now that I found this terrific board.

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Zoe, I'm glad you have decided to wait because that sounds like when DD really wanted you there.  I am a long distance GM and I only get to see my GD once maybe twice a year it has always been that way and she is now 8 we have a great relationship we facetime and send each other cards and talk on the phone, just because you don't see GD every day or week you can still be close.

 

I am the paternal GM but her parents don't see them any more than I do.  I too was excited about having my first and at this point only GC but I sat myself down and told myself to cheer up not worry about what others were doing or getting and keep a good relationship with my DS and DIL which I have done.  I will admit that it is hard sometimes but I am only hurting myself if I dwell on those things.  We can't change them so must learn to live with them. It is so much easier to be around someone who is upbeat and not making you feel guilty for not visiting more.

 

Am glad you are waiting and like Beg said you will probably get more time with your sweet GD.


Keep us posted.

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Oh Zoe, I'm so glad to hear that, especially after you said that's what your daughter wanted; I guess I didn't make myself clear to begin with but that's what worked out so well for me; I'm also down here around my husband's family who are the type to want to be all there when your baby's born and just hover then over the baby - I always felt like they didn't really care anything about me - they were his and then his baby's family - still do feel that way, don't really have much to do with them, if they are the ones who are physically closer so I think in a lot of ways that can be put to rest - not that mom didn't want to be with the babies but she also did care about me too and was a big help after all the hoopla with them was over and had settled down and we were able to have some good time together so I agree with Rose on that.

The other thing we had that issue as well; she had a really hard time with me not being close to her; I don't think I realized it was as hard on her as it was even though my grandmother kept trying to tell me. I guess I just thought she had a full life with all the stuff you mentioned (at least it had always seemed that way to me when I was growing up) but I guess I just didn't realize how much she felt the need for the other as well but even though of course we didn't have most of the stuff you do now she still managed with sending those cute cards and gifts to keep a good relationship with my kids. One thing I wish she had done (though I know why she didn't but I hope you won't be this way) is to tell them more about her life; I think they would have found her more interesting; as it was, they felt the only thing she was interested in was them and that didn't really turn out to be all that great.

I was gonna break this down like Rose did but I think I pretty much covered the other grandma thing up above - but just to reiterate I don't think I'd worry about that - nobody can really replace you as her mom!

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My inLaws lived 5 minutes away while my parents lived a 10 hr drive away. My two kids were actually emotionally closer to my parents even though they spent more actual hours with their paternal grandparents.

My inLaws never attended any of the kids school activities and my parents attended several activities each school year.

My parents couldn't afford pricey gifts that the paternal grandparents could give, but they cherished the time my parents spend on the road to be able to share in their lives.

Try not to compare the actual 'time' spent with the baby, you might be surprised.

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Good Morning everyone and thanks for all your replies.  To answer some of your questions - I would be staying in my daughters home. A hotel is not an option for me because I just can't afford a plane ticket and a hotel as well.  Daughter and her husband have a big 4 bedroom home and I have my own bathroom when I stay there, so space is not an issue.   I would of course be going to meet my first grand baby, but I would be helping out as well - cooking and cleaning, shopping, etc.  I am torn as to when to go.  A while back my daughter suggested that she would need the help more the second week because her husband is taking the first week off from work.  She hasn't mentioned that anymore because I think she realized that I was feeling disappointed and left out.  You see, her mother in law lives 5 minutes away and will no doubt be in the hospital waiting room waiting for the birth, and then she will see my daughter and the baby right after the birth...  while I would be waiting 1500 miles away for a phone call and missing seeing my daughter and new grandaughter right after she is born.  I realize that is somewhat selfish of me and I probably should go later when her husband returns to work but whenever I ask my daughter now when I should come, she tells me to come when I want.  I have asked her to be honest with me and just tell me when SHE wants me to come, but she repeats the same thing and says, "come when you want." 

As I write this, I am thinking I should just wait until my son in law returns to work to go there, but at the same time, I am feeling depressed that I'm missing out on all the best of life because of the distance.  Please help me sort this out so that I can see clearly and make the right decision.  If you were in my shoes, what would you do???  Thanks.

Hi Zoe,

 

I am very, VERY close with my mom...and I am also several states away from her...so I understand what you may be going through.  I would say that what your daughter suggested the first time it came up (coming the 2nd week) is probably what she really would prefer to happen...but that she realized this hurt your feelings and that is why she backed off from it.  I really and truly get why you want to be there for the birth...and if you lived closer, I'm sure your daughter would be happy with that as well....but with circumstances the way they are, it sounds like your daughter's original suggestion (2nd week) is the best.  You can be "present" at the hospital with skype (most hospitals have wifi now!)...although I'm sure they will turn the computer off as the birth approaches...but you can "meet" the baby for the first time via skype and still be part of that early time.  I know it is NOT nearly the same, I am not trying to suggest it is...but it is a way to be there in spirit.

 

There are some potential benefits to waiting a few days....you may actually get MORE time with your DD and the baby...because the initial rush of "meet the baby" visitors will have passed. 

 

Finally...my mom had me when she lived cross-country from my grandparents.  My grandparents took 4 weeks off from work in order to "guarantee" they would be there for the birth and to help out after (1.5 weeks prior to due date, 2.5 weeks after).  I was 2 weeks late ...so while my grandparents were technically there for my birth, they only had a couple days with me and then had to go back to California....

 

There is just no way to predict or guarantee when the baby will come, so you could spend a lot of money and vacation time to be there and miss the whole thing!

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These Skype from the hospital suggestions make me uneasy. I was a total bummer to family and friends because I really did not want to be on the phone, or posting pictures or texting or doing anything other than RESTING when I was in the hospital after my DD was born and aside from 2 pictures we took of the baby, we have never distributed any pictures taken during the hospital stay. That was, for us, by design, an intensely private and intimate family bonding time, as were the 3 weeks following (we got a bonus week because DD came early). OP, your DD might have similar plans/hopes for the birth of her child. Please don't have your hopes set on your DD having her laptop open when she might be trying to rest and establish breastfeeding or just gazing at her newborn while countless hours fly by. Let her enjoy that precious time.

All of this brings me to another point. It is not a sure thing that the other grandmother will be present in the hospital, or even necessarily meet the baby first, just because she lives nearby. The parents-to-be may be planning to have a period of family bonding with no visitors. Although the OP suggested the other GM would surely be at the hospital, I get the impression that may just be assumption on her part.

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Wow! Skyping from the hospital! I didn't even know people could do that till just now! Fantastic!

 

But Zoe, since KM voiced some concerns about it, I think that's just one more thing you would have to discuss with DD if you're interested. She may be delighted with the idea - or she may say, "Mom, I can't imagine even thinking about that when I just gave birth!" Or she might even say, "Mom, IDK... I'll see how I feel about it, at the time and let you know when we call." As long as you're ready to accept whatever she decides, IMO, it will be ok. If you don't think you can, then, perhaps better not to bring it up.

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To be clear, when I suggested Skype, I meant once they got home and settled, IF DD felt up to it. And I suggested the pictures from the hospital  only because I got the sense that  her daughter, even though she actually prefers her mother to come the second week, has actually given her mother the freedom to choose when to come, albeit not with the enthusiasm that she did regarding the second week, because she sensed she felt left out. I would imagine if she would actually go so far as to change her actual wishes to accommodate her mother, I didn't think it would hurt to consider the fact that they might offer her pictures instead if she takes the high road and does what her DD wishes. I think while OP may be assuming some things, we have an early opportunity to guide her, gently, in the best way to start out the way that she wants to proceed with her daughter and SIL in such a way that they will hopefully enjoy having her around. So many times by the time a grandparent gets to these forums, they already overstepped or upset their adult children and are having to back track and figure out what happened and why they don't see their family. I think OP needs to keep open communication with her daughter, ask her what SHE and her SIL want from her and need from her, not worry about what the other grandmother is getting or doing, and she'll be ok. 

 

I also think that it's hard to gauge anymore what one family will or won't do and that it's very hard for us to offer suggestions sometimes not knowing OP's family dynamics. The OP may know what she *thinks* will happen, but even that is speculation. Her DD might want lots of private bonding time, her DD might be the type who likes tons of visitors, she might be the type who is posting (or having her DH post) every moment on Facebook or Twitter, she might be at a birthing center or having a home birth and OP doesn't realize it, MIL may not be invited to the hospital at all. She may be using a doula. Who knows what all the variables are. But regardless of the variables, the thing that OP needs to keep in mind remains the same. Just be respectful of what DD and SIL want, pay attention to their cues, don't overstay when you are there, when Dad gets home, step back and let him spend time with the baby and mommy, offer the kind of *help* that DD needs. Don't nitpick about the other grandmother, focus on your grandmother experience. Don't expect DD to host, let her sleep when the baby sleeps.(In other words, if she passes out in the middle of the conversation after baby has fallen asleep, don't wake her lol)

 

And a couple of things that may seem like no-brainers - but may very well be very important:

 

1. Ask if you can hold the baby. (it's important, trust me. Unless your DD and SIL tell you that you don't have to ask - AFTER you've asked them.. just ask, it

simple and easy and courteous and may save you a lot of confusion and problems in the long run.)

 

2. Ask what help they need (this is for mom and dad - even though you will be there with mom all day, it is important to ask dad when he's home too). I think that you have an excellent chance of spending more time with the baby if you go the second week than if you go to be there for the birth, but even still, as Kiki suggests, mom AND dad are still going to want to spend a lot of time, holding baby, and they are still going to be enamored of feeding the baby and even changing poopy diapers, so they may not want that kind of help. They may not want help with the baby at all. Be prepared for that.

 

3. Don't offer advice unless they ask - this even applies to your DD. If she asks, it's fine. But tread lightly here. Unsolicited advice is one of the biggest problems we see in relationships here. She may be doing something wrong, but unless she's about to drop the baby on his/her head, let her figure it out. That's how we all learn for the most part, we figure it out. She'll ask if she needs you. And sometimes, she may just be doing it differently, not even wrong. That is going to be an adjustment. There are many things they will do differently than you did in all likelihood. That doesn't negate what you did, nor does it make what they are doing wrong. It just makes it different.

 

4. It's worth repeating, don't offer advice unless they ask...really - this one is a biggie - we see this so much in these forums - so many grandparents that don't understand why their adult children won't just listen to them, won't just take their advice, "I've raised three kids, I know what I'm talking about.". And no one is discrediting anything that the grandparents have done, but the answer is three-fold...1. A number of safety regulations and safety guidelines have changed a lot since grandparents were raising children and sometimes their information is out of date. 2. The new parent has ideas of their own about how they want to parent and plans for their child and 3. In most cases the new parent is an adult, but in all cases they are the parent now and it is their turn or their chance to make their own mistakes and learn and grow the same way their parents did.

 

5. Just enjoy your time with your DD, SIL and new grandbaby. I know that you plan to...but hear me out. Start the way you intend to proceed. Tell them how much you enjoy the visit. That you are glad you got to spend that time with them. That you appreciate the invitation. That you understand how difficult traveling with a baby is and that you don't expect them to travel to you for a while (unless they have already told you of plans to do so). Then don't ask them to travel to you for a while. Please don't make statements like "I never see you." or over do the "I don't think I can leave the baby" or "I miss you so much, you have to come visit me in the next month or so." Or immediately start trying to plan your next visit to them. I know you mentioned that you only have so much vacation.  And please don't get me wrong - I KNOW you are going to miss them and that this is hard. But sometimes the feelings are overexpressed in such a way that they turn into guilt on the new parents and it feels like (to them) that you didn't enjoy the time you had with them. So by focusing on the visit at hand, and not the "next time" or lack of time, it just comes across as if you appreciate the time you have and aren't focused on the time you don't. 

 

Ok I'll stop now, but I hope that helps some. It's not intended to be a negative list, just something that I hope will help you be prepared and protected against what so many grandparents come here - AFTER THE FACT- and tell us caused problems in their relationships.            

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Wow, thanks again for all the new replies...  I'm getting a lot of support and advice on here and that's just what I needed.  I'm still going to visit DD after my son in law goes back to work.  That hasn't changed.  As for DD's mother in law rushing to the hospital when daughter goes to deliver, well, there's no doubt about that.  MIL told me herself that those were her plans.  I'm not blaming her.  I would be doing the same thing if I lived near my daughter.  MIL is a sweet lady. I do like her.  She is a doting mother, very helpful to my daughter which I am grateful for since I can't be there when my daughter needs help.  I even thanked her for being there for my daughter when she had a miscarriage not too long ago. But at the same time, it tears me apart when I know my child is in distress,, or in this case, having her first baby, and I can't be there.  I guess that is what I have to work on so that I can find acceptance of this situation.  Although, all of you pointed out some very good points about DD needing some alone time with her husband to bond with the baby... and the fact that I, myself will get more alone time with DD and baby if I go to visit later...  Anyways, thank you all for sharing your experiences with me. You've been a great help and  I don't feel so alone now.

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Wow, thanks again for all the new replies...  I'm getting a lot of support and advice on here and that's just what I needed.  I'm still going to visit DD after my son in law goes back to work.  That hasn't changed.  As for DD's mother in law rushing to the hospital when daughter goes to deliver, well, there's no doubt about that.  MIL told me herself that those were her plans.  I'm not blaming her.  I would be doing the same thing if I lived near my daughter.  MIL is a sweet lady. I do like her.  She is a doting mother, very helpful to my daughter which I am grateful for since I can't be there when my daughter needs help.  I even thanked her for being there for my daughter when she had a miscarriage not too long ago. But at the same time, it tears me apart when I know my child is in distress,, or in this case, having her first baby, and I can't be there.  I guess that is what I have to work on so that I can find acceptance of this situation.  Although, all of you pointed out some very good points about DD needing some alone time with her husband to bond with the baby... and the fact that I, myself will get more alone time with DD and baby if I go to visit later...  Anyways, thank you all for sharing your experiences with me. You've been a great help and  I don't feel so alone now.

 

I think it is wonderful that you love your daughter enough to give her the space she seems to need after the birth of her child.  What a loving and selfless thing to do for her.  You sound like a good mom. 

 

I also want to tell you that you shouldn't let what MIL is doing make you feel bad or sad.  I have a feeling that your daughter would probably prefer it if her MIL did not rush to the hospital.  The fact that she first asked you to wait until after her husband went back to work to visit tells me that she might want some privacy to bond with her new baby and her husband.  I have a feeling that MIL is being selfish and not really caring or even thinking about what the new mom, new baby and new daddy will be needing or wanting after the birth.  I have a feeling that your daughter is too nice to tell her MIL and/or her husband that she would prefer to have some privacy after the birth.  I think it's pretty presumptuous and a bit selfish of MIL to just state she's going to go rushing over to the hospital without even a thought to what the woman having the baby might need or want.  I feel a little sad for your daughter in that respect....So, that's why I think it is an especially loving and selfless thing you are doing - respecting your daughter's wishes and needs for the birth of her child.  Good for you!

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Well, thanks for the compliments.  Makes me feel good.  And as for the situation with the MIL... I think you hit the nail right on the head.

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