Why does Grandma want to be in the delivery room?
Posted 26 December 2012 - 08:06 PM
The latest dilemma concerns my plans for childbirth. To me, it seems only perfectly natural and normal that a couple should share the labor/delivery/birth and first few days/weeks of a new baby's life more or less privately. So, I really don't want my mom, or anyone else, present when my first daughter is born. It's not (at least not entirely) about my mom. Now, I realize that a lot of women really want their mothers or sisters or friends with them when they give birth. No judgement here, but that just "feels" wrong FOR me. Perhaps it's part of being extremely introverted, but I think I'm going to want some privacy and space as I have the baby and then heal and adjust to breastfeeding, etc. My husband is also very introverted so the space will be important for him as well. So, we decided that we wanted the first week or so to ourselves before we have anyone come to meet the baby. And, to be honest, drawing a boundary around just one week still feels uncomfortable. If I thought I could get away with it without causing a major fight, I'd ask for a month. We live on the East Coast and both of our families are in California. This complicates matters a bit more. I think that if we lived nearer to family, such that they could come meet and visit the baby for brief (1-hour) visits and then leave so we'd mostly have privacy, I would be okay with that after the first couple of days. But, when people come to meet the baby, they will be planning to stay with us, in our small home. The thought of 24/7 houseguests in the weeks following the birth of my first baby, frankly, has been causing some panic attacks.
When my mom started asking several weeks ago when she should plan to come visit, I mentioned that all of my girlfriends who have recently had babies delivered at least one week after their due dates so she should plan to come about 2 weeks after the due date. My mom's response was, "Well, I'd like to be there when she is born." Oh Hmmm. I had beeen worried about that. I fairly assertively explained that my husband and I wanted a week or so to settle in after the baby was born. She didn't really respond to that at the time. It also came out in that conversation that my mom had saved up about 6 weeks of vacation time from work. She didn't explicity say that she planned to use ALL of that time to come here. But, I started to panic.
So, weeks later, I've now had variations on the same conversation with my mom several times. She hasn't made any of her travel plans yet. And, I've started to think that she is just putting it off because she hopes that if we keep having the same conversation, she'll eventually hear what she wants to hear. Maybe she genuinely believes that I'm going to get scared closer to the due date and decide that I want my mommy there. But, it's starting to feel really passive aggressive to me. The last time we talked about it, she actually said, "I thought you would want me there...to hold your hand." I tried, gently, to explain that I just wanted my husband to be there to coach me and hold my hand. She was clearly disappointed, and sad, but she said she understood. Still, that was over a week ago and she still hasn't made any travel arrangements.
I guess what I am hoping is that maybe some grandparents out there can help me understand WHY she wants to be there when the baby is born. If I had to guess, I would say that it's about her wanting to meet (and get her hands on) the baby more than anything else. This will be her first new grandchild in about 10 years and she is understandably excited. But, the comment about assuming that I would want her there or need her there, has me wondering if there is more to it. Like, maybe she's imagined being around to watch me (only daughter) become a mother and teaching me the ropes. Is this more than disappointment that she won't be meeting her granddaughter in her first moments of life? Is she feeling rejected, or unneeded, by me? EIther way, I still feel really strongly that my husband and I need to bond with the baby for a few days before having anyone stay in our home and I am going to stick to that boundary. I have to put my husband and I, and our new family, first. But, I'd like to understand how she's feeling. Can any grandparents, particularly grandmothers, out there explain their feelings about wanting to be present for the births of grandchildren? Thanks in advance.
- tia2grandma and Gran03 like this
Posted 27 December 2012 - 02:28 AM
Now my daughter had her baby out of wedlock and I was there with her because she wanted me there. I cut the umbilical cord. I tried to help her by giving her support in the delivery with the doctor. The father was out of state and has not ever seen his child. My daughter lived at my house and I helped her take care of her child. Took turns rocking her at night when she had colic. I loved being there with my granddaughter. I remember when I held my grandbabies right after their birth. It was a special moment to hold my precious grandbabies that were just born. It felt so wonderful. My other granddaughter was born with the father in the room. I told my daughter I would leave the room if she wanted me to but she didn't tell me this. My granddaughters are now 6 and 3.I love being with my granddaughters.
Yet, you feel different from how I was. If I was your mother I would want to be there with you. I would want to be able to see my grandbaby as soon as my daughter allowed me to hold it. If I was your mother I would want to support you in any way that you would want support. If you didn't want me in the room then I would stay out. I wouldn't come but would feel left out of the wonderful experience. But if you are really uncomfortable with your mother coming then you should explain this to her. Tell her that you love her and that you want her to see the baby but need some time by yourself with the baby and your husband. [/u]I wonder if you do let them come, if they can spend the night in a hotel instead since it makes you feel uncomfortable and panic. I can see how you feel this way. But I can see how it hurts your mother. I know your mother is just anxious to enjoy her grandbaby and be supportive to you. It is your special moment and time with your new baby and it should be up to you in your decision, especially if you and your husband are introverted. This really may be hard for you. So maybe you should explain this to your mother. If she knows you well she may understand even though it may be hard for her if she has a different personality from you. yet, I know how this can be difficult. My mother didn't understand me and I couldn't tell her how I felt. It was opposite with my mother who didn't want to be there; your mother wants to be there. I just accepted how my mother was and never mentioned it to her. My water broke at my mother's house with my second baby. My mother drove an hour and a half to take me to the hospital. Then she left immediately. My husband was in the National Guard Summer camp and was not with me with the second birth. I had my baby the next day. I didn't see my mother until a week later. It was also a C-Section but I was awake. The next day my friend came and stayed with me while I was in labor until they took me to the operating room. My friend was there in my room when I came back. I had a spinal, so I could not raise my head. My friend fed me my food. I didn't need my mother at all but I would have liked her there. i wanted her to share my excitement. My babies were her first grandbabies.
I wish you well in your delima. I know you love your mother. It is hard when you two are different. I don't know if I have helped you or made you feel worse. I hope it helps to maybe understand your mother so I shared my experience. I do know there are other mothers who do not want their mother with them and keep them away from their babies for some time. That would really be hard for me. But we are all different. I do feel if you do let her know how much you love her and do want her to be in your babies life, but not just immediately then maybe it won't hurt as badly.
AT least she hasn't made travel plans. This is a good sign that she is listening to your wishes. I do wish you a wonderful delivery and want the best for you. Let us know how things go. When are you due? Please be at peace with your decision. Your baby needs you to be at peace.
- tedybearnana, email@example.com, KikisMama and 1 other like this
Posted 27 December 2012 - 03:56 AM
A grandmother here also . I was asked by both DD and DIL to be at the hospital in the waiting room when both of my GDs were born. I was there to support. DILs baby went straight to NICU before DIL was out of recovery. She went home after her Csection without her baby. She asked me to stay until her mother could come to stay later in the week. She needed me to help drive her back and forth to nurse the baby because DS needed to go back to work.
I understand you wanting to be just the two of you at the hospital when your baby is born. Surely your mother knows that you are an introvert and wants to do things by your wishes. I know I would want to do that also. I can also see her making some kind of arrangements 'just in case'...after all, she is your mother...and that is what we mothers do.
Yes, I would have been disappointed if I was asked to wait a month or longer to 'meet' a grandchild, but the parents wishes trump anyone elses. Have an honest conversation with her. Is it possible for your Mom to stay at a hotel and rent a car so she can visit for short periods of time when she does come?
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Posted 27 December 2012 - 06:25 AM
It could be that your mom wants the experience of being in the labor and delivery room that she possibly didn't have with your brothers and feels that she missed something. I do not feel that you are wrong to not ask her to be in the room with you. She needs to wait and come a couple of weeks later. That is when you will really need her. Once hubby goes back to work and it's just you at home. Then she can come and help with the house and cooking and baby.
I understand you being an introvert. My husband is one too. He finally told me that where being with people energizes me, being with people sucks the energy out of him. Both of you will need all that energy to bring little one into this world. Your Mom needs to wait for your call.
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Posted 27 December 2012 - 03:49 PM
You surely have the right to ask her to wait to come see you and the baby after its birth. She probably understands that completely. It could be she hopes you'll change your mind, for whatever personal need she has. It could be also that she thinks you might change your mind, but not say anything, until it's too late for her to make plans, so she keeps asking.
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Posted 27 December 2012 - 07:24 PM
When my daughter had her baby last summer, I went there shortly after the baby was born and started cleaning and getting ready for her and the baby to come home. My son-in-law was tired so he appreciated having me clean up the kitchen and do some laundry, so he was free to visit the hospital. When the baby came home I continued cooking and cleaning and helping where I could. The baby wasn't sleeping during the night (of course) so one thing I was able to do was take the baby and rock him to sleep after she had changed and fed him, so they were able to get some sleep. I stayed a little over a week.
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Posted 29 December 2012 - 10:32 AM
But as PPs have said, in the end, you need to plan your birth experience the way that seems best for you. And your mom needs to respect that. If it makes you feel any better, an increasing amount of couples are choosing to keep the birth experience - and even the first 2 or 3 weeks of parenting - to themselves. But even if that weren't true, you and DH would have the right, IMO, to do this the way you see fit.
I have mixed feelings about the fact that your mom hasn't made her travel plans yet (or so she tells you). The good news is, she isn't demanding to be there from Day 1. But I'm concerned that she may run there, as soon as she can and not wait the 3 weeks you requested. Please be sure the hospital staff is very clear on what you want and don't want and knows that they are not to let your mom into L/D, no matter what.
Then again - and more likely - she's just hoping you'll change your mind, even if last minute, and she's leaving the door open. If so, she's almost bound to be disappointed. But that's not your worry. That's something she'll need to deal with and get past. IMO, the pregnant/new mom's wishes come first - you need to do what you feel is best for you and your family and your mom will just have to (learn to) adjust. And so, I'm sure, she will.
Best wishes for an easy delivery and a happy, healthy baby!
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Posted 29 December 2012 - 04:29 PM
I can tell you don't want to hurt her feelings, but if you want to know what she is feeling and why she is feeling that way ... ask her. Seek to understand, then to be understood.
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Posted 29 December 2012 - 07:41 PM
My son is 19 months, and I also happen to be a obstetrical nurse. It's nice that you're trying to understand your mother's perspective, but it could lead to you feeling guilty about hurting her feelings. I think there's a lot of reasons your mom may want to be there - to hold the baby, to help you through labour, to see her as soon as she's born, to impart motherly wisdom etc. I found having a baby brought a tremendous amount of expectations from every one, and we all needed to reconcile those with reality (and everyone has, except MIL). Your mother may have grand plans for this one since the's the maternal GM this time around.
You have to be clear and firm with what is ok with you in terms of her being present. I also have a DH that's very private, so having my mom there would've driven him crazy. She's also super anxious and would've been a horrible support person in labour. I didn't want any family around, not even in the waiting room, because the thought of it made me feel pressured and like a spectacle. I needed DH's undivided support and attention, not him running out to the waiting room to give updates. We waited a long time to tell anyone my water was broken and we were awaiting induction. If I could get away with it this time (#2 is due in a few months) I wouldn't tell a soul either, but someone needs to watch DS. I've seen a lot of crazy family dynamics come out around delivery time, and as the nurse, I'll kick anyone out of the room if the mother asks me to. Anyone. I'll take the heat for her in a heartbeat.
If you need privacy at the hospital, and time to settle at home afterwards, don't feel guilty about saying so. One thing I've learned about myself is that whenever I went against my gut with DS to appease another person, I always regretted it. Feelings will get hurt, but it's up to you and your husband to look out for your new baby. My husband said to me recently that if someone is going to get offended by us doing what we feel is best for our son, they can just go be offended. If you do choose to have her come visit and she wants to help, be clear about the help you want. "Come help after the baby's born" may mean "help with the household stuff" to one person, and "look after the baby so new parents can do household stuff" to another. A lot of hurt feelings have arisen from that miscommunication.
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Posted 30 December 2012 - 10:17 PM
On the other hand, my oldest daughter told me the whole pregnancy that I would be in the room and when she went into labor never got a call, got one AFTER the fact and got to the hospital after much prodding (with daughter and dil in tow) and found out that "his" parents were in the room and I was disincluded....should have told me the way things would be, our relationship fell apart after that and she didn't speak to anyone in the family for 6 years. The last time we saw my grandson he was 2 and he is now 8 (she and the fiance broke up, he was controlling and didn't want her family around) and my gs doesn't know any of us and now that she is "back in the family" he has high anxiety when he is with us, he is getting better, and she needs to bring him around more, not fair to him....
Posted 31 December 2012 - 07:11 AM
Posted 02 January 2013 - 09:23 PM
She handled all the cooking, cleaning, laundry and getting my older ones out to school (when that time came). She was no help with the baby at all. I always wondered how my late husband survived babyhood, LOL.
Sure, sometimes we had words, she moved things in the kitchen and I got upset and told her to put them back. She did. She sometimes fussed over stuff I didn't, but I was too busy trying to take care of the baby and spend time with the older ones so i let it go.
When the first one was born, I got home from the hospital on Friday, and my MIL arrived the following Tuesday. Neither set of grandparents was at the hospital when he was born because I didn't call them until after he arrived. My mom and stepfather visited me in the hospital two days after he was born, and saw him through the window. Things were different in the olden days. MIL stayed with us, cooked our meals, did the laundry, did basic cleaning and it was fine. Again, no help with the baby - but it was nice to put him in the bassinet and tell her I was gonna shower, or use the loo, and she would knit and keep him company. When some friends popped in, she was nice enough to make coffee, put out cookies and make herself scarce.
Dont' tell anyoen when your labor starts - call them when you are all settled in your room again and you have your LO in your arms. That's all grandparents need to know, and if they want to pop in - let them. Hospitals do make people leave you know.
Your mother may just want to help as my late MIL did.
It is your baby, and will alwyas be your baby - stop trying to be such a wonderwoman and accept help for what it is.
Posted 03 January 2013 - 05:16 PM
I don't think that IM is trying to be a "wonderwoman" though. It sounds more as if she feels she can count on her DH for help and that she wants them to have time, right at the start, to bond as a family unit. Of course, I realize they're going to bond as a family unit, anyway (and I hope you realize that, too, IM). But if this is the boundary she prefers, I don't think she's going to change it. Hopefully, her mom can accept it graciously.
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Posted 03 January 2013 - 11:33 PM
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Posted 04 January 2013 - 05:33 PM
Posted 06 January 2013 - 06:01 PM
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Posted 07 January 2013 - 07:26 PM
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Posted 08 January 2013 - 12:08 PM
Posted 14 January 2013 - 06:39 PM
So, here is a bit of an update. I called my mom last night. I hadn’t heard from her and we hadn’t spoken for a little over a week. She almost never calls me so that isn’t totally unexpected. I could tell something was up and the conversation was feeling pretty cold. But, I wasn’t sure why exactly. She asked mostly about how I was doing, but specifically relating to the pregnancy and what the baby is up to and what my doctor thinks about the pregnancy. In the context of me asking her about some health problem and pain she’s had lately and scheduling an upcoming appointment, she mentioned that they wanted her to come back on the 24th but she would be out of town then and had scheduled the appointment for the day after she would return home. So, I asked where she was planning to go. She got a little huffy and said, “I’m going to visit my new granddaughter!” Whoa! I had assumed that she was referring to the 24th of January and so was talking about a trip at that point. She meant the 24th of February. So, I said, “Oh! You made your travel arrangements! Great! When are you flying in?” She claimed she didn’t remember the dates or times or airlines but that she had sent me her itinerary. I had not received an itinerary. I was a little shocked because normally when I travel to see her, I have her on the phone when I book airline tickets to okay all of the dates/times with her and make sure she’s available to pick me up at the airport, etc. I assumed that when she made her travel plans, she would call me to do the same. So, I asked her to resend her flight itinerary and she just said she would send it tomorrow. She didn’t want to go in the other room to get on her computer at the moment. I felt like she was being a bit sketchy and so I was really nervous that when I got the itinerary I would find she’d scheduled to be here for a month or more or that she had just decided to go against my wishes about when to come and that was why she had booked without calling me. I was relieved to find that she didn’t. She booked her tickets to arrive the day I asked her to come. She does plan to stay for almost 2 weeks, which is a week longer than I had requested/hoped but I may not have been as clear about that as I should have been. Although, the fact that she booked tickets 10 days ago and didn’t call to mention it at the time or any time in between still seems really passive-aggressive. Overall, I am feeling better about her plans! I haven’t discussed the plans with my husband yet though so hopefully he will be okay with her staying longer than we had wished.
Still, I am worried about the obvious chill coming from her end of the call. She’s clearly upset, possibly angry, and barely tolerating being polite with me. She knows she can’t exactly fight with me since doing so might only restrict her access to the baby. But, I fear that this might be setting us up for a tense visit. I’m prepared to continue to have boundaries when she arrives – to make it clear that the baby will be primarily in the care of my husband and I as we will still be learning how to care for and interact with her and that my mom will have to avoid interfering with the bonding process. However, I really hope that she just hangs back, helps out around the house, and is grateful for the time she does get to hold the baby so I don’t have to explicitly spell out that I’m not running a “Brand New Grandbaby Bed and Breakfast” while recovering from a difficult pregnancy and labor and delivery. Plenty of time for me to play hostess and spoil grandma during future visits! My brothers have both warned me that having children just made their relationships with her more difficult. (Oh, the battles my younger brother had to fight when it came to grandma co-sleeping – in a waterbed no less - with my niece when she was a baby). And I think, as some of you have mentioned, that my mom might be feeling even more entitled this time because she is the maternal grandmother.
Posted 14 January 2013 - 07:10 PM
I feel as if she's trying, though, even if she's being a little icy about it. In fact, that coldness you're perceiving might be the result of her biting her lip and not saying some of what she's feeling.
The only part that concerns me is the fact that she made the plans w/o discussing them further with you and that she tacked on an additional week. If she had stuck exactly to what was said, I would have thought, well, she didn't feel she needed to call - you'd already told her what date was good, etc. But since added some days... IDK... Since you say you feel you may not have been "clear" about that, I can't totally fault her. But I suspect she may not have called you b/c she kind of knew you'd object to the 2nd week and didn't want to hear the word, "No." But all the more reason to be very clear about your boundaries, from now on.
I hope all works out when she's here. And once again, congrats and have a happy, healthy baby!