New baby - advice please! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 25 Old 12-10-2007, 05:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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First off, congrats on your upcoming birth!

Secondly, prepare yourself now for what is going to be the long haul of making do with what you are going to be given. And what I mean by that is prepare yourself that the ex is not going to be especially empathetic to you wanting to be "just the 3 of you". I completely, totally and utterly can relate to how you want that special time. However, being the sometimes cynic that I am, I just want you to be aware of the fact that when there is an ex in the picture, they generally want you to never forget that there is a "first" family.

So, that being said...you can have your DF make your (and his) wishes known to the ex that maybe when the kids are especially coughy and sneezy, that maybe you make alternate arrangements for DF to see the kiddos....maybe an afternoon out at a park or at a relatives house. (just a couple of suggestions, they may absolutely not apply). In the meantime, keep yourself well by upping your immunity with supplements and being well-rested and washing your hands frequently, other than that...best of luck to you.

(oh, and be prepared to make some pizza sauce soon due to the tomatoes that are gonna come a-flyin!)
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#2 of 25 Old 12-10-2007, 05:28 PM
 
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Well. You are marrying a man with children...so you are marrying a FAMILY. Whether or not you "feel the same" about them, were they YOUR biological children, you would not have the space to say that they had to stay away. It's not fair to tell the children (or your DF) that they are not allowed to "meet" or "introduce" the new family member. This is what you, an adult, chose...to marry and have a child with a man who already had children. You are marrying a family, not a man. However, that said, it is completely fair to think that, the first day or two, they could come for an hour (daddy assisted), meet the baby, spend time as a new family, and then go back to their mother's house. Then, on the regular weekend, they would come to visit. They are, after all, STILL your DF's children, and should STILL have the right to have that weekend with him, AND with their new brother or sister! Just my two cents.

THe chronic cough...has anybody looked into asthma and allergies? Generally, if a child is constantly coughing, there is an underlying issue. I would strongly suggest that you check into the causes of these coughs. In my experience, it's not germs, but reactions to allergens. SO. Get them tested. I'd make sure you had mom treat for dust and dust mites, especially(even before the testing is done, you might notice a HUGE difference in the cough). Washing sheets in hot water at least once a week, freezing or washing in hot/drying stuffed animals once a week. If you are in a warm climate, then having her bathe the children, washing and drying their hair, before putting them to bed is a good idea, to get the pollen out of their hair, so they don't breathe it all night. If they have pets, make sure that they are tested for pet allergies, as well. Often times, giving cats a bath in cool water once a week can make a difference in the level of dander in the air...I'm not sure about dogs, though. Too, bolstering their immune system in general will help with not only allergies but also colds if that is in fact what they are experiencing.

So, giving them a whole foods based vitamin (we use juice plus gummies, but have also used Carlson's kids), on top of a high quality omega vitamin (like Carlson's Ultimate 3-6-9), which will help to stave off inflammation, will help a great deal. YOu might supplement with vitamin C, and if they test negative for allergies, do a two week on, two week off eccinatia (sp?) supplement, as well, simply to support the immune system. Even WITH allergies, this regimin has kept my kids much healthier.

Yes, washing hands is always a great idea. So is breastfeeding. Generally, your immunities are enough to protect your little one when hands are washed. Keeping the baby in a sling or a wrap is a GREAT way to keep the baby "safe" while having the children around. I did this with in-laws all the time! It's also grand, because the older siblings will not notice as much when you are breastfeeding and will not necessarily feel the need to get extra attention as well. And with the ages of the children in your family, you might find that this would be the case.

I am sorry that you are feeling protective of your baby and maybe even backed a little into a corner. Have a wonderful birth and a great baby moon...enjoy the addition to your existing family!!

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#3 of 25 Old 12-10-2007, 06:04 PM
 
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Originally Posted by courtenay_e View Post
Well. You are marrying a man with children...so you are marrying a FAMILY. Whether or not you "feel the same" about them, were they YOUR biological children, you would not have the space to say that they had to stay away.
Having been there, done that, I don't think that's entirely accurate. We had a friend take care of our two-year old when his baby sister was born. My step-daughter didn't come over the day her baby sister was born.

Now, having said that, I think it is one thing to have the kids meet the baby and another to have them snuggling up, kissing the baby, etc. You and DH can take it as an opportunity to teach them about keeping new babies healthy-- wash their hands when they arrive, look from a distance, touch on the feet/legs rather than face and hands. They should also learn that baby and mama need lots of time to rest because having a baby is hard work for mama and being born is hard work for baby. My husband took the two older kids out a lot after the baby was born, helped them find relatively quiet and engaging activities to do (we had some new toys/games/activities on hand for just this purpose), and helped them remember that the baby needed a calm, quiet house. In general, newborn babies are pretty boring to toddlers/preschoolers and they are not likely to stay interested that long anyway.

I think it is absolutely 100% normal for a woman who is having a baby (especially the first!) to want to carve out her little cocoon and protect the baby from the outside world. That's our job, and nature has given us the instincts to keep our babies safe from harm. You also have an instinct to keep yourself from harm, including emotional harm, that can get in the way of your birth. I say be honest with your husband about how you are feeling, tell him what you feel like you need, and let him help find solutions. If he's planning on helping with an unassisted homebirth, I'm going to assume he's a pretty special guy who is used to listening to one's instincts about health and well-being. And, keep in mind, that even though this is not his first baby, it is his first with you and it will be full of "firsts" for him, too... work together on it.

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#4 of 25 Old 12-10-2007, 07:43 PM
 
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Aricha, good advice.

Courtney, I think the medical/health care of the sick children is up to their parents, their mom and dad, not seaturtle to nurse back to health.

If they are that ill, they shouldn't be around other children at all, much less a newborn, until they are well.

Every mom deserves a babymoon period, a lying in with her newborn.

An opportunity to bond is not an odd request.

After that, the other children should be well again and life can carry on as usual.

Her husband can still visit his children, but they don't need to go to his house to do that, endangering the well-being of a newborn and a new mom.

If the coughing and sniffling is an allergy, they can still spread germs from all the body fluids they're leaking.

Seaturtle, maybe you can start diluting the medicine with water, to wean them off of it if you feel they are faking it, until it's a mere placebo.

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#5 of 25 Old 12-10-2007, 08:07 PM
 
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but which is it? are they sick and carrying germs? or are they faking?
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#6 of 25 Old 12-10-2007, 09:53 PM
 
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I just wanted to throw in a couple thoughts... I completely understand the natural instinct to feel protective, and feeling worried about sneezing kids around a newborn baby... I just don't want for you to set yourself up for more difficulties later on, if I was a stepchild, who was shut down from the family for 6 weeks after a new baby was born, I would:

a. Assume daddy doesn't love me as much as this new baby.
b. Persive this new baby as my copetition for love.
c. Feel hurt.

I think new mamas need time to themselves, at the same time I want you to try really hard to imagine the situation from the point of view of your stepkids.

I think you need to ask your husband to help you to come up with a solution: "Honey, I feel worried and protective, and I don't want the kids to resent the baby, or feel hurt and neglected because of the new addition to our family... What should we do about this?" Maybe something along the lines of still coming over, but not coming into your room would seem a little more fair to everyone involved?

*hugs*

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#7 of 25 Old 12-11-2007, 12:37 AM
 
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Six weeks is WAY too long to suspend visitation. For many reasons.

We are week on, week off with DSD. The switch happens on Fridays after school.

I believe I went into labor on Tuesday, and Wednesday morning, DSD's mom came and picked her up. DS was born Wed evening. On Fri, DSD's mom came over with DSD and her sister so they could meet the baby.

The next Friday, as usual, DSD was back with us.

I could see how you might want a week or so to get into the swing of things as a new mother. I had about that long, and it did help. I needed DF to be able to focus on DS and I right after the birth. For a long time, I cared mostly for DS and DF cared for DSD when she was here. I needed that week of help from him before I would be able to handle DS almost completely on my own.

Six weeks seems horribly long to keep your df's children away from him and their new sibling.

I would strongly recommend having your dscs meet the new baby before their next visitation. A new baby is a big thing, and it will give them time to process it. DSD wanted *nothing* to do with DS the first time she met him. She had been the baby of the family at her mom's for 4 years at that point. Her nickname was even "Baby." And she was the star of the show here. Big changes.

It may take a while for them to warm up to the new baby. DSD didn't really get excited until DS was crawling. It was then that she finally saw him as a playmate, a partner-in-crime, a brother. It melts my heart to watch them interact now. His face completely lights up when he sees her. He worships her. And she loves him to bits. I was not expecting that to be so powerful for me. I can completely tell that they are siblings. I am so lucky that DS has a sister that loves him so much.

To make a blended family work, I believe that it is important not to see the kids as "his kids," "her kids," and "our kids." They are all just "the kids."

I remember sometimes feeling that I wished DF didn't have a past, didn't have a child that was not biologically mine. But there wasn't anything that could be done about that. This is the way it is. It was at its worst when I was pregnant because of the unknown. I didn't know how I would feel about DSD once I had a child of my own. Eventually, things on that front came to a head. DF and I did some counseling and it really helped. I knew that I had to decide, knowing all of the facts, whether I wanted to stay with DF or go. He made some changes as well, and things are so much better now. The pregnancy hormones made me really crazy-protective of my family, and at that stage, I wasn't quite sure where DSD fit in to all of that. For me, the act of mothering DS made me feel more motherly towards her. And I think that her observation of me being motherly to DS has made her act more daughterly towards me.

I understand the germ worry, but pps have suggested ways to minimize the risk. Things that you are concerned about now may be distant thoughts once the little one arrives. I should add the caveat that I am not a germ-phobe by any means. I don't worry much about sickness, my baby has hardly been sick since he was born despite my DSD being in daycare at that time (now that is a place crawling with germs - she was always sick). In reality, your dscs are so little that they won't be "handling" the baby very much until it is a little older anyway. I think DSD only held DS a handful of times before he was mobile. She just wasn't incredibly interested.

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#8 of 25 Old 12-11-2007, 10:57 AM
 
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I think it sounds like a reasonable compromise.

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#9 of 25 Old 12-11-2007, 11:16 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I agree.
That sounds like a reasonable compromise.
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#10 of 25 Old 12-11-2007, 11:17 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Oriole View Post
I just wanted to throw in a couple thoughts... I completely understand the natural instinct to feel protective, and feeling worried about sneezing kids around a newborn baby... I just don't want for you to set yourself up for more difficulties later on, if I was a stepchild, who was shut down from the family for 6 weeks after a new baby was born, I would:

a. Assume daddy doesn't love me as much as this new baby.
b. Persive this new baby as my copetition for love.
c. Feel hurt.

I think new mamas need time to themselves, at the same time I want you to try really hard to imagine the situation from the point of view of your stepkids.

I think you need to ask your husband to help you to come up with a solution: "Honey, I feel worried and protective, and I don't want the kids to resent the baby, or feel hurt and neglected because of the new addition to our family... What should we do about this?" Maybe something along the lines of still coming over, but not coming into your room would seem a little more fair to everyone involved?

*hugs*

My two older children came to the hospital and held their new brother later the same day he was born. My middle son has allergies. We just made sure hands were washed and watched the sneezes and coughs, and did the best we could. The baby was born in January and never got sick once, although I did.


I think the compromise in the OP's update is a good one.
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#11 of 25 Old 12-11-2007, 12:13 PM
 
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I may get criticized for this opinion, but I don't think there is a problem with the birth being "all about you." YOU are the one who is giving birth, and you have every right to have it be the way you need it to be. If you need it quiet, if you need certain music to relax you, if you need to labor alone in the corner behind the couch... whatever. It IS all about you (and your baby, who is part of you during labor and delivery). So I think you have every right to dictate what you need during the birth and the immediate recovery. The LAST thing you need to be doing is worrying about other people's feelings while you are in labor.

Can you and your husband also sort of agree on a "wait and see" plan? As in, here's what we think we'll do if I'm up for seeing the kids, here's what we'll do if I need a little more time... and leave it a little up in the air? Even though I had given birth before, we made sure everyone knew the plans were pretty flexible because I didn't know how this birth was going to go, how it was going to effect me, how the baby was going to be doing afterward, etc. Maybe if YOU know that your husband wants the kids to come see baby as soon as possible, but that the ultimate "okay" will come from you, then you will be able to give him the go-ahead to get the kids as soon as you are ready for a short visit.

Anyway, if you need support to allow yourself to have the birth be "all about you," you know who to talk to

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#12 of 25 Old 12-11-2007, 12:37 PM
 
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The birth IS about you and the baby -- who else would it be about? It's not a spectator event! It's great that your husband will be helping, and I'm glad you're giving him info on this, as he may not quite understand his role.

And I don't really buy the argument that the kids have a right to be there either during or immediately following labor. First off, you mentioned you're not as close with them as you would be with biological kids. This matters. If you're not, then it might not feel right to have them there immediately. I'm all for making children feel as included and loved as humanly possible, but I'll remind you here that you matter too, and giving birth might be that rare instance when your feelings trump theirs, at least for a couple days. Also, even if they were your biological children, it would still be up to you when to have them meet the baby. I was the oldest in my family, and I stayed with my parents' friends when my brother was born and saw them when they came home. I don't think that is odd. I was 3 and it might have been a bit much to care for a 3-year-old through all of that. It was just fine. I think your suggestion of waiting a few days sounds perfectly reasonable. Good luck with the birth and with bonding as a family!

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#13 of 25 Old 12-11-2007, 02:22 PM
 
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I had a home birth and Dhs' kids came over the next day. They stayed the whole weekend ( ds was born thursday night kids came over Fri morning.) By the time 'everyone' went home Sunday night ( this includes my mother and mil) etc. visitors. My dh had to go to work Monday. I was incredibly overwhlemed and tired. I wanted a day or two of quiet time with my dh and that didn't happen. It was too much. The ages of dh's kids were: 9 and 13 my other son was also home and he was 13. It was busy - I wanted everyone ( including my own son) out of the house - there wasn't a lot of time for the two of us to just bond with baby and each other after the amazing home birth.

There is nothing wrong with having dhs' kids over for a while to see baby and visit but I would suggest, if possible, for them to go back to moms house early so you can both recover and lay in with new baby for at least a couple of days before it all starts again.

If they are over for the weekend/week I would suggest someone/family member to be over to take care of your needs so dh can take care of his children so at least you get quiet, food and rest.
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#14 of 25 Old 12-11-2007, 03:13 PM
 
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The kids coming over right after the baby is born is a completely unrealistic expectation of your dh's. Since you are UCing and he is your primary caretaker, he cannot be the primary caretaker of two other people.

Also, their will be blood and bodily fluids all over that will need to be cleaned up, you and baby may want to go right to sleep after an hour or two. Your dh will have to be available to help you with some things that sound simple. I lost a lot of blood and needed help getting to the bathroom, for instance.

I would also agree that yeah, the birth IS all about you and the baby. A lot of birth is mental/emotional, and if you are spending your labor worrying about how things will go after the baby is born, it could stall your labor. You should be able to completely relax and know that you will be cared for during labor and afterwards.

Having the kids come over a few days after is a good compromise. And then maybe the next scheduled weekend, depending on how your birth falls within the visitation schedule.

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#15 of 25 Old 12-11-2007, 06:13 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Oriole View Post
Maybe something along the lines of still coming over, but not coming into your room would seem a little more fair to everyone involved?
Oriole that is an excellent suggestion.

As long as they actually leave her and the baby alone in the room
The visitation is for them to spend time with their father, after all.
And by having them visit, but leaving new mom and baby alone to bond, benefits everyone. Dad can certainly distract them properly and keep them entertained, fed, etc.

Pink:
I never said suspend visitation, I suggested an alternate location, but I like Oriole's suggestion.
I never suggested keeping the kids away from their dad, just away from Seaturtle and her new baby.

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#16 of 25 Old 12-11-2007, 11:58 PM
 
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Pink:
I never said suspend visitation, I suggested an alternate location, but I like Oriole's suggestion.
I never suggested keeping the kids away from their dad, just away from Seaturtle and her new baby.
I *really* don't want this to sound snarky or anything like that, but I believe that is important that these children meet their new sibling. If they are used to visitation involving Seaturtle, it will be weird for her to suddenly not be there for an extended amount of time. Like it or not, these children are her family. Most likely, they will miss her and be sad that they don't get to see her. You just don't get to decide to be away from family for six weeks.

I understand wanting a little time (often mothers with one bio child already want a little alone bonding time with the next child), and with a "meet the baby" visit, that seems reasonable. But six weeks is really long to a child.

I was just getting a feeling that she is looking these children as not being that important to her family. I had distant relatives that met DS before six weeks was up. Maybe I am thinking about my own s*%t and comparing my feelings now to my feelings when I was in her shoes... a year ago.

For us, having a new baby in the house united the family more than I ever could have imagined. So that is why I am pushing so hard for her to develop that sibling relationship between her dscs and the baby.

Sometimes it seems like everything about blending families is so hard. A new baby is such a joyous occasion, everyone in the family should get to share in the joy as soon as it is feasible for everyone involved.

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#17 of 25 Old 12-12-2007, 12:16 AM
 
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Pink,

Of course they should meet the baby.
But not the first day the baby is born!

I think you and I agree, but don't know it yet.

When I had Abigail, my husband took a week off work and stayed in with us.
By the last day, he was restless and grumpy and he needed to be gone.

With Abigail, I took forever to recover (well, it was 6 weeks before I could get out of bed without pain and walk without pain).
We moved when Abigail was 6 weeks old.
So, no rest for the weary.
We skipped a couple weekends of visitation because my husband worked weekends and I'd be left to babysit his son while caring for my newborn, and that wouldn't have been fair at all.
Then his mom wouldn't allow him to come over to our new home for the 3 week visitation, but that wasn't our choice, it was hers.
That's a whole different story, though.

With Sophia, I recovered much quicker. By two weeks pp, I felt as good, if not better, than I did at 6 wks pp with Abigail. We still skipped a weekend visitation. I especially needed to bond with Sophia since throughout my pregnancy I wasn't nearly attached to her as I was to Abigail. It was hard bonding with Sophia, partly due to having to care for 15 month old Abigail, as well. But she was so young there was no way I was leaving her with anyone else. I didn't even let her spend the night with my parents until she was 2 yrs old.

Again, I like Oriole's suggestion.
An hour visit, after 2-3 days alone, and on new momma's terms.
Dad can visit with his other children anywhere else, but it doesn't have to interfere with the new mom, babymoon, bonding period.

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#18 of 25 Old 12-12-2007, 09:43 AM
 
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I'd, again, suggest having a couple different plans once mama sees how she feels. Like she said, a lot of her fear comes from the unknown-- she doesn't know how she will feel, and it sounds like she is mostly afraid of her needs not being respected. I don't think she is necessarily feeling "I don't want to see the kids right away," she is saying "What if I don't want to see them right away?"

BTW, her post doesn't say she doesn't want them around for 6 weeks. Her follow-up post says 2-3 days, then she'd probably be fine with any and every day after that.

So, OP, it might help to think about solutions to the "what if" and to talk about them with your husband so you are both on the same page, and so you feel like your feelings will be respected. I think once you feel like you have the final say, and that your desires will be respected, you may be more opening to having the kids visit sooner if that is what's important to your husband. It might be after you've gotten a little sleep, it might be the next day, it might be for an hour, it might be for a day. You might give birth and immediately tell your husband "go get the kids!" Who knows? I think your bottom line is that you don't know what it is going to be like, and you want reasurance that your emotional needs will be respected.

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#19 of 25 Old 12-12-2007, 10:36 AM
 
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To clarify, the six weeks suggestion came from a previous poster, and then another poster mentioned it. I think one of the pps and I kind of hijacked your thread arguing about it. For no reason, I am starting to learn.

Anywho.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seaturtle View Post
Anyway. I tried to bring this up with DF again, and he just said that it's all up to me, and that it wasn't about when he would be ready, it was about when I would feel ready. I still feel like he isn't being completely open about this, so that we can reach a compromise that we both feel good about. But, I know him well enough to know when more talking isn't going to get me anywhere. So, I'm going to keep in mind that he wants them there as soon as possible, and then just hope that whatever ends up happening doesn't cause resentment down the road.
I am wondering if he just has a bit of an unrealistic view of how things are going to go down in his head, and then once everything happens, none of this will even matter?

Where were his first two children born (hospital?). He might not be thinking about all of the things he'll have to do.

And if you have a long labor, he will probably be tired. So he really might not want to drive and bring the kids over (which when it boils down to it, is more work) right away.

So, yeah, at this point I would do what you are doing and let the conversation drop. It sounds like he knows your wishes, and by the time the little one is here, neither of you know exactly how you will feel. So it is all speculation at this point anyway.

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#20 of 25 Old 12-17-2007, 01:38 PM
 
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I've heard sentiments along the lines of step-children's rights, and while I understand where those who hold them are coming from (the viewpoint of a step-child), I think it disregards my rights as a parent. I think my rights as the protector of my child supercedes any rights of any other person to access my child.
I believe that one of the best lessons a parent can teach a child is that their rights END where another's BEGIN.

You are absolutely within reason to expect to have private time to bond with and/or protect your newborn baby. It is your responsibility as a parent to cultivate a strong and healthy relationship with your children. No one on Earth has any right to tell you, you must do differently.

This is simply one of those situations that require a little patience and understanding on the part of the other parties involved. If the children are having a hard time with showing patience and understanding because of their ages and perspectives, then their parents (IMO) are obligated to encourage rather than discourage those behaviors.

---

I wanted to add something...

I have seen a lot mentioned here about the rights and feelings of the older children involved. It's a little shocking to me that I haven't yet seen mentioned the right of an infant child to their mother's full time, energy, and attention - unmarred by discomfort, feelings of uneasiness, and emotional and/or physical distractions. With all this, "Think about the kids" talk it seems one very important kid is being left out of the equation.
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#21 of 25 Old 12-17-2007, 02:41 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Seaturtle View Post
I've been thinking about this for a while, now, and I really disagree. However, please note that this response is not directed towards the PP directly, it is in response to the bolded part, and in response to some other things I have read on this board.

I think I have every right to protect my baby from any illnesses other children may be carrying, and I think I have the right to say who is and isn't allowed to come visit my baby.

I've heard sentiments along the lines of step-children's rights, and while I understand where those who hold them are coming from (the viewpoint of a step-child), I think it disregards my rights as a parent. I think my rights as the protector of my child supercedes any rights of any other person to access my child.

The new baby is my responsibility, and the burden is on me to protect the baby. I feel that part of that protection is making sure the baby and I have enough time together to bond, establish nursing, and ensure that those who come around are healthy. I feel these are necessary protections in order to assure the life of my child.

Honestly, do you think the children's mother gives two cents about my new baby? Nope. Why should she? It isn't her responsibility. Her concern lies with her two children. Do you think the only one my DF is concerned about is the new baby? Nope. He loves all three of his children. Finally, I have responsibility for just my child, just as the step-children's mother is the only one with full responsibility of her two children. What if my baby were ill, do you think she would want her children to come over? If I were her, I wouldn't. And, if she says that she doesn't want to put her children in a position of catching whatever the baby has, then it seems like there would be a lot of support for her saying "I want you to wait until your baby isn't sick, and then you can have the kids." Yet, if I want them to not come over when they are sick, so that my child doesn't become ill, then I get to be the evil step-mother again.

I don't feel that anyone has a "right" to my baby, other than myself and DF. If I had 10 natural children, those other children wouldn't have a "right" to my new baby, either. It seems like a lot of people think that, just because there are step-children in the picture, then all my rights are out the window, although those rights wouldn't be if the step-children were my natural children. What I mean is, it appears to me, that I could send all my natural children away for a month, and people would say that is my choice. But, if I want a few days (or even a few weeks), and that space of time involves telling step-children that they can't come over, then suddenly I am a selfish, evil step-mother.

Both of these situations put the step-mother in a very awkward position. We already have FAR fewer rights as a step-parent, but we are expected to act like a natural parent. These expectations put all the "rights" with the step-children's mother and her children, and any woman and her children who come after, get treated as second-rate humans.

That seems awfully skewed, to me.
You are 100% right on this one. No one has any particular rights to see your newborn immediately. And you're right, as a stepmom, you're kind of held to many totally contradictory standards simultaneously. You are supposed to treat them as your own for their sake, but include emotional distance for their mom's sake, but spend more on them than yours because the law affords them a higher value, but never even viscerally resent any of this, and certainly never expect anything in return that a mother would normally enjoy, and then people will tell you when you do have your own you are supposed to compromise that special bonding time because your stepkids have a "right" to meet their half-sibling immediately! Nonsense! Do what works for you and your baby, and then when you are ready, by all means include your stepchildren, as they are also your family.

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#22 of 25 Old 12-17-2007, 02:55 PM
 
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Oh, and just to clarify, before everyone beats me up about explaining how stepmothering can sometimes be an untenable situation:
Let me say that I completely and totally adore my stepkids, I have no biokids at this point, and any resentment disappeared the day I met them and fell in love.

And I'm the one spending too much on them for Christmas, not my husband. Sometimes I can't resist.

I wrote what I wrote because I do feel that it's not humanly possible to simultaneously live up to all the demands of the various posters on this blog. I have chosen to treat these kids as my own, completely. This may not sit well with those who prefer me to know my proper place as a second-class citizen, but I'm just not able to comprehend how I can raise kids without being motherly. So if your role is a parental one, then do that, but you have to have authority. If your role is a pal without a parental role, then do that, but then you can't treat them "as your own." I just maintain that you can't do all of them at the same time.

And regardless of what your role is with your stepkids, I think we can all agree on a role for you with your new baby, so focus on that one right now.

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#23 of 25 Old 12-17-2007, 04:04 PM
 
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Originally Posted by violet_ View Post
And you're right, as a stepmom, you're kind of held to many totally contradictory standards simultaneously. You are supposed to treat them as your own for their sake, but include emotional distance for their mom's sake, but spend more on them than yours because the law affords them a higher value, but never even viscerally resent any of this, and certainly never expect anything in return that a mother would normally enjoy...
I whole-heartedly agree. Couldn't have said it better myself.

Parenting four little monkeys (11, 8, 6, and 4) with the love of my life. Making it up as I go.
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#24 of 25 Old 12-17-2007, 05:54 PM
 
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I agree with everything I quoted below.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seaturtle View Post
I think I have every right to protect my baby from any illnesses other children may be carrying, and I think I have the right to say who is and isn't allowed to come visit my baby.

I've heard sentiments along the lines of step-children's rights, and while I understand where those who hold them are coming from (the viewpoint of a step-child), I think it disregards my rights as a parent.
I think my rights as the protector of my child supersedes any rights of any other person to access my child.

The new baby is my responsibility, and the burden is on me to protect the baby.
I feel that part of that protection is making sure the baby and I have enough time together to bond, establish nursing, and ensure that those who come around are healthy.
I feel these are necessary protections in order to assure the life of my child.

Yet, if I want them to not come over when they are sick, so that my child doesn't become ill, then I get to be the evil step-mother again.

I don't feel that anyone has a "right" to my baby, other than myself and DF.
But, if I want a few days (or even a few weeks), and that space of time involves telling step-children that they can't come over, then suddenly I am a selfish, evil step-mother.

Both of these situations put the step-mother in a very awkward position. We already have FAR fewer rights as a step-parent, but we are expected to act like a natural parent.
These expectations put all the "rights" with the step-children's mother and her children, and any woman and her children who come after, get treated as second-rate humans.
Quote:
Originally Posted by nikag View Post
I believe that one of the best lessons a parent can teach a child is that their rights END where another's BEGIN.

You are absolutely within reason to expect to have private time to bond with and/or protect your newborn baby. It is your responsibility as a parent to cultivate a strong and healthy relationship with your children. No one on Earth has any right to tell you, you must do differently.

This is simply one of those situations that require a little patience and understanding on the part of the other parties involved. If the children are having a hard time with showing patience and understanding because of their ages and perspectives, then their parents (IMO) are obligated to encourage rather than discourage those behaviors.

---

I wanted to add something...

I have seen a lot mentioned here about the rights and feelings of the older children involved.
It's a little shocking to me that I haven't yet seen mentioned the right of an infant child to their mother's full time, energy, and attention - unmarred by discomfort, feelings of uneasiness, and emotional and/or physical distractions.
With all this, "Think about the kids" talk it seems one very important kid is being left out of the equation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by violet_ View Post
You are 100% right on this one.
No one has any particular rights to see your newborn immediately.
And you're right, as a step mom, you're kind of held to many totally contradictory standards simultaneously.
You are supposed to treat them as your own for their sake, but include emotional distance for their mom's sake, but spend more on them than yours because the law affords them a higher value, but never even viscerally resent any of this, and certainly never expect anything in return that a mother would normally enjoy, and then people will tell you when you do have your own you are supposed to compromise that special bonding time because your step kids have a "right" to meet their half-sibling immediately!
Nonsense!
Do what works for you and your baby, and then when you are ready, by all means include your stepchildren, as they are also your family.

I wrote what I wrote because I do feel that it's not humanly possible to simultaneously live up to all the demands of the various posters on this blog.
I have chosen to treat these kids as my own, completely.
This may not sit well with those who prefer me to know my proper place as a second-class citizen, but I'm just not able to comprehend how I can raise kids without being motherly.
So if your role is a parental one, then do that, but you have to have authority.
If your role is a pal without a parental role, then do that, but then you can't treat them "as your own."
I just maintain that you can't do all of them at the same time.

And regardless of what your role is with your step kids, I think we can all agree on a role for you with your new baby, so focus on that one right now.

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#25 of 25 Old 12-18-2007, 12:30 AM
 
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Originally Posted by violet_ View Post
And you're right, as a stepmom, you're kind of held to many totally contradictory standards simultaneously. You are supposed to treat them as your own for their sake, but include emotional distance for their mom's sake, but spend more on them than yours because the law affords them a higher value, but never even viscerally resent any of this, and certainly never expect anything in return that a mother would normally enjoy,
I had to read this aloud to DF. It is a good summation of the difficulties of being a stepmom.

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