Visitors after birth? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 15 Old 01-03-2010, 11:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Help! Last time with DD, I was completely overwhelmed by people coming by the hospital for the two days I was there. Then within fifteen minutes of getting her home, FIL and BIL (both not my favorite people) showed up, expected to hold the baby, and complained about not being able to find things in my kitchen. They wanted me to leave her in her crib and help them.

The hospital where I am delivering has a no one under 18 policy because of swine flu, and that includes siblings. I wanted DD to be the third person to hold the new baby, so this devastates me. The inlaws all told me at Christmas that they were coming up to hold the baby as soon as she was born.

So, my question is, how are you all planning to handle this? My mom is the only one that I am really comfortable having around during those first few days, besides DH. Last time I was incredibly anxious and weepy, and I remember having panic attacks in the bathroom while my inlaws were here. I am getting nervous just thinking about it.

Jill :, partner to DH:, mother to DD 11/06 :, DD 2/2010 .
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#2 of 15 Old 01-04-2010, 12:04 AM
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BIG HUGS!!! It definitely sounds like boundaries need to be set. And I find with the in laws it is best to tell your husband to talk to them... either that or dont call and announce the birth untill you are ready to have them.

Since I am having a homebirth I am esp nervous that people think that since it is my home that they will be welcome anytime, When we call to announce the birth, I will definately be saying that we need a week (or some other amount of time) to be together and then after that visitors are welcome.
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#3 of 15 Old 01-04-2010, 12:07 AM
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This is one of those times where it's DH's job to intervene. Have you talked to him about this?

You have every right to not be a mess when you bring your baby home. Personally, I think there is nothing wrong with telling your in-laws that you want to hold off on extended family holding the baby and being around until you have some time at home with your DD. This is your family's time, and they do not have the right to intrude. I would expect my DH to talk to his family about it and to make MY comfort his #1 priority. But, that's me

My in-laws talked about coming up pretty soon after the babe is born, but since my DH is graduating from college in May, we just told them to make it up just the one time. Of course, that was fairly easy since they live really far away...but I had no problems actively persuading them to visit later than sooner. I don't need the stress when my family is adjusting to a new life!

Sabrina loving wife to Nate , frazzled mom to Gabriella (1-23-07) and Robert (2-9-10) My bed and heart are overflowing!
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#4 of 15 Old 01-04-2010, 12:17 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the responses! I think you are right that it has to come from DH. I think part of the problem is that they are often very hard on him and he hates to be off on the wrong foot with them. I thought about having him wait until the baby was born to tell them we wanted time to ourselves and our daughter with the new baby. Maybe at that point they would see it differently than if we broached the subject earlier?

Time to talk to DH again.

Jill :, partner to DH:, mother to DD 11/06 :, DD 2/2010 .
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#5 of 15 Old 01-04-2010, 01:10 AM
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Here's some things that work for me.
Set boundaries and soon. Talk with DH now, so when his family asks him, he won't tell them wrong.
For us, DH knows he's in charge of his family, I only interact with them if I want to, they're only invited over when DH is sure to be there. On the occasion that someone I don't want around stops by, I all-of-a-sudden need to go rest, w/ baby, in the back bedroom. I like the idea of a time frame, "We need a week" (we might be a key word). People must call first, give them a time to come and go by.
When at home, I use the "sleeping" sign on my front door constantly (even when no one is sleeping). I'm in an area where I can get a lot of drop in guests, but the sleeping sign is never violated.
I'm normally not that assertive, but the mama in me is working on it.

One son , 3 years old. One husband, nine years of love. Expecting A Girl Feb 25, 2010
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#6 of 15 Old 01-04-2010, 01:38 AM
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Well, I have the opposite problem. I actually enjoy visitors, and being winter and the hospital restrictions I probably will not get many.

But I know at our hospital - the nurses are willing to be the bad guys. So if you tell them no visitors, they will keep people out. Or you can tell them that you only want to allow people to visit from 2-4 PM, and after that have them kick people out. Plus it seems that some of the hospitals are going all crazy with the restrictions, so you might even pull a "no visitors because of the swine flu" card...

Nicole, Mommy to Jasmine (7/05) , Athena (2/07) , Shane (3/08) , Caleb (1/10), and 2 angels (4/06 & 4/09)
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#7 of 15 Old 01-04-2010, 01:46 AM
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Ugh, I haven't even thought about this. I have no idea what kind of emotional state I'm going to be in...but I do know that my inlaws are super excited, live only 3 hours away, and have told DH that as soon as I'm in labor they are going to try to get here asap. How long will they stay? Who knows!? They "don't like to make plans."

My guess is that it will all work out ok, and hopefully they'll be more helpful than annoying. My first response, however, is to stress about it and assume the worst...but I'm a little tired of wasting all that energy. I'm thinking I'm just going to let what happens, happen....and hope for the best.
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#8 of 15 Old 01-04-2010, 01:53 AM
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My midwife was huge about promoting the babymoon/lying in time; she posted a note on the door with DD's time of arrival, weight and length, and essentially a nice message saying "stay away and let them bond!". I thought it was a little overkill as I did want some people around...but I understand her point. I think maybe a mass email/text message might be one way I announce things this time, letting people know when we are ready to have visitors. The inner circle knows who they are and that they should just call first.

I agree with PP that DH needs to set the boundaries with his family and give an ending date/time to visits, before the birth and then maybe as he lets them in?!?! You have a right to peace and calm and things should go the way youn desire. Get him on your side!

Single HB mama to 2!
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#9 of 15 Old 01-04-2010, 08:00 AM
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Okay, I'm totally going to speak my mind here, but I have very toxic in laws as well as parents. Thankfully, when we are in one country, we are an entire country away from one set of family. This solves a lot of problems.

Have you read the book Toxic In-Laws? I read it AFTER I finally set boundaries with my in-laws but wish I had read it before. It bascially advised me to do the same thing I already did a few months before. Good to know I was on the right track, though.

The great thing about this book is it gives you advice about what to do if your dh caves or just isn't on your team. It gives you a list of rights that you have and a list of rights that they have and basically tells you that if your dh (or dp) isn't on board, then you STILL have those rights and it is YOUR JOB to handle the family. Obviously it is BEST if it comes from your dh...but if he cant or wont do it or is planning on putting it off, then you will need to take matters into your own hands.

I let my in-laws ABUSE me for 4 years. (when I say abuse, I mean, my bil physically assulted me, my sil literally chased me around a grocery store as I was miscarrying, screaming and yelling at me that I have a bad attitude when miscarrying, basically, and in front of my children as well, and blocking me from leaving the store for 7 minutes, etc...) One of the great abuses was that, after my homebirth with ds, my dh called to tell them the happy news. They said that they were coming (they lived 2.5 hours away at that time) immediately. I told dh "no" and dh started begging and pleading saying that they were the grandparents and they had rights. I told him "no" again and explained that I had been up all night laboring and birthed ds at sunrise and I was very tired and needed to rest. DH called his parents and kind of beat around the bush in telling them and they were even more insistant "we'll come and play with dd (our older child) and take you and her to the park so that jul511riv can rest with the baby...we'll bring you dinner...we'll take you to the grocery store (we didn't have a car and there was no food in the house)..." so dh told me all that and I said "okay."

Well, we waited for them. 3 hours passed. 4 hours. 5 hours later we called them, they said they had been stuck in traffic, but were on the way...only 15 more minutes. Another 45 min passed. We called them, they started bi*ching about traffic again (notice they hadn't called the entire time to tell us they would be late) and said they were about 10 min away...this went on for 7 hours! When they showed up, finally, dd was ready to go to bed. I was STARVING and exhausted. And they showed up with my bil (totally without asking us first if it was okay) and then telling us that they didn't have time to stop and pick up dinner and asked if we would order some pizzas for all of us. We did and then they told us that they didn't have any cash or credit cards on them and they couldn't pay for it. Then after they ate the pizzas, which they liked so much, they asked bil to order them 3 more to take home. They stayed at our house until the new pizzas arrived and then bil paid for them and then they said they would never make the drive to our house again (the baby's brit was the following week...AT OUR HOME... and fil was performing a major role in the ceremony) and began to leave. My dh, Thank G-d, at least told them that they needed to wash dishes before they left. Which they did begrudgingly. He also told mil to fold the laundry, which she did some, but not all, of. Then they said they would never come back, again, and left.

The next week before the brit, they demanded that we put our newborn and our not even 2 year old dd on several busses so that we could come to THEIR city to have the brit ceremony. They also demanded that we rent a hall and actually reserved it for us, calling us for a credit card number so that we could pay for it. DH didn't really know what to do and started trying to discuss it with me because he didn't want to make waves with them, and that whole week became a nightmare, particularly because ds had jaundice and so I was sitting in front of a window with them the whole time and nursing trying to avoid a trip to the hospital. Ug, it was a total nightmare. I won't even go into us calling bil to ask if we could use his car to drive to the doctor's through all of this with our less than a week old baby...he lived 20 min away...and he said "no" because he had a date the night before and wanted to stay out late and sleep in the next day. BTW, he was about 28 years old at the time, so not a little child, by any means.

Anyways, my point is this, you need to be extremely firm and set your boundaries NOW. Make sure that EVERYONE is on the same page. If your dh is wishy washy about it, then YOU handle it and don't be embarassed either. Don't do it over the phone either. Go in person, if you are able. And if not, do it on the phone and then follow up in writing with an email or letter making it clear that you need some alone time with the baby and what and what is not acceptable to you and letting them know when they will be welcomed to come to the house.

If someone comes over and wants to hold the baby and you are not comfortable with that, you can say "it's germy season and we don't want to disturb the baby right now...or overstimulate...or whatever...and so we will be the only ones holding the baby for now." or even better, just say "no. not today." and then smile and change the subject. You might even want to add a "thanks for asking." before you change the subject. It's YOUR baby and the truth is, yuou don't need to explain ANYTHING to ANYONE about your decisions. They are YOURS to make.

What I did was put ds in a sling the entire time and people have a much harder time thinking they can hold a baby that is tucked in a sling up against his mother's chest...that would mean disturbing the baby. And if the baby is crying, most people don't want to hold him/her at that moment either. You can do things like this with your body language and by setting up a visual that the baby is "strapped" to you and that letting go is not anywhere near part of the plan or even an option.

If you are birthing at a hospital and do not want visitors, then you can tell each person you call "Mommy and baby are resting and do not want visitors. We will let you know when we are ready or please call before you are thinking of coming, lest you be turned away at the door." or whatever works for you. YOu can also say that the hospital has requested a no visitors policy due to swine flu (or some other illness, it does'nt matter...chickenpox outbreak, etc...)if being direct is an issue for you. You could say that we will text message/email everyone when we are accepting visitors but we ask that all visitors stay no longer than 15 minutes and if you would like to visit longer, please come to the baby welcoming ceremony, which will be held on _________ or "about a month from now," etc...

Just be clear, concise (unlike this post, lol) and very very firm.

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#10 of 15 Old 01-04-2010, 01:40 PM
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I agree, you need to set up boundaries now and let your husband be the messenger. That said.... I know how hard it can be!! My Husband's family isn't hard on him, but he is so easy going (and they are so NOT easy going) that he often just gives in once they start harping about something.

Hmmm... Maybe I shouldn't be giving any advice. I told him to emphatically tell his mother that she could come in the middle of March (the baby would be anywhere from 3 (if I make it to my due date) to 1 (if I have to be induced at 42 weeks) week/s old. So I get an email - MIL is booked to come out March 2-9. ARGH! March 2nd does not equal MID MARCH!! And then the kicker, I learned over the weekend that his sister plans to come to. When I say visiting it means also being our house guests. And b/c this is SIL's first visit she called DH and wanted to discuss what "sight seeing" she could do - with DH as her tour guide.
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#11 of 15 Old 01-04-2010, 09:19 PM
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As far as the hospital not allowing visitors, someone who asked to remain nameless told me that although there are many signs around the hospital saying no children allowed, there are no 'police at the door', and that she thought since my son is vaccinated for swine flu, we can bring him in, although he may have to wear a mask.
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#12 of 15 Old 01-04-2010, 09:56 PM
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This is why we moved 1300 miles away from family.

We're planning a home birth. For our in-town friends, I think we will decide on "visiting hours" maybe 3-4 days after the birth, from maybe 3-6 pm or something, and post it on facebook.

My SIL (my dh's brother's wife) is doing the OPPOSITE. Like I said, they live quite far away, and she is due with her #2 in late February. They thought it would be a great idea to use her maternity leave in March to DRIVE all the way over here for a visit! Are you kidding me? Get into a minivan with a three-year-old and a NEWBORN when you are a week or two postpartum and drive for a whole day and night?? (And then do it again when it's time to go home!) WTF?

Wife to dh and mommy to dd1 (3/07), ds (1/10), and dd2 (any day now)!

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#13 of 15 Old 01-05-2010, 01:03 AM
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Just tell the nurses that you don't want anyone to know you're there and that you don't want any visitors....

Then warn the inlaws that you'd like some private time...if they show up the nurses won't even admit that you are there.

Heather married to my highschool sweetheart 6/7/02 :cop: Mother to Dani age 14 and Timmy age 10 Nadia 1/29 :
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#14 of 15 Old 01-05-2010, 01:14 AM
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We had a similar prob last time as well. It was my mil and sil who demanded and expected that they be involved in certain things, overstayed their welcome, intruded etc etc. We specifically asked for no one to come to the hospital during our time there and to essentially leave us alone for the first week or so so that we could bond. All of our wishes were disregarded the second my dd arrived.

This time we have already had a talk with them that the crap they pulled last time will not be tolerated and we are also having a hb this time as well as not telling ppl that dd2 has arrived until we are ready to accept visitors.

Not exactly the kind and caring welcoming I want for my dd2 but we feel that this will be the easiest way to handle the situation.
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#15 of 15 Old 01-05-2010, 01:44 AM
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it's great to read what others are going through. I have really been struggling with what to do about family as well. With our first child we put our foot down and had a great 2 weeks of bonding before anyone showed up. It was a very special time for us. But this time, having a toddler in the house makes it pretty tricky to be as independent and I appreciate that their help may come in handy. This time asked my family to find their own place to stay while they visited which was extremely difficult to do, especially considering that we have ample room for guests in our house. They have agreed to stay at an inn but now that I got what I wanted (my house all to myself for the homecoming) I feel bad for not welcoming them in.
It just feels like I'm constantly torn between what I want and what I feel I should do for family. I'm slowly learning to stand up for myself but I still don't know how to stand up for myself and feel good about it.
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