No, Please Don’t Visit My Newborn

newborn baby, don't visit newborns,

A precautionary tale: don’t visit a newborn if the mama urges you, even politely, to stay away. She means it.

My husband’s grandmother left a message saying she was coming over. Right. Now.

I’d been putting her visit off. I wanted the first week with our newborn to be a closed circle made up only of new mother, new father, and new baby. Benjamin was a wonder to us with eyes that hinted (I swear) of ancient wisdom. This time was our initiation into family life. It felt sacred to me in the way that life-changing experiences can. I didn’t want it muddied with polite conversation or awful clichés like “you look great.”

I was also exhausted and overwhelmed, as many first-time postpartum moms can be. We wait three-quarters of a year to see the baby we’ve been gestating. Plus we’re dealing with sore nipples, interrupted sleep, and estrogen levels that drop 100 to 1,000-fold in the first week after giving birth.  I knew plenty of other new mothers who thrived on connecting soon after birth. Not me. I wasn’t feeling remotely sociable.

When his grandmother arrived my resolve melted a little. As she leaned over to kiss our baby’s cheek the gentle wrinkles on her face twanged my heartstrings. She was looking down at her descendant, a boy who would grow up into a world beyond her time. My tenderness, however, instantly evaporated when she snatched him out of my arms with a thief’s deftness. Her perfume-doused wrists cradled him closely. He started to fuss almost immediately but she refused to hand him back.

“I know babies,” she said, surely trying to reassure me. I was not reassured.

Related: Researchers Believe Newborn DNA May Hold Health Answers For Their Future

His eyes crinkled in pre-cry mode. She hoisted him to her shoulder, his precious face against her sweater which had, I kid you not, fake rhinestone decorations pressed against his skin. Immediately I reached out for him but she turned and, bouncing him up and down, walked to the other side of the room. The baby started to cry for real.

I hustled up to her with the ferocity of a mother grizzly bear. The hair on my arms stood up and my scalp prickled. My mouth swung open and growl in my throat threatened to roll out. I’d never experienced such a primal reaction, a surge of body energy that transcended emotion. I managed to sputter a few words instead of actual growling.

“I need that baby back RIGHT NOW,” I said, “or I can’t be responsible for what I’ll say.”

She, who had bestowed the fond nickname of “sweet little girl” on me when I first dated her grandson, looked shocked. She had no idea that, in this moment of postpartum rage, I was close to sinking my teeth in her arm.

I grabbed my crying son, hustled off to the bedroom, and closed the door. Adrenaline still coursed through me. Nursing him calmed me, but not entirely. I stayed there until she was gone. When my husband carefully turned the knob and slid the door open just a bit I realized even he was a little afraid of me.

I’m sure I could have handled the situation better. Honestly, she could have too. I know the incident taught my husband that he needed to do everything possible to preserve our family boundaries in a newborn’s early weeks—skills that were essential as we had three more children, some with serious medical problems. It also taught me that nothing is more powerful than a new mother’s impulse to be with her baby.

I guess there is a moral to my story. Don’t visit a newborn if the mama urges you, even politely, to stay away. She means it.

[Addendum.  In response to so many vehement concerns, I’d like to add that I am dedicated to our extended family on both sides. My mother-in-law (her daughter) lived with us for 10 years, my kids always made handmade gifts for relatives, and I continue to host most holidays. Other than a baby’s first week, I’m pretty welcoming…]

There’s usually such a fine line for new mamas who want to shelter their littles from the world and show them off at the same time. The problem is not so much the conflict for the mama; it’s the behavior from others who simply have no idea of how to behave when visiting new babies and mamas. Here are some suggestions you can share with friends and family for a better understanding.

1. As our writer said, do not visit if mama says not to. Period. There are no excepts, buts or only-ifs when it comes to this. Mama saying not to visit means you don’t, even if you’re blood and that’s just that. The *only* exception we can think of (and this is with mama’s FULL approval) is if she’s participating in the tradition of Lying In, and in that instance, you’ll know. Otherwise, just don’t.

2. If mama has said it’s okay to visit, NEVER do it unannounced. Always, always, ALWAYS arrange a time and be sure to be there then. And don’t overstay. If baby is awake, she’s sure to be sleeping soon and mama will want that rest time too. Let her have it.

3. We cannot even believe that something like this needs to be put on a list, but…it seems it still does. DO NOT VISIT IF YOU ARE SICK. Even if it’s just a sniffle, or allergies, or whatever else you think it may be before you realize it ended up being the Bubonic Plague. It’s not worth it to risk visiting a newborn unless you are the picture of health.

4. In that, don’t bring kids! Kids carry all sorts of germs, and even if they’re not sick, who knows what they’re bringing? Unless you’re family and mama has specifically okayed it, consider giving mama and new baby several weeks of microbiome development before bringing kids around.

5. Do not post your pictures on social media unless given permission. Seriously, don’t even take them unless given permission. You may be all about showing your little one off on the book of Faces, but new mama may not. Get permission for photographs, and CERTAINLY get permission for posting anywhere.

6. Wash your hands. With soap and water. New mamas may likely have antibacterial pumps all over for those who are going to hold the baby, but go straight to the sink and use soap. Scrub well, and let her know you want to use soap and water because that’s the best protection for baby. Don’t shame her if she’s got the wipes and the antibacterial gallons everywhere—just know you value her and her baby enough to do what science recommends to protect from germs.

7. Remember big siblings. It’s hard to bring a new baby into the family. If you’re visiting, remember a little something to let them know you understand their worlds are changing too, and you want to help support them as well. Mama and they will thank you, for sure!

 What would you like visitors to know during the first week of your baby’s life? 

517 thoughts on “No, Please Don’t Visit My Newborn”

  1. This moved me to write you. I know it can’t change your experience but it may change someone else’s. As your babies grow up and get married, you will be on the outside of the circle. I’m sure you will respect their need for privacy but I bet it will hurt just a little. Keep in mind that these adults have had empty arms for a long time. One day it will be you. Sometimes the yearning to hold a little one overcomes good sense.

    1. If one craves babes in arms in the later years there are plenty of places to volunteer – hospitals and churches services come to mind immediately.

      1. Right, because its completely insane to think that people in your own family might not mind you stopped by to see a new born relative. What a rude old lady this must have been… you’re totally right, a selfish older person who raised children is probably just selfish and clueless and is far better off going to an orphanage and hugging other people’s kids. Actually with family like the sounds of this one, that might not be a bad idea.

        1. Love it, Most grandma’s would not have stayed away that long. They would’ve been there right away. Just remember without her you would not have that baby because he would not exist.

        2. Wow! This letter made me feel embarrassed for that poor Grandmother. This woman deserves no company at all. I seriously doubt that this mom will stop being so overbearing and rude to her family members. Hopefully, people stop visiting her completely. Family or not, I would not go back if I were that Grandmother

          1. A woman who loves her husband would never treat his family this way. Something tells me there’s a whole other side to this story. You are a selfish person. This will comeback to bite you in the *** some day.

          2. understandably u dont understand what post partum is
            as for a great grandmother just demanding and coming over right away is rude and inappropiate
            give the new mom time to adjust
            grandma should have just asked 1st if okay to just run over and see new baby she was rude to just show up at door and “demand ” holding baby
            i loved my grandmother very much “but” if she just decied to show up whenever she wanted even when not invited and demanding

          3. I think that is a very unfair thing to say considering that a lot of new mothers go through this. You cannot help the way you feel after giving birth and therefore it’s actually best to just bond with your husband and child until you feel emotionally, mentally and physically ready to have people over.

          4. I agree with your comment. This in my opinion was very RUDE of the mother. All Grandma wanted to do was see, touch, hold her great grandbaby. I personally wanted everyone to adore my sons as much as I do.

          5. seriously? I have a 2.5 month old and my father whom I adore held my baby on day 2 and I regret it. The force is bigger than you and protecting your baby and having bonding time is vital for both you and babe. Saying the Mom is rude is total bs.

        3. I don’t think you got the point of the article. A mother needs that time to bond, plus the baby doesn’t need to be exposed to certain things. I always became very distraught when people held my children with heavy perfume or after smoking. It’s not that the grandmother was stupid or didn’t know how to care for children. Things are a bit different now in terms of chemicals used. Fragrant perfumes are now known to contain toxic ingredients like phthalates. A baby doesn’t need to be around that.

          1. I totally agree. I was the same. Especially because my baby would cry, she wasn’t used to strong smells.

          2. True. Especially when the baby’s immune system is not fully developed yet… it takes mouths.

          3. I think they got the point of the article just fine. I doubt an hour or Two’s visitation will seriously infringe (or even mildly for that matter as the newborn will most likely be sleeping through the visit) on the bonding between a mother and baby. Before all our new scientific breakthroughs, women still held their babies while wearing perfume and after smoking with very few side effects. While it’s not ideal, I really doubt great grandma holding the baby (I’m going to estimate about 15-20 minutes) is going to have any detrimental impacts on the baby’s health. It really sounds to me that the author is very self centered and was looking for any excuse to not share.

        4. What a rude, obnoxious, pompous new mother. Be thankful that anyone even likes YOU enough to want to visit. Wow. Just wow. Feeling really bad for the baby, the Grandmother, and the husband.

          1. Why feel bad for the husband, he should have shown some support towards his wife , this says more about him than the wife or the grandmother. Man or mouse I think the latter applies,

          2. I totally agree with this comment, have a little respect for your elders for goodness sake. I am a mother myself, to twins, so I did smile to myself thinking about how “exhausted” you must’ve felt, as if somehow this might excuse your rudeness. There are plenty of better, more respectful, less hurtful ways this lady could’ve handled this situation. Oh well, true colours et al. Contrary to popular belief it is not all about YOU when your new baby arrives.

          3. Thank you. I feel sorry for the Grandmother, who’s probably held many new babies in her lifetime. This is a projection of things to come for that poor husband’s family. So selfish.

          4. That is an awful thing to say Michelle. I think you are the rude, obnoxious and pompous one. I have never been more astounded then the amount of negative comments to this article and how righteous you all are in condemning this women without knowing her, the relationships she has with the people involved, nor her experiences.

            That is not the vibe I got from reading it and I don’t know her.

            Geeze get off your high horses and read that she is talking about the first WEEK of the babies life. Why is she not entitled to a say, some respect in her own home with her new family and be supported. Had the grandmother just given the baby back at least the second time or cared to acknowledge the mother more she may have had a different experience with this new mother. They seemed to have had a good relationship otherwise I’m sure they “made up” as do family members that fall out at times over any number of things or differences in opinion. Sometimes we all have moments. I appreciate that this article was shared. We all have different relationships with family members. There is no right that any one person should force their own will on to someone else who needs a little time adjusting. A mother gives up so much for a newborn and there is plenty of time for both sides to work things out. If you can’t even give a person a week or two to adjust and show some common courtesy then it is that person who has the problem.
            Would you be saying this statement if instead of being a new mother it was a person suffering from cancer and someone dropped in and wouldn’t allow them to have feelings about their own diagnosis or impending death….there is helping yes, or believing you understand if you’ve been through it but no one was going through exactly what she was except her… and yeah there is enjoying the baby, but at what cost. It’s the grandmother who over stepped or it simply was a bad time and both sides weren’t at their best, and yeah the mother lost her cool, she admits that herself, but lets take it all in context before being so judgmental.

            How dare YOU say you feel sorry for her much loved baby and husband who are her family and love her through good and bad times. I bet you wouldn’t say what you did to someones face!

        1. This is just so sad…….. seems this mother has plenty of time to bond, she has plenty of time to complain about it on the computer. She could have handled the situation in a loving way…..

          1. If you would have read this article toroughly, you would know this was written a long time after this baby was born. She had three more children. I recently became a mom and it is so important to take it easy the first week, especially with visitors. Of course your family is curious and wants to hold that little wonder, but I carried my baby inside me for 9 months and my natural reaction was to keep her as close as possible once she was born. Mind you, this is the baby’s urge as well and it’s so important because it will make him or her feel safe and protected, just like it felt inside mommy’s womb. All the people here judging this mom seem to overlook the fact that this baby was feeling very uncomfortable and did not enjoy being moved around by his great-grandmother. Naturally his mom wants to take him back and protect him, there are already so many new impressions in his short new life. Aren’t the baby’s feelings much more important in this case? He is the one who needs caring and can only express discomfort through crying, so that is what he did. Your natural instincts took over mom and although your reaction was quite fierce, taking him back into your arms was the right thing to do.

          2. Tessa, the baby only felt very uncomfortable because it could sense it’s mothers emotions. If the mother would have calmed down and relaxed I’m positive the baby would have been fine as well. I have 3 of my own and know very much how this works.

        2. I understand wanting that first week with a new baby for just the Mommy, Daddy and siblings IF that is what a family wants. I welcomed family and friends. So, Why not keep your estimated due date a secret from all family and friends. Keep the birth a secret as well. THEN when you are ready to share your bundle of joy with the world you can let people know that your darling baby has been born. You don’t have to announce the date of birth, just that your baby has been born and share whatever other statistics about the birth that you choose to share. Problem solved, no UNWANTED visits from loving parents, grandparents, great grandparents, etc. And if you’re so worried that perfume, scratchy sweaters, etc. will harm your infant longterm then go ahead and announce a list or Do’s and Don’ts for you loving guests. I feel so sorry for this loving grandmother/great grandmother.

      2. That is very cold and heartless. To us grandmothers and hopefully I will be here long enough to see great-children these are very special times. One of my daughter in laws welcomed me with open arms. I got to hold and cuddle my grandsons from day one. My other daughter in law held my granddaughters away from this side of the family. I missed occasions because she “forgot” to tell me, school pictures unless she wanted me to pay for all of them. This woman was selfish and cruel. One day she will be old and if her children follow her example she will die a very lonely old woman.

        1. I’m also a grandmother. As a feminist I feel that the idea of nuclear family that is at the heart of this plan to shut out all extended family is foolish and ultimately will be destructive to the mother, who will find she has driven away the “village” one needs to raise a child. It’s just this sort of isolation that drives new moms crazy. Bonding between mother and babe and father and babe is a very serious matter, but, likewise, if you want a network of loving and supportive extended family, you’d better let them in on a bit of the bonding, too.

    2. I would stand outside their door and ferociously guard the privacy of my daughter and her new family without an ounce of hurt feelings. They deserve that. And no baby should ever be made so uncomfortable and distressed that it’s brought to tears to appease an adult who should absolutely know better.

      1. I agree completely. I had many guests who were not called upon in the hospital and at my home after a traumatic birth. What I really needed was some time to heal and much more than that, peaceful time alone to bond with my daughter. What I got was family members cycling in and out of the home, snatching my baby and trying to soothe her as she fussed. I hated it, it made me sick to my stomach and all of my instincts led me to snag her back each time after the crying began. I will remember this if I live long enough to see my grandchildren. I will ask my daughter what she needs of me and I will do it and be happy to. I will be there helping her and holding the child if she wants that, or I will guard her from unwanted guests. Whatever they need.

        1. Yes…So many haters! gosh…Why don’t people think about the fact that the baby and mother NEED to be together..No one else NEEDS to…It is always, always a selfish “want”…The newborn needs it’s Mother and nothing, and no one else. Period. A week is nothing in a lifetime. I took two months till people entered our home. And our son is so wonderful with all his relatives and family now. He had his most vulnerable time with me, not those that cannot feed, soothe or watch as a mother only can. It IS the ONLY time people SHOULD ask the MOTHER what SHE WANTS or NEEDS at that time. For goodness sakes!

          1. As a father and husband, I am continuously insulted by mothers who feel that they are the ultimate trump card in a child’s life. Mothers who speak this way make men feel like little more than sperm donors.

          2. I totally get where she is coming from! I wasn’t able to breast feed, so I was so annoyed the first few weeks when others would say “Oh let me feed her”, NO! That’s MY job! If I were breast feeding, you would not grab my boob and hold the baby at it!

        2. Ya.. i didn’t prefer visitors coming on my postpartum period. I needed the rest. A peaceful one. Without the too-many-questions from usually-judgemental relatives.

          1. God rora, relatives are often the worse… because they are family they think they have the right of not respecting your wishes. And the baby immune system in not yet strong enough, so no need to have too much visits. Can you imagine, I had to throw out a family that was visiting my wife and my 3 days old daughter and that idiot had a cold !

            And yes they are usually judgemental, giving tips on child rearing in a patronizing way to the new parents because “They had babies before”. This in fact is no more than jealousy.

      2. Well said!!! I’m shocked how many of us here on this site are more in favor of submitting to the ego of an elder than to respecting the needs of a newborn! I remember old ladies touching me against my will as a kid–it HURT me all over like a fever and made me so nauseous. We so often make our kids hug and kiss people, & I’m sure this paves the way for our kids to be victims (and perpetrators) of sexual violence later in life. We teach our kids to override their instincts so older people can take pleasure in touching them against their will. I wish we all recognized how UNloving and selfish this is. We should always remember that our children are their own people, not our possessions to be shared with others for entertainment.

        1. You articulated exactly what I was thinking. Respecting young people as individuals and not for toys. You made an apt observation. I can understand the needs of the mother and the family tribe to connect. I can also understand the feelings of connections with others outside the immediate circle.

        2. You are right. One thing that makes my blood boil is when elders look down at new parents and give them child rearing tips in an absolutely patronizing tone. They think because they had kids before that as a new parent you know nothing. Their experience dates back a while and they have forgotten much, also child needs are much better understood now than before too. In fact I suspect this to be jealousy.

          Any way when this is an old never ending fight, the young against the old. When you people submit too much to their elders, the society as a whole falls back

      3. I cannot agree more with what you have written here.

        I went through this myself just over 4 months ago and i tell you what next time I have a children again that door will be shut to people those turned up unannounced. How rude of so many of you to judge this mom. That great grandmother has had her time. No one deserve more to decide what best for the baby than the mom itself. Full stop.

      4. I completely agree. I can’t believe that all these people are angry at the mother. I am sorry, but at the end of the day it is she who carried that baby and not the great grandmother. People have to be more respectful even if they are the older adults. Usually babies want to be near their mothers and fathers rather than other relatives. A new baby recognizes the mother (from scent, sound of voice, and heartbeat) and the father…. not other relatives. Nature knows best and any mother is going to be protective of her child when it cries. Seriously, I wonder if the people blaming the mother have children them selves!!! Remember she carried and delivered that child!

      5. I did it 🙂 and threw out the people out of room. With some people it’s better to be stern or even rude or they don’t respect you at all.

        The most disturbing, enraging thing are some elder people looking down at new mothers, giving them tips on how to do with their baby, in a patronizing tone. They think they know better because they already had babies but hell that was long ago, they have forgotten many things and child rearing is different now.

        1. Perhaps they remember what it was like (only it was much worse for them because they didn’t have the modern conveniences) so they are offering their love – in many ways, even in comments.

      6. Babies sense parents moods. I think that the fact that the mother was so out of control influenced the child’s reaction. Put yourself in a bubble of you want but do not deny the child exposure to others who will love them.

        1. Since when is asking somebody to wait a week or two denying an extended family member access to or the ability to build a relationship with a child? Regardless of what an extended family member believes, a new baby doesn’t spoil. It will be just as exciting to a meet the baby when it is 10 days old as it would be to meet it when it is 2 days old.

          A newborn isn’t going to bond with grandma or great grandma during a 2 hour visit so why not wait several days until when mommy is feeling better, more calm, secure and less hormonal and is ready to introduce the baby to everybody.

          Why is a new mother the only one considered selfish for needing a little time after a major, life-changing event? Why should the wants and needs of grandma or any other extended relative or friend come before that of a new mother and child? People keep talking about being compassionate and fair to others – why is it not important to show the same compassion to the new mother and baby?

      7. My mom did that for me when I had my first born. I don’t understand people who think it’s okay to expose a VERY newborn baby to all of their germs. You’d swear she said she didn’t let family see the baby until he was a year old.

    3. Any unselfish family member, especially one who has been mother to a newborn herself, would not even consider interrupting the first couple weeks for newborn family time.

      1. What has happened to this world, and the sense of family. When our children have children we as parents feel we are part of our grandchildren. I hope you aren’t cast aside when you become grandparents. Have some compassion, instead of being selfish.

        1. Have some compassion? Have some compassion for new mothers and respect boundaries. The negative comments on here are so disheartening. I see so many people calling the writer “selfish”. Huh, selfish? Selfish would be other family members making the birth of someone else’s child about their needs to see the baby and hold the baby. It’s absurd that people think this way. Makes perfect sense right , I carried this child for nine months and went through labor and delivery for you to pop over whenever you would like and take my baby to fulfill your own selfish needs? In what world is that acceptable.

          A mother and father have every right to say no visits and this is reasonable. Of course grandparents and other family members want to be involved and should be, but with respect to the new parents. Boundaries are so important for families. They are not “walls” they are simple requests that if respected make one big happy family.

          I think a big problem today is that a lot of grandparents don’t have fulfilled lives of their own and their still trying to live through their kids or get a second chance at raising a child.

          1. I’m about to be a first time mommy in two weeks 🙂 I love the fact that our families are so excited and wouldn’t imagine asking them to stay away from our little girl. We’ll have plenty of time to bond with her and her family that loves her should too. I would never consider them selfish for wanting to visit :/

          2. Exactly! I am struggling with a mother-in-law in this very way. My child isn’t her opportunity to parent again. sadly, her overstepping makes me fell all the more fierce. If she would respect our request for some time, I’d be so happy to see her when I feel the precious initial moment had been kept sacred. Instead I feel angry.

        2. Jeez, shouldn’t the baby’s and mom’s needs get priority? Newborns are so so so raw, and they only want to be near their mother’s heart. New mothers are soooo emotionally delicate and so biologically programmed NOT to let go of their babies. Interrupting this mother-baby magnetism is worse than banging on the bedroom door of a couple on their honeymoon night. It’s the height of selfishness. It’s like seeing your daughter newly in love & thinking “I’d like some of that! He’s cute!” and thinking you ought to be entitled to a cuddle from him. If this doesn’t make sense to you, I think that only reveals that you don’t respect children the way you respect adults. Just because they CAN’T say “no” doesn’t mean they are consenting. To make a baby cry & break a new mother’s heart because you want to touch something young? Disgusting.

          1. I totally agree with you! I like the parallel you made between a couple’s honeymoon and a mother and baby’s initial bonding time. I wish I would have been strong enough to tell my in-laws no when they decided to hold her for hours and hours during her first two days of life.

        3. You can still have a wonderful sense of family without grandmothers snatching a newborn baby out of the new mother’s arms and not handing the baby back. I remember having these same feelings as a new mother, I’m pretty sure I hovered over the few people I did let hold my new baby. As others have said, I will remember these feelings when my children have their babies. And believe me, I will have compassion… for the new mother. I will want to come over and visit… to cook and clean and do laundry and SUPPORT the new mother as much as she needs/wants. If that includes holding the new baby, fantastic. If not, I will be happy knowing that my children are bonding with their babies and that I was able to help them in other ways that are much needed. THAT is what family is for. It is absolutely selfish for anyone to come over and insist that they hold the baby, and be offended if they aren’t able to. I’m pretty sure the “it takes a village” concept didn’t include hordes of family coming over to insist they be able to hold the baby; rather it was family supporting each other in any way needed. That may have included holding the baby from time to time, but was not the only means of support. And look, some people are more than willing to pass around their newborn to any and all willing, and some are not. Let’s be respectful of everyone’s wishes. At the very least, family should ASK before holding and not be offended if the new mother says no.

        4. So much for family values. It’s all about “ME”. I had 4 kids and was so honored that people thought this was such a special event. Hope it was worth making her husband feel so awkward. Is she forgetting this child is 50% his?? Or do we just bring that up when it suits us? Horrible mothering in my opinion.

      2. It’s family! You NEVER turn your back on family. I could see if a mother didn’t want guests from work or her husbands work… but family. I’m sorry that is about the most self centered thing I’ve ever heard of. There are 24 hours in a day to bond and believe me you’ll be awake for most of those 24 hours. Maybe send messages saying your new child will receive fabulous family members between Noon and Three in the afternoon or some other appropriate hours. But tell a Great Grandmother she can’t see that child for weeks is so self absorbed.

        1. I will add that once in the home the Grandmother was in the wrong. You never “snatch” a baby from a mother. You ask politely. If the mother than asks you to wash the perfume and to cover the rhinestones with a receiving blanket … either Grandma complies or sorry doesn’t get the baby. When the request came to give the baby back and she turned away… as a mother myself, I would have STRONGLY recommended that she give that baby to me.

          1. I agree. I was thrilled to have our family visit and hold our little one. But when I went to visit my brother and sister in law, I waited until they offered before holding my nephew. If a mommy is ready to share her little bundle, she will offer.

        2. wow, this comment section is jam-packed with melodramatic narcissists who know nothing about babies, regardless of how many they’ve “raised” (poorly).

          babies don’t need to be around strong perfume or be held against rhinestones. this mother is right and knows best. do not snatch babies. it is creepy, even when grandma does it. *especially* when grandma does it. she should know better.

          truly disgusting, and all the baby snatchers whining here can go volunteer at a CHILDREN’S GROUP HOME or ADOPT A CHILD THEMSELVES. your time is over. deal with it.

    4. Carrie…I totally agree with you. I wish I had a grandmother or even mother or mother in law to visit. Yes there is a time and place, but family is family. A short visit does no harm. That baby should be surrounded by the love of his close family…grandma included. Get over it, you can bond with your baby the other 23 hours of the day! Remember, I know it doesn’t seem like it, but you will soon be on the other end and be someone’s mother in law. Hopefully you won’t be shut out. The cushion of family is a blessing as long as your boundaries are reasonably respected.

      1. “Get over it”… Are you serious Lu?
        This is about the best interests of the child and the mum. A short visit can do harm – did you even read the whole article?

        If you needed your families support then that is ok. If another woman wants space and time alone with her newborn then that is also ok.

        Baby, and Mum, should be allowed ease, full stop. Their ‘needs’ come first, all others’ wait. My job, as father is to protect that sanctity and provide for their needs. Even if means playing ‘bad-cop’ to family members with good intentions.

        Thanks to the author. This is a subject often overlooked, where well-meaning people can add unhelpful stress.

        1. You’re a wonderful father, I bet. I was the same way. I didn’t want to see anyone. I had a difficult delivery, was trying to figure out breastfeeding (which didn’t go so well), and also had post partum depression. I can tell you, I didn’t want anyone there the first week. The grandparents waited 9 months, they can wait one more. They may have given birth to one of the parents, or the parent of the parent, but in the end it’s not their baby. It’s NOT their baby. The parents have every right to the first week of figuring out breast feeding, or bottle feeding, their baby and that recovery. Instead of the stress of someone coming over 3 days after being home. They CAN wait another week. And they WILL respect your decision because they were new parents once too.

        2. Bravo! Every woman, and family, is different. Some aren’t sociable and need quiet, private time to adjust, bond, and heal – physically, emotionally, and mentally. Anyone telling a new, hormonal mother to “get over” anything or “suck it up” has no place in her circle in those delicate first weeks. Only the mother knows her state of mind and her needs; pushing in where one isn’t welcome could cause irreparable damage if she is experiencing postpartum depression, anxiety, or psychosis. I wouldn’t want the negative outcome on my conscience if, God forbid, something awful should happen because I pushed in where I wasn’t wanted or needed. But then, I would never do that, because I respect and understand others’ boundaries. This shouldn’t be such a difficult concept…

        3. Here Here!! Loved the article. I had to chase after some relatives who wouldn’t give me back my screaming child. Seriously!?

        4. And also the baby immune system is not fully developed. I did have to throw out a family member that went to see my 3 day old daughter and wife a cold.. What an idiot!

      2. Get over it ?? Really Wow ! There will be many yrs to bond with the child. The first week you do not NEED extended family all over a newborn. I am so close to my mother and grandmother and they are respectful of my first few weeks with my babies. She is not shutting anyone out forever. This is her child she carried and is nursing and a week won’t be much of a big deal for a great grandmother. Noone need to be all studded and full of perfume kissing a newborn.

        1. I am a birth doula, and I promise you, the early days/weeks are the most important time for mum to bond with her baby. I encourage Mums to do what works best for them, and not to feel guilty. Getting plenty of rest, and lovely time with baby and your husband/ partner, are days you will never get again. I think this Grandmother was very insensitive ignoring the mothers wishes, and I don’t blame Laura for reacting the way she did…. I would have done exactly the same!!

      3. “You can bond with the baby the other 23 hours of the day”? How about everyone else can bond with the baby as soon as the mother and baby are ready for visits. It’s not the end of the world to have to wait a week to see the baby. Allow the mother peaceful healing and bonding with the baby, getting the hang of things first without someone overstepping boundaries with controlling, rude behavior. If someone has told you not to come, and you come anyway, it is inconsiderate, disrespectful, and rude. Period.

      4. It can actually do harm. A newborn baby needs and wants its mother, and vice versa. Everything about the mother and child after birth instinctually is set up for them to bond. So how can it do harm?This baby was clearly showing what he wanted and unfortunately Grandma didn’t have enough sense to respect that. I hardly like a happy brand new baby in a grandmas arms for too long, let alone one who is clearly showing dislike. All of a new baby’s “wants” are actually “needs”. And i also agree with a time period for the family and baby to bond without guests and passing baby around. You never get that time back.

      5. You know what happens if you mess with a mother and her offspring in the wild? You die. It is completely natural for a new mother to feel the urge to retreat into a safe haven and bond with her newborn.

        If grandma actually cared about the baby in question, she would give the mother and child their space. Separation, even short intervals of separation, in those early days greatly increase the risk of PPD, bonding problems, and breastfeeding problems. In addition, separation puts a great deal of stress on a newborn. These aren’t difficult concepts to grasp. Just think of it from the baby’s perspective. Her entire existence thus far has been spent in her mother’s womb. She goes through the trauma of birth and is suddenly in a strange, cold world. Would her mother, the person who housed her for ~40 weeks, or some random old lady make her feel most secure?

        These comments are so disheartening. They show a complete disregard for the newborn’s needs. Babies are people too. Helpless people who depend 100% on their primary caregivers, at that. Their needs should be respected.

      6. A newborn DOES NOT NEED visitors. Why don’t people understand that?!
        A newborn only needs mommy, mommy’s boob and daddy!
        You should get over it – family members can wait to visit the newborn.

    5. All she is asking for is a week! She didn’t say she never wanted to see anyone again.. And if you have had a baby before you should understand PP. If a family is cold enough to not understand and shun a new mom for wanting the first week of life alone with her new baby and immediate family then there is something really wrong..

    6. I agree with you… but when I was the new mother (as I imagine many of the other commentators here are), you cannot imagine a time so remote in the future when you won’t have your little ones with you. But alas, the time comes to us all… be kind to each other, new moms and new relatives one and all.

    7. She is asking for a week or so not years and this is her right as the mother. My own mother understood this and was there for me at my home helping with everything but the baby. She gave me the gift of allowing me to be with my children while she took care of the household cores. There will be plenty of time to cuddle a baby once the mother has bonded but a newborn is adjusting and so is the mother. This will not hurt me as I know as a mother myself what I feel and need. I would snap if anyone snatched up my baby without asking no matter who it was. This needs to be written and shared cause ppl need to respect a mothers wishes.

    8. I agree, Carrie. At the time when this great-grandmother had her own children, the new mothers had very little “bonding time” with their newborns. Most likely, she delivered in a hospital under “Twilight Sleep”, the baby was whisked away to a nursery and bottle fed, and while she recovered in a hospital bed, the baby was on view behind the nursery window for anxious and excited family members (including the father) to “meet” – still without the mother having met her own baby. Basically *everyone* saw the new baby *before* the actual mother did! The baby then would be brought to the mother on a schedule when the hospital staff deemed her “ready” and she wouldn’t go home until almost a week later. Her husband’s grandmother probably had no idea how “selfish” she was being in wanting to meet the baby a week after he was born…and who could blame her excitement? Sure she was a new mother at one time in her life – but her experience was vastly different from what is available today.

      And just to clarify – I am a mother of four myself, so I completely understand what being a new mom does to a woman physically and emotionally. I’m just thankful that my family and loved ones were there to share in our joy and help me adjust when each of my children was born.

    9. While you may be right Carrie, you still need to respect the new mother’s wishes. As a mom of seven grown children, I did not appreciate people coming up to me in the early days and trying to snatch my baby away. I am very careful to ask the mom and if she hesitates at all, I back off. We have 15 beautiful grandchildren so I’ve had plenty of practice.

    10. How selfish is this woman. Did she exclude her own Mother, Grandmother or everyone else that is in her family. Get over it…it is just giving birth. You do know that women use to do this in a field and did not use the excuse of child birth for bad and rude behavior. I never heard the word postpartum in my days of birthing…it is in my mind the new way of not being in charge of yourself. Having a Grandchild is very special because it shows you that family will continue after you are gone. Doing it your way will set up walls that says do not bother me unless I need you. Shame on you!

      1. If you can’t wait a couple weeks to see your grand kid until the parents tell you “hey we’re accepting guests now, we’ve bonded!” Then you are selfish! It’s just giving birth? That is he most important act a human can do in this world and just because when the dinosaurs roamed your back yard all this new fangled crap like pp didn’t exist doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Just because you are a nosey old bitty does not mean people shouldn’t put aside their discomfort so you can molest their child! YES I SAID MOLEST because that’s what it feels like to them! You did not have the sex. you did not carry that child for 9 months worrying the entire time if you were going to be a good parent getting reassurance fro hubby you would be fine. you did not go through however long of a labor to birth that grandchild. You did none of thst work for the grandkid. Your job was done when your kid turned 18 so you get over the fact that you have no rights to that grandkid and you are allowed to visit by the grace of their parents and if you try to bully them that will cause a rift and you WILL regret it!!

        1. That’s RIGHT! It totally is molestation, the way so many adults take liberties with babies and children, not even noticing how it upsets them. Would they think it was okay to grab and kiss all over another adult they were as unfamiliar with as the babies they do that to? And I’m sorry that those gross people don’t know any better, but they won’t learn if no one ever tells them!

          1. My father-in-law did that to my nephew who had to have surgery soon after he was born. He made him cry and thought it was funny. My sister-in-law was too timid to tell him anything and her husband wouldn’t either. I had to go outside. I told him later that he was lucky that wasn’t my baby and he knew that as soon a my son started crying when he held him that I was taking him back.

      2. Wow, Wolanda. “It’s just giving birth.” If anyone needs to get over themselves, it’s you.

        The only person being rude is the grandmother. Yes, having a grandchild shows that your family will live on, but that mother has the right to parent her child the way she feels is best.

        The entitlement here is astounding. Unless you carried that baby in your body for ~40 weeks, then you aren’t entitled to anything but what the parents feel is appropriate. Each parent gets that chance to make those decisions now, even if it wasn’t that way back in the “good old days”. We also used to own people, and you could trade your daughter for a donkey, so let’s not romanticize the past too much, here.

      3. WOW Walanda…JUST giving birth? I bet you’re not even a mother yourself. You really should not be allowed to breed with opinions like that anyway.

      4. Great comment. I’ve been reading all the postings – and all the problem people seem to be “in-laws”. Yep, always second-class citizens…

      5. Shame on YOU Wolanda. Your attitude is why you don’t get to see your grand kids. You are a very disrespectful perso, very uncaring. I would hate to be a women having a baby and have you as my mother or MIL. It would be a nightmare.

      6. Try taking the baby from an animal mother and see where that gets you! Mothers protect their children, even if the threat doesn’t seem real to you.

    11. You know what? Carrie and all these other bizarre people, you need to get a grip. This is a shaming comment, meant to shame the author, “this will be you someday”– STOP IT. You THINK you know what her experience is or what it will be, just like the grandmother who may “know babies” but doesn’t know HER BABY. Too bad. Every fertile woman has her opportunity to have children, and it’s a bummer to not have them anymore. But you don’t get to try to shame her like that into letting this pushy behavior continue from people who can’t respect a mother’s undeniable right to hold their own baby as much as they see fit and to be respected when they know what’s best for their child. Take your judgey crap somewhere else.

    12. I too, hope you will remember. As a mother of two, and grandmother of two, I spent much time with my daughter and her son, with all our family included. She still had plenty of private time. With my son however, and his son, we were all asked not to even come to the hospital, and not to come to the house. I love him so much, and we live in the same town. At 3 years of age now, I never got to change a diaper or give a bottle, because I might “mess up the routine”. I’ve never gotten to keep him at my house. Some things hurt to the bone, and those years and memories can never be replaced. Something to think on – there are generations of us that never had a thought of telling others to stay away, or “bonding”. And our children love us just as much, and survived quite nicely. When company does come by, it was easy to say that I’d rather they didn’t pick the baby up right now, until he’s a little older, or to say after 10 minutes that I was pretty tired and needed to go lay down. There is a difference between being polite and firm, or just shutting people out. I raised two children that are wonderful people, so I must know a little about taking care of a baby. It’s just sad.

      1. As a mom of four who let my mother be involved and my mother-in-law had to take a pause for the first few weeks, I have to say that there is a big difference in bond between a mother and a MIL. Most likely your DIL was trying to figure things out for herself and knew she would stress if she was being observed by you.
        Also, some families just do things differently (and that’s their prerogative). My kids have never stayed with any grandparent over night and the only grandparent who has babysat/fed/diapered my kids has been my mom.
        They also still love all their grandparents and have great relationships with them. Infancy is such a short phase of their life.
        I think maybe it’s time to forgive and move on. Your DIL was probably just as nervous about messing her new baby up as you were anxious to bond with him or her.

      2. There arr other ways to bond with a child than feeding and changing. I personally find it weird and creepy that someone would want to change a child that isn’t their own. And as for overnight visits, very few cultures do that. Grandparents can bond in so many ways after the parents have that initial week or so to meet and get to know their small one. Being a new mom trying to establish breastfeeding and sleep schedules is hard enough without people over to entertain and critique.

      3. Well you had the chance to take care of two babies. Now it is someone else’s turn. And either they have different ideas or I would ask myself, what did I do that caused them to shut me out? Many mother-in-laws do not show the respect to the daughter-in-laws and won’t do what they are asked so no then you won’t be asked again. Not saying this is the case. The reality is the new mom rules the roost of her home. For someone to cut you off completely, which is pretty rare you may ask what could you have done.

      4. What is sad is that you think you are OWED. You say you love your son, but it sounds like you think you own him instead. Loving someone is SEEING who they really are, appreciating and RESPECTING them, and not EXPECTING things from them. A grandparent IS an outsider to a baby; sorry. Be in your present moment instead of being jealous and desirous of others’ present moments.

      5. It is sad and I’m sad for you.
        Our children have the right to a bond not only to parents and siblings but to grandparents, aunts and uncles as well. These relationships are deeply, deeply important to our development as human beings.

      6. i’m sure you brought your children up fine. in fact, i would say your son is wonderful as he is listening to his wife and going by what her needs as a new mom were. i didn’t allow anyone at the hospital for my 3 kids. first, it’s a private time where no one else needs to see me giving birth. and two, the hour after belongs to me and my husband and our new baby. you had your chance as a mom and you don’t get to control how anyone else parents or when they allow you to visit with your grandkids and you need to get over it. really. it might not be the way you do things but it’s their way and as the parents, theirs is the right way for THEIR child.

    13. I agree with Carrie. I had 4 kids in 4 years. I had learned before I started to have children, babies won’t remember being left to cry while your taking care of children and adults needs. My family tends to die young. My grandmother never met my youngest, my mother will never meet any of my grandchildren. My husband’s parents will in the spring, though our first full term grand baby will arrive in the next couple weeks. Talking about empty arms… our first grandchild was born 3 years ago at 21 weeks ,she has been in heaven keeping her little brother safe and sound as he has tried to come 3 times now. I will respect my daughter’s wishes for sure but I’m really going she remembers all the times we have shared with her to be flexible and bite her tongue rather then biting the arm of a matriarch of your family.

    14. I agree with Carrie 100%— Why didn’t the new mom just decline the visit? OH and the addendum made me LOL… talk about backpeddling…

      1. Yeah, it sounded like she couldn’t decline the visit and the kind of pushy woman her MIL appears to be probably wouldn’t have accepted that answer in the first place.

        No one is entitled to your time or your baby. NO ONE. We’ve learned a lot about babies, mamas, and what they need over the years, and the excuse that “I didn’t do it that way and my kids are fine” is unfair, entitled, and quite frankly selfish in and of itself.

        This whole situation would be different if the MIL had asked about a) visiting, b) holding the baby, or c) what the mother would prefer happen with the baby. She did none of those things, just assumed it would be fine because it was what she wanted, and disregarded the mother’s clearly increasing discomfort and unease. if anyone is selfish, it’s the MIL.

    15. Great response Carrie… I know how that mom is feeling, but also know that it’s not all about me.. it takes a village and accept that a baby is the biggest and best thing in the world…and everybody just wants to share your joy….

    16. Wow this woman is dripping with condescension and judgment towards her child’s great grandmother. When she’s a great-grandmother I hope someone judges her too for her “perfume-doused wrists” and (God forbid!) wearing a shirt with rhinestone’s rubbing against her great grandbaby’s precious skin. #firstworldproblems Let’s say this old woman dies next week…same author will be bawling over her behavior on HuffPost, wishing she hadnt likened her to a “thief” for picking up her own great grandchild. I was tired too, but not too tired to recognize that throughout history babies have been born into communities, not just nuclear families.

      1. Yes. And you can be assured that these new moms called their own mother, grandmother even great grandmother or just about any family or friend that would take care of the baby for a while when the new mommy and daddy were tired or in the weeks, months and years to come when the parents wanted time to them selves.

      2. Ha ha! I love this article! I felt exactly like Carrie, and im the most gentle person ever!! Her point is her amazement at her hormonal emotions which changes the normal perspective dramatically and warning people if they come across other mums who are like her (and me) what they are feeling. (It’s nothing to do with the grandma!)

    17. I have to say, any grandparent/great grandparent wanting to hold a newborn baby should understand completely that it would be sensible to wear something soft and not scratchy against the babys skin, or at least cover the clothing with a muslin/ blanket. Also not wear perfume.
      Any caring family member should understand the new mums worries and not walk away with a crying baby.
      When the great grandmother had her own children it would have been normal to stay in hospital for up to 2 wks after the birth with strict visiting hours, where family members were not allowed to leave the mothers bedside.
      Above all else it is common courtesy to ask before turning up rather than announcing your vist and ask before taking the baby from its mothers arms.

    18. I get that, Carrie, but we older women need to remember how it felt to be primally protective of our babies (particularly the first). Nobody has a right to that baby, and they need to understand that mum’s word is law. When I become a grandmother I hope I will be sensitive enough to listen and respect what my daughter/daughter-in-law is telling me. I have already promised them that I will be there to quietly help (or to get out of the way) – in a way that I wish I had been helped when I was a new mother. As a midwife I have seen hundreds of grandmothers unintentionally (or maybe even intentionally) undermine their daughters’ authority regarding the new baby and the new mums were often bewildered, hurt and furious. Grandmas need to cast their minds back to when it was them, and remember what a huge journey new motherhood is.

    19. I just found this article because I am currently in a very similar situation! To be honest I don’t care about those “adults empty arms.” They had their children. THIS IS MY CHILD!! If you can not respect the boundaries of MY family and MY house then you can walk right out MY door! I don’t care who you are! This is my child, and unless you want to be torn apart like a gazelle being ripped into by a lion you better keep that in mind. This older generation really needs to remember, they had the same complaints! Yet however they are not smart enough to realize it and learn. My husband and I took our classes before the baby was born and we learned some things we really didn’t know, or just had not thought of before. I get so angry at these older women who tell me, “oh you don’t know, it’s fine I bounced all my babies, they came out okay, you’re being ridiculous, I know what I’m doing, I’ve got more experience than you.” All the while still holding my child and bouncing her as I repeatedly tell her to stop and try to take back my daughter. Or the people who want to hold your child for extended periods of time and you are ready to have your child back in your arms and they turn away from you with your child and say, ‘no they are not ready to let go yet.’ Again, unless you want an angry lioness tearing into your hide, RESPECT the boundaries!!

    20. Carrie, but they are only your baby once, their new born week only happens once. In the chinese culture baby and mom have a whole first month alone together. It is sacred. There is always time for others to bond later. I I didn’t know until I had my babies, I have no desire to bond with other peoples children, for they are not my very own that I’ve birthed. Moms need their time, and if I have grand kids, I will urge my kids to have their sacred privacy with just mom dad and baby. It is very important.

    21. i agree so much with this comment. Being your husbands GREAT grandmother im sure this lady does know a thing or 2 of babies…specially the most important 2. 1. she loves them 2. she loves having one around as it probably makes her flood with memories of her own. you brought joy to that womans life for that breif moment.

    22. It’s embarrassing to admit I felt the same way as the mom did in this article. I don’t know why it happened. I never imagined I would feel so strong about holding my baby. Unfortunately it’s a feeling that can’t be fought . I’m jealous of the women that have all sorts of visitors right away. I thought they would be me, but it wasn’t. And it had nothing to do with being rude or obnoxious. Please don’t bash a mom for having an experience she had no control over. I used to feel the same way about moms wanting their space. But it wasn’t until I went through the same thing, I finally understood. It made me angry that I wasn’t like other moms that are ready to leave the house and have a fabulous post partum experience. I was ashamed that I didn’t even want my own mother around. However I could not help the way I felt. Some day the author will be a grandmother. And when she is a grandmother, she will understand that not all new moms are ready for the things other new moms are.

    23. I don’t think the author needs to be told this. She probably know it’s a selfish action. Her point is that she is amazed at how strong the passion and love is towards the newborn can be. She says she could have handled the situation better and she talks about her primal reaction. I know exactly what she means as I would hardly let anyone hold my 4th new born for about 2 weeks and didn’t want to leave the house. Hormone emotions can be extremely strong ….that is her point.

    24. I am also one of those who live on the outside.I have empty arms you might say..I as an ex nurse, know very well how to volunteer and do things to make my life purposeful..I don’t live for that next text or call from family members..However it does hurt when one feels ignored….I get that our kids have their own lives..We are reminded of that often..With that said, it makes me feel discouraged when I am excluded from gatherings/meetups without explanation..

      In situations such as having a new baby communication is key..Being an exhausted new parent doesn’t absolve one of decency and tact..

      COMMUNICATE how things will be to family members AHEAD of time..Enforce those boundaries kindly..Please..

      Consistency, kindness, assertiveness in enforcing boundaries will have family members feeling more patient to wait their turn because they don’t feel personally snubbed or excluded..

    25. Another vote for sympathy for the grandma. I’m searching the internet right now for articles to encourage new moms to let people visit the brand new baby. Take a few days to yourself if necessary but please please no matter how much that instinct inside you wants to cringe as another person holds your baby, let the moment be. We had an extreme amount of visitors for all of our 3 kids…with our 3rd, my own aunt greeted us as we arrived home from the hospital, on our only night home with our new baby, after a C-section and with older 2 kids out for the night. She stayed for 3 hours until 8 pm that night…and oh how I eventually wanted to tell her to head out so I could get my bonding on! But not in a million years would I dreamt to do so, and she, and ALL the family that we allowed to visit us in the hospital or at home in those first few weeks will always remember those moments. I would never dream of taking those away from them and I still had a wonderful bond with that baby. You can have your alone time AND let the family have their bonding time. Make it convenient for you if possible, put them to work whenever you can, draw time limits if necessary, but don’t isolate the baby and yourself.

      When they get to meet your new baby, you’re etching a positive memory in their minds that will NEVER leave. I remember ever single newborn baby that I’ve ever met with an extraordinary fondess. That person will always have a VERY special spot in their heart for that baby because they TOO are bonding! Your child is not alone in this world. Not now or ever. And that is a WONDERFUL thing. Please please allow others into these amazing moments of life.

      I sympathize for Carrie here though, the hormonal, sleepless days after a baby can be so emotional. Her rage is understandable, it was coming from somewhere deep inside her. I hope in the coming days you have come out of this state and were able to see from a clearer persepective and hopefully apologize to those you hurt.

  2. I was the same with my first and then with my twins. As a single mother people TOLD me they would come down to ‘help’ me as there was no way I would cope. I sent a message saying I had help, (a lie) and turned my phone off and did not go on facebook until after my babies were born. I invited people to come after a month. I wanted to bond with these little people I carried for a whole 9 months. I wanted us to get the hang of breastfeeding, and later for my older son and I to get the hang of being a family of 2 to a family of 4 without other peoples ideas of what we should be doing and how we should be doing it. I completely understand and agree. If anyone I know is having or has had a baby I congratulate them and then tell them to contact me when they are ready. When I do get an invite I wait for them to offer me a hold, most times they don’t and I am fine with this – I get it! I ask if they need a meal or for me to clean up or do something useful while I am there. I make the mother a cup of tea or wash the dishes etc. I don’t stay long and don’t make them feel like they need to entertain me or comment or give unwanted advice I just enjoy celebrating a new precious little life.

  3. Have also been compelled to comment… I relate to your article so closely. Thank you for writing it. I have seen some backlash on social media from people about how your attitude makes other people feel. This is so frustrating to see. As a first time mother I went through a traumatic birth and suffered with PTSD, I needed my husband and my mother and to nest in with my new baby. I was anxious and overwhelmed and hated having to pretend to well intentioned relatives that I was totally ok with my baby being passed around. The post partum stage is NOT about anyone else – they are adults, they can deal with their disappointment.

    I also know that adrenalin feeling – it is excruciatlingly uncomfortable and not something you want to experience straight after giving birth. For those who think your response was irrational – maybe it was. But I have, and probably will, react like that again – for post partum recovery is a beautiful, scary, emotional, irrational and intense time – it’s not about grandma.

    1. I am expecting my grand niece any day now..My sister and I are close..She is in from out of town for a week.. Visiting her daughter, my niece..

      My sister has high hopes that her granddaughter will be born during her visit..

      At this point, the way things are unfolding, I am not sure that I will be invited to visit with my sister at all during this week, she leaves in a couple of days..I wish my sister had warned me that this might be the case.. Instead she texted me to let me know when her plane landed and texted that she was looking forward to seeing me…We agreed that it would be up to her to instigate any meet ups between us during her time here. Although I grow more discouraged and disappointed by the day, I am biting my tongue and giving her space and encouragement..With that said, opportunities to see my sister are few and very far between..

      I have no expectations that I will have an opportunity/invite to meet my great niece during the early postpartum weeks or months..Needless to say, both my sis and niece are clear that I am a support who is available when they need me…

      Reading some of these posts makes me feel bit angry though…

      My relationship with my parents was complicated to say the least..In short I wasn’t blessed with the support of loving-eager grandparents..

      Do not ASSUME family knows what you want…Do NOT ASSUME they are so wise as to know how to proceed in helping you..

      If you are blessed in having willing family helpers, conversations on how and when to help you should ideally take place BEFORE baby is born…Via text, e-mail, in person..

      My DIL handled her immediate postpartum weeks very well as far as communication goes (she has a large immediate-extended family )..

      Use your support system in a way that is best for you, but don’t forget tenderness and gratitude in dealing with people who are willing to help..

      I realize this thread is old, but I feel better getting this off of my chest..

  4. My mother in law passed away several months after our first child was born. I feel very guilty for denying her the oppertunity to see and hold a grandchild that she had dreamt about for years. I understand the feeling of needing time alone and wanting those first days to yourself. Everyone else is excited about the new life also, I am always excited to see and hold a new baby. I think its fair to communicate with the extended family that you would like to have visitors at specific times, please don’t smoke or wear perfume etc and until nursing is established holding will be very limited. You may be mom but that new life is hope and happiness to the generations before her or him. I hope grandma has gotten plenty of time to snuggle the new wee one, her time is limited and it probably brought her unspeakable joy.

    I will never get that time back and it weighs on me everyday.

    1. Thanks for your sensitive & realistic comment. Education & communication are the answers. It’s fine to tell relatives what you want & don’t want. With polite communication, they can be asked to listen & respond appropriately. Don’t hit yourself again & again what can’t be changed. At least you know what happened & that your mother-in-law cared. She got to see your baby & knew how much you loved being a mom.

    2. You mention that your MIL passed away several months after the baby’s birth. I don’t think anyone if suggesting that after a couple of weeks of bonding that you will reach out to the family and allow them access to your baby. So many people just don’t think about how the new mom may be feeling. I agree with a previous post that said, “It’s not all about Grandma”. I’m a grandma many times over and have never felt left out just because of my girls or DIL’s didn’t want me to hold their newborn. Be respectful of others feelings that may differ from yours.

    3. You are only comparing the needs and desires of mom and other adults like grandma. The point is that the BABY is the one whose feelings matter most of all, and so many of you act like they matter NOT at all. Babies are not treats to be shared; they are raw little people who just went through a CRAY ZAY experience of being smooshed out of the womb, and all they want is to hear their mother’s heartbeat, smell their mother, hear their mother’s voice, and cope with the fact that they are sooo far from their first home in her womb. To treat them like they are pawns in a game of competing adult needs is just awful! Mother is the only person with instincts in alignment with the newborn’s needs. There is science to show this. Everyone else needs to back off and just support the new mother if they really do love the baby, if what they want what is for that baby to be happy and healthy.

  5. While I think grandma was over the top in her snatching the baby and moving away from you when the baby showed signs of discomfort, I think it seems a little odd to want to exclude everyone in the whole world for so long a period after the birth. Everyone’s experience is different, so I am sure that is where the rub is found, but in my case I was very grateful to have my mom stop in after a few days, her arms bearing several pre-made meals to tuck into the freezer. Plus a hot meal to eat on the spot. I was happy to hand a sleeping baby over for a few minutes while I ate with two hands for once.

    That said, for one of my babies I had extended family living in the house temporarily and I did spend more of my “free” time ensconced in my room with the baby. I did want more privacy than the rest of my house could provide.

    In the end, though I dont fully understand your sentiment, I fully support your right to handle it your own way. Post partum hormones being what they are, no woman should be pushed around in any way shape or form for the few days after birth and be expected to keep a civil tongue 🙂

    Enjoy your baby!

    1. Not everyone has guests showing up with pre-made meals, ready to help clean or lighten the burden. Some people only have looky-loos drop in (often with little to no notice whatsoever) who snatch their babies precisely when they need to be fed, upset them, then hand them back, screaming, with full diapers before heading out the door – usually offering unsolicited advice/opinions and requesting snacks or beverages in the process… and certainly never cleaning up their used dishes (or even making the offer) before making their hasty exits. Some of us have very good reasons for fiercely protecting our quiet, private adjustment period. Regardless, it is our home and our child; as such, our wishes should be respected.

      1. It’s so sad to see people be insensitive to new moms. Especially ones who have children and know what it is like. To me, they are not really friends, family or not.

      2. Brandi, it sounds like we know the same people. Well said! That was very much my experience and I am glad we waited several weeks before we allowed them in because we knew (although were shocked to the degree) their selfishness and entitlement would wear me down. My take on everything that involves my son is that he has needs that are my responsibility to meet and they trump everyone else’s “wants” every single time. No contest. I’m responsible for his well being, care, and development not theirs.

    2. It doesn’t sound like this particular visitor was coming laden with meals for the freezer & other practical help, or even offering to hold the baby while the mother got a break, it sounds like it was all about “meeting the baby”, therefore more about the visitors needs than the mother’s or baby’s. Also, it’s worth highlighting that this was her husband’s grandmother, not her own mother or even her husband’s mother – a lot of mums would at least be somewhat understanding about visits from the child’s grandparents (especially if it is their first grandchild) but more distant relatives are a different matter. Whilst it’s lovely for relatives to get to meet the baby, people should always be extra sensitive to the mother’s wishes in the first few weeks and should not assume they will be welcome unless they have been explicitly told that is the case.

  6. I so understand this. I did the same thing to my mother in law. I didn’t want visitors the first week, but they invited themselves to our home a few days after we got home from the hospital. (They did visit in the hospital) They brought dinner, pizza, which I couldn’t have much of because my lo was showing some sensitivity to dairy. He was napping when they arrived. I warned that as soon as he woke up he’d need to nurse, so I may have to cut our visit short. When he woke up I picked him up and my MIL said she wanted to hold him before I took him to nurse. He instantly started to fuss. She kept trying to soothe him, he was rooting around. I asked for him back so I could go nurse him. She told me she’d give him back once she got him quieted down. I grabbed him from her and and said “he’s upset because he needs to eat and you can’t provide that” and I took off to his room. Shortly after they left my husband came in and told me he was glad I did what I did. I’m glad I did what I did. It’s so hard to hear your baby cry knowing you can fix it.

  7. In all due respect, I hope your Grandmother-in-law never sees this. I get that you are trying to have time with your family, I have two kids myself. But instead of hovering over your baby, why not go take a nap, or take a break. She is trying to be kind, and helpful.

    I find this article very disrespectful to his Grandmother, you could have written your thoughts without being insulting to her:/

    1. Rude! We are talking about a few day old infant. A mother’s innate need to be with the infant at this stage is not called “hovering”.

    2. I find it said that so many mothers of sons are speaking so poorly of their mother-in-laws and their desire to see their grandchild, when in a blink of an eye, your son may marry and gave a child if his own and his wife may treat you the same. I say set visitor ground rules and open your doors to those that will love your child and support you through the years.

      1. Maybe you misread the article, but this was the husband’s grandmother, not his mother. Personally I’d be a little more on the visitor’s side (though would still feel it ultimately comes down to what the mother wants at such an early stage) if we were talking about the mother-in-law, but a great-grandmother, whilst it may be totally understandable that they’d love to meet their great-grandchild, doesn’t have any kind of “automatic rights” to visit.

      2. It seems like so many people here haven’t even read the article. It was not about stopping people from visiting. The writer actually let the great-grandmother come over, uninvited, which is more than a lot of people would allow. What caused the problem was when the great-grandmother walked away with her fussing infant even after the mother clearly was uncomfortable and wanted to hold her baby again…Extremely rude and inconsiderate! It has nothing to do with loving the grandchild or being there to “help”. People who refuse to give a crying newborn back to their mother are doing so to satisfy their own wants and desires.

        1. EXACTLY.

          The grandmother is clearly selfish, only concerned about her own needs and wants, to the detriment of her great-grandchild.

    3. This isn’t a ten year old kid. It’s a newborn. A baby that is just a few days old and a new mother. She’s entitled to a couple of weeks alone with her husband and baby if she wants it. Hovering. That’s the most ludicrous term I’ve heard.

    4. I agree. This is disrespectful. Family is there to support and love you. These people have waited anxiously to see your baby too. Relax and stop being over bearing. Poor grandma. I find your actions selfish and appalling.

      1. Eden, you are absolutely correct. It’s damn near psychotic (and super controlling) to deny immediate family just a few minutes with a new baby. Seriously. A FEW MINUTES isn’t going to BREAK your bond with your baby. Get over your selfish self, family is family, how do you think you got here? The author will remain clueless until her children have babies of their own and shut her out for whatever period of time is chosen.

        “I know the incident taught my husband that he needed to do everything possible to preserve our family boundaries in a newborn’s early weeks”. OUR??? You mean YOUR boundaries!

        1. To a mother suffering from postpartum depression, anxiety, or psychosis, this could, in fact, cause irreparable damage to her, the baby, and/or the family unit. Respect goes both ways, and no new mother should be subjected to something she isn’t ready to handle during those fragile early days. Guests have no idea what her mental, emotional, or physical state is. It isn’t selfish to request no visitors after major surgery, and the first week postpartum is no different. Mom is recovering from major physical trauma, as well as massive hormonal shifts that deeply affect her mental and emotional health. These visitors are adults; they can put their selfish desires aside for a few days and exercise some patience and self-restraint if they truly care. Unless your family member is terminally ill, there is absolutely no call for it. Wait your turn like you have to with everything else in life. It’s just basic courtesy and good manners. Just because there’s a baby doesn’t mean she’s obligated to open her home to whomever feels like dropping in, whenever they feel like it; normal etiquette still applies. Sheesh… I feel for the people in your lives that you push yourselves on, who feel obligated to plaster a smile on for you despite what they may be dealing with. Show a little empathy and compassion to those you profess to care so much about. I guarantee you, they’ll love and appreciate you far more, and will truly welcome you with open arms when they tell you they’re ready for that visit.

        2. I think your choice of language has undermined your point somewhat. “Damn near psychotic” is precisely what some mothers are postpartum – it can be such a fragile time where some women teeter on the brink of serious mental health problems, and anxiety provoking situations like visitors who are disrespectful of the family’s wishes could be what pushes them over the edge. Some women are lucky enough to feel completely “normal” shortly after birth and are keen to be sociable & grateful for adult company & offers of help, but you can’t assume all women will feel that way and you can’t dismiss their very real anxiety & deep need to be close to & protective of their child.

          Also, it’s debatable whether great-grandparents count as “immediate family” – personally I’d have a little more sympathy for the visitor if they were the baby’s grandparent but great-grandparents in most families aren’t in quite the same league.

        3. I see a trend here. EVERY SINGLE ONE of you who are hating on the author say things to indicate that you have no concern for the BABY’S needs. You all think of the baby like she is a new toy or something, that everyone should get a turn playing with! How would you like it if you were treated like that??? Try changing the scenario to a new couple instead of mother and child. Would it be “psychotic” and “controlling” for a guy not to want to subject his new girlfriend to a fondling from each of his family members who want to touch her soft skin and smell her? Gross, right? Especially if it made her cry. I wish you all would have more respect for babies. No wonder most babies grow into unconscious adults.

  8. I completely respect the idea of wanting to be alone with your newborn, and because of that I never ever ask to hold a friend’s newborn, and while I’ll offer to visit, if I’m allowed I make sure to bring a meal and/or do a chore, and only stay a short time.

    An important job for grandparents is to SUPPORT the new family, not just enjoy the new baby. There is a big difference between offering to hold a baby and asking to hold a baby. One is a help to mom (“I’d be happy to hold the baby while you shower”) and the other is frankly selfish.

    I feel pretty lucky that my in-laws were always supportive, and not grabby. But the moment I asked “who wants to hold the baby?” you better believe they jumped for the chance.

  9. Neh, was happy for everyone to come and be involved, I wanted to show both my kids off. We went to a wedding on day 3 post partum and had a lovely time. To each their own, take the space if you feel you need it I guess. I wanted everyone to share in the special time with me.

  10. I don’t see what’s so hard about respecting parents. Why do so many people assume everyone is like them? Why do so many people not respect the sensitive, precious first month between mother and baby? I could go on. I had similar experiences with my son and I had an emergency cesarean. My little boy is now almost 2 months and I still guard him.

  11. Oh my word! This was my mil…I asked..told them not to comethe day we were coming home…what did she do…came and it was even worse than this!

    1. I begged my mom in law to come TO the hospital and NOT come when I got home. Of course they did the opposite of what I asked. Why? Because the hospital was a 20 min drive and we lived 2 miles from them. The then proceeded to stay for 8 hours!!!!!!

  12. I partially agree with you… I enjoyed having people over to see my sons after they were born, and actually felt kind of sad about the fact that more people came to visit my first born than my second born. But just because they’re visiting, doesn’t mean it’s full access to baby!!! While I wouldn’t have minded having someone come over to visit, if they had done what your GMIL had done, I would have reacted the same way.

  13. we didn’t have anyone for three weeks around us. we lived in a different state than any family. My mother in law didn’t see our son until he was seven months old. Then she planned her assault and stolen him from us two years later. used social services with lies and stigma to legally kidnap him. My father in law did not see Felix until he was nearly two years old.

  14. My reactions were different. I had a fairly easy delivery in the middle of the night. By morning I called my parents and siblings to the Birth Center and they arrived when baby was a few ours old. That night, at home, we had at least 8 other visitors. Luckily someone brought lots of pizza and champagne!

  15. I don’t think I’ve ever been on this blog before, but just stumbled across this excellent post and was a little taken aback by how many negative comments there were! I have two children, and had two completely different birth experiences. When my oldest was born, I was pretty much the exact wreck of hormones, anxiety, depression, and exhaustion that you described. We allowed no visitors at the hospital except for brief pop-ins from immediate family after the baby was over 24 hours old. That entire first day was just such a big deal, and it needed to be experienced as a tiny family unit of mommy, daddy, and baby. I’m a little shocked (but probably shouldn’t be) by all the comments saying that we as moms should be understanding of those family members who are older and much further removed from the experience of having little ones. If they were allowed to have their chance to be first-time moms, shouldn’t we also? I was much less nervous with my second child and we had visitors sooner. I was excited to share his adorable little face with my loved ones. But I was also much more relaxed, having been through it all before. That first time experience has got to be one of the most jolting in a woman’s life…and I don’t think that should be taken lightly by others. Let us moms have our “new mom” phase. We need that! It is part of the process of going from just “pregnant lady” to “MOM”. It’s a big deal. Let us be nervous, let us hang on tightly to those little precious newborns..and let us learn how to speak up and take a stand when we are just learning what it means to be responsible for another little life. I’m not saying we should be over protective and never allow anyone to hold, touch, or breathe on our babies. I think it is healthy and positive for them to build lots of relationships with others, especially extended family. I was very reserved for the first year with my daughter and rarely took her out or let anyone hold her. And you know what? She is 2 years old now and is absolutely in love with her grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles. She did not “miss out” on not being held by everyone all the time and is still building relationships with them. They did not “miss out” either…no matter what they thought at the time. I just think it’s important to understand how difficult new motherhood is, and I felt I needed to address the insensitivity. I applaud you for being so open and honest about your struggle…I tried to be but felt like I just got those looks of, “She is just a crazy new mom.” But it was TRULY so hard and it took a long time to adjust. I’m sure it is different now with your younger children, but you needed that experience to help you grow, just as we all did. 🙂 OK, I’m done rambling now. 🙂

  16. My MIL gave my son his first bath within a few minutes of his cord falling off. I still have bad feelings about it. I think good manners dictate that you ask before you act. We forget that when your children become parents they really break that last tie to childhood and need to be treated with a different kind of respect.

    Regarding my MIL, she never learned that she was no longer the head of the house when she stepped into my house. It’s one of ye reasons she is now my former MIL.

    1. I have read most of the comments regarding this Grandmother and the do and donts of visiting so soon after a birth, if this is what the new mother wanted then why the hell did the partner or husband not step in and politely request that she not visit for a few days. Come on you men stand up to your grandmothers, mothers and give your wife, partner some support. Or putting in bluntly grow some balls.

  17. I am glad you wrote this. My brother’s wife treated our family this way, and it was very hurtful at the time. But, by reading your article and the comments, I see and appreciate her perspective and that, just because I was okay about sharing my children with others soon after birth, that doesn’t mean everyone does! I took it as a personal affront, when it really wasn’t about me or my family, but about her needing to bond with her baby and viewing the situation differently than I would have.

  18. This isn’t some acquaintance that came over to visit. This is your child’s great grandmother. She cared for your in-law and your husband. And she can certainly care for her great grandson. It takes a village to raise a child and you missed the mark.

    This child is fortunate to have a great grandmother. Many of us don’t even have grandparents when we “pop out”. A few of us are already missing a parent. You needed to cultivate this relationship from day one.

    If you didn’t feel up to it. You should have excused yourself to another room. Your husband and the child’s great grandmother would have handled it for a few minutes. Your child needs to bond with this lady and the other extended immediate family, as much as you.

    1. I have an issue with you saying that the great grandmother needs to bond with the baby as much as the mom does. Frankly, that statement is absurd. Did the great grandmother carry the baby for 9 months? Is it important that she establish a bond from day one with the baby? Does she nurse the baby? Is she up every night with the baby? Does she care for the baby every day? No, she doesn’t. So no, she doesn’t need to bond with the baby as much as the mom does. Yes, extended family members are important and have their place in the child’s life, but the MOST important bond is between the mom/dad and baby.

    2. My grandmother has not met my three-week old yet. Why? Because she is a wonderful, non boundary stomping woman who understands what it is like to have a baby. Being family doesn’t entitle anyone to dismiss a new mother’s wishes. No one should have to hand her child over to anyone if she doesn’t want to.

    3. You’ve missed the mark. This wasn’t a question of her qualifications for caring for a newborn (as she hoisted him to her shoulder against rhinestones and bounced him as he cried…) but about the timing. Bonding with extended family can be done just as effectively a week or two weeks later. Trust me, my children love their aunts, uncles and grandparents four and three years later and there are no hard feelings. It’s a WEEK people. She was asking for a WEEK! Not the first two years or decades. These comments are hilarious.

    4. The mother comes across as someone who takes extended family for granted. Nor does is recognize what a blessing it is to have a family who wants to be in the child’s life. Many people aren’t as fortunate or their family is not as close and can’t display it as easily.

      1. Lots of negative comments passing judgement on what kind of person the author must be. She wanted one week…. One week… Alone with her baby and husband. How does that make her an awful person? One week is such a short amount of time. She is not taking her family for granted, she just wanted a week alone with baby. Get real, people.

    5. Just because someone is related to your partner, doesn’t mean they are close to you. My husband has relatives I would consider at best as acquaintances.

      I think that using the argument “at least you have a ___” is very disingenuous. Just because you want to be invited over / invite over doesn’t mean everyone wants / needs what you do. My mother passed when I was young. I have never said to anyone complaining about their mom to suck it up at least you have one.

      You can bet my infant wasn’t having visits without me.

    6. Um, no the newborn does not need to “bond” with great-grandma. It is the 4th trimester. Only person the baby needs is mom (and dad). The rest of us are all superfluous. And no one, no one is more important than the primary caregivers. I never held my nieces and nephews as newborn babies. We sure did bond just fine.

      Did you read, great-grandma did not ask to hold but snatched the baby, and then when baby started to cry, not give the baby back. The health and well- being of a child is more important that the inconvenience or embarrassment of an adult. I remember the heightened anxiety / emotions of a the newborn stage. Great-grandma should show her that respect.

  19. I am so glad to read this because I had a similar experience with my first. My husband and I are private people. We didn’t let anyone know our son was born until after the birth. Before he was born, I was already completely turned off by everyone’s “GIMME GIMME” attitude (my sister-in-law actually asked if she could babysit when he was 3 days old!) We had not yet invited visitors to our home, but mother-in-law “just happened to be in the area” and stopped by unannounced. My husband opened the door and there she stood with another (surprise!) distant relative. The two passed my son back and forth for 45 minutes, and I could not get the stench of perfume off his head for days. A day or so later, father-in-law visited and stayed for so long that he actually had the nerve to ask us what we were serving for dinner. Keep in mind, I’m still bleeding profusely and trying to establish breastfeeding. Needless to say, even though my first is in preschool now, there are no more unannounced visitors at our house, no excuses, even great-grandma (sorry…)
    When our second was born, we had the same pact. Luckily, about 17 inches of snow guaranteed that for us and I didn’t have to be the “bad guy” and actually tell anyone they weren’t welcome.

  20. I understand how you felt because I felt similarly after having an emergency c section and really needed time to recuperate and adjust. That being said, how you acted sounds really ugly and I don’t think it is anything to be proud of. Just because you had your reasons, doesn’t make what you did, or how you did it OK. She is family too and all babies do in the first two weeks is sleep and eat. There really wasn’t a need to be so ugly to someone who sounds like they were there to love your child. Rhinestones and perfume notwithstanding, she wasn’t putting your child in any danger. I feel sorry for the grandma. Not only were you incredibly rude in the moment, but you still seem to feel entitled to acting in such a boorish way. Be careful. The roles might be reversed one day.

  21. I had quite a rough labor. Induced and was in labor for over thirty hours. Needed an emergency c section and then went into anaphylactic shock on the table. My baby came out blue and not breathing. Trauma had to force CPR on him. My whole family in laws included held him within the first hour. The experience was still just as special to me and I had the rest of the weeks alone just baby and me. I have been sick. Fifteen months now w a wicked withdrawal off of prescribed medication. I can barely hold me baby maybe an hour a day if I’m lucky. He is three months old. This part sucks. I want so badly to hold my little son. I can’t wait to be healthy so I can 🙂

  22. I was surrounded by family with my daughters and wouldn’t trade it for the world. With my son I was high risk and in the hospital at 28 weeks. When he was born at 33 weeks and put in the NICU I realized how much it really meant having those unwanted people around celebrating the birth. Not being able to hold him and have all the love that everyone wanted to share with him was hard. Instead of restricting people just lay down the rules of when they can visit and ask that they don’t wear perfumes. Newborns are only newborns for a short time and you can never get those days back. I am glad of the memories and pictures I have off my girls with all my relatives and regret I couldn’t do that with my son.

  23. As an adoptive mother, I didn’t have the same crazy hormones involved, but I was still protective of my babies. As a grandmother, I would NEVER grab a baby right out of a mother’s arms! If the baby cries and mom is standing by looking anxious, I would give him/her right back! It’s just not acceptable to do otherwise!

  24. Anyone who would insist that they must see a baby immediately, despite the parents request for time to bond is selfish. Period. Yes it may have been years since they’ve held and cuddled a baby, but the fact that they are grandparents attest to the fact that they had their chance with their own children. It the parents turn. Let them have it. Yes, Grandma maybe anxious and eager, but her anticipation pales in comparison to that of the woman who actually carried this child for 9 months feeling him kick and twirl and grow. Holding on to a child that is clearly distressed by you and refusing to give him back to his mother because you have to prove to yourself and others “you still got it” is selfish. Grandma’s not helping. She’s being selfish. Frankly, in my opinion, she was asking to get her feelings hurt. She’s not owed those precious moments because babies don’t expire and if she was able to get herself to their house so quickly neither is she. The joy and excitment of being a grandmother does not supercede that of being a new parent. If they ask for time to bond, give it to them. Those first days, and in my opinion, first weeks, are not about Grandma. They’re about the parents and the baby. Respect that and you will have the rest of your life to enjoy your grandchild.

  25. I hope what comes around goes around, you’re a typical self absorbed idiot, I feel sorry for your family that has to deal with you

    1. Neither of you people have any reading comprehension. Also, the author would never be so selfish, if you could deduce anything at all from her story.

    2. Oh golly what horrible things to say @nasser nagi and @Jo Cole. You have every right to disagree with the author’s views and actions but why do you have to do it with such unkind words and wishes? Don’t you want to live in a world where we can talk to each other peacefully and respectfully even when we strongly disagree with each other’s views? Don’t you want your children to grow up in a world where they can post something online and not be verbally abused? We can live in a world like this but we have to be the example, we have to be the change! Wishing you both well and with hope that we can all support each other.

  26. Oh my word. I had the same situation happen to me. I am half laughing and half crying right now. Everyone just thought I was crazy when my mother in-law did the same thing. And crying because I know I am not the only one who felt this way. It hurt me so much when she would not give me my baby back when I asked. However I feel comfort in the fact that I did become a mama bear and did what was right for me and my family.

    1. Kind of agree. It does seem like a pampered first world complaint. You go to places where the family is still very strong and in tact (outside of big city USA) and this is normal. The author needs to stop acting like a brat and realize she’s not the first person to ever have a kid. One day when you want those lessons and knowledge from the older generation you’ll be glad they are around for you.

  27. It’s been almost 9yrs since I had my son. He was born earlier that expected at 36 weeks, on my sister’s birthday. No, he couldn’t even have is own 🙁 I remember being in the delivery room, about to give birth, but kept seeing faces poking through the curtains after they had been warned by staff and me to go in the waiting room. I just wanted that moment to be mine and my husband to get to know our first born. But as soon as he came out, I had a couple of minutes to look at him, then was swept away(even though he was visibly fine and breathing just fine and ended up with an apgar of 9), but my mother, which I’ve had lots of resentment towards for lots of reasons I won’t get into, still don’t have close relations with, pranced right in while my son was getting bundled up and I was being sewed up(just a few stitches). The nurses decided it was time to weigh him, so my husband and my mother were the ones with the first few moments with him. I’ll always remember my “mother” walking in to the delivery room with my first born. It wasn’t what I had pictured. Oh, she was proud(for selfish reasons), but I didn’t want her there to steal our moment. To this day, I regret ever calling my sister to wish her happy birthday that afternoon. It was our moment, but I feel like those first few hours were taken from us. After that day, I asked my family to not visit until we were ready. I made sure that our second and last child, we’d only be myself and hubby, and that no one was to be contacted until we were ready. It was wonderful and it’s what I wanted with our first birth. I’m so happy that I was still able to bond with our first child, and we do have a special bond even today 🙂 must of been that mother instinct that didn’t want company for about 3 weeks after his birth. We found every excuse not to allow people at our house.
    Thanks for sharing 🙂

    1. Such selfish behavior from some of you! You should be ashamed of yourselves! What grandparents and great grandparents wouldn’t want to see the new
      Baby? To expect family
      Y to wit 3 weeks to a month is ridiculous! Babies change so fast! Buy I bet u will expect them to babysit ! Grow up and be thankful you have family!

      1. So it’s not at all selfish for people to invite themselves over and grab the new baby out of mom’s arms? Because they’re family they’re owed this? Not everyone has a close and safe relationship with all members of their family. It seems unfair that the burden of understanding falls exclusively on the shoulders of sleep-deprived new parents and not on well-rested relatives. Boundaries are important to model for our children, yes, even boundaries with family members. In the early weeks of our son’s life we were careful about how many visitors we had, both for his health and my recovery. I also learned to be clear that visiting to “hold the baby” in no way was helpful since I exclusively breast fed and in the early days if he was conscious, he was nursing. Mothers who didn’t breastfeed don’t understand this. Yes, we enjoyed multiple visits from family. But we held our son in reverence: a new baby is not a new toy for Grammy to hold. He is a new person who requires stewardship, protection, and care.

        1. I breastfed all of my babies and I think that comment is weird. My babies even in the early days had many many moments where they were conscience and not attached to my breast.

        2. Mary, thank you for such a wonderful comment! mom2five, it’s not strange that every baby is different. Some babies nurse for hours while others don’t, which is why a new mom should be able to make decisions about visitors based on what will work for her baby. Nursing your baby is by far the absolute best thing you can do for their health. Anybody who would in any way compromise that by imposing themselves on a new mom is incredibly selfish.

  28. I had 32 hours of back labor, a C-section, and trouble breast feeding…I was sleep deprived and I felt irritated when, after being awake for two days, in pain and needing to sleep, I had to entertain visitors at 2AM in the hospital…when I got home, I haf no desire to make myself presentable nor be cordial…just enough of me to snuggle and care for my baby

  29. ive been in this situation. my sister in-law was very close to my husband n yes maybe she forgot that my husband is a new head of our small family. even worst she visited everyday. morning afternoon evening with her TWO daughters aged 4-5. my daughter was very sensitive baby. she even woke up to any possible sound. n i pitied her a lot. when she grew up. about months old. we sometimes attended family gathering and everytime my baby cried, every each one of my sister in-law ‘taking’ over my job to calm my baby. as if im not capable of doing so. now my baby is coming 2yrs old n recent incidents made me ‘not’ talking to this particular sister in-law anymore. i feel more calm now. more privacy. im now pregnant with 2nd baby. i wish i cn protect this baby more.

  30. You know what they say about people who resort to name calling, Nasser….

    If the come around you speak of is my children requesting time for them and their mate to bond with their baby that they made alone, together, without me … You will be sorely disappointed to know I’d be okay with that. My mother insisted that I take those first weeks for myself to bond, heal and adjust to the demands of being a new mother. If I needed her she was there, but only if I needed her. And she was absolutey right to do so. It allowed me to grow into my role, to build my confidence and trust my insticts. I love and respect her deeply for that. With my second it wasnt even a question. I had an emergency c section. She came and helped with my oldest so hubby and I could focus on our new addition. She was never grabby or imposing and when I was able to go on light duty she went home. That is helping. She still managed to bond with and have a wonderful relationship with her grandchildren despite not holding them immediately after they’re birth. I will absolutely give that same gift of space to my own children. Don’t feel sorry for us, we’re doing just fine.

    1. Kudos to you and your wonderful mother! You’re setting the foundation for respectful, loving, compassionate, and very strong family bonds for generations to come. Your children and their families will surely appreciate your presence in their lives when it’s their turn.

  31. Ive had three children and I absolutely loved showing them off and having all the support of friends and family even at the hospital! I think your reaction was very dramatic, it’s okay for babies to cry, I don’t think you needed to snatch her away and snap like that. Every women is hormonal and emotional after birth but that is crazy…hope they got your meds right! 😉

    1. I agree! Probably instead of feeling hurt and sad, Great Grandma had a laugh with the rest of the family about how crazy she acted and how ridiculous it was. This whole article is probably her trying to get sympathy from other moms who acted like idiots with their first child so that she doesn’t feel so embarrassed about it anymore.

      1. And maybe that is why great-grandma won’t be back anytime soon. She clearly did not respect the new mom and didn’t before the baby came. People know this. Sad if anyone laughs at new moms or anyone else going through big changes / tough times.

  32. Absolutely agree with the author 100% here. The fact of the matter is that you. Cannot. Ever. Relive. Those. Days. They are sacred, holy days, private days where the bonds of family are being established and you and your baby are imprinting yourselves on each other and you should spend them in such a way that you can form treasured memories. And once they’re gone, they’re gone for good.

  33. I think all the people with negative comments are complete morons with ZERO reading comprehension. THE BABY WANTED TO EAT. MOM ASKED FOR THE BABY. GMIL REFUSED AND MOVED AWAY FROM THE MOM. Gmil was OUT OF LINE. Period. What don’t you guys get about that??????? How is the mom selfish, self absorbed and hateful????? Geesh, you people are part of what’s wrong with society today.

    1. Thank you! Especially given that they were trying to establish a breastfeeding relationship and routine. That poor baby’s tiny little tummy can only hold a teaspoon of milk, and breastmilk is digested so very quickly that when they’re hungry, they’re *really hungry* and need to be fed immediately. It wouldn’t have killed GMIL to wait 10-20 minutes while mom nursed, then take her turn. She had her children. It’s the new mother’s turn to learn, bond, and adapt, and that should be respected. The lack of respect and level of selfishness, both from the GMIL and several of the commenters here, is truly appalling. If people profess to care, they need to back it up with their actions; show some courtesy and honor the mother’s wishes.

  34. My brother in law came to the house to visit the day after I got home from the hospital with my first baby. He wasn’t there for the baby, but for his own selfish reasons of wanting to talk to his brother about what was going on in his own life. He never said “Congratulations”, he never said “wow so you are a dad now” to his brother. He didn’t see the baby at all, but he ate the food that my mother had brought for me and which I was too weak to make for myself. I have never forgotten this invasion and throw it up to my husband occasionally in arguments still 14 years later. However, unless your husbands grandmother is a complete hag, I think you were over reacting. Great Grandparents are a precious gift that your baby has for only a little while. Some people never get to have any time with theirs at all. How much better it would have been for you to have been able to sit down with her, inhale her perfume, watch her face and ask her about her babies and connect with her so that you would have something to tell him later in life about the first time his Great Grandmother met him. Instead though you let your emotions and inexperience ruin the moment that you can never get back. Yes, he is your baby but he is her legacy.

    1. Thank you!!! I’m sorry about the brother, but remember that your husband didn’t invite him to come be a selfish jerk and some families just don’t stand up to each other. But about the original post… Maybe the GIL wouldn’t have had to say she was coming over RIGHT. NOW. if instead of “putting her visit off” she had been invited over say… next Saturday, maybe ask family to bring lunch stuff and meet the new addition. That way everybody could have been more prepared, rested and ready. Yes, it’s a stressful time with crazy hormones, but your baby is more than YOUR baby, he is a brand new family member and that’s a very exciting big deal! I’d give anything if my mother had been able to meet my grand daughter just once and I know my daughter-in-law would have smiled sweetly and been kind to her, as she is to everyone. The baby wouldn’t have starved to death or suffered any damage in the few minutes that it would have taken the GIL to realize she couldn’t comfort him and hand him back. Nobody wants to hold a screaming baby that won’t be soothed very long. She would have left satisfied having seen her new legacy, not feeling like an unwelcome intruder. Sounds to me like the GIL felt she had to invite herself and be pushy if she were ever going to meet this child (her legacy) because the baby momma sees her as nothing but a burden.

      1. Yes, but it was hubs that gave him my food. lol! I didn’t mind him being there so much although annoyed that he was being so self-centered toward my husband, but my husband shouldn’t have been so clueless as to give him my food. I was nursing a newborn and 3rd degree episiotomy trauma so the last thing I should have had was stress over where my meals were coming from. That’s why it gets thrown up at him still. lol! As for the article it all comes down to inexperience and selfishness. An experienced mother (great grandma) knows that some rhinestones and purfume are not going to hurt a baby and perhaps the snatching that was supposedly being done was just a woman with experience who knew how to hold a baby and wasn’t being unnecessarily cautious. Reminds me of being in the hospital with my second. My cousin had her baby two days before me with a c-section and we were on the same floor. It was her first baby. My Aunt was worried that I was so much more relaxed than her daughter and said so to my mother. Mom said “Its her second baby though, she’s done this before”.

  35. I can see wanting some time alone with your newborn, that is reasonable. That is even expected. Certainly mothers react very differently, with hormones fluctuating, the shock of the new life in your hands, and pressures from sometimes un invited guests around. I had a close relative seem almost offended when I was a little too scared to hold her baby as a matter of fact. I guess I am just used to having family around and having this extended family want to see the child. I would have thought this [particular situation a little odd I must admit. Of course the lady turning from you with your baby in hand, is a big no no, but leading up to that I can see the first few hours maybe even a few days wanting some peace, but not being comfortable in this very situation for a week just to me seems a bit much. Again, you have your reasons and I cannot criticize you, but to my wife and other relatives I’ve been around it was extremely important that they have people near the baby even after the first day or two. Clearly mom’s rules are the law around our family when it comes to the newborn. I have also clearly seen in-laws come around with their uninvited advice and parenting tactics, but certainly I feel its wise to take that deep breath and think before you might over react. Also realize that all of these people will be extremely instrumental in the overall development of your baby.

  36. First off, NO ONE should come between a breastfeeding mom and a hungry baby. Great Grandma-in-law may think she can comfort baby and may want to selfishly have time holding baby but was totally in the wrong for snatching baby up and taking it away from mommy.

    Childbirth is a major life change! It takes time for mom to heal, no one is getting any sleep, parents are trying to figure out how to care for and bond with baby, adjustments to breastfeeding, mom’s hormones are changing, the list goes on and on….. Not to mention that each new person exposes baby to potential new germs. If you are not invited, then wait to visit! Even if you are a relative.

    My daughter was born during the H1N1 virus outbreak (swine flu in 2009/10). We wanted to limit visitors not only for family bonding/ healing but for health concerns too. My father in-law & wife drove 8 hours uninvited to “surprise” us for a visit the day after we got home from the hospital. Not what I wanted at all. Other local relatives may have been bummed to not have unlimited access to her but they respected our limits and by the time she was a few months old everyone had plenty of time holding her and bonding with her. A baby is not communal property and no one has a right to see or hold baby until the parents decide so.

    1. Thank you! Did they create the baby? Carry it? Deliver it? Do they have to heal from major physical trauma and adapt to their entire daily life changing? Are they financially supporting the child? No! They have no right to see or touch that baby whenever they feel like it, for the simple fact that it isn’t theirs. They can wait their turn. Asking for a week to adjust, heal, and try get your life in order is NOT unreasonable. Pushing in where one isn’t welcome and causing distress to mother and baby is, however. She wasn’t asking for a year, or even a month. It’s seven freaking days! When a woman is bleeding profusely, hasn’t eaten or slept properly in days, and is leaking milk everywhere from her painfully engorged breasts is NOT the time to ogle the baby – and certainly not the time to deny both mother and baby the necessary relief of nursing when it’s necessary. Why should baby and mother be expected to experience physical pain in order to meet the immediate desires of someone who isn’t involved in their daily life? People need to stop being so selfish and short-sighted and exhibit a little patience and compassion toward others – particularly those they profess to care for.

  37. Everyone is different and everyone should be allowed to decide how they want this time to look for them. Some may prefer to be surrounded by family during this time. Others may prefer privacy. Whatever makes you comfortable. There is absolutely nothing wrong with your first days as a new mom looking the way YOU want it to. It’s yours and if your husband agrees, then nothing anyone else says matters. It’s not like the baby won’t be there the next week to visit. People can be so rude, imposing their wants and needs on others; then judging them for not accepting their standards. Don’t let anyone on this site make you feel like you didn’t make the right choice for you and your baby and your husband during your time of discovery and recovery.

  38. This article makes me sad. Not in the sense that I don’t agree with it though. It made me think of when I had my son. I had to be induced three times in the span of two days because my baby still hadn’t dropped three days after my due date. My due date was a Monday, Thursday I was “gelled” and told that if nothing happened that my boyfriend and I were to return at nine o’clock Friday morning. Friday morning we showed up at the hospital, waited for what felt like forever (it was most of the day actually) then I was gelled a second time, this time with a stronger gel. I was told if nothing happened again to return at five. Sure enough we ended up back there for a third, stronger gel. We got home at nine thirty Friday night and almost immediately, finally, my labor started. Eleven thirty we were back at the hospital, my mother and grandmother with us – my grandmother had come to bring me a hot water bottle, and as she was coming in the door at my house my mother was helping me get ready to leave while my boyfriend grabbed my stuff. So I invited her to come, she drove my mother to the hospital while myself and boyfriend went in his car. My entire labor was in the base of my spine. It didn’t even feel like back labor, just my spine. I eventually had to be rushed to another hospital for an emergency c-section (the hospital I was originally in “isn’t equipped for emergency c-sections, only planned ones) and had to be put under, or sedated I guess if you would rather call it that, so I was of course asleep. My boyfriend was not allowed in the OR because I wasn’t allowed to be awake, I never got to hear my baby’s first cry – and as much as I love that my father and my boyfriend’s parents followed us to the other hospital as my mother and grandmother did because they were concerned for me and the baby, they ALL held him before I was even stitched up. He was born at 6:07am and they were in the NICU with my boyfriend at 6:30 holding him and taking photos of him. I didn’t even know if everything went okay at this point, wether he was a boy or girl, if he was okay, nothing. Because I was still asleep in recovery. Then when I finally woke up in my room at 9:30, I was told the nurses weren’t even going to bring me my son to look at him because theu wanted to make sure I was okay and the medication had worn off. It felt like they thought I’d drop him if they brought me him right away. It was 10:30 when they brought him to my room. My son was over four hours old before I even got to look at him. It wasn’t until around three that afternoon when our parents came back and everyone else started to show up that I found out about the events in the NICU that morning. I was touched at their concern, but it broke my heart to find out that I was the seventh person (excluding doctors and nurses mind you) to hold my baby, not the second like I had spent the day believing. I was also hurt that my boyfriend didn’t try to stop everyone from going in to see our son while I was still asleep. I know they all meant well and wanted to make sure he was okay, but I wanted to know all of that before everyone else. My mother even told me that as they were wheeling my bed from recovery to my room, they were following me and my mother showed me a photo of my baby and told me he was a boy and how much he weighed and his size. I don’t remember any of this but apparently I said to her, “I told you all I was having a boy” and layed my head back down and fell back asleep. I thought I was going to cry when I was told this. I was in absolute agony from just having my abdomen ripped open, and then hearbreak got added to the mix of already overwhelming pain and emotions. I didn’t know anything about my baby until he was three and a half hours old, and there were so many people that knew so much by the time he was a half hour old. I was so heartbroken. I still am when I think about it and my son is now three years old, his birthday was in July. I loved having so much support and so many people that wanted to visit and see us, both in the hospital and when we got home, but I wish I could have had that time alone with just us three and that no one would have seen him before me (with the exception of his father of course). We even ended up having to stay in the hospital until he was six days old because they found a murmur in his heart and did tests to see what it was. I love our families, I really do, but alone time would have been really nice to have after being knocked out and already knowing that I’ll never have heard my first child’s first cry. I’ve never said anything about this because I don’t want our families to know how upset it made me; and I feel like I’d hurt their feelings if they thought I didn’t want them around. That wasn’t the case by any means, I just wanted to be first to hold my baby. I feel child birth is meant for the parents. Family comes later. Especially with the mother unconscious; you shouldn’t be visiting with her baby. Thank you for this article. I’m also sorry for rambling. But mostly thank you. It comforts me to know that I’m not the only person who has gotten upset about family being there so soon after birth.

    1. You’re not the first mom to go through this nor will you be the last. You should be grateful that family was in the NICU to greet your baby. They are around you when pregnant and the baby can hear them, what is difference when they are out? You don’t mind the NICU nurses caring for your child, holding , feeding but your bothered by your bf family and your family? Very odd. Many of us have had traumatic CSections and deliveries and recoveries and don’t get to experience those things.

      1. I was grateful they were there. It just made me upset that he was my baby and the nurses didn’t stop to think that maybe I’d want to be awake and hold my baby before his grandparents got to. I love our families and love that they’re always there for us.

    2. I totally understand what you are saying, that first cry and cuddle was taken from you and u can’t get it back, it is no ones fault and u are not placing blame but I would have felt the exact same way!! My second baby was rushed behind a curtain with a bunch of doctors and nurses due to complications, I was lucky enough to have him back in my arms within 15 mins so I can’t imagine how it must feel to have been unconscious for the whole thing and to find so many ppl had meet and held him before you, some things can’t be undone and while you can’t change it and im sure u are eternally grateful he is happy and healthy, u still missed something that can’t be replaced. I would feel upset about that just as you are!

      1. Thank you, that’s exactly what I was trying to get across. He’s so healthy now, his murmur is even gone, I’m so grateful for that because the murmur I had as a kid ended with surgery and I still have a little bit of a murmur to this day. So he’s definitely healthy and such a great kid; which I know probably sounds biased because he’s mine, but it baffles me daily how he came from me he’s that great. Honestly it was just the first moments I missed that makes me sad when I think about it. Like I said I was grateful for them being there but I wanted to hold him first and the nurses at the hospital I was in didn’t seem to think of that at all.

    3. Your story is heartbreaking and I feel your sentiments. My MIL was insisting on being in the delivery room because she is a nurse and I told my husband, I don’t care how you do it, but she is not going to be there. And she wasn’t. I know she felt left out but each person should be able to do birth the way THEY want to. Not the way someone else THINKS they should. People can be so disrespectful.

  39. The reaction to GMIL is so one sided. As new moms it’s our responsibility to say “I’m not comfortable with this..” “This makes me feel uncomfortable” and to set boundaries before and after birth of baby. The author clearly blames her hormones for her behavior yet there a new moms (I was one) who have to wait days to see their child because of csection complications & baby being in the NICU. There are moms who have to sit days/weeks/months watching nurses whom they have never met caring for their child while they are the onlooker and having to go home empty handed. Yes, you have the right to bond and comfort your child at any moment you feel but you can’t expect others to read you and what you want to happen. Most people who hold a baby want to feel useful, not that they have upset the child and will naturally try to calm the baby down. We as mothers need to communicate what we are and are not ok with.

    1. Sometimes you are just in shock it is happening. Who thinks to snatch a baby from a mom?? Before and after I became a mom, if I was holding a baby, and they cried, first thing was to find the mother if she is there. That is what people who want to “help” do. And why shouldn’t grandma ask “Can I hold the baby, oh she is crying, do you want her back? When I want to help people I ask directly what they need me to do.

  40. Oh my! I don’t normally comment on post from people I do not know, but I, likewise, was shocked by the negative comments. A women who has just birthed has gone through a tremendous life event that has emotional and physiological implications. If she would like some privacy while her body is sore, bleeding, and she’s building a nursing relationship, which often does do well with covers and visitors in the first few days, why not afford her that opportunity? Baby and mother need to bond for the health of both. There will be plenty of time for grandmas to bond, but grandma isn’t experiencing the same hormonal need to be with baby as mom. And, if a mother asks for the baby back, give the baby back if you want to have a healthy relationship. Remember that mother and baby, and father next, are the most vulnerable people in the picture, not grandmas. Because of that, their needs really should be elevated by mature adults involved. And again, there will be plenty of time for Grandma… and probably time when Mom wants her help, as well. 🙂

  41. I have had five babies, my youngest being just 8 weeks old, all of my labours were different and I stayed at the hospital for only 4 hours with 4 of them and over night with one who decided to be a little bit difficult. I can tell you that with all 5 I felt insanely protective and at the first hint of a cry or stir I was up and had that baby back from whomever had been holding them, the stress on a mother hearing her baby cry can be so overwhelming its painful and not just in the first week I still can’t leave the room without my 8 week old as I feel physically ill to be parted from her, even so much so that it would be easier to leave her with her dad while I take the older kids to school but I take her with me as I hate to leave her at home!!! SO if anyone, mother in law or my own mother had put me in the position you were in I can assure u I would not have thought twice about saying whet you did, if not something worse, every mother is different and every situation is different do what you have to do to feel comfortable and at ease with your baby and everyone else can bugger off!!!

  42. Wow.. Does no one communicate with their relatives anymore?
    My family is easy. No one except those invited hang out during the birth, and we only go to the hospital when momma says it’s okay. However, if you go visit, that newborn is all yours while mom takes a bathroom break or gets a chance to actually eat. Maybe it’s because we are all so close and that we respect one another – appreciating that someone shares the same excitement over a long awaited family member.

    1. I’m glad that your family is loving, supportive and respectful but keep in mind that not everyone is as lucky. We had asked for privacy during a precious and vulnerable time in our life but despite clear and constant communication we had family members that felt their wishes mattered more than ours.

  43. After my first was born I came home 12hours later to a house full of family, I’m talking parents, parents in law, grandparents, brothers sisters and partners. it was a little over whelming but us being a very close family and this being the first baby of the family it was expected and everyone was so helpful, the next 2 or 3 days was crammed with visitors but by day 4 everything was quiet, we then got our special time. With my 2nd child I actually was looking forward to the mad rush after being released from hospital only 9 hours after giving birth, I had the ‘get them all over and done with at once’ attitude again so we could hurry up and get to the quiet time 🙂 however with my 3rd I had a very long and traumatic labour that resulted in me hemmoraging and nearly needing transfusions etc. plus with a 4year old and a 2 year old (who was still not sleeping through the nights) at home, I felt like a zombie for the first week after having baby, (to this day I still can’t recall many details of tag for week due to my iron levels etc being so severely low) I couldn’t hold conversation, I felt I was only just managing to keep my head above water with my legs frantically kicking away below the surface. When I was released from hospital we knew both of our parents was desperate to see baby and so was happy for them to have a short visit and so told them that we were only inviting them up that day and that brothers and sister wtc could visit the following day if they wanted, (I not only felt like a zombie but looked like one also and was a little self concours of this) however low and behold my mother in law turned up with her very young friend and her friends 4 children (who were just left to run riot). I was very hurt that she had invited her to come with her considering we had specifically told her I was not feeling up to visitors but she could pop down quick if she wanted. However what’s done is done and I don’t hold ill feelings anymore (though at the time I was far from happy!)

  44. I so appreciate you writing this article. My husband and I chose to have time alone as a family to bond/adjust and it was very important for us. Our wishes were followed by family but not without a lot of complaint and judgement. It is your baby, your family, YOUR CHOICE to invite people soon or not until you’re ready.
    I think the difference between people who want family around and those who don’t is often about whether the family is actually being respectful of boundaries and supporting the new family VS. being focused on their own needs. Both my husband’s and my families are selfish. They act like children and do not respect boundaries. The idea of inviting them to visit (we live out of state) in those early days would be like having 2 additional children to care for and entertain while trying to adjust to being new parents and take care of our child. When they came eventually, our decision was solidified by their behaviors which remained focused on their own needs, not the needs of our child/us.

    Those who think the author is being rude either force themselves to act certain ways or allow others to act certain ways out of guilt for familial/social “rules”, or perhaps have been lucky enough to never experience this selfish behavior from family. Of course people are excited about a new little one, but in the end it is the needs of the little one and the new family (mom, especially) that come first. Anyone who gets upset about not getting to visit is only thinking of their own needs/wants (it’s ok for them to be disappointed and have feelings about the situation, but not ok to guilt/force anyone into doing what they want/need).
    Everyone’s family and life experience is not the same and no one has the right to decide for you and your family what is best.

  45. I was surprised by the ferocity of some of the comments that I read. It’s certainly with great passion people write about their families, their babies and their own experiences. Well, what comes to mind is “don’t judge until you’ve walked that road.” Each situation, each birth, each postpartum is different. Rather than tear each other up over our OWN experiences we should say – “you know, that wouldn’t have worked for my family” or “we did things this way” without some of the bitter undertones I’ve read.

    I applaud the author for putting herself out there. I had a similar experience with our first born….one filled with too many visitors, non stop, and so many people wanting to hold my baby I felt guilty asking for her back to nurse her! It wasn’t ideal and not a grand bonding for me…although everyone else loved on her. My second baby I asked for a week before visitors came …. And what a different experience! Sleep deprived mom, ( me ) could sleep and nurse whenever. I got to smell my baby and his new scent, and learned there is such a thing as bonding!

    Not every birth is the same, just like all people are not. When we were little we were told to celebrate diversity and we were all unique and special. I don’t believe much has changed but media allows us to sometimes say ugly and snippy things that are often emotion derived. There is a person on the other end of the screen. Maybe sharing our experiences helps a new momma feel it’s okay to do what she needs to for her – big crowds or set aside bonding time. Each to their own!

  46. My inlaws completely railroaded me during delivery and after. It got to the point my midwife kicked them out of my hospital room and told My husband and I that we are our daughter’s voice and we need to speak up for well being. She needs to not only sleep but also needs bonding time with me and my husband. I would like to say that this advice solved everything but the truth is my in-laws are so intrusive that they told us They felt they trumped us in regards to our daughter and they didn’t have to listen to us at all. Also they said they were entitled to all of her firsts. Hence why my daughter is 8 and had no idea who they are.

  47. I understand the article is written by a first time mom. The want and need to protect that amazing thing you and your husband created is normal. Learning how to control your reaction to it comes with maturity. With my first, I only had my family to handle and since they were my family I never felt uneasy with visitors. With my second and third, my husband at the time we were in the military so had few and far between visitors. It wasn’t until my 4th child with my current husband that I had to learn to hide the mama bear instinct when anyone held her, got near her, or just entered the room. However I felt that if respect is given, respect would be received. My family are far away so my husbands family are the only ones around and it’s important to me to give the closeness of family to my daughter. You do focus in on the little details and worry about the unknown but honestly the baby probably reacted to your poor behavior. Grandma should have worn soft clothing but way back when, people didn’t treat babies like fine china. So it probably didn’t cross her mind. Hormones are real but your ability to show self control is a learned skill. Babies will cry, life is hard and allowing the closeness of family will give the child a gift. I’m sure there are many mothers that are glad this was written cause they will have that moment of knowing those feeling are normal. However you will look back with regret cause it’s a memory the grandmother will die with and your son will have no memory of his slight discomfort. We must learn to pick our battles and if the child was in no harm and left to settle in that could have been a magical moment. I hope you spoke with her before just setting out to justify your poor behavior. I read this expecting it to be about friends or strangers but not family.

    1. Come on, baby wanted mom, give the baby back!! It is not that hard. It is not her “poor behavior” but grandma’s. Grandma needs to open her mouth and ask.

  48. Ugh about to go through this. Due in 7 weeks. My mother says she has cleared her schedule to come up and “help” me :/ and she has already promised the teenage cousins they can hold the baby! WHAT!?

  49. As a homebirther (and hospital birther), I think the request for “no family visits” loses something when hospital staff (essentially strangers) are holding your baby, maybe feeding your baby. Personally, I’m all about that sacred family unit, and meeting the needs of the “new unit” however that is best realized by the new mom and her baby. Dads need to support that. As a doula, I only hold a newborn if a mom requests it.

    I wonder what would happen, if any and all people who came into contact with my baby were required to be skin to skin, for the first week of its life. Which grandparent units would be willing to disrobe to provide the best for my child?

  50. I love most of this author’s poetry and writing but this particular piece frightens me more than her reaction to her first born son’s great grandmother’s visit scared her husband. Both the mothers and the great grandmothers reactions were completely natural and normal, what was abnormal, completely unnatural and quite frankly a tragic experience for the new human being born into this family was the conclusion drawn from the experience; ‘stay away’. Has our narcissistic culture completely obliterated our instinctive memory that human beings are social creatures who crave connection and belonging? What is to become of these children being started out in life born to parents who model self-absorbed intolerance, isolation and competition as their very first experiences of our human condition? With the ‘mommy wars’, ‘schoolyard bullying’ and ‘grandparent alienation’ reaching epidemic proportions, along with no significant improvements in child and domestic abuse statistics I can’t help but wonder what on earth are you adult sized children birthing the next generation thinking? Or are you thinking at all? Is this the example of ‘mindful living’ we wish to pass on to the next generation: “I grabbed my crying son, hustled off to the bedroom, and closed the door. Adrenaline still coursed through me. Nursing him calmed me, but not entirely. I stayed there until she was gone. When my husband carefully turned the knob and slid the door open just a bit I realized even he was a little afraid of me.” Have we really become a species who would rather allow the birth of our children to invoke our fighting instincts over a spirit of sharing, caring, empathy and compassion? Is this generation of parents merely birthing children in the hopes of enhancing their own sense of well-being, control and mastery? Just in case any of you have forgotten, the baby boy who is the main character of this story would not be had the great grandmother who was banned from his earliest memories not been? It almost seems as if the parental ‘boundaries’ being created to keep others out are more about protecting the ‘me-centered’ self than the child the ‘boundaries’ are professed to be protecting. The most revealing take away message in this piece is this sentiment: ‘Nursing him calmed me, but not entirely’. Really? Was it not the child who was snatched back from the great grandmother’s arms with such animalistic ferocity who supposedly needed the calming? This story was entirely about ME, the author, not about Him, the son. Sure, Moms instincts and needs in the moment were just as valid as great grand moms, but neither more so, and, neither more relevant to the well-being of the new human being caught in the middle of the crossfire. We are all armature parents with each and every child/grandchild and always will be. Grandparent Alienation Is Not Natural or Healthy no mater which generation is the perpetrator. We can all do better. Don’t our children deserve that we do? “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” Jiddu Krishnamurti

    1. I’ve been trying to keep myself from replying to these deeply felt, thought-provoking responses because I don’t want to steer or quash the discussion. I agree with many of these comments, negative as well as positive. There’s plenty of illumination here. But Anue’s comment that my account frightens her prompts me to try to clarify a bit.

      I could have, perhaps should have, written 1,000 more words about what happened in that brief visit to more clearly explain. It was not, as it may have sounded, a hostile situation except in my own mind. I’m a reserved person with minimal assertiveness skills. My comment as I scooped the baby out of her arms wasn’t loud or angry, just firm. I think she was more surprised that I went into another room and closed the door. My husband told her I was still getting used to nursing (something pretty rare in her generation).

      We all see things through the filter of our own experience and this colors the way we respond to other people’s experiences. This was one incident in a lifetime, one that doesn’t represent the totality of my relationship with extended family or my approach to mothering. I don’t think any one incident in any of our lives is enough information to judge a whole life.

      If it helps to add some perspective, we’re very close to both sides of our extended family. My children and I visited their grandparents every single week and made homemade gifts for birthdays and Christmases. We have always hosted holidays at our home. My mother-in-law also lived with us for 10 years. I’ve had to stand my ground a few times over things like birthing choices, nursing, gentle parenting, and homeschooling. My children’s grandparents have now all passed away. I know how blessed we were to have them so closely and lovingly enmeshed in our lives. Still, if I had to do it over again, I’d take my firstborn out of his great-grandmother’s arms that day. It felt essential right down to my bones.

      1. Thank you, for your response! You opened up the perspective just enough to let the sun shine in without a need for thousands of more words perfectly. After reading your blog there was no way I was convinced that the message this piece seems to be sending was representative of the totality of your “relationship with extended family or” your “approach to mothering.” That is just my point in a nutshell. An article like this very easily gets read by many, many readers who don’t perhaps read your blog to gain a deeper understanding of who you are and get a glimpse of the bigger picture. It seems to me that even with just a single well crafted sentence this piece could very nicely have served as a bridge between the generations more than the dividing line it is being perceived as. Although the learning curve between the generations is huge, what we all could use more of is the acceptance and understanding of each others honesty. I love your writing BTW. <3

        1. Thank you for answering Anue. I was replying to you as well as everyone who commented before you. Dearly appreciate your perspective. I’m learning a lot from this whole conversation.

      2. A mother’s desire to protect her young is instinctive. When a dog has just birthed pups you cannot approach the litter without being growled and sometimes snapped at. I completely understand the need to forge that bond within the early days of life and you really do not need to apologize to anyone for that need…. It is primal and it is necessary. It’s about your needs and people have a way of making situations about them when it’s really not…. Kudos to you mama! It’s better to say how you feel and be happy ( it is after all you who is the recovering one) than be uncomfortable and unhappy in a situation in order so that others can appease their own egos

  51. In 2004 I gave birth to a tiny 683g baby boy after getting sudden and severe pre eclampsia at 6 months pregnant. I was told that my baby would probably not even take a breath, and had to birth him to save my life. Mere minutes after having him, whilst they were working on him in the same room and preparing him for NICU, my husband brought his Father and Brother in to the room to see our Son. I was crying, still on the bed half naked, while midwives were sorting out the business end, and they had to hastily throw a sheet over me. I was distraught and they still felt it appropriate to come over and try and hug me, wish me well etc. 10 minutes later our Son was in the NICU where they could’ve gone to see him. I was the last person to touch my own child, when I should of been the first. sadly he died 11 days later in my arms.
    The following year I had my Daughter. I insisted that the first week be just us at home, I needed time. But 5 days later my MIL came round, again thanks to Hubby. She had only been there an hour, and whilst I was nursing my daughter, made some comment which basically inferred that my Son being small, ill and dying was because of something I had or hadn’t done. I left the room with some choice expletives, telling hubby I would not come back down until she had gone.
    Fast forward to 18 months ago when I had another boy, 4 weeks early due to pre eclampsia again. FIL insisted on visiting us in hospital on the second day as he lived 4 hours away and was due to go home later that day! My own mother hadn’t been able to come back in since being at the birth, so she hadn’t officially held her new grandson yet. ( baby had to be warmed up and things at birth, then I started losing a lot of blood so it was a bit chaotic).
    I’m given the guilt trip by hubby each time I request some peace after having my babies. After going through so much, the only people I want round me are my Mum and my Sister, but hubby wants to “show off” in a way. And where the hell are they all when my 8 week old has colic, is nursing every hour 24/7, and I’m really trying to hold it all together….oh that’s right, they got their cuddle in as quick as they could, like some sort of competition, and now can’t see them for dust!!!

  52. Amen!!! This mother’s needs to get a grip! She is not the first women to ever give birth and she will not be the last. One day very soon her self absorbed mentality will come back to haunt her. Long will be gone those who she can turn to for help when she desires. One day soon when she is sleep deprived and her son is refusing to nap or feed she will wish that well meaning and loving grandmother would come and give her a break!

  53. Having read most of these comments, I think it’s safe to say that your either on the “don’t come” or “extended family is welcome” side, not much inbetween. I know with the birth of my daughter my Husband only had a week off. Not even, like 4 days, and he usually works 14 hour shifts. So when my parents called the hospital while I was in labor, appeared in my room the night after she was born, and didn’t leave until the last day my husband had off (this is when I told everyone not to come from out of state for at least two weeks) I was in fact a little POd. I will never ever get that time again with my new family. Just us, enjoying and holding her in our own little world. That week is gone. A memory of not being able to move because of stitches, only talking to my family who came in and out of the door like it revolved, hearing “we just couldn’t help ourselves” as soon as they came in the door; all of this, and both my husband and I angry and resigned that no matter what we ask, it will be ignored. Take care to follow the wishes of new parents, you might not be getting the whole story simply because they don’t want to come off as ogers. They understand your need, but they’re the ones who’s life is changing dramatically. I don’t think giving them time at the beginning is unreasonable (“you have 20+ years to get to know your kid”), simply because like all those photos you take, you can’t get that first few days back to bond as JUST a family with out the outside world. Respect them and listen to their pleas.

  54. Calling this mom name and being rude to her in these comments is in no way proper to get your opinion across. I do believe what is being rude and selfish is not giving her the time that she needs. When our last baby was born, we have three children, I was astounded at how well-meaning visitors had their feelings first, and not the feelings of the baby or mine. It was very overwhelming. Labor, birth, and deliver are not a small feet. There are so many emotions and physical changes that a mother experiences. God created this time for the mother, not the extended or even immediate family. It is good and right to ask the mother what she needs and be there for her. It is not okay to assume the right to hold a brand new baby. God created babies to want and need to be with the mothers. Mothers know what that brand new baby needs when the baby needs it. Well meaning and loving Grandmas, Aunties, dear friends and sisters do not, even if they are parents themselves. Yes, a baby will fuss. A brand new baby will fuss for different reasons than a 6 month old baby. A mother knows the baby is calm and content in her arms as the mother is calmer as well. God has made our bodies this way, for these new, precious babies to cause reactions within our bodies- hormonal reactions for healing and bonding with the baby. It is not okay to discredit this new mother’s feelings. Perhaps, feelings on both sides were hurt. One must remember this is time for the mother and baby, not even the father, if the family is blessed to be able to do this for the baby. As a mother who has been blessed to breastfeed 1 out of the 3 of her children, the bond is very different with a breastfed baby than a formula fed baby. A bond and deep love and connection are still there, but it is very different for a nursing mother. If you cannot keep such rude, inappropriate comments and name calling to yourself, you must look inside your own heart to see what your intent and reaction is that you are looking to accomplish. I do give this mother credit for doing what she did to a Great Grandmother. I know these feelings, and they are not easy. The mother needed to establish boundaries, since her first request was not heeded. May God bless this family and the newest edition! Time will come for the rest of the family to bond with this precious little child. In the meantime, let the new mother do what it is she needs. That should be respected, not the needs of others at this time.

  55. After reading the entire story, I have come away, simply, with one thing. This jerk mother wanted her husband’s Great Grandmother, a woman surely with limited time left, to stay away. Got it. Good job, asshole. In all the eons of human evolution, millions of years of biological evolution and social birthing, this is the one woman who has figured out that she needs to keep her elders away. Remember this after this after those “perfume-doused wrists” are laid to final rest.

    1. These younger women don’t seem to know about grandparent alienation and some day, it could happen to them. When the baby started crying, the mother could have calmed the baby with her voice so that the great grandmother could continue holding the baby. Babies can feel when the mother is tense, and they hear the mother’s emotions in the sounds she makes, and this starts the crying process. Holding onto the child very tightly tells the baby that the mother is tense and then when passed onto someone else, they start to cry. A mother should value the baby’s paternal grandparents, because so much of who the baby is and will be, comes from the grandparents.

  56. People need to stop being so self absorbed. The fact that these people love your child and are extremely excited to see him or her should make you happy. When they do come over and your baby gets fussy, why not offer her a blanket to cover her sweater or tell her how you have been able to sooth your child and see if she can do it. I bet the writer would be pissed off if people waited for month after waiting her time allotment of a week to come and see her newborn. There is more than enough time to bond with your child with privacy. The excitement dies down for everyone else but it should continue with you and your new family.

  57. I tried to comment earlier and it seems that it didn’t post? I am extremely surprised by the negativity expressed in response to this article and feel it only reflects a lack of understanding on maternal health. As a culture and society, I wish we could remember that after childbirth, the mother and baby are the two most vulnerable people in the picture, followed closely by the father. The mother is going through a huge emotional, physiological, hormonal, and physical adjustment. She is likely sore, bleeding, and learning to nurse her new baby. Her body was just exposed to people in ways unfamiliar. It is important for both mother and baby to have time to bond in order to help sustain the health of both. The desires of other family members to bond with the baby should fall well below the needs of the new nuclear family. This is something other women, grandmothers, of all people, should remember as they approach the new baby. There will be plenty of time to bond with a grandchild, and that will surely go better if the mother feels honored and respected by others in her life. She will also need help in the coming weeks, months, years. The first days after birth are very important and should not be intruded on.

    Thank you for sharing this very vulnerable post. I’m so sorry for the negativity and hope it has not caused you stress. I’m also sorry for the daughters and daughters-in-law of the women who expressed such harsh attitudes, as they are very insensitive to the needs of a new mother, which is likely to perpetuate the same problem you wrote about in this post.

    1. I see that my first comment did post! Both say basically the same thing, but perhaps that is in order for this discussion. It seems that many commenters confused this mother’s desire for privacy in the initial days after birth with alienation of family, which is not at all the thesis present. This is about maternal health and appropriate recovery. As I said in both comments above, as women, we should honor the needs of another woman who as just given birth, and part of that for many women, is a private bonding period with baby. Your time will come, Grandma! I promise!

    2. Thank you for such a thoughtful response. As you stated, there is a gross lack of understanding of maternal health in our culture, as evidenced by the ridiculously and unnecessarily high rates of interventions in childbirth. Ignorance is no excuse for poor manners and lack of courtesy.

      1. Exactly, thank you. One commenter, Jullou says below “Do you think that motherly instinct vanishes with adult children?” I do think a maternal instinct is lifelong, but I also know based on research that the maternal instinct of a grandparent is not nearly comparable to what is happening in a women’s body in the hours and days postpartum and we should be honest about that. During this time her levels of oxytocin and prolactin are higher than they will ever be in her life (until she births again). This simply is not biologically happening in a grandmother. I’d encourage both birthing women, and the generation of grandmothers reading this post to look up Michel Odent’s research to help understand the needs of a new mother postpartum. I know I was not personally prepared for the protective sensibility that came on after my first child was born, and viewed this article through that lens: that Laura was shocked by the strength of her own instinct and made different plans for future births. Requesting privacy during that very vulnerable time is not the same as grandparent alienation, and healthy mature adults should be able to make that differentiation. Perhaps this process would go more smoothly if birth education included an explanation of what a woman’s needs are postpartum and, and the expecting parents were encouraged to communicate those needs to her extended family before the birth, as part of the “birth plan”, since actual needs are likely running counter-cultural. In Laura’s responsive comment, she said she learned a great deal from these comments and I hope to see an article explaining her reflective thoughts in the future. And I commend her for her honesty and vulnerability in this post. It will help and encourage other women. Meanwhile, rather than criticize a mother’s early post birth experience, I hope that we could support one another, and even offer appropriate encouragement that would help inter-generational relationships run more smoothly, such as suggesting to other grandparent friends that power of “asking” and the power of “returning” can go a long way. “Can I hold the baby?” as opposed to taking it from a new mothers arms, promptly returning a baby when it begins crying. These small gestures will do so much to help a new mother feel supported. And I do believe she is more vulnerable than grandma, so that should take precedent. This has all prompted so many thoughts of my own that I will be writing about my past experience and how we’re preparing differently for the next baby on my own blog. <3

  58. Thank you for writing this article. I honestly couldn’t believe how ignorant and selfish people acted before and after I delivered. It took us 3 years to get pregnant and all we asked for is a day alone together as a family. My in laws were so offended and said that if they weren’t able to come to the hospital that day that they probably wouldn’t have time the next day. We said that we understood and hopefully they would be able to meet another time. They were then appalled that their reverse psychology didn’t work.

    Since then we’ve had some boundary issues that we’ve had to figure out. Things like my mother in law showing up uninvited when we have guests and taking the baby from visitors to show what a good grandma she is. It’s really quite disturbing how people especially family turn this emotional and personal event to be about them.

  59. Stacie, I have to agree with you.

    So many of these comments make me sad. They don’t have the whole story, they don’t know what the entire situation was, there is no way they should be comfortable judging what is right and wrong. A birth is such a sacred thing and NO one should intrude without being asked. I was “dropped in on” with both of my children’s births and I’m still angry and resentful about it and of those people. And it further damaged those relationships – to the point where I’m less likely to be gracious and giving of experiences/time/something I might have otherwise have offered freely without thought or resentment.

  60. After reading these comments I totally see a trend. The problem is always with in-laws, that makes you wonder if there’s not underlying story to go along with your postpartum issues. and I do agree that this artical is rude to the husband’s family.

  61. What a great article! Everyone is different, so those who think the author is being rude or petty, you can’t judge her situation or her feelings on this. Like she said, some may relish lots of visitors and “help” initially, and that’s fantastic. Others prefer a more private postpartum period. Neither are wrong.

    I preferred quiet and privacy. After being in labor for 2 days straight, I was beyond exhausted by the time my baby was born. Then came no less than a dozen in-laws and even more friends to my hospital room. By the time I went home 2 days later, I literally had not slept in 4 days. Then came more in-laws to our home. I was out of my mind with exhaustion and the beginnings of post partum depression. I wish I had read your article back then, and I would have set up some parameters for visitors.

    I can only hope to be there for my children in any way they want me to be when they start having children, even if being there for them means staying away until they’re ready. It’s not about me or anyone else but the new family adjusting in the best way they can.

    1. You are right everyone is different, some people are nice and others like to isolate their children from their in laws.

      1. Don’t take your resentment out on strangers. It’s rude, petty, and uncalled-for, not to mention the way shows everyone exactly why you’re isolated from the family.

    2. Thank you for explaining to those who may not understand. No one who’s been through physical trauma and emotional upheaval with no sleep for half a week should be expected to entertain guests or punished for needing time to recover. It’s refreshing to see a voice of reason calmly explain where they’re coming from.

  62. I find the negative comments ridiculous, by grandparents and great grandparents swooping in and taking over is more or less telling the new mother in actions you don’t know what you are doing-poor them??? What about poor mom? Especially if this is the first baby all new moms have insecurities; if they stepped back I am sure the new mom will seek advice if and when she feels she needs it. My experience was different, I was a single mom living with her parents and maternal grandmother; while they were in the same house they NEVER just stepped in and took over I had to ask and then they were more than happy to help in any way possible.
    Funny story, had a hard time gettng my son to drink his bottle one early morning (2 am) and he cried and cried. Since we were keeping them uip my mother came down and I immediately passed him to her and she couldn’t get him to drink. After awhile my father finally came down and took the bottle took the nipple off and found I had left the cap on. Needless to say my dad took his namesake into his arms and fed him. His comment “Women, this won’t be the first time they will frustrate you” He looked at mom and I and told us to go away and will call me when they were done.

  63. Do you think that motherly instinct vanishes with adult children? Think about this: your adult son marries a woman that alienates him and your only grandchild from you? What would you do then? This is happening to many grandparents these days, probably because we didn’t teach our children that there are people out there who have covert aggressive personalities who think their spouse and children are their property, so they find all kinds of ways to separate their spouse from his/her parents. That was one of few times your child would be held by her great grandmother. You should have overcome that feeling by taking a picture instead of taking that moment away from your child and her great grandmother. Years ago, people had respect for the elderly.

    1. Jullou, your logic is frightening. Anybody, regardless of who they are or how old they are, who withholds a crying newborn from their mother, and turns and walks away when the mother tries to get their baby back is extremely disrespectful. If this grandmother had been more considerate of the new mom who wanted to comfort her own child, this situation would never have happened.
      The “older generation” seem to think they’re entitled to everything simply because of their age, and don’t respect their adult children’s decisions and act like toddlers who aren’t getting what they want. THAT is the reason why so many grandparents are being alienated, not the nonsense explanation you’ve come up with.

  64. I think a big part of this comes down to setting firm expectations with family and friends prior to the birth. Every woman is different. Some feel drained or more anxious by company, and others feel revived and encouraged by it. All will eventually open their little circle up wider, but creating a safe space for recovery and bonding should absolutely be supported. We may argue over what that time frame looks like, but ultimately that decision should be made by the new mother and her partner. Setting clear expectations with family prior to the birth can prevent unwanted guests (as much as you love them dearly). Deciding to take a full week postpartum can seem really long these days, so unless you make it clear (and ideally before baby is born), people will often assume they’re welcome to come. It’s time as a culture we listen to mothers and let them guide how we treat them postpartum.

    1. And it is the norm that it is the husband’s family has to stay away. The maternal grandparents have triple the time with the grandchild. Often the maternal grandmother is in the house taking care of the baby from day one and the new dad has to try to deal with a mother-in-law that tells him what to do with his baby. Instead of enabling new mothers to act out, pregnant women should prepare themselves for a larger family to include the paternal grandparents and family instead of making them feel unimportant to the child. Just open up your heart a little and you will feel better too and your babies will have more love in this cold world.

      1. Assumptions fly. I loved having my in-laws around after both of my births, and am in the process of planning to move our family in with my MIL a mere 3 months before I’m due with our third. Why? Because they are respectful and understanding of my needs. My family did not respect my boundaries, swooped in uninvited, and took over my house. They made messes, didn’t clean up or help out at all, and didn’t leave until I broke down and said I couldn’t take it anymore and they were overwhelming us all and needed to leave. My in-laws, on the other hand, have always asked if it was okay to visit and when was a good time for us, and they gave us privacy for breastfeeding – so we always said yes to their visits on the very first day (very unlike us, as we’re both quite private). Respect begets respect. The advice to open up your heart goes both ways. Be understanding of others’ boundaries and the fact that they may not be what yours are, and that’s okay. Discuss postpartum visiting before the baby comes so everyone is on the same page and there are no hard feelings. I realize there are some people who just don’t get along with their in-laws, and I truly feel for them, but this should be an opportunity to mend/improve that relationship, not strain it further. Try to be empathetic and compassionate. Respect a new mother’s needs in her most vulnerable time and try to find ways to support the family without being in her personal space (drop off meals and leave without expecting an immediate visit, etc.), and she will quite likely soften and welcome you in the future.

      2. Yes, of course many women are much more comfortable having their own mother (who they’ve known their entire life) be there to help them as they’re bleeding and leaking everywhere. The fact that you view this as “acting out” tells me it’s been a long time since you’ve been a new mom.

  65. Wow, I am glad I did not have any of those feelings. I loved sharing the joy with others, and my daughter does to. My babies were huge, and I guess I was just so happy to have them in my arms instead of my womb that I wanted to celebrate with everyone.

    1. There’s nothing wrong with sharing the love, and my advice to new mothers: prepare for an extended family that includes the father’s grandparents. Love is all around at this time, and it is a shame to use selective indignation about who gets to hold the baby. Put a blanket on the great grandmother so the baby will be warm and comfortable, and say soothing things to the baby while the great grandmother holds him/her so they hear your voice. Don’t feed into the baby’s fears by removing them from a loved-one’s arms. You will have a more flexible baby when you do this. And most people only stay a short time just to hold and see the baby. Make it a happy time; you will not regret those memories.

  66. I didn’t want to see anyone. My baby boy spent 40 weeks and 3 days growing inside me. When he was finally born, I wasn’t ready to share him with anyone. With unwanted company at the hospital at the worst possible time, to having him snatched from my arms and passed to some relative, to company overstaying their welcome, this mom spent a lot of the first month in tears just wanting some alone time with the baby.

  67. There is a new phenomenon today: alienation of grandparents. It typically includes the alienation of the paternal grandparents and their sons by a daughter-in-law. This type of behavior is being discussed and explored more and more today due to the large numbers of alienated grandparents. These behaviors start early after the baby is born. The new mother often sees the husband and child as her property. It is a form of child abuse and elder abuse causing both mental and physical stressors.

    1. Yup! you are so right on! I see this in mostly white families. I’ve seen my BIL wife do exactly this, it’s disgusting and disturbing and people wonder why their children can’t connect with other people.

    2. YES YES YES. It is devastating to watch families be torn apart by controlling, manipulative brats that prefer to isolate their ‘properties’. It’s no different than abusive and controlling men. Except that in the opposite situations, the men/dads are just trying to keep the family together because they KNOW their wives, and they KNOW that if they shall ever disagree, they risk NEVER seeing their children again. Sad and pathetic.

      1. Thank you Tatennant. Yes, I do believe this is happening a lot in white families. Since this has now happened to me (I haven’t seen my only grandchild for 6 months and we live close to them), I have talked to many other people and they either know of other grandparents that are being alienated or they themselves have been alienated. This type of selfishness is not good for the children or their marriage and eventually, turns the children away from the mothers. If mothers want to have a healthy, long-term relationship with their children, then showing the children that they are not selfish is a positive thing to do for everyone.

        1. NBF, if your comments here are any indication of how you acted towards your own grandchild, then I have a pretty clear idea of why you’re no longer in that grandchild’s life.

          “It is a shame to use selective indignation about who gets to hold the baby. Put a blanket on the great grandmother so the baby will be warm and comfortable, and say soothing things to the baby while the great grandmother holds him/her so they hear your voice. Don’t feed into the baby’s fears by removing them from a loved-one’s arms. You will have a more flexible baby when you do this.”

          It is not your job to tell adults what they should and should not feel comfortable doing with their newborn baby. You might feel like you’ve earned that right because of your age, and of course there’s always a place for opinions and advice, but TELLING somebody what they should and shouldn’t do and becoming angry when they won’t do things your way is a sign of somebody who does not respect their adult children and is a sure-fire way to alienate YOURSELF from them. Do you have any memory of what it felt like to give birth and have that tiny piece of your heart outside of your body for the first time? New mothers (and fathers) should be allowed to make the decisions that they feel comfortable with for that baby, without somebody ignoring their feelings. Again, if this grandmother was just respectful, looked at the new mom and considered how she was feeling and handed the child back instead of walking away, there wouldn’t have been an issue.

          I have a wonderful relationship with my in-laws and my own parents. We stay for weekends there and have even gone on week-long trips together with our children, because they’ve been smart enough to give us space, respect our feelings, and we, in turn, have done the same towards them. Respect is a 2-way street. The fact that you don’t see anything disrespectful about this grandmother’s behaviour tells me that you’re the one that needs to learn a thing or two.

    1. i’m pretty sure she won’t be snatching the baby from the mother’s arms w/out asking. she will probably *gasp* call first before just coming over too. ya know, common courtesy.

  68. I understand your frustration. I have been there. You need to understand that you are not the story. The story is about the baby. I know it is primal to want your baby, but parenting and putting your child’s needs first is about letting go. It starts with allowing grandma to hold the fussy infant to her heart’s content. Grandma will not be around forever. She is not wrong to want to comfort your child. You need her in your child’s life. She can offer a love that you cannot provide. The story is this child. If the child cries, they will not be brain damaged. Grandma can pass the baby back to you. She will only be there for an hour or 2. You get to hold the baby 24/7.

    1. Yikes! Is it all about the baby? Or is it all about grandma who won’t be around forever? because those seem like 2 pretty different things.

      A newborn baby doesn’t need to be passed around. Ask any health care professional who works with infants. Above all else, they need the comfort and familiar smell of their mother, and ideally their mother’s milk. Holding and cuddling your baby, including when they’re crying, helps mothers create the hormones needed to contract their uterus back and create more milk. There’s a reason why mothers are so drawn to their babies – biology and instincts.

  69. I agree 100% with the author of this article. I also as a new mom had requested that no other family members (ie mom and MIL) be present during the birth of our first daughter other than my husband. It was a high risk pregnancy and delivery. My mom and MIL hovered right outside the door. Immediately after our first daughter was born my MIL rushed into the room stating “I am not leaving until I hold MY grandbaby!” UGH. Thankfully we lived across the county when our second daughter was born and were able to have two weeks with her before having the in laws in our home. Although my husband in his excitement called his mom moments after our second daughter was delivered. She of course wanted to speak with me but I was not done with the birthing process – placenta etc. It was very distracting to have to speak with her while I was still “busy”. Needless to say I find her too pushy for my taste.

  70. I’m surprised by the amount of negativity shown towards this woman. As a mother, you are biologically coded to have more feelings for your baby than anyone else in the world ever could. Her reaction is only natural. I spent years being stepped on for the sake of being polite and I am definitely over it. You can’t put everyone else first all the time, and when it comes to your newborn, you have the right to a week without uninvited visitors.

  71. My first week home with my daughter wasn’t what I wanted it to be either. I wish I had set boundaries. My daughter is 14 now but sometimes I still think about what I felt was a stolen moment wish I had just set some boundaries. Parents have a right to choose how they want their at home life to go. I don’t see anything wrong with them wanting to have the week to themselves.

  72. This has got to be a huge cultural difference between whites and blacks, see I couldn’t wait to have visitors, Grandmas, cousins, aunts, friends, anyone that wanted to help I invited them too because it meant I got more recovery time. More time to sleep, more time to relax after having my c-sections! Time away from the new baby that I really needed; meanwhile the baby got to bond with family. I do have some friends that didn’t want anyone over and felt “overwhelmed” by visitors those friends were all white. This is why I think it’s some kind of cultural thing. You have 18 years of bonding ahead of you, why not relax and let those that raised you and your DH take care of the little one, rhinestones and all!

    1. But were you trying to establish exclusive breastfeeding? Did your family and friends help out, or just drop by to “ooh” and “ahh” over the baby? The level of support makes all the difference in the world. I welcome those who are there to help and support, but dread those who waltz in unannounced, snatch the baby without asking if it needs to nurse, sleep, or be changed, ask me to get them drinks and food, then leave me with a messier house and a tired, cranky, hungry baby in a soiled diaper. If their presence improves our family’s life, they are always welcomed with open arms, even on day one. But the looky-loos can wait until we’re ready to entertain visitors, since that’s what it amounts to. No new mother should be expected to act as hostess immediately following childbirth. It’s just selfish.

  73. What honesty! Sometimes families need space and time, and we who love them should honor that. I allowed family to visit, but they couldn’t spend the night. That was my boundary and need. And I wanted to take care of my baby!

  74. thanks for the article. It has given me a great excuse to avoid being forced to visit friends and relatives who have recently given birth and have to spend time with babies i´m not interested in at all.

  75. This article takes me back to a few of my own hair raising moments of inner insanity while trying to be “accommodating” to certain family members in the immediate post partum period. It was hell. I came to find out later that these family members believed they were “entitled” to “their time” with (my) baby following delivery. What a crock! I was even chastised for failing to invite them all into the delivery room immediately following birth. It amazes me how some people are so selfish they just don’t get it. My only regret? Next time, I will be more vocal and protective of our time and my needs. I won’t care what anyone think next time.

  76. I think the mother is right. Family should have boundaries. God forbid we want to bond & rest because others might get pissed off. Because I forgot, we have babies for others enjoyment. It’s about mother, baby & father…not the entire world regardless of what people think. And when good Ike’s granny is not giving the infant back when it clearly is needing it’s mother…are you joking?
    And to just come over because it’s what SHE wants? Seriously?
    Since when is the grandmother the boss? Did she have the baby?

  77. If I read this right, the article starts off with “My husband’s grandmother left a message…”
    Hello? That means this is Benjamin’s GREAT grandmother. Has this author any idea how many adults are fortunate it enough to still have a living grandmother, let alone a great grandmother to this baby? I’m sorry, the hubby’s grandma deserves the opportunity to come on over. Not to take away from any new mother understandable selfishness, but suck it up mom! I’m sure the fake rhinestone decorations didn’t leave any life threatening ouchies. And the perfume? Give it a rest. Smh.

    1. Perfume is composed of endocrine-disrupting, artificial chemicals that build up in the system and cause damage to the human body – particularly a brand-new baby with no immune system of its own. Tons of people have severe reactions to them, including respiratory distress and anaphylactic shock – specifically young children. Just because you’re ignorant of the chemistry and uneducated about human physiology doesn’t mean other mothers should be required to subject their offspring – particularly their first – to unsafe chemical cocktails in the name of another’s comfort. You don’t have all the information, so stop judging others. It’s not your place or anyone else’s.

  78. This is exactly why I made sure to draw my boundaries and protect my family BEFORE something like this happened. I’m 100% positive if I had let my parents over to “help” with the birth and newborn, it would have been this and worse. So many people of the previous generation were brainwashed with misinformation about how to treat babies….and older people tend to have misguided sense of pride and won’t listen to people tell them the real truth…

  79. My teeth would have been bared as well, and likely embedded in her arm! How dare she. It is customary and polite for anyone – including immediate family – to ask “may I hold him?” and not just snatch the infant from your arms. That could’ve prevented so much. It would allow you the opportunity to equally politely say, “No, I’m sorry…I don’t feel comfortable doing that,” rather than being put on the defensive.

    Early bonding is so important for the family nucleus, especially mum. This is why it’s absolutely insanity that a woman who feels she can’t parent should be expected to hand over her child for adoption, or even make a decision in that regard, before she’s had a chance to bond and for her hormone levels to return to normal.

  80. Thank you for sharing! I felt the pressure to have people cycling though after a traumatic birth and post partum period. I hated it and felt like I was being such a bad person to ask people to hold off on visiting. People made me feel so guilty for not letting them visit right away and finally I was so sick of the calls I just caved in and let them come. I regret this to this day. I’m glad you shared this as I felt like I was the only one in the world who had these feeings.

    Oh and ps- we are very family oriented and close to both sides of our family. Like you- sometimes we just need alone time.

  81. I understand the hormones, but to this day she still feels she was right, and has her heels dug in so hard and deep that she had to take her pettiness and write an article for the public to read, I guess to back her poor behavior so she can feel justified. I think she was pretty selfish. Everyone is usually excited, especially a grandparent (well most, anyway). A short visit should have been no problem.

    Shame on her.

    1. I think she was most likely trying to help other mothers who feel the same understand that they’re not alone, and explain to those rude and pushy visitors exactly how violated it makes the new mother feel when they behave like this. She should feel justified, because she was. It’s her child, her house, and her comfort level that need to be considered. She just underwent physical trauma and faced a huge emotional and mental adjustment. She needed time to process and adapt, and respect from those in her life who claimed to care – not judgment from strangers. Someone else’s excitement should not trump the physical, emotional, and mental comfort of the woman who carried, delivered, and was solely sustaining her own child, particularly in her own house. She didn’t say, “no one can see my baby!”, she simply asked for a few days of private adjustment time and the basic courtesy of visitors waiting for the okay to come over instead of barging in. That’s not too much to ask when you’re bleeding like a stuck pig, sleep-deprived, and dealing with the discomfort of trying to establish exclusive breastfeeding (which often comes with engorged, painful breats, cracked nipples, and a whole other host of discomforts).
      Shame on you, and all the other judgmental know-it-alls spewing their hate. Everyone is different, and their journey is not yours. Focus on your own lives and families.

    2. U must be a selfish grandparent who has daughter in Law issues! I had a similar experience and it affects every fiber of my child’s existence! To the point that my in laws believe they can tell my child Santa passes at their house! How selfish to take that from parents!

  82. I had the same issue with my first baby. Even beyond the newborn weeks, It was very upsetting for anyone, even family, to just show up at our door and take my baby away from me. In one incident, I was nursing my exclusively breastfed baby, and one family member was literally standing next to me tapping their foot and snatched him back the second he unlatched….I couldn’t even burp him. I exclusively breastfeeding fed for this reason….that was my guaranteed time with my baby. I have family who were upset that they couldn’t “just give him a bottle”, but I didn’t care. We recently had our 2nd and I was worried about that same thing happening, but my older child keeps visitors pretty busy, and they are great about giving him a lot of much needed attention while they are over instead of obsessing over the baby. I realize that these older family members may have been without a baby for a long time….but they are still my babies and everyone, even family, needs to respect that.

  83. Our oldest daughter died at birth. When our rainbow baby was born we didn’t even tell most people she had been born. Not until she was a little over a week old. We needed the time alone as a family to not only bond but deal with the crazy mix of emotions we were dealing with. And frankly those who weren’t there when our oldest died and chose to pretend she never existed didn’t have a right to pretend they cared now. We now have two healthy little girls who have relationships with there extended family. Many if those who wanted to come hold the new baby, felt they had the right as family, have barely made an effort to see them once they got that first cuddle. Some parents need space, it’s very simple. A few weeks doesn’t mean forever. Respect the parents.

  84. It is very easy to read this and jump to conclusions based on how we, the reader, would personally have handled such a situation. It is always easier to give advice or make judgment than it is to actually empathize with the other person. I’ve read a lot of pretty hateful comments and condescending ones too. In the end, and, in a perfect world, Grandma would have a) asked permission to hold the baby and if given permission, being the “experienced” parent in the room, would have reached for or asked for a soft cloth for her shoulder before hoisting junior up there. OR b) if told no, would have graciously understood your reticence and instead, asked for a chair to sit close to him, perhaps gently counting his fingers and noting aloud his resemblance to you and your mate. Perhaps she would have told stories of her own experiences within the first few weeks after her own firstborn arrived.
    Anytime things don’t meet our expectations there follows a case of the “If only’s” if only I had done this… or said that…it might have gone differently.
    Obviously, the experience was not ideal as first meetings between grandmother and grandchild go and clearly it was stressful and unpleasant for you and the baby and it’s highly likely it was awkward for her.
    I’m a firm believer in ground rules and boundaries that are healthy. If someone, even grandma waltzed into my space and tried to scoop up my kid without permission… I would also take issue with it as it is simply insensitive behavior more than anything else. Again, as I mentioned above… in an ideal world, people always do the right thing all the time and are somehow imbued with magical telepathic and empathic skills that allow them to never make a mistake when communicating with fellow humans. Wouldn’t that be an amazing world to live in? But until that magical day manifests itself, our best course is often the road of compassion, clear communication and forgiveness.
    I have four children living, one born into heaven. Each experience has been unique and most of my loved ones and friends have handled my quirks or requests with patience, good etiquette and a little humor. but there have been outliers in which an interaction with someone has required that I be the one who models the behaviors I wish to see in those around me, but again, only human… which means sometimes, when I would lose my temper, say something less than kind, or even blow up at someone who may have meant well but was dismally unequipped, I was the one who held myself accountable to myself and others, and worked to set things right. Not because others shouldn’t also be held accountable, because I believe they should, but because often times, I know better and I know I know better and much of the time, others perhaps, do not think about the world in that way.

    It sounds like that was an incredibly challenging and unexpected moment in your first month of motherhood and how wonderful, even if the circumstance was not, that you discovered just how deeply rooted and powerful your mothering instinct is. There are women who simply have none whatsoever. How blessed you must feel to know beyond a shadow of a doubt just how fiercely you love your children. Woe to anyone who really did have it out for your kids, they’d be dealing with one serious Mamma Bear! 🙂

  85. One little old lady with few days left on the earth stops over to see and hold the baby for a short while is being turned into a crisis. I am convinced that the 20-some, 30-some, and 40-some generations have not had situations in their lives that required them to compromise; instead, they have been taught, that above all, make sure they get want they want and to tune into their own emotions. I wonder what would have happened if this mother had given birth to triplets. Would she allow the old lady to hold one of them then? How about the mothers with multiple babies who rely on family, friends, and neighbors to care for their babies so they can get a little rest. This was but a fleeting moment that could have be handled better to make the baby’s great grandmother happy; remember this was the old lady’s blood relative with similar DNA. The mother could have taken a few deep breaths, leaned over and put a baby blanket on the old lady to comfort the baby and then speak softly to the child for a moment to comfort him/her to give the old lady one minute with the baby. But I am reading such exaggerated comments in order to rationalize this behavior. At the very minimum, the mother should have returned to the room for one more attempt to make it right, but she stayed in the bedroom until the old lady left. So this was the time to be a mamma bear? Grandparents have been through all that you young ones have and more; we did it without all the fast food, disposable diapers, and easy-to-do tools that you now have, so you have more time for rest. I didn’t have a great grandmother or grandmother to help me with my three-year old and infant, so I was sleep deprived for the first three months and would have loved to have a loving relative to hold the baby and watch the three-year old while I got a quick nap. Most mothers loosen up after they have the second child and don’t have the “mama bear” behavior if the husband’s grandmother wants to hold the baby. One moment for the husband’s grandmother isn’t the crisis that you are all describing. If you think this was such a serious moment, then I would hate to see what you would do in a real crisis. Oh, and by the way, children are more resilient and happy if they are exposed to lots of people, places and things. They will do better in school if they haven’t been kept around “mama bear” all the time.

  86. Get em mama. Your baby, your family, your rules. The most dangerous place to be is between a mother and her child. Trust, I will still go grizzly if I do not want you around my child. Hormones or not.

  87. It sounds to me that the author is just a hormonal mess rather than thinking rationally. Babies are resilient, even to those horrible rhinestones. I also happen to know that babies cry a lot. It’s kinda what babies do.

    Her husband’s grandmother has more experience with raising children than this ignorant mother and it wouldn’t kill for the mother to share this very special moment with those in her life that have sacrificed so much for her to be there (I’m sure the grandmother played somewhat of an important role resulting in the birth and life of the husband).

    I am sorry, but as sacred as this newborn era may be, it wouldn’t kill you to share a few minutes with those that love you. I hope this overbearing attitude isn’t going to set the tone for the relationship between your child and you in the future.

    I have a great idea for a sequel to this story… “No Mom, please don’t come to my wedding.” It’s about how annoying it is when your mother crashes your wedding when she “wants to share the most important day of your life with you”… yea right mom! This is my day and you are not welcome I say!

  88. I do not agree completely with the mother. However it is HER child and as long as her choices and actions do not hurt the child she should be able to do what she feels is right. It is 100% wrong of people to lash out at her and critisize her parenting. 100% wrong!!!. If it’s not what they would do then fine. Luckily it’s not up to them and they can pick what works for their family. This bothered me reading the comments in her blog. I guess because I have made choices to protect my daughter that some of her family does not agree with. No one should force you to do something as a mother that you are not ok with. She could have handled it differently. She will probably clam down a bit with each child but if not that is still HER CHOICE. It would be killing me to not see a grandchild that was just born but I would respect the childs parents and know that I will get to see it soon. People are acting like she is keeping their child from them and that they will never see the baby. One week people one week. Control yourself for one week.

  89. I don’t think a week to yourselves with your new little one is asking too much. There’s a whole lot of changes going on in a very short time when a baby is born, and if the mom wants a week to bond as a family, then so be it! I am not one to visit the hospital after a baby’s born, and I was glad to have very few visitors myself. I had to share my babies with the NICU and Special Care Nursery, so I probably understand more than most what it’s like to want your baby to yourself. I turned down more than a couple people wanting to visit. My husband on the other hand wanted to shout from the rooftops and invited casual friends over. I made him revoke his invite. I’m that mom. 🙂

  90. OMG! My grandma is exactly like that!! Hahaha. My entire body screams “give me back my baby” while she’s sure she can soothe him. I want to yell, “You’re doing more damage than good!” My husband’s step-mom was the worst. She insisted on spending the week with us when our first baby was born. She said, “It’s your first baby and you’re both so young. You need help,” and moved herself in. This ended up delaying my bonding with the baby because she was the one swooping in to make bottles and change diapers. Finally we asked her to leave. She then psychotically got upset that I didn’t give her my baby. Literally sign my baby over to her. Yes, I was 17, but my husband was 21, and I wanted my baby. My age shouldn’t have had anything to do with my decision to keep MY OWN child.

  91. I could not support the author more! My MIL was extremely intrusive and caused so Many issues after the birth of our first child. She had NO boundaries and no respect for us trying to cherish our first moments and adapt to being parents. She constantly showed up not announced and bringing other grandchildren with her. I’m sure all new Mamas know how important rest is and it seemed as though every time I could squeeze a nap in the door bell or phone was going off. She claimed to have “baby withdrawal” so needed to visit every day (my husband was at work so guess who got to entertain). It was so frustrating when we just wanted to recoup and bond with our new little miracle. It also set a very negative mood between she and I…..she has NO boundaries. We had other family members who were kind enough to understand *without us even having to say anything*(common sense) and offered to come a week or two later to visit. I just think some people forget how it feels to be a new mom and how overwhelming your emotions are (extremely happy, anxious, sleep deprived etc.). I understand that everyone wants to see the baby and share the joy but allow it to be a joyous moment and not an overwhelming one. Give the mom and dad some space……don’t just show up and don’t invite yourself AND others. When family has a baby I can not wait to snuggle their sweet pea BUT I know how it is. Express how much you’d love to see the baby and come help out and just have them let you know when THEY are ready.

  92. Oh. My. God. First of all ((hugs)), Laura. Thank you for being honest, as you always are, about your feelings. Secondly, can I personally backhand the “nasties” on here? You know I’ll do it too.

    Talk about Mamma Bear, I feel like that right now for someone I’ve known as a dear friend for going on 15 years – someone I’ve shared my feelings with, that probably would have had a lot more negative comments than positive ones. And dang, if you still allow me to call you friend.

    Let me explain some things about Laura that most of you don’t know because you don’t know her personally. She is a deep thinker. She is a mother who loves her children unconditionally (even though they are all adults now, so please lose the whole “new mother’s these days” crap). She has cared for her in-laws both physically and emotionally – something that I doubt the negative Nellies do/did/will do, even though they are all for them seeing a few-days-old baby. I’ve heard good and bad stories of both sides of her family, overwhelming more good than anything else. And her children have gone to help their grandparents on both sides, sometimes even bringing their friends to help. Her feelings have nothing to do with race. The biggest things I can tell you about this woman is that she is selfless, giving, peaceful, loving, friendly, sweet, caring, trusting, etc., to EVERYONE. Got the friggin’ idea?

    One thing I know is that she loves her family, and that includes her extended family, as well as her husband’s extended family.

    For those kicking my friend when she tells you how she felt, “get over” your own selves. (Yes, Laura, I had to edit what I really was going to say.) I’m glad you wanted to party with so many of your relatives. Goody gumdrops for you. Hey, I’m a pretty outgoing person and the last thing I wanted was a bunch of people at my house (though I had them and they expected an anemic, bleeding new, nursing mother to not only allow them access, but to feed them as well). And as for Great Grandma-in-law? For God’s sake, she WASN’T gonna die in the next few months. She INSISTED on coming and got in her own car and drove her back side to their door! Heck, my own mother couldn’t do this the last year of her life.

    My dear friend has never, ever, isolated herself or her brood from grandparents or great grandparents. She has invited them over many times, visited them, gone on outings, etc. For this sacred time of a new family at home, she wanted her little family. She wanted to rest, she wanted to explore, she wanted to cherish. Whether you think that was selfish or not, who the hell cares? Something major just happened!! Can they enjoy the moment? The day? The week?

    And for those of you who can’t wait to hear what she’s like when she’s on the “outside” when she’s not mom, but grandmother or great grandmother? My dear friend has seen pictures of her son and DIL get married on a beach. She was invited to witness the marriage, but then her DIL’s parents couldn’t make it, so her son and DIL made the decision not to have his family there either. My dear friend respected that. She and the in-laws had a hand in a wonderful reception when the married couple returned from their honeymoon. My dear friend, Laura, had a grandchild this past year. She did not rush in uninvited and grab the grandchild, her FIRST grandchild, because that is the “thing grandparents do.” Instead, she respected her DILs wishes, remembering this time with her own son, the father of her new grandchild. She gratefully holds that little one now and plays with her and loves her, but as she has told me many, many times, I am the grandparent, I am not the parent. So, guess what? She GETS it and has seen it from both sides.

    Thank you, my friend, for telling us about your feelings. As you can see from the overwhelming positive comments, many people have felt as you have or can at least understand and respect those feelings. Thank you for respecting even those who differ with you and are just blatantly rude, vulgar and nasty. Only you could handle this with such grace. (But if you need someone to smack some heads, you know who to call!)

      1. I could have written this. But I’m glad I didn’t because these nasty comments would break me.

        I love your friend for standing up for you.

        Laura, the one thing I couldn’t have prepared for feeling when my daughter was born was how much I didn’t want other people holding her.

        I’d have anxiety attacks when people would come over that first week because they didn’t come to HELP me, they ALL had a baby holding agenda. It was awful! With my next baby, I will say, “sorry, I’m weird. I don’t pass my babies around.” I’ll just SAY it next time.

        I did say it kindly to my mom–that I don’t like other people holding my baby. She honored my request.

        My mother in law could not understand. She still to this day has an agenda to get as much affection from my child as possible.

        It’s very boundariless.

        Society has no respect for children.

        BAbies are not objects, to be passed around.

        As Magda Gerber said, “yes, you want to hold the baby. But does the baby want to be held by you?”

  93. Such honesty! Thank you for sharing. I felt completely out of control after I had my son. All mothers have every right to do or say whatever they want postpartum. It’s not easy!!!

  94. I understand your response having had the same issue with my mother-in-law who also snatched my 3 day old first-born from my arms after she had just fallen asleep after b-feeding. The disrespect and disregard that was behind the snatching bothered me a lot, particularly as it had been a difficult, complicated birth.

  95. you are definitely alone in your stance here. After my first I made a rule, no visitors for the first week. It made all the difference! I’m so glad you wrote this!

  96. To the new parents…It is normal for family to want to visit…This child’s great-grandmother…knows a thing or two about babies. I am not pleased that she took the baby, without asking. I am disappointed with the way you handled it. I believe that you could have said…Grandma, if you don’t mind, your grandson will make you a cup of tea, while I go and nurse the baby. When I come back, you will be the first to hold him…Then, bring out a flannel or soft cloth, place it on her shoulder and say…Nursing is a new experience…and I think we both feel better right now. Thanks for being so understanding. This could have been something memorable for all of you. Your son will grow up, and he will be bruised, pushed and shoved, more than once or twice in his lifetime.. Trust me, all that you achieved…even though you are hormonal…was to be rude. The baby cried. He was not injured. You caused greater pain that day, because of the way you handled great gramma. Their is nothing good that comes from being rude. Once the words are spoken, it is hard to unring the bell. This is a learning curve for you and for motherhood

  97. The biggest reason for mega birth PTSD I had with my first child is from in-laws passing him around like a football at 2 days old. Not to mention parading around my hospital room 10 minutes after I gave birth. My sister-in-law has been banned from ever being a part of our personal family.
    With my second, we never even told anyone we were pregnant, and nobody was allowed to touch my baby for the first year basically. Babywearing was definitely a blessing.
    And neither of my children have been a cause of exhaustion as babies like I see a lot of people complain about something like, “Visitors will swoop around the mother when she begs someone to take a baby due to sleep deprivation”.
    I wish I had the guts of the author to take my baby back and run away and hide like a mama bear.
    My sister in law said, “He’s our baby.” I replied, “Who’s vag did he come out of?”
    No response, just passed a 2 day old around a room of strangers while I looked on, arms outstretched in horror.
    I now only welcome a select few into my home to share our lives. In-laws excluded.
    And my children’s three real aunts are of no blood relation.

  98. What’s missing for me here is the gap between such a strong desire to have alone time as a new family (entirely reasonable) and the sense the grandmother had that her visit would be welcome. Every family has a different experience and from one baby to the next, may feel the time after delivery to be more or less open to guests. Communication needs to be shared with extended family, in advance of the birth, about what the new family feels they need…and updated if that changes. Grandmum shouldn’t feel the door is open if the limitations were shared clearly. If they are shared clearly, then the new family is in their right to not answer the door. My sisters were always very clear about their expectations (wash your hands, if baby cries Mom soothes the baby, etc).

  99. The old custom of “lying in” for several weeks after a baby was born was once the norm. Every new mom and baby should be treated with respect and reverence. The best thing a family member can do is drop off a dish, pick up groceries or other items for the family, clean house or do laundry. Then maybe sneak a peek of baby in moms arms if the time is right. There will be plenty of time for relatives but only one special postpartum bonding time.

  100. Too many comments for me to read all of them, so I’ll probably repeat some of what has been said. My children are in their 20’s now. One will have children, one will not. I do await the time I can dote over a new little baby and a new little family.

    Your comments were just over the top. Wait… just wait, until that little baby grows up and away from you. Wait until you are old and facing rapid decline and death. Wait until your son’s wife gives birth and then won’t let you near the baby.

    What your mother in law did was love your child, in the only way she knew how. Be ashamed at holding her up for public ridicule for that.

    1. It’s a shame that some people have such poor reading comprehension. The author is actually a grandma now, and respects her son and daughter in law’s choices.

      Also, it was her husband’s grandma, not mother.

  101. I’m not even going to tell my “family” (i.e. blood relatives) that I’ve had a baby until the child is at least three months old. Family is not always the same to everyone. My friends, who are my family, and who I know will RESPECT me and my wishes and will support me will be there, but, nah. That’s why I’m moving halfway across the country.

  102. I come from a very tight knit, huge, hispanic family and I agree with the author 100% With my kids birth I was very welcoming, but even when my experience had been a certain way I understood that it didn`t mean all new moms should feel that way. My sister had a traumatic c-section and I literally stood guard by her door the minute she let me know she was feeling overwhelmed. I not only didn`t get my feelings hurt, I tried my best to defend her wishes for privacy. Bottom line is this, if its not your body that has been through hell and your baby that needs to be nourished from said body, always defer to the wishes of whose right it is in the first place. Believe me when I say that when my daughter’s comes I will offer her nothing less.

  103. Not that you at all need validation, but due to the vast number of negative comments, I’m going to leave some here anyway. First: your child is your child. That’s all anyone needs to know. Second: All of the judgment must be either coming from people who have forgotten what having a newborn is like or from those moms who feel the need to advise you on every little mothering topic. Bleckh! I’m so glad that everyone else had a magical post-partum, super happy fun time. Just like labor, each mother’s experience with their new baby is different. Third: I felt similarly. Most of the negative comments are about how evil their daughters-in-law are for excluding them. My problem was with my own side of the family and I only wish I had been as straightforward as you. The early days were so stressful and having people over most of the day was a nightmare.

    You’re awesome. I’ll stop now. God forbid I offend all the sensitive, flawless moms in this thread.

  104. Thank you for this important article. What should be clear is, if the mom doesn’t want visitors yet, that should be respected. Don’t just come over. Furthermore, if she doesn’t want others holding the baby yet, that is her right also. How much better this first meeting with the new great grandchild would have been, if great grandmother would have been respectful of the mother’s wishes, and let the new mom be in charge.

  105. Wow,I am absolutely shocked by some of the frankly hateful comments that are directed towards the author, because she dares to want a week to bond with her newborn infant…shame on you all!

    What is even more ironic, is that people are invoking the grandparent bond , yet completely ignoring the maternal one! The baby is a few days old- I think what the mother deems best trumps what everyone else thinks.

  106. I felt the same way with all 4 of my babies. I made the mistake with our first of having mother-in-law come to stay a few days after our baby’s birth. With our next 3 babies, I knew how I would feel and that we did not want or need help. I was not ready for visitors or well-wishers until long after their births.

    All mothers are different and have different feelings and levels of protectiveness with their newborns and their children. Who are these women to judge the author. Keep your harsh words to yourself.

  107. It’s really frightening to me that so many people seem to see no problem with the grandmother’s behaviour. It would be considered rude to walk up to somebody and take something from them, and then walk away when they tried to get it back. Why then, when it comes to a human baby who is far more precious than anything else in the world, is that kind of behaviour suddenly okay? I’m convinced that the majority of “alienated grandparents” in the world would have a wonderful relationship with their kids and grandkids if they simply just respected the choices their adult children make. If a new mom asks for her crying child back, hand the baby to her and be glad that she loves her child so much that she wants to comfort them, as any mother should. That new baby is in the care of their mother and father and as difficult as it is for so many grandparents to understand, they’re the ones who decide what works for them and their family. Those who can’t accept that end up ruining their chances at ever having a positive relationship with their grandchildren because it becomes incredibly difficult for anybody to be around them.

  108. Everyone seems to be commenting on how this affects the parent and adult family of the new born… What about the new born? Who for the past 9 months has only known one person – their mother… the only person who they loved from the inside. It is important to note that yes everyone excited by a new baby, but the baby too in the first weeks has a lot to come to terms with… breathing, seeing, smelling, hearing, pooing, clothes, nappies, hot and cold, feeding – the list goes on. A mothers instinct is to protect her baby, and new perfumes and smells of others can be discomforting for the baby coming to terms with this world. Take a moment and forget about the needs of adults and think about the new baby.

  109. Wow! Tears filled my eyes while reading this! All my life I’ve dreamed if being a mommy, bringing home my first baby the moment tat my husband and I got to connect with our little one that we created together learn her personality and learn how much she would change our world! We miscarried our first time and I struggled each month after when I got negative test! Finally a positive! Yay a baby on the way! My mom was certain my husband and Zi could not care for her properly and insisted on staying the first week of Grace’s little life, but my mom would ask do you need me to take over so you can sleep, or eat, or what ever the case may have been and if my answer was no I want to hold her she would smile adoringly at the two of us as to say I’m so proud of the mommy you are becoming! Every afternoon when my husband came home from work my mom would ship off to the other side of town to have coffee with my dad and to give my little family of 3 some family bonding time. I was so great full of the kind of way she helped me. Then my husbands mother insisted to come the second week. First she showed up a day early and basically pushed my mom out! Then. I could not hold my baby without her standing over me and narrating to the baby what was taking place such as” your mommy is holding you”. I’ve been carrying her for 9 months she knows who I am! If she cried while I held her she would walk over and rip her from my arms! I had, had a section and had issues doing simp,e things like getting out of a chair by my self! And one of the few things I could do comfortably was sit in my chair and feed the baby! And that was a great bonding moment for the two of us! On my mother in laws first day at the house I asked her to fix the the baby a bottle so I could feed her. She fixed her bottle then walked over to me took her from me and sat across the room feeding her bottle to her watching me sit across from her crying because I could not get out of the chair to take the baby baby back from her! After 4 days I called my mom crying asking her to come get me out of the house! She took me shopping and while in a store a lady passed us with a new born and my mom said that must make you miss the baby? I responded not really! My mom said oh no she has to go! When I got home I to,d my mother in law I’m ready to take care of the baby by myself I’d like you to leave tomorrow. When my husband came home she told him your wife is liking me out! My husband said well is that ok with you! I ran into our bedroom slammed the door and started to cry! He came I to room and asked what my Susie was! I said either she leaves or I do! She’s got to go! I don’t know my baby she never leaves me alone with her! My daughter is 6 and we still have boundary issues with her! My 2ed child I put my foot down and said she’s not allowed! She stands her distance with him! It’s important for new mothers to feel In control of their house and baby! Good luck new moms and stand your ground!

  110. I’m expecting our first child in the next two weeks, and we will not be having any visitors at the hospital (We’ll be there from 2-4 days after delivery.) We won’t be having friends over, or even announcing the birth until we get home (other than calling our families to let them know they have a new little member!)
    The initial response from both of our families was hurt, but after some time, and explanation that we want time to recover, initiate breastfeeding and get to know each other, our families have respected our decision, if not understood it fully. I think confusion and disagreements about these things can come from different experiences. When my MIL and her peers had their children, the nurses took their babes away for the whole night so they could sleep, they didn’t breastfeed. Our parent’s experiences were so different from what my partner and I plan to do, skin to skin, rooming in, exclusive breastfeeding, co-sleeping, that it would be very easy for our signals to get crossed, and have misunderstandings about what is helpful and welcome and what is not.

    I love both of our families, and we are so excited to have our parents involved in our child’s life, but our priority is our own relationship with our babe, and our babe’s wellbeing. Our parents need to understand that while we may confuse them sometimes by doing things differently, our choices come from a place of love for their grandchild, and what grandparent wouldn’t be proud of their son or daughter for working to be the best parent they possibly can?

  111. How I wish I had asked people to give us some space when we brought home our daughter! Some families thrive on visitors after a baby, and that’s fine. There is nothing wrong with a family that needs some space that week. Our large families, the Christmas season, our tiny apartment and our daughter being the first grandchild/great grand child/great niece/niece proved to be too much for me to handle, and most days ended with me in frustrated tears. All I wanted to do was sit and bond with my baby and breastfeed in peace. Instead I let well meaning family come over and play pass the baby when what I really needed was time to bond with my baby and a break from entertaining. I will not make this mistake again if we have another. And I won’t be sorry for it next time.

  112. I really wish that my grandmothers were around when I gave birth to my daughter but they weren’t. Why do you ask? They had both died many years before my daughter was born. Life is so short and one day when her grandparents are no longer living then she will miss them dearly. I wish I had more time with all my grandparents. A hour of her time is not going to hurt and oh how I wish a had an hour now with my grandmother. It makes me want to cry when I think about all the time I wasted while they were alive and not really appreciating them as much as I could have.

  113. Mothering is both natural instinct and learned. I feel the basic instinctual mothering emotions through this article. I felt many ways during my first daughter’s first weeks. The germs, perfumes, rhinestones, or whatever were like giant flashing signs to me – LEAVE MY BABY ALONE. Mama Bear is an unlearned response for me. I did not know it was there until IT WAS THERE. Thank you for writing this. <3

  114. Thank you for having the courage to write this and share this. As a new mother myself, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your sharing. Much love to you and your family.

  115. i had similar struggles with my mother after my kids were born. with my first, there were some issues and i never even bonded with her. there was a very sad feeling of relief to handing her over, as i felt unfit to be a mom. with my next two, it was better, and i absolutely felt that same need to be with them the first few weeks. i’m expecting again in a couple and hopeful the many conversations she and i have had since then will lend to a better experience this time. otherwise, i will tell my husband when my limit is reached and he is prepared to step in for me.
    side note- the potential need for mom to hold baby is 1 of 2 reasons why i don’t ask to hold anyone’s newborn for the first 4 weeks, sometimes longer. reason 2, i’m afraid to pass on germs!

  116. Just reading through your article (smut is more appropriate) gave me….to quote you “The hair on my arms stood up and my scalp prickled” What a cruel thing to do? The grandmother (she too was a mother once) did not stand a chance even before she stepped into your cave anyway. You never wanted her to visit in the first place and would have made all sorts of excuses regardless, even if you weren’t watching over like a vulture. Sure she could volunteer at some place but this is family. Moreover, to privately have these thoughts is so shaming already but your gall to post such is even more appalling. Feel sorry for your child and your terrorized husband.

    1. You know what? The great-grandmother wasn’t wanted that day. She had been told that. She had been asked to wait a few days.

      Why do her wants have more validity than those of a new mother?

  117. When my daughter was born I lived with my mother, she was helpful but did not take over. I’m eternally grateful for her at that time. When my daughter had here first child I was in the delivery room and so was my mom, we were four generations the minute he took his first breath! What an amazing experience we all had together. My mother and I took time off to help my daughter because her husband was out of state. She about to give birth to her second son and we will be taking time off again to help her with things around the house and the older child even the baby if she wants the help. If she or my son-in-law asked us to give them time alone, I would respect it. I might be a bit sad as I love my grandsons but it’s her family and her time not mine. I have three daughters and I will get to be a part of each of their adult lives and be a part of their children’s lives but i know it will be on their terms as they are the independent women I’ve raised. Thank you for speaking so openly about your experience. I’m sad to see such negative comments about your experience but people only want to see things from their view and can’t empathize as that’s how society has become…it’s all about the “me” generation. Congratulations on being a grandmother, it’s a great blessing to enjoy our children and their children. To see that what you did for them will come full circle as they begin to do for their own children.

  118. i really felt the need to comment after seeing so much annomosity about this. I am all about family and while some moms love the support and company, the point is you felt uncomfortable and that’s not acceptable. When I had my first son I spent the first week in the hospital and enjoyed my bonding time with my son. In early life skin to skin is so incredibly important for both infant and mother and to me that is a very private time. If the grandmother had been ill and the contact might be the only one I’d probably be more sympathetic I suppose but you are the mom, your comfort and the comfort of your baby is he most important. I really applaud you for sticking to your guns!

  119. i can’t relate to justy wanting to take i. Every moment of your little one for the first couple of days. To take in being a family. We asked family to wait till we got home to visit and ended up with very upset people. 🙁 In fact some family members are not the same anymore.
    But still I do not regret my decision.
    It’s too bad people could not respect our wishes.

  120. Some of these comments are shocking. This is her right as a mother and her right to privacy. Some people do not mind being surrounded by family shortly after. But most others I know including myself want the first week (or more) to ourselves. I learned from my first child that too much company was very overwhelming for me. The stress was so great I had a hard time bonding and it kills me to this day (11 years later). Think about it, you just gave birth and you are healing. You are sore and in pain, trying to figure out breast feeding and a schedule. We all have to remember how we were after giving birth. It’s not a walk in the park. Everyone deserves their right to privacy and sanity after having a newborn. No matter how long it takes. It does not matter how old or experienced other family members are. This is YOUR child and YOUR experience. Do what is best for you. Who the hell are we to judge the choices of others? The author is doing what is best for her child, and her own mental clarity. If she chose to have family over right away, I’m sure there would be more judgmental comments. Either way as mothers we can’t win right? What a great article. Looking forward to reading more. And please Laura (the author) continue doing what is best for you and your family, no matter what anyone thinks. Blessed be!

  121. My goodness! No matter what anyone else may think it is the decision and the RIGHT of the parents to decide who and when relatives can see their new baby. And even if they may not agree any respectful adult will heed the wishes of the parents I mean why would you try and force a visit to new parents who made it clear they wanted a week to themselves! It is absurd and I would be pretty damn pissed off if someone held my baby without even asking me first and them refused to give him back! You do not get between a mother and her baby or your just asking for it. A week is not a long time and quite frankly my doctor advised me not to let a lot of people around our son for the first week because their immune system is at it’s weakest then.

  122. So many of these comments focus on one extreme or the other, while what the author related was actually balanced. We all know how intense, emotional *and irrational* you can feel – even hour to hour – after giving birth. The author didn’t feel like hosting anyone, but when her grandmother-in-law arrived anyway, the author WAS able to treasure the older woman’s deep connection to her newborn. The problem was *not* a failure to appreciate family, but the grandmother’s assumption that the new mom needed someone to step in: “Don’t worry about your crying baby. You must feel like you have no idea what to do with him. Just sit down and relax. I’ll show you how to jiggle him ’til he quiets down.”

    The author herself acknowledged that the intensity of her reaction was over-the-top, making even her supportive husband wary. But that’s her point: whether she’s human or a lion, a new mother’s instincts about her baby can feel carnal and overpowering. So when we visit newborns, we can soften any barriers Mom has by reminding her that we, too, treasure this new life she’s brought into the world and are eager to see and hopefully hold her baby – but beyond that, we respect that she knows best what this baby needs and we want to take cues from her, not *take over*.

    That’s a good approach, even with an insecure, distressed new mom who *does* want help figuring out how to care for her newborn. She needs to be treated in a way that reassures her that she’s the expert on this particular child, not in a way that lords it over her: “I have more experience with babies than you do. Just watch and stay out of the way.”

  123. As a mother, currently expecting her third child, I can certainly say that I have felt those primal “mama bear” instincts. Especially when complete strangers try to touch my newborn baby without permission. I won’t allow my own mother in the birthing room anymore after her own instincts took over with my first birth & was trying to interfere with breastfeeding and my own bonding time with my child. But, that doesn’t mean that I will refuse my family & inlaws the right to see thier grandchild. With my last birth, I only wanted my husband in attendance, and had my family wait a couple hours to visit me in the hospital. That gave me time to get cleaned up & shower, and after that I felt so much better & was in the mood for visitors. I think what would help in situations like this is to CLEARLY express your wishes and boundaries to your family. If you need more time before visitors come, CLEARLY state that to EVERYONE. I had no problems setting boundaries with my second birth after the experience I had with the first. And as for relatives, and just about anyone who wishes to hold a newborn baby, I believe the proper ettiquette would be to ASK the mother if you can hold baby, before snatching them out of her arms, and when the mother reaches for her baby, GIVE IT BACK! If you don’t want the wrath of an extremely hormonal and protective mother raining down on you, DON’T ARGUE with her! She doesn’t care how many babies you’ve held in your lifetime, that is HER baby, and she wants it back, so if you value your life, you will hand the baby over when she reaches for it. Pay attention to the cues, if the baby starts crying uncontrollably after you take it from its mother, YOU WILL NOT Succeed in calming it down, no matter how many babies you have held, nothing compares to to comforts of its mother, so just give the baby back.

  124. I did not have time to read all the comments but for the ones I did read…I am literally in shock. First off this is YOUR child. You have every right to do what you felt was right in that instant. Second, his saddens my heart to read all the judgmental posts from complete strangers. What happened to honoring a person’s wishes and not judging them.
    I would have and have reacted the same way you did and I would not change it for the world. That innocent little bundle depends on you and their signal of distress was a cry. You reacted as most mothers would.

  125. When each of our children was born my husband would turn off the phone and leave a note on the door saying “no visitors” for the first two weeks. At the time I felt he was being very over-protective. But looking back, I now see that he was protecting his family the best way he knew how. And I am very appreciative of his doing this because it gave us the time and space we needed to bond as a family and to protect our little ones from germs. Not to mention to protect me from having a meltdown from comments or actions that I was not ready for. You have to do what is best for your “immediate” family and let the Lord handle any hurt feelings.

  126. I agree with you! When my Mother visited I made sure to let her know before coming that if anyone smokes (her or my hubby) that they have to wear a smoking jacket. No perfumes or strong detergents. The baby should be wrapped in a blanket if too small so their skin is protected. I have felt the same way & do not think that you were out of line.

  127. i have been reading some of the comments (about ten or more) and i hadnt seen anyone mention the fact that it is a new baby that has come into a world of germs. do you really want your new born with its small immune system being touched and kissed by others who have touched others? did the last person who touched your child wash their hands or face? how about clothes is it rough or does the person have a pet? they carry around alot of diseases (depending on pet) plus how do you know your baby’s allergies? did they just smoke? put hairspray or perfume/cologne on? Plus i don’t see how there can even be an argument here at all it is THEIR baby that was made by them! they have all the right to decide who and what touches their child or when that will happen everyone is different! i know my wife very well and i know she will not want to be near anyone for a while when we have our first child. she is a nervous and emotional person it would not be fair for her fragile and exhausted state after birth (and the weeks following) to thrust people and situations at her. these people are in their own right and shouldn’t be judged harshly for what they feel is best for them and their new little one. What goes on in your head no one maybe not even you will understand but what goes on in your heart will never let your family down. Congrats on the baby and good luck with those who dont get it.
    God Bless! 🙂

  128. You don’t need to justify how you acted or felt.
    For what it’s worth, I agree with you. My doula encouraged me to not even let anyone other than dad hold our daughter for the first two days, at least.

  129. I completely agree with the philosophy that family should wait a week or so before coming to visit the mom and baby. Unless they are coming to help, sometimes, certain family is energy consuming.

    When I had my first baby (I have 5 now) I asked family members to please give me a week or so to come and visit. I’d had a hard long labor, and was exhausted. They happily obliged.

    After my second, and third pregnant (one including twins) they were not as patient to meet the babies. I had many people visiting me all of the time, and staying for hours. I was exhausted, had other children to tend to, and care for (as they were all still small at the same time), and meals to make..long story short, I did not have proper “help” and the extra people were a lot.

    After each baby, my husband had to go to work almost immediately…although I love my family, and hubby’s too, the constant flow of people left me drained.

    I think that it’s lovely to have people over to come see the baby/babies, I also think that it should be customary (not to mention it’s polite) for potential visitors should call and ask ahead of time…unless they come to actually help the new mom – which in my case, it never was.

    For you OP the boiling point was the intrusion of grandma (even though she didn’t realize she was being intrusive), waiting a while would’ve probably been best.

    That’s just my two cents.

    1. More often than not, people tend to want to see the newborn and experience holding the newborn. What mom needs is not someone to take the baby off her hands, but someone to bring a meal, run an errand for her, clean her home or help with her other children. A friend who helps mom like that is priceless!

  130. My husband texted and posted on Facebook a very nicely written request. He thanked everyone for their excitement but asked to hold all calls, texts etc. That we would reach out as we became adjusted. The immediate family was invited to visit at hospital the next day no more than 20 min. (My daughter had jaundice so i only got to have her in three hour increments) they all had to be vaccinated for whooping cough and his dad a heavy smoker had to be smoke free. Not one single person cared and they were very understanding. We had a wonderful time. everyone is wired differently…some want total privacy…others would cram every single person in their delivery room….who cares…no one way is better than the other…do what is best for you and your new arrival…

  131. I just have to say that no matter which way works for you, I am disturbed by the number of comments that say things like “it’s MY baby” and make the baby sound like an object or a material thing that you have ownership of. This baby is a PERSON that in a few years you will not have such control over. Yes, they are your child, but they are not your property. And I hope people’s words just came out wrong and no one really means to sound like they’re speaking about a possession.

  132. And also I have to say that it seems like there are two different issues here. It’s not just wanting family around or not, it’s more about not wanting intrusive, rude family members around. I definitely understand not wanting toxic people around the baby. I think wanting to keep all people away is a completely different thing.

  133. That was really mean, while I understand that you would like family time and all that jazz, people come with good wishes. And if you treat people like that, My goodness. How do you expect them to bestore their good thoughts for you or your child. What would we say of the nativity then. People came visited and they came form far. GOODNESS..

    1. Yeah, like it’s her duty to please in-laws that cannot think for themselves and respect people’s need for space/intimacy. Like it’s more important what adults feel than what a newborn baby feels. Like it’s more important to abide to stupid social rules than to respond to the urge of long time, hard forged instincts.

  134. If she had just given the baby back the instant it started to fuss. No one would have went to a closed room. Some mothers are just more protective than others and all should respect that.

  135. I am glad you followed your instincts and took your baby back. A lot of moms would have just suffered through the agony of listening to their baby in distress, in order to “be polite” to the in-law. I agree with all who have made mention of the need for privacy and bonding during that very special time. Like someone else said, if the in-law would have come in to bring food/groceries, help out around the house, etc., and then sneaked a peak at the baby, that’s one thing. But to barge in uninvited, and take someone’s newborn away like that?! Inexcusable. I already told my husband that I’m not going to want anyone holding the baby for a little while after s/he is born. His mother is VERY over the top pushy, and knows no boundaries, so it’s going to be a challenge. But I will make sure to follow your example. Grandma will have plenty of time to bond with the baby afterwards.

  136. I almost lost two of my children to RSV because people could not respect the need to stay away from a newborn child if they had any symptoms of a cold. In fact, 5 years later, I’m still paying the hospital bills and dealing with the life long health problems severe RSV can cause. People need to understand the fragility of these precious little ones. I am at the point that if I have any more kids, everyone will be required to gown, mask, and glove up before they touch my baby. There is a very real danger posed to newborns by visitors.

  137. I have to agree completely with this article. I think it’s wrong to assume that your presence is welcome in the home of a new family. Wait to be invited, don’t invite yourself. There is so much adjusting that happens and so many hormones. With my first born, I wanted my parents and siblings to meet my baby right away. I let them hold my baby for a bit after they washed their hands but if she fussed in the slightest, I insisted on having her back right away. Anyone who tried to deny me that would have been met with the same response. Never deny a mother her new born child. I’d like to add, don’t wear a bunch of purfume when going to meet a tiny newborn. The mother doesn’t want her baby to smell like your purfume, she wants her baby to smell like her baby. I know everyone is different, but that doesn’t make it wrong to feel protective of your baby especially in the first week. I can’t believe so many people have negative things to say about this.

  138. Oh my gosh. I couldn’t even read all the comments. I find it incredibly sad that a new mother would have to defend her right to not have visitors until she is ready. Family is so important, but Grandma should certainly respect the parents wishes. My mother & mother-in-law would never presume upon us in that way. Yet somehow they still know just how important & loved they are.

  139. I just wanted to let you know that I totally support you! Post partum should be about the mother and child and their needs and wishes, not about anybody else’s. If you want to surround yourself with people go ahead, if not, that is fine as well. For me, I think that people should come bearing gifts and food and say: your baby is lovely, let me clean the bathroom for you!

  140. I just want you to know that I felt the exact same way in the first weeks. Hormones can be a crazy thing and I think thats what a lot of people are forgetting with their heartless comments. Ladies, PMS is one thing, but postpartum hormones are an entirely new beast and not everyone is the same. One person might loathe visits and be overprotective while the other might cherish them and could care less who holds their newborn. What matters is respecting the wishes of the mother and her family regardless of what you think should be done. People are all different and just because someone isnt like you doesnt mean they are wrong. Some of you need that lesson taught to you again…I think they start teaching that in grade-school.

    1. I completely agree. Nicely stated. My kids are 9 and 12 now but I so much appreciated my family for the respect and space when they were born.

  141. I can see the author’s viewpoint, but I don’t know…I wish I’d had some visitors. You know, those who said they would come and never did.

  142. Don’t feel guilty at all. My family had enough respect to call and ASK when they could see my babies AND if I needed anything. The grandmother being a mom herself could have been more sensitive. Child birth is no joke and after it’s over, you are not in the mood. Your body and mind have to adjust to a new role. Getting back to yourself might be easy for some but for others, pls give me a minute to breath.

  143. Lady, I wish I had read this before my first three children were born and realized this prerogative is an option. I 100% agree with all you said and completely empathize!

  144. “Politely urging to stay away.” My advice to people who don’t want visitors. Just say -WE DO NOT WANT VISITORS, WE WILL CALL YOU WHEN WE ARE READY FOR VISITORS. People who cannot understand those words, surely have something wrong with them, and will not understand this story anyways.

  145. I appreciated this article and TOTALLY support you. I was so saddened by many posts. So depressing that I had to stop reading them. Your baby is lucky to have a strong protective mother!

  146. Hi, omg how many hateful comments :/ Before i gave birth i told to my family, that the 1st month is time for me, baby and daddy, they are welcome to come and see the baby, but i did not want them to hold him. And after a month they can come over more often and cuddle him 🙂 I just wanted time for myself, to figure out my babies needs and my needs. I think you have more then enough time to bound with grandchild, if you want after the 1st month, or even later. My baby started to put his hands towards grandmother when he was 10months old, before he just wanted to play on the floor with grandparents, he did not want to cuddle.

  147. How about someone paying attention and having respect for baby’s needs too?!? Does a one week old crying baby sound like enjoying being taken away from his mother’s arms, the only being in the world that he/she knows and gets comfort from? Why is it always about adults feelings but there’s total disregard of babies feelings? How can ANYONE except the mother – who carried the baby for nine months in her womb, being one with him/her – know and feel what the baby actually wants/needs? We also tend to forget we’re actually mammals and that our instincts helped us survive and carried us through history, they shouldn’t be suppressed due to social accepted rules of politeness and stuff like that. Maybe that granny was really happy and had the best intentions in the world and didn’t want to do any harm but still, it was all about HER feelings, HER needs, HER ideas. If she was so good with babies how come she didn’t realize that she was making that baby uncomfortable? A newborn baby is not a toy and should be respected at least as much as an adult. If I grab an adult against her/his will and hug him/her without his/her consent, I should expect for some consequences. Why then should I be allowed to do something like that to a baby that cannot defend him/herself other than starting to cry? If an adult I hugged started to cry, I would immediately back off; but if a baby does that, I pay no attention to the message I’m receiving. What’s wrong with this world? Do we really have double standards, some for adults, some for babies? BABIES ARE PEOPLE TOO, NOT PETS!

  148. I am shocked by these comments! You are calling this woman selfish–for wanting a week. Really? That counts as shutting family out? Every family is different. We generally allowed limited visitation in the hospital and then the first 3 days home no one was welcome. It was important that we spend time with our new baby. ESPECIALLY after the second and third. Because at that point, it isn’t just about US bonding with our baby, our other children need to get used to the new family dynamic. Also-I don’t know about many of you, but my husband only got X amount of time off. SO to him, the time to bond really was precious. Yes, grandparents are excited, but their wants do not trump the parents. Look, I could see the intense reaction if she were to expect several months or something. But a week in the scheme of things is not that big of a deal. The baby will still be a newborn at the end of that week.

  149. I believe that everyone (grandmothers included) need to respect the wishes of the new parents. Also, I know way too may grandmothers who refuse to refrain from wearing intoxicating perfume and uncomfortable clothing when visiting newborns – it is NOT good for a baby. For some strange reason too many grandmothers seem to forget that cardinal rule of no one kisses the baby other than the parents. I have respect for grandmothers and MILs but not when they blatantly ignore requests made by parents. I commend this woman for sticking to her guns and her husband for supporting the decisions they made together.

  150. We took a birthing and infant care class and the nurses actually stressed the importance of this need for mother, father, and child to bond and get comfortably settled into a routine. Their recommendation was for the fathers to become the much needed “bouncers” and step into the role of ensuring that the child’s needs were met. They were happy to do so at the hospital but liked to see the fathers transitioning into being mindful of the need for such a role. I am so thankful for that advice and that my husband listened. When the line was crossed he spoke up so. They also explained that a hormonal new mother would likely tap into instinct over tact when provoked. The instinct is for the mother to meet the child’s needs. This baby needed to eat. What the baby needs trumps what anyone else wants every time. Mom probably wants a shower but… you see where I’m going with this. Case closed.

  151. I can see both sides of this and have experienced both sides of this with the birth of our daughter. While in the DELUVERY ROOM THE Night before my wife was diagnosed with HELP syndrome when she was admitted. So what was an already uncomfortable situation with my wife being a 1st time mother was now amplified X10 with the drugs they had given her to prevent seizures . Anyways the hospital we were at was amazing . Amazing I should say for MOM. Dad is an afterthought . Which I was ok with. Now my mother in law was up from FLA and we were in the delivery room together the night before . We knew the baby wasn’t going to be there till the following day so we had the night to contend with . Now throughout the night I was feeding ice chips soaking rags in cold water and doing all the other things I was put there to do . The only thing in the room for dad was a chair that leaned back into a bed I guess you’d call it . Well feeling bad I offered it to my mother in law and I was on the floor . Which after seeing the floor and what was on it post birth made me want to vomit . So after wrenching my back and getting no sleep it was around 6 and I knew it would be go time for my wife so I politely asked my mother in law . “Hey why don’t you go back to the house and let the dogs out and feed them” because I wanted this to be “Our” moment . I wanted this to be a story only my wife and I could tell. And she took offense to the fact that I had asked her to leave . For one of the 1st times in my life I was borderline rude to an inlaw cause I was not budging on the fact that her and I and the 20 nurses and drs that ended up in there were going to be the only ones . Well after the fact and with new life in this world she saw it was the right choice . Now on the flipside of all this my mom in law stayed with us the whole week and was very helpful with the transition period . And she knew when it was grandma time and mommy time . I think it all boils down to you as a person as to how you handle these situations .

  152. Thank you for writing this.
    On reflections of birth, I as a mom of one really believes that birth is about you and the baby. Birth is fantastic. The most intense experience I ever did. And we as mothers, good moms anyway, will spend the next couple of decades giving and giving and giving. And so to take the time at birth to focus on you and your baby is fine. In other cultures they take care of the mom’s. My husband’s niece gave birth and everyone helped out in the way SHE wanted needed. Some people like space. Some people like more social stuff. Neither is wrong. And good for you for doing what you wanted/needed.

  153. As I read this many thoughts went through my mind and many feelings as well. I hate to admit it but for a second I even thought “how rude” about moms reaction, followed by “poor grandma”, “rude grandma”, and many other thoughts but last 2 biggest were “I miss my grandma and wish she were here to have held the babies I had after she was gone” and then I wondered how so many moms, ladies, women with so much in common, so much to share, learn, support could judge so harshly, to judge a new momma, especially her 1st baby. Emotions are all over at that time. And birth, babies, baby coming home are very personal, emotional times. Some are able to open their homes right away, letting everyone in that wnts to be there and dragging a few that might be unwilling. My point is we should all respect eachothers choices for our families. The world needs more acceptance

  154. I really really wish I could feel bad for this mother, but I just can’t. My grandmothers are dead. My mom could really care less. My mother-in-law is dead. They don’t want to take your place. She was there, maybe an hour?
    I would have loved to have family want to come and visit me.
    I hope you grow a heart one day.

  155. This made me so sad, I don’t care if you are a new mother or not. Respecting your elders is a basic manner. You were rude to someone who loves you, no excuses. You could have chosen your words better and handled this so much better. This literally made me cry tears of sadness for your husbands grandmother. She is important and her feelings matter. She deserves your respect.

  156. Please everyone calm down and quit taking sides. She clearly said she needed time alone and that others didn’t and when visiting someone with a new baby respect their wishes. She was giving a perspective about how some women feel after giving birth. Postpartum is different for all women and some need lots of attention and others need to have time to be with baby and not entertaining. I relate to her because I felt like she did and entertaining most people was overwhelming. I also have a sister-in-law who feels the opposite and who gets very hurt if all extended family and friends don’t visit within the first two weeks. We each do it our way. I prefer to tell people I will call them when I am feeling up to visitors and then make sure that they get plenty of snuggle time when they are invited but I don’t deal well with pushy in any way. The overall point was to support a new mom in the way she needs supported. Visit a new mom when she invites you and ask when would be a good time to come and then come at that time, not according to your own needs. She may want you at the hospital and she may want you to come in a week or two. She will probably give you plenty of cuddle time if you are respectful about it.

  157. Wow. I’ve read the comments, and it boggles me that the great grandma’s feelings are being treated by many commenters as being more important than BOTH the new mother AND newborn! What the heck? Why is ggma’s feelings the most important thing here? Is she the one that went through labour, delivery, up at all hours, leaking, bleeding, stitched and sore? No? Then why is SHE being treated as the most important person in this? Would you expect anyone else, after having gone through a major medical event, to entertain ppl less than a week later? Really? Then why the heck do ppl put up such a fit when a new mother asks for time without visitors? Is the baby going to go stale, change colour or gender? Is it going to turn into a toad?

    Respecting the person who’s gone through a major physical trauma, who is still recovering from it, on top of being up with a crying newborn all hours of the day and night should be the *primary* focus, not who wants to visit and play pass-the-baby.

    Just b/c *you* wanted ____ when *you* had a baby does not mean that anyone else is oblgated to want the same things. Their new baby, their home, they get to set the rules.

    And anyone that thinks someone else is entitled to decide FOR them when they get visitors, etc, has some serious boundary and control issues.

    Decide what is right for *you*, *your* baby, *your* home, and allow others the exact same courtesy and respect. How hard is that?

    Just b/c someone is doing what is right for *them* does not mean that they are heartless, cutting out family, etc. They are, as new parents should, doing what is right for their new baby, and themselves. Anyone that can’t respect that obviously cares more for themselves than they do about the precious new baby in the world.

    It’s not the author that’s selfish. Its those that think they have the right to demand entrance to someone else’s home, to grab the new baby, and completely disrespect the baby’s needs…which are for the baby’s mother, and father. Nobody else *needs* to be there, as far as a newborn is concerned. Extended family WANTS…but they are not NEEDS.

  158. hmm… Very interesting to read the comments. First off, Thanks a lot for coming out and saying something like this which generates so much of reaction. As a first time mom, I have experienced these primal reactions. I am from India, and in many of our communities, the first 10 days after the child is born, except for the mom and a helper (who could be one of the relatives or the dad) no one is allowed to touch the baby. The main reason cited is the fear of infection. But after reading this article and the experience that I have gone through, I am now thinking, it is also to prevent such events from happening. We realise that the mother needs to spend her time with the child. In the olden days, even the dad was out of the circle, though he is now brought in and is allowed to hold the baby and help. People are allowed to visit, and see but not touch the baby. The author is very clear that she objected to the rhinestones (I loved this part, because I am usually not a very attention-to-detail person, but parenthood changed that) and how it would hurt the child. I have gone through this when people have visited and have held the baby and I have seen my friends go through it. We overcome this feeling of “people are out to attack my child” in a while. I love that instinct in us, which overcomes all other ties in the world… Kudos to you for this article…

  159. I also felt like I wanted to be alone in the first week or so with my baby, and because I live on the other side of the world, I got that.

    My baby was 5 months old before I could go home and my great grandmother got to meet him. I cannot express to you how precious it is to a person who has lived that long to be able to hold their own great grandchild. Nor how precious it is to my own son to have had a great grandmother for the first five years of his life.

    My great grandmother just passed away, and I would do anything to go back and have her hold my newborn son. Even for her to be overbearing with me, and snatch him away (she never would, but with my mother, she would have!)

    If you still have your husband’s grandmother in your life, please try and do everything for her to have a good relationship with your child – if not for her, then for your husband and your child. Time is short for the elderly, and we will find that the new parent insanity passes, and we WANT our children to have bonds with our people apart from us.

    As for me, I’ll be making a much bigger effort to make sure my child loves my mother-in-law the way I loved my own grandmother. And to my own mother, daughter-in-law to a very dominant woman, I will be eternally grateful for allowing that love to happen, and not pushing my grandmother away from us.

    Life is precious, old and new. Let’s not waste time.

  160. cudos to you for speaking up for your baby. My MIL insisted to fly over for the birth of my first child, but she could only stay 5 days. So i would have to give birth on or around her travel schedule! Not to mention, she wanted to bring her husband along, when we only had room/bed for 1 more adult. I had a major meltdown and she decided to postpone the trip 2 weeks after due date.

    She traveled by plane in the middle of the swine flu outbreak, smoked all the way home from the airport, showed up, didnt wash her hands, and picked up my two-week old baby from my arms WHILE I’m feeding him!!! I thought I was going to scream!!!

    Then after my husband served the three course meal he prepared for the guests, he proceeded to inflate the air mattress and sleep in the living room, I slept on the couch in the baby’s room, while the inlaws stretched out in our bed. We had to give them our bedroom during their stay, there was no other way to accommodate them. All we heard for months is how they were going to come and help. Great help!

  161. I am astonished at the ridiculous attempts to shame this mother for making decisions that were in her – and thus, her newborn’s- best interests. The numerous “it takes a village” comments are borderline hysterical…it doesn’t take a village (have you seen the state of our village lately?). It takes parents. This great grandmother will be but a fleeting “treat” in the infant’s life. Mom, however, will be this child’s world for the immediate future. Babies are not accessories, to be passed about like a new puppy, or shown off like a new car. They are tiny humans, deserving of respect and love, and that includes respect for the most important relationship in a nursing baby’s life – his or her mother. I write this with my two week old daughter nestled securely against my body- precisely where she needs to be. Against my instincts, we allowed visitors (at home, none at the birth center) when she was about 24 hours old. Things went mostly fine, but it was unnecessarily exhausting, and should we have more children, it will be weeks before we allow anyone in. There is absolutely no need to entertain guests with a newborn. No one but the parents have any legitimate right to or interest in a newborn. No one else is going to provide for or care for the child in those first weeks, and to act like there is some crazy sacred relationship between great grandma and a newborn is absurd. That newborn doesn’t care remotely about great grandma- the notion that great grandma needs to bond with the baby is perhaps the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard (and I’m an attorney…I’ve heard some dumb things). Newborns are operating on instinct and reflex, and great grandma doesn’t factor in. As others have said, the only thing being taken care of in this situation was great grandma’s ego. I applaud the author for putting her foot down, and shame on great grandma (who should have known better) for making the newborn and its mother suffer for the sake of her own ego.

  162. Everyone who has responded to this is correct ~ a mother is a baby’s primary lifeline, and the newborn period is precious, amazing, and stressful for parents and baby without the interference of outsiders to their family unit. I jealously guarded my baby’s first days and their time in my arms, and it was so absolutely obvious that they and we were the center of our family universe, and had a right to be. Nothing should come between my babies and me.

    And… for those of you who have not yet been on both sides of this, my granddaughter’s first weeks were among the hardest and saddest in my life. I STILL fiercely loved my babies with my whole being. One of them was going through something dangerous and amazing (childbirth) and I was excluded from the process, left to worry about her without being able to get to her. My grandchild was MY BABY also, and my love for her was every bit as powerful as my love for her mother as a newborn had been. And I didn’t get to hold her for more than my brief turn at it. It felt as if my heart was being ripped out of me. My love, my investment, my bond was just as strong, but my access was being controlled by others. Knowing that those others (my daughter and son-in-law) had the fully legitimate right to do this didn’t help my pain. I cried and cried, longing for access to my new baby.

    As a grandmother rather than a mother, I knew that my responsibility was to back off and take what I could get. My daughter and I have great communication and we processed awareness of all our needs. And I know that not everyone has the sense of responsibility I do and the communication my daughter and I do. This great grandmother may have behaved unfortunately because she didn’t know how to do better, but I expect that her NEED for that baby was every bit as strong and legitimate as the mother’s. My heart aches for her. I fully expect that if I am alive when my grandaughter has a child, I will love and feel connected and bonded to that baby of mine just as fiercely as I feel toward my own children and my grandbaby. And I know that I’ll be further down the line of those whose turn it is with that baby.

    This is hard, and the best we can do is try to understand each other and practice our best communication even when our feelings are at their strongest. The good news is that once the newborn period is over, everyone is more able to share their time with the baby. I get my granddaughter on Tuesdays, and for all day, she is my baby and our time together is our time. Tuesday nights, when I return her to her loving mother and father, whose arms are aching to hold her after their days away, is the saddest part of my week, and I still feel as if someone is making me release MY CHILD.

    Luckily, we grownups, while we’re all still learning, are equipped with the ability to think through how to best meet all our needs and how to put the baby’s needs first on the list. And how amazing it is to have the problem that so many people love this little person with all their hearts.

    1. Seriously? How can you claim that your love, investment, bond etc is equal to the baby’s MOTHER?! And NO, your granddaughter is NOT your baby. Nope, nope, nope, nope.

      I find it completely repugnant that a GRANDPARENT is claiming equal status with a parent.

      Grandparents do NOT have NEEDS about a newborn. They have WANTS. No grandparent is going to die, or suffer irrepairable harm from not seeing a new grandchild when they want. What a load of nonsense.

      That you feel so possessive over someone else’s child is terrifying.

      1. Not A Stepford Life:

        You really don’t get it yet do you?

        A grandmother has a very deep connection to her grandchild. Remember the feeling when your child was born that you would willingly walk through fire to save your baby’s life? Let me assure you, the heart of many grandmothers open in exactly the same way. I grew up with my grandmother and know she would have laid down here life for me.

        Frankly, it disgusts me to hear so many young mothers demean the emotional needs of grandmothers and the deep and abiding connection a grandparent often feels to her or his child’s offspring. Even more, it’s painful to hear how many women think it’s just fine to share “their” baby with their own mother but exclude, or relegate to second place, their partner’s mother. I see this all the time among my friends. The husband’s parents never get to visit on the holidays. They’re considered secondary to the wife’s family.

        I can certainly support keeping everyone else away during the first week or two, but not allowing your mother or mothering law see her grandchild, even on the first day, is cruel. It’s true. A grandparent is the one other person in the world who may love your child as much as you do. Like the overwhelming opening of your heart that takes place when your child is born, a grandmothers heart opens in much the same way. It may even be more poignant because we women of a certain age understand our mortality in a way we simply could not when we were of childbearing age. We know the swiftness with which the tai me will pass, and the odds of whether we’ll see our grandchildren make it out of grade school, much less enter adulthood.

        Karma has a way of coming around and biting us in the buns. Don’t demean the needs of a grandmother until you e experienced them yourself.

  163. I understand this mother entirely. She was protecting a new baby that had just been through a lot. Are people complaining on this thread thinking about the baby? Mother does know best. People need to respect new families, you can’t grab babies without being asked. Wait until offered, the mother may well have come to this point once the baby had got used to this new person arriving and the strong perfume smell that came with her. But in any case I think direct grandparents are enough the first week and perhaps close siblings. Wait your turn, have a little patience the baby will still be there next week.

  164. I am floored, absolutely floored, at the number of judgmental comments directed at both the mother and the grandmother.

  165. Thank you for writing this story. I too had a similar experience. when my baby was 2 weeks old, my father was dying in a hospital bed. And I had to choose to bring my baby around all these people, or stay home and miss those last moments with my father. What strikes me as being the same as this story, is that people don’t even ask if they can hold your baby, nor do they offer to wash your hands. And you’re left feeling like this rude person for having a freak out moment notwantingthe10th person to hold your baby. They just assume it’s ok, and try to grab them from you. The memorial was the hardest part with over 300 people everyone wanting to touch him. It’s about respecting others boundaries. Interestingly enough, the same woman that I snapped at for grabbing my baby, was the same woman who overstepped her boundaries by thinking it was ok to be there at my fathers last breaths with our immediate family. All she kept saying, was that’s it. That’s the last breath… It’s about being ok with setting boundaries, and shame on the other people for crossing them. Obviously many people, including the judgmental com mentors don’t get it.

  166. A week is a long time to ask family members to stay away & it’s quite heartless . But saying that I felt similar to the new mother . I m sure some gentle boundaries about times ect & not to stay too long would be understood rather than lashing strong words out . Emotions run high as a new mother so maybe dads need to step up and speak for there family . It’s a juggling act but you need your family as your baby gets older so you don’t want to burn bridges .

    1. I don’t see how a week is heartless at all. Would you expect anyone else, after having undergone a major medical event, to be entertaining guests the first week after they got home? Again, what’s going to happen in a week? Is the baby going to turn into a troll and vanish?

      Why is putting the needs of the mother, who’s recovering from giving birth on top of tending to the needs of a newborn, first so hard for ppl to grasp? Why is what they WANT more important than what the mother NEEDS?

      A week ISN’T much to ask, at all. Its ridiculous that ppl think that them getting to visit should trump the needs of a woman recovering from childbirth.

      I think trampling on what someone has said they need is heartless, b/c obviously the ppl don’t care at all about the new mom, and all about themselves.

  167. hmmmmmm, we had a privilege of grandparents / sil staying with us right after birth of all 4 of our kids for 1 week to 2 months with my mother /grandmother …….it was wonderful and so very helpful 🙂

  168. I was so fortunate to have the love and support of my mother, mother-in-law and grandmother after the birth of my babies. And especially after the passing of my newborn from Potter’s Syndrome. I’m having a hard time believing that you wrote about your husband’s grandmother in such a degrading and disrespectful way. I guess you enjoy his being afraid of your anger as you mentioned in your self-serving article. Wait 50 years and see if you feel the same. You don’t deserve company.

  169. I’m a mother of 3. At each of my births I felt differently. With my first daughter I wanted anyone and everyone there around us. I labored with over 15 people in and out of my room for over 12 hrs and ended up needing an emergency c-section. After I birthed that redheaded beauty everyone left (after pictures of course) and I didn’t see anyone for 5 months. With my son I needed some space. My parents and DH were there and we all enjoyed the bonding time. My parents left after we were situated and showed back up bearing gifts. My mil came when my son was 3 weeks old. One night she ended up walking into my dark bedroom in the middle of the night and taking my son from my room, feeding him formula, and letting me wake up to find her sleeping with him on my couch. We drove 12 hrs with our son at 6 weeks so my FIL could meet him, it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. We didn’t see them again (by their own choice) for a year! With my youngest daughter my mother came and stayed with me for three weeks starting the day I came home from the hospital. EACH of my births and EACH of my needs/wants were different with each child. Every woman has a right to decide when she is uncomfortable. I was a sharing queen with my babies from day one but one cry out of them and they came back to me immediately. If someone turned away from me with my crying child in their arms I might have said some choice words and maybe reacted badly. It wasn’t because I didn’t want to “share” but because that was MY CHILD who was CRYING and it’s MY JOB to soothe them. My children have wonderful relationships with their extended family and our friends. They love everyone. Me consoling my child doesn’t mean I’m being hateful or selfish or rude, it means I’m being a good mother. The hateful comments and plain negative comments are despicable. And truly this isn’t a black/white issue. My SIL had 100 people at her house when she came home with her first and more than that when they brought their triplets home. She hasn’t had a moment alone with her children in 11 months and LOVES IT. People from church and her community spend the night there almost every night of it’s not my mil. And she’s WHITE!

  170. I think the Author was in the right. When I gave birth to my son two years ago, I felt the same exact way. I had overbearing family members on my ex’s side bombard me once we returned to from the Hospital. My ex mother-in-law wanted to take my newborn overnight that very same day and tried to convince me that breastfeeding will make my son fat. My ex’s aunt offered to watch my son for a couple of hours so my ex and I could go out for a date night- my son was a week old at the time. My ex let everyone come over one day and played ‘pass the crying baby.’ I was ticked and I kicked everyone out. To this day, I believe his family still thinks I’m crazy for telling everyone to leave. Back then, the only family members I was comfortable with were my family. They let me be the parent, and have my own space with my son. My grandmother, my aunt and my mother were completely supportive with my decisions of breastfeeding and offered so much help where my ex fell short. So the new mother was in the right. Family or not, have some respect for the new mother and the child. The Great-mother should have called and asked; if she had, then the Author wouldn’t have felt like she had to defend her baby. There will be plenty of time for the family members to bond, this precious time is for the parents and baby.

  171. Grandma to your husband is the GREAT-Grandmom to your baby, she is a direct ancestor, and part of the reason for your having your husband and baby! Hormones to rule after birth, so use your mind, forgive the woman already!

    My own experience is ask the new Mom if you may hold her baby, always ask a Mother if you may hold, touch, or look into a carriage.


  172. I had our parents and my brother at the hospital during labor. Not that I expected them to be there but they knew if they wanted to hold my bundle, they had to have clean hands. I definitely would’ve told her no strong smells like perfume should be worn because babies noses are super sensitive plus I don’t want to smell that crap either. Everyone knows if you want to hold my baby you ask first, you don’t snatch. I carried him, I want to spend those first few weeks getting to know MY baby.

  173. I’m with you 1000%, Sister! We are expecting our first in about two weeks and will set up very detailed guidelines about visiting, contact with the baby etc. If anyone doesn’t like it, well, that’s their problem. I’m not risking my child’s comfort or health for anyone.

  174. Your mother-in-law is an abuser. I hope you never let her have any contact with your baby again. At least not until he’s old enough to decide for himself of he wants to see her.

  175. I honestly don’t blame you for your reaction. She had no right announcing her visit, snatching your child away, then bouncing his precious face against her rhinestones. People have no respect to new moms. We apparently don’t know what we’re doing. I understand her wanting to visit asap, but I don’t understand her blatant disrespect. And no, it isn’t “the poor old granny, if it wasn’t for her your son wouldn’t be here”. It’s “though she is obviously important to your family’s life, she still needs to reflect your wishes.” I would’ve done the same thing as you did, if not worse.

  176. Ha! Your reaction is perfectly normal. I’d have done the same. I find it rude and agitating when someone would just snatch your baby from your arm and refuse to give it back once the baby started to cry. In my culture, if a friend or family wants to hold your baby, they ask permission first or wait for you to hand out your baby to them. When and if the baby started to fuss or cry a little a bit, they quickly handed the baby back to you. My experience with my other half ‘s female family is the opposite. When we used to visit them, grandma gets to hold the baby and oftentimes I had to pry my baby from her arms after if feels like 15 minutes of crying because if I don’t, she would sit still in that chair of hers and keep trying to quiet my baby, even the fact I am there sitting next to her.

  177. I agree with hiw the author reacted. People need to respect boundaries. You should ask permission to take or even touch someone’s baby (no matter what the relations) and you should always ask if it’s ok to drop in. I find it disrespectfull that people take pregnant bellies and babies to be public domain and never ask permission to touch

  178. When the overbearing nature of raising a child finally gets to you and you need help, I hope that Grandmother or really anyone does NOT come to your aid. I mean it sounds like all you need is the 3 of you so you should be okay but thats just unbelievably shitty to do to your husbands Grandma. Shes raised kids, obviously she knows them and for a woman who wont be able to, like you state in this horrible account, live to see this baby grow into a man this is just the absolute worst thing to do to them as they took the time, their heart, their love to show your baby, your husband, and yourself that she supports and loves you all. Pathetic showing that would have best been kept a secret cause now not only do I feel sorry for that Grandmother but the baby and the entire family thats going to have to deal with this mother bitch for the rest of time.

  179. I think you handled that situation well! Your child is an individual, and you are the child’s advocate. Family is important, but in my view your spouse and children take precedence over all other family. To me, those who are offended by your treatment of the grandmother are ridiculous – being near your child is a privilege, not a right, no matter what that person might have done for you.

    When my wife gave birth, we were planning on doing the same – but then she needed a C-section after 30 hours of labor, and I’m so thankful my mother could come out to the hospital to help us as we were completely exhausted. However, as soon as we had a chance to recover, we withdrew into our little triangle for first-week bonding. We weren’t rude or ungrateful, but we did what we believed was best for our little girl and my wife, and we made it clear that if any of our family chose to make hour drive out to us, the door would be locked. Once we felt that both of them were ready for it, we happily welcomed visitors.

  180. This is a wonderful empowering post, letting mothers know that we can make a choice. Many people are excited for you, but it doesn’t give them the right to control this moment and make decisions for your family. My husband and I struggled and still do with both sides of our family, we feel so torn and have to fight to keep our own family time. We felt the pressure of people’s expectations after the birth and had to sit people down and explain our position as one parent declared (not asking) they had saved up annual leave and would take it after the birth to care for our baby! No thought that we might not feel comfortable with this or if we needed it. They also came for hours to visit in the hospital and claimed that because they had driven for more than 30min they had the right to stay longer than other people who hadn’t travelled as far when visiting. My son has a great happy realationship with both grandparents, but he also doesn’t stay the night nor did they have to change his diaper when he wore one. I feel that there are many trolls writing on this post who need to keep their narrow minded judgements to themselves. Let mothers and new family’s make their own choices and be comfortable and happy. Maybe then you will be invited for a hold!

  181. I would have done the same thing. As a matter of fact, I let everyone (with the exception of my sister’s and my mom and my husband’s mom) know that we would not be having visitors the first week. And I will add that people seemed to understand and it didn’t affect my relationship with anyone.

  182. I felt compelled to respond to this, after so many people have condemed! I am a mother of one, hoping for another in the future, and I limited visits to our home in the first weeks with our baby girl. If she was asleep when people visited i would ask she be left, most people did this naturally anyway. Everyone is different though. I had a couple of days in hospital, where only my hubby, our paents & selected fanily visited, again we limited it to suit us. One our arrival home my sister, who had not visited having had a miscarriage during my pregnancy, met us at our home and spent time helping us settle in, giving advice and bringing supplies we did not know we would need (she had a youngster). This was our choice and it greatly reduced the pressure on my darling sister without anyone else around. She became my rock during those first weeks. Im lucky my family are so understanding and we are all close, but nobody should be condemed for thier need to be with their child, and certainly not by other mothers who know how strong the maternal instinct is!!!! Why should people be allowed to force their way in if it is unwanted? Respect for the new mother & her needs is the most important thing.

  183. Thank you for writing this article — it sums up everything that I felt 100% when my baby was born. It’s a precious bonding time between the parents and the baby.

  184. I am so glad this is not a member of my family.
    This is just telling of how far we have come from a natural family.. This baby is ALSO their baby. He comes from their family line and is so important to them. How can the Mama be so selfish and hard hearted against family who are also important for the baby to belong and feel loved. It really is not YOUR baby. He belongs to two long lines of family that go much beyond just the Mama. That he is part of a story of epic proportions is the very thing that will sustain him when things become difficult in his life. There will always be someone to turn to. Do not isolate the little spirit in the child from all that can be. We do not OWN people. We SHARE people… I would feel ashamed if this were my daughter writing this article.

    1. @ tara, concerning this baby not belonging to the parents but to the WHOLE two long lines of family. You and I must be on different ends of the spectrum here. I can see what you are saying in the sense of our bloodlines, but when it comes to a newborn crying for his mama, I draw the line. (Uhm, hello, have none of you who are writing such vehement comments to this author remembered that her baby was CRYING for her and Gma refused to return the baby!?!?) Back to my comment to ‘tara’: I deal w/ family members saying that they don’t want or son to be left-handed; don’t want him to do this, or that, DO want him to do this, or that, glad he doesn’t have red hair b/c they don’t like red hair, they don’t like chickens so they hope he doesn’t either; same for Mexican food. It’s just endless stupid stuff and I am beyond sick of it. I say, he is MY and MY HUSBAND’S child, not anyone else’s.

    2. you are insane if you think my babies actually belonged to anyone else. unless you were involved in the making of my children and then carried them for 40 weeks, endured 13 heartbreaking miscarriages – nope, you don’t own my kids in any small way, shape or size. my children are MINE and mine alone, along with my husband. my family is a bit complicated because i am adopted so actually your way of thinking completely disregards my adoptive family because they don’t have genetic ties to them. but that’s besides the point. my kids are mine. mine to raise, mine to expose to whomever, whenever i want to. and i chose to have no visitors at the hospital. my kids, my 40 weeks, my life. i’m one of 2 parents. no one else.

  185. Everyone is quite passionate about this topic! Everyone’s situation is different….& people are all wired differently. So everyone has different needs when it comes to pregnancy & the postpartum period. Some people need & crave privacy & some people want their family & friends to be with them. I think we all need to remember that everyone is just trying to do their best…& that looks different for each family. The mother here was not ready for company & so great grandma should have been put off for just a few more days until everyone was ready.

  186. It’s no ones business to judge anyone. This is a personal decision no matter what. I think this mother was well within her rights to speak up. Actually, it should have been the husband who told the grandmother that she HAD TO give the baby back immediately. Imho

  187. I am bewildered by the outrage bestowed upon this author, mother, woman or any deserved title given to her. Most people cry privacy for many life circumstances that the liberal ideologs embrace. This new mother whom stands up for family values in creating her own family and all hell breaks lose with the venom of demons spewing upon her.

    Every new family has the right to define their own boundaries and rules that establish who they are. My own daughter requested that no one come the first few days and I totally understood. I had my five children and understood the intense need for a new mother to freely embrace this new chapter in her life.

    It is fair to share your own story however the need to cast your judgements and venom should be cast on the one that hates families Satan himself and not any family working to make theirs evolve and grow. Unkind words are not welcome.

  188. Thank you so much for writing this!! I felt the same way after my daughter was born at home. My boyfriend’s dad and step-mom dropped by the day after she was born unannounced. Even though we had dated two years before the birth of our child and we lived five minutes away from each other, I had only met them a handful of time for 10 minutes or less. When they showed up, I was struggling to get my daughter to have a good latch. I had pulled an all-nighter the night she was born, so I was exhausted, sore, and not in the mood to entertain people. I didn’t want to come out of the bedroom. I asked my boyfriend to ask them to leave.
    I also felt like I wanted a few days to adjust and enjoy our baby and new life. The people I wanted to see first were close friends and family. I got soooo much flack for it. Some people called it selfish, but I think every mother knows what is best for herself and family. One thing I’ve embraced since becoming a mother is listening to my intuition. If you want visitors- great! If you don’t for a while- great! Once a baby is born, they aren’t going anywhere. That baby has a whole lifetime ahead of him/her, and plenty of time to meet extended family. If I have another baby, I plan on doing the same thing. Thank you for writing this. I’m glad to know I am not alone.

  189. I cant believe all the outrageous comments on here. The baby was obviously NOT happy in the grandmothers arms!
    The bond of the mother/father/baby is the absolute most important. I am not against extended family sharing a little time, but I am speaking from the standpoint of less than 24 hrs old, I had to fight extended family members to hold MY OWN BABY! No respect for nursing privacy, no respect for us needing a little quiet time. My MIL even got up and announced she was taking my baby outside in the hallways for a walk! What!? Who does that!? I protested and was ignored; protested again and was told by an aunt to hush; protested again and finally, after a few minutes, my baby was returned to me and I am now seen as the difficult one.
    What is w/ other people grabbing my baby from my arms and practically running away?? So yes, I get where this author is coming from. I get it.

  190. @ tara, concerning this baby not belonging to the parents but to the WHOLE two long lines of family. You and I must be on different ends of the spectrum here. I can see what you are saying in the sense of our bloodlines, but when it comes to a newborn crying for his mama, I draw the line.
    (Uhm, hello, have none of you who are writing such vehement comments to this author remembered that her baby was CRYING for her and Gma refused to return the baby!?!?)
    Back to my comment to ‘tara’: I deal w/ family members saying that they don’t want or son to be left-handed; don’t want him to do this, or that, DO want him to do this, or that, glad he doesn’t have red hair b/c they don’t like red hair, they don’t like chickens so they hope he doesn’t either; same for Mexican food. It’s just endless stupid stuff and I am beyond sick of it. I say, he is MY and MY HUSBAND’S child, not anyone else’s.

  191. Blah blah… Too many personal stories no one really cares about, bottom line, I hope your kid is older now and healthy and I also
    Hope you feel guilty for making an ass of your self. I get it, hormones and all that I hope the great grandmother can relate and forgive you. You should have snap pictures of the encounter as it is great the kid got to see her. A simple, don’t kiss him and wash your hands would have been enough. Anyway many postpartum moms ruin their relationships with their family being that way. Family is family, and sometimes you just have to suck it up as long as your baby is not in danger. AND if you are going to be an ass to your family so be it, but don’t wonder what they aren’t part of the kid’s 1st birthday or entire life cause it is a 2 way street. If the kid was born Early and had complications or such I understand, if that wasn’t the case well, too bad for your attitude. Hopefully she can forgive you.

    1. if you don’t care, why reply? get over yourself. it’s HER child, she’s the mom and she has the only say so. i feel it was rude of the grandmother to ignore her request to hand her the baby and assume she could quiet the baby who only wanted his mum. you are the one being an A#$

  192. Hi Laura,
    Thank you for your honesty in this post. I am approaching the arrival of my first little one in a couple weeks and am doing some searches for benefits of holding off visitors for the first THREE weeks after babe is born – I can just imagine what some of the people with responses above would think of me!!! I am a holistic doula. I completed my training with really wonderful midwives who recommend holding off on any type of visitor for the very example you shared. It is not all that crazy in more traditional societies to give mom and babe 40 days of uninterrupted time together. This is such an important time for healing, bonding, and balancing of hormones. It is our Western Culture that expects too much of new families. Regardless of How the situation was handled with grandmother, the point is that you were not ready for unexpected guests and that’s OK… we’ve all made snap decisions on too little sleep and wonky hormones and add to that some new momma bear qualities – it’s a recipe for the unexpected.
    I thank you for sharing an example of WHY it is OK to say no to visitors. If you can’t be yourself around them (in whatever form that takes) then they can wait longer to hold babe. It’s simple. It’s mom and partner’s choice.

  193. Bravo, Mama! Here’s to doing what’s best for your baby, even if it’s unpopular. FWIW, in my hormone-addled state, I felt exactly the same way as you when I had a newborn; the thought of entertaining well-meaning family members while caring for a high-needs 4th trimester infant made me feel like I would unravel completely.

  194. The only thing that matters in this situation is the baby…a baby who only knows how to communicate by crying. If the baby is upset and can be comforted by mom, why would anyone disagree with the baby not going to it’s mother??? To ‘get over it’ as some suggest means to push aside the very instinctual feelings a mother has to comfort her baby and the instinctual NEED a baby has to be with it’s mother. I remember the feeling I had when people came over and wanted to be the ones to comfort my daughter. I knew what she needed, how to calm her reflux, how to help her relax and be at peace. To suggest she leave her crying baby with someone simply to satisfy their selfish desire to be the comforter is ignorant. I know this is an older post but I just needed to tell the author that I commend her honestly and see her actions as being selfless…focused on her baby. I hope those of you worried about ‘what other people will think and do’ learn how to be as selfless as her.

  195. I wish I had had more confidence to stand up for myself and my baby when he was born 5 years ago. Although I was in a DV relationship at the time. My ex-inlaws and ex BIL walked into the birth room while my son was starting to crown and stood down the business end to watch. When the cord was cut, instead of letting him have bonding time with me and to get his first feed, he was snatched off my chest for photos. There is not a single photo of me with my newborn, only of the grandparents, father and uncle who by their choice aren’t involved in my sons life anymore. So, having a week or 2 after childbirth to recover and bond with bub sounds extremely good to me!

  196. Oh my goodness, I had to stop reading the hurtful comments because I know exactly how this feels! Every mother and father’s experience is different so I find it upsetting that people have been so judgemental. A mother’s protective instinct is very strong. I really wanted a protected ‘ babymoon’ period at home but we were overwhelmed with well -meaning visitors. I am sure that my hormones were all over the place and it was very stressful for me. We had company during baby’s naps so we’re even more exhausted by the time they had left. I remember the feeling when others held my baby and she cried for me. It was heartbreaking. This article rang very true for me, thank you for your honesty.

  197. Your article, and the subsequent comments, made me feel like I needed to write to you. I, too, felt like I needed time to be with my babies after they were born and felt feelings I’d never experienced before when others would take them out of my arms. I wasn’t prepared for the level of my emotions and I’d never thought that such emotions were possible or even likely. But each time they were held by another I felt such an aching feeling, such jealousy, and so so much loss. With my first in particular I can now understand at least part of my feelings. She had been made on the back of a miscarriage and I was convinced that between Drs appts that she’d die, as the first baby had. I lived for our Dr appts as I could hear her heartbeat, but I still sure I’d never be blessed with the chance to hold her and raise her. When she was born I was so shocked that she was alive that I thought she must’ve been someone else’s, until they put her in my arms. That moment my life changed. I felt I couldn’t be apart from her, I needed her as much as she needed me, maybe more in a way.
    I wanted to show her off so badly, yet I didn’t want to let others hold her. That lasted a little while, a week or so. Unfortunately no one paid me any mind and she was taken from my arms a lot while I was forced to sit and be polite and reign in what I now know are perfectly normal emotions. With my second it was easier, I knew much of what to expect, I knew I could make myself heard that time and I did. I kept visitors out and away until I felt ready to share my newest miracle. However, I found a new problem which was explaining and being unmovable on how she was fed. With both I breastfed, but with my second my MiL was insistant and hurt that she couldn’t feed her. Nothing worked in the explaining, but I got better at ignoring her hurt expressions.
    Anyway, I got quite carried away with this when all I really wanted to say is all the people being awful about this don’t matter and you are definitely not alone in feeling these feelings. I hope they haven’t caused you too much distress. Happy New Year 🙂

  198. As a midwife I often intervene for a mum overwhelmed by relatives and friends. We are animals and our instinct is to protect our young. I am heartened to find that instinct alive and well. Protect your baby no matter what or who is offended.

  199. Its so accurate the exact moments you described..i experienced it just less than 1 month ago. Its torturing that my in laws and husband’s relatives are all over the place every few days and giving lots of their advice and degrading remarks. They claim to come and help, but they just need to know I need peace at home and not seeing them every few days. They were staying over for 3+ weeks and during this days they were having flu and coughs which eventually my poor newborn too contracted their flu and we had to rush the baby to hosp for fever.
    This things is difficult is there’s nobody on your side to support you , even my husband who’s all the time on his family’s side and never around wt me. I had to cope wt the stress of everything, fm learning to take care of baby, to entertaining their constant demand to come over the house. They ASSUME things for me which irritate me, When they are around, also I was neglected for their interest if just to play wt baby and for the welfare of me like preparing food, teaching me how to take care of baby or even my emotions are all screwed up by telling me that their son (my husband) should have minimum disturbance in taking care of the child (its me who should do the dirty work , as he needs to concentrate in his work. Even I had a csec, with the pain and exhaustion, my poor breast was vehemently forced to do direct latch by my mother in law scolding me telling me the way I should breast feed. She practically take my breast and stuffed it into my baby’s hungry mouth. I bleed and my husband didn’t give much support emotionally.

    So, with this terrible experience up till now, It gives me the negative feeling becoming a mom.

    1. I find it interesting that you seem to just mention anyone that is an in-law. If you have those type of attitudes about your husbands family then I understand why your husband isn’t supportive. I have a daughter in-law who only seems to recognize her family as anyone of importance and not her husbands side. Personally it is very offensive to me. I get tired of being treated like I am just anyone, instead of being treated with respect as a grandma to my granddaughter. Shame on you!

      1. seriously, did you read her comments and how overbearing they were? also, she said there was no one on her side. perhaps she doesn’t have any of her family around her. you had your kids, you aren’t the mom, enjoy being a grandmother and quit being as nasty as you are to people who aren’t handling things the way you would. YOU HAD YOUR TURN. move on.

    2. I’m so sorry you were treated that way! I totally get the husband taking his family’s side when he should be protecting you!

  200. I have read this article and comments. Where I understand the mother wanting time with her child, I still found it very sad. I really felt disrespect from her for the grandmother. That made me feel sad. I didn’t let just anyone hold my children after birth, but grandparents were the totally welcomed. After all, they were the reason I even had that child in my arms. Without them my husband or I would not be around, nor would our baby.

    I guess the thing that hurt me so much as I read this (and it made me cry literally). How I wish my own grandmother would have been around for when my first child was born. I would have loved her wrinkled check against my child as she kissed him. I would have loved her perfume wrist holding my child. I would have handed her a burp rag to cover the jewels on her sweater that my child’s face was up against. I would have rest easy knowing that generations were coming together at that time. My grandma raised 7 children, had 13 grandchildren and I don’t even know how many great grandchildren. She wasn’t a beginner at the mothering thing.

    But my grandma couldn’t be there. She passed away just a little over 2 years before my first child was born. I long to have had my grandmother hold him/them. I never got to have that wonderful experience of the generations coming together and my grandmother kissing my child just as she kissed me when I was that age. If you didn’t want this to sound disrespectful then maybe some of the descriptive words needed to be left out, because it sounds totally judging from that new mom. I’m glad I wasn’t the only one that was sensitive to that either.

    1. I also need to add that I welcomed my mother-in-law, and grandmother-in-laws the same love and respect about my child/children that I would have my own grandmother. They did the mothering thing long before I ever did. Again, that child was apart of them too.

  201. I have read this article and comments. Where I understand the mother wanting time with her child, I still found it very sad. I really felt disrespect from her for the grandmother. That made me feel sad. I didn’t let just anyone hold my children after birth, but grandparents were the totally welcomed. After all, they were the reason I even had that child in my arms. Without them my husband or I would not be around, nor would our baby.

    I guess the thing that hurt me so much as I read this (and it made me cry literally). How I wish my own grandmother would have been around for when my first child was born. I would have loved her wrinkled check against my child as she kissed him. I would have loved her perfume wrist holding my child. I would have handed her a burp rag to cover the jewels on her sweater that my child’s face was up against. I would have rest easy knowing that generations were coming together at that time. My grandma raised 7 children, had 13 grandchildren and I don’t even know how many great grandchildren. She wasn’t a beginner at the mothering thing.

    But my grandma couldn’t be there. She passed away just a little over 2 years before my first child was born. I long to have had my grandmother hold him/them. I never got to have that wonderful experience of the generations coming together and my grandmother kissing my child just as she kissed me when I was that age. If you didn’t want this to sound disrespectful then maybe some of the descriptive words needed to be left out, because it sounds totally judging from that new mom.

    1. I am so thankful that my family is not like the author of this article. I was a grandma at 38 and great grandma at 60. I am so happy that I was welcomed into their lives from the day they were born, even was invited to be in the room to experience the birth of one of them. How sad it must be for someone to not include the people that love them so much with the joy of a new family member. Now I will say I would never snatch a newborn from their mothers arms but this probably was not really the case. Just sad. I respect the time to bond but most parents are proud and love to share the joy. JMO

  202. I agree that the new parents and newborn need time alone to bond. How long though? Our first grand daughter is 3 hours away. We saw her briefly when she was born and came back for a day visit when she was 2 weeks. Since then the parents dont want us to come visit again for another 4- 6 weeks…..even for a short visit. We are trying to understand but our hearts are broken.


  203. Overprotective much? As you point out, she is your husband’s grandmother, meaning she has already raised at least one child and been grandmother another, presumably wearing perfume and rhinestones all the while and those babies did just fine. I’m all for a mother’s choice but to speak so disrespectfully to an elder is a shockingly poor example for baby.

  204. I first read this article when I was still pregnant with my first child. I’m reading it again now that he’s here and I have to say that I can completely relate to your feelings regarding your grandmother-in-law. Don’t let any of these commenters who are reacting negatively to your story invalidate your feelings. I made the mistake of giving in to my very sociable husband in the first week after his birth and allowing visitors to the house. These were family members (on my side even!) and friends I had known for years and every single time felt like an intrusion I couldn’t explain. These were people that I loved and yet I didn’t want them here. I was tired, new to being a mom, and I could barely sit down to have a conversation because I was so sore. During a visit from my uncle and his girlfriend, I eventually ended up hiding out in the bedroom with my baby, crying hysterically (me, not the baby). My husband came up to check on me and I think that’s when he realized how upset I was about people coming to the house. He insisted that I could rest while he and the baby visited with people, but I told him it wasn’t about that. I literally couldn’t cope with people, even family and friends, passing my baby around and ogling him. My husband acquiesced to no visitors for the next week. We even cancelled visits with two other friends and my own sister, and you know what? I don’t feel guilty about it at all. I needed that time and it sounds like you needed it, too. I mean, think about it. For nine whole months you nurture that child safely inside you, where no one else can touch him. You go through the painful ordeal of getting him out. Now he’s here, and suddenly you realize he isn’t as safe anymore, anyone can touch him, hold him, pinch his cheeks, make him cry. And here you are, the new mother, overwhelmed, emotionally and hormonally attached, trying to figure out this tiny person while trying to physically heal from a major trauma, and people are asking you to deal with more. But you know what? Eventually you get over it, you start to feel not so overwhelmed, your body heals, and then you can open your house again and have people to meet the baby. Making them wait an extra 7 days (or whatever you need) isn’t the end of the world. After the way I reacted this time, I’m going to insist with any additional children that the first week or two is bonding time, and I’m still not going to feel even a little bit guilty about it.

  205. I can totally relate. As a first time mom (and then 2nd and 3rd), no one was allowed to visit us at the hospital. That was sacred time for our own little family unit. The first hour after birth when all the nurses left (after having brought me food!), was amazing. I can still feel the sun on my face and see the room lit with morning light after all quieted down when my last child was born. It was just me, my husband and our new son. If the mom that wrote this felt that way about the first week, guess what??? It’s her baby and her home and she is the mom. The grandmother, having had her own kids, should have given that baby back to her when requested and not walked away. I feel it was rude of the grandmother to think she could usurp the mom in this situation. She was probably nicer than I would have been if someone had interrupted that solace. You don’t agree with it, then don’t. Not your life. Thankfully we all get to live our own lives how we want to and not by how someone else wants us to!

  206. My in-laws showed up at the hospital even before my son was born and then pranced into the labor room not 15 min. after having our child. THEN, my mother-in-law was at my house to “help” when I came home. So much for the “little family unit”. With my second child, my M-I-L CAME to the hospital with my husband to pick us up. Once I got over my hormone rage at both incidents (both probably took at least 2 weeks), I realized that this was exciting for the grandparents too. I have come to absolutely love my in-laws and their involvement in my son’s lives!

    1. Now, being on the Gramma side of this, my husband and I were welcomed by both sons/daughter-in-laws to be there right after they had our grandbabies. I was careful to make sure that it was ok……….especially since one of my d-i-l’s had twins ~ one vaginal and one c-section. Thank heavens they were all happy with the help and meals!

      1. The mama in the article didn’t get help and meals though. She got someone acting like they knew how to calm her baby better than she did, who didn’t ask to hold the baby, and actively turned away as mama was trying to help the baby.

  207. My experience was completely opposite. My mother, mother-in-law, sister-in-law and my sister with her family, came to visit me in the hospital where they all took turns holding my daughter and then at home later. I have pictures of all of them holding her and one of 3 generational with her, me, and both of her grandmothers. I was very happy to have them their because, aside from my sister-in-law, they were all mothers and I drew on their expertise. My mother stayed with us as my mother-in-law had before my daughter was born (I was on bedrest). I was irritable at times but to me it was a time for the whole family to bond, not just the immediate family. Or perhaps, to me, this was my immediate family. I wouldn’t have behaved the same way this mother did but I’m not her. I had different expectations. Different strokes for different folks as they say.

  208. Just adding to the million-and-one comments…courtesy and kindness are what’s missing. The grandma wasn’t being courteous by bursting in, and thinking she knew better than Mom. Mom was extremely unkind to speak to Grandma the way she did, however justified she was, and however hard it was to deal with hormones. I didn’t read anything about either of them apologizing, which saddens me. Mom should have apologized to Grandma after she calmed down, and explained what was bothering her, instead of assuming she had a right to act that way. I’m sure Grandma would then have apologized, too, and better understood how to act in the future.

  209. You know, I’ll be having a baby at the end of this month and I can completely relate to what you’re feeling. I see myself acting in a similar fashion. And in all honesty, I don’t care if I’m called selfish or judged because of this. And to all those people who have judged you for your natural reaction? Open up your minds please. Why should you expect everyone to react in the same way you would? Does that make any sense whatsoever?
    When has it been in the history of this world where everybody has the same ideas, political sides, and philosophies in life? When has it been where we’ve gone through exactly the same experiences? This woman has her own story, her own unique life that has shaped her reactions. NOBODY should be torn down for this, especially if she’s a new mom trying to bond with her newborn. Shaming someone for how they feel is a root cause for many of the problems we face in society today.
    What she has done is have her boundaries overstepped by an older relative who was overcome by her own feelings of great excitement and love for her grandson. Was the grandmother malicious, had any ill intent, or deserved the reaction? No. However, she needed to be reminded and made aware that it wasn’t all about her and her feelings. Just because one person is comfortable in a situation doesn’t mean it’s okay if the other person is not. And actually two people were made uncomfortable, the mother and the grandson.
    Could it have been handled differently? Perhaps and perhaps not. As the author said, she was in the very first week recovering from 9 months of being pregnant and giving labor.
    Maybe if she was given a longer warning to gather herself together the situation could have been handled better, but I don’t see how it could have been prevented as she showed up so suddenly and was so forceful in taking the baby out of her arms.
    If I were the grandmother, I would have thought twice. I would have tried to remember how I felt during that first week. Sometimes, the best gift is the gift of consideration and not what you deem is okay.

  210. wow! I would have been over the moon to have had family visit…. with my first I had to wait 3 weeks with a baby in the NICU then another week when we traveled the 4 hours to get to them – I would have been over the moon if someone had come to us – wasn’t much better with the subsequent two.. stop being so selfish and count yourself lucky

  211. I would have done the same thing. If we as the parents decided no visitors than that was it. No one came into my home without washing their hands before touching the baby. No smells on the visitors were allowed either. Certainly if I wanted my child in my arms, that is where they stayed. This is a parents bonding time and hopefully everyone would understand.

  212. Whew buddy! You struck a chord with this, didn’t ya?

    I’d like to add my two cents: I love you and I think this blog post was totally SPOT ON. I feel (and felt, when my babies were tiny) the same way. Those first few weeks are precious and belong to the mom/dad/baby. Friends, relatives, even super excited old grandmas can WAIT.

  213. Selfish is what I call you. Habing a new baby does not give you the right to be a heartless person. If that was your grandmother I’m sure you wouldn’t have acted like a spoiled child.

  214. Thank you Laura for being brave enough to share. I didn’t expect the vitriol in the comments as I read the article! Good job mama, protecting your baby!

    I had rude family too. So many extended relatives wanted to visit at the hospital! If you’re not here to help me fight the stupid, non evidence based practices going on here, then just go home. Do you have knowledge about breastfeeding and can convince the doc to let me feed my baby? Then by all means, stay.

    Then when we got home, more visitors! I’m recovering from blood loss and trying to establish breastfeeding here! And a certain someone couldn’t even tell me what time she would be there. You can’t tell people a time and show up 2 hours early! I was in the shower; at least I heard talking so I knew to wear a towel!

    Don’t expect new parents to entertain you! Help out, do dishes, bring dinner, don’t expect mama to cover up to make you comfortable!

  215. I am glad I read this article. I felt the same way when family come to visit. I say to each his own. Only if everyone would take time to get your message from the article and stop taking the grandma’s side and putting you down.

  216. I know many people here do not understand how you felt. I do. I respect your choices and protectiveness of your time to bond with your little ones.
    Just a suggestion that maybe you could set a time and place when the family and friends are allowed to come and coo over your baby.
    You could make the stipulation that only you are allowed to hold the baby.
    I had a difficult time with other that would hold my little girl wrong. She refluxed severely. Laying her flat would cause reflux. I had to take her away from people because of how they were holding.

  217. im sorry that you have received so much backlash for your article but I agree that people should ask the parents when it is convenient to visit and to have a hold of the baby and hope that I remember when I am a grandparent. My children were premature and I didn’t get to hold my daughter until she was 9 days old and I was so resentful of the nurses and felt that I wasn’t a real mother, so to me those first weeks would be absolutely precious. Perhaps the situatuion with the great grandmother could have been handled more diplomatically in deference to her age, but when you are hormonal and sleep deprived, diplomacy is not generally the first reaction. Best wishes to all of your family, extended and otherwise.

  218. In a perfect world, no one would hurt anyone else’s feelings and would take the time to see the other’s point of view. I remember when I had my son, those hormones really wrecked havoc on my mental and physical well being, and in defense of the mother, this was shown in her maternal response which all of us mothers relate to. On the other hand, because every ounce of our senses is so much magnified, the mere act of the grandmother picking up her baby and pressing him to her chest (covered with the bumpy jewelry) might have been misconstrued as handling the baby too roughly. The baby could have picked up on the mother’s panic and reacted by starting to cry. I remember when my son was born, when my parents came to see him, my Dad placed a silver dollar in his crib (close to his face!) and I freaked out and reacted just like this mother. So I sympathies with the mother, yet am allowing to give the grandmother the benefit of the doubt, and say, give her another chance.

  219. The arrival of a new baby is a wonderful thing and a very exciting time for the whole family. Everyone should respect the new parents’ need for adjustment and give them some space to enjoy this precious time. On the other hand, the parents should consider the joy their child has brought to the lives of others and be a little understanding if there is some over-enthusiastic behaviour! It’s all about compromise and respect 🙂