Mothering Forum banner

1 - 8 of 8 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi moms, I'm new here but am hoping to find a like minded community of new mamas! I'm due in 6 weeks, and ever since I found out I was expecting I have been nervous about letting my expectations as a new mom be known to friends and family. I tend to always be the "helper" but never one who gets help or respect back. Also, my hubby and I like to do things a bit differently than mainstream...

Long story short, after taking a month to carefully write and rewrite a loving but firm email to all friends and family who will want to be involved with baby, the guilt tripping began only 30 minutes after hitting "send".

I firmly and proudly stand by the guidelines my hubby and I have come up with after much deliberation. No visitors for the first 2 weeks after our home birth. His family is traveling to many international airports (for vacation, by choice) around the time baby will be born, so we have asked them to give us another 2 weeks after their return to the country to make sure no illness manifests. I think they were going to hop off an international flight and come straight to our house!

MIL, SIL, and my youngest sister have all since made me feel bad, guilty, rude, selfish, and stupid for our choice. They say "we understand but understanding doesn't mean our feelings aren't hurt". Well too damn bad. Sorry I didn't consider your grown up "feelings" when getting pregnant and deciding to begin a family!

Anyone else have this problem? I need the strength and assurance that as the new mama, its my baby, my home, my choices.

Any tips on how to handle the guilt that always seems to come from the in-laws? Sorry for the rant, it can be lonely being pregnant. Thanks in advance! Much love!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,060 Posts
MIL, SIL, and my youngest sister have all since made me feel bad, guilty, rude, selfish, and stupid for our choice. They say "we understand but understanding doesn't mean our feelings aren't hurt".
Congratulations on your baby!

I have 2 comments. First is that your feelings of guilt and the judgements that you are internalizing are within your power to change. Even if someone says "you are rude" you don't have to believe it and take it personally (or it could be frankly assessed, because at times we are all rude, a pity but true). I do think that although some people at some times can and will try to make other people feel bad, whether or not they succeed is in the receiver of the message, not the sender. You can feel unsupported or suspect you are being judged but that doesn't mean you have to internalize it and feel selfish and guilty in response.

I also think that you aren't hearing what your family is saying. They are saying they understand. They say their feelings are hurt. Real people with real feelings. They are disappointed, and that seems natural to me. It may be inappropriate or insensitive of them to tell you so explicitly right now, but it's honest communication and I don't see it as blaming or derogatory or judging at all. Would that everyone whose feelings were hurt just said so, relationships would be a lot easier. Are you helping to make them feel included rather than rejected? By your kind and caring response, your enthusiasm for spending time with them when the time is right?

If you have feelings of tension and strife in your extended family then having a baby isn't going to make things any easier. I think that you could stand to collaborate with your husband on how you can assume leadership in your relationships with your ext family. You will be brokering your child's relationship with them for years to come. A good leader is considerate, inclusive, honest, flexible, and kindly firm.

Can you try to put this behind you and look to the beauty of the change in your family dynamics. This is the time for a new paradigm.

Best wishes!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Thank you for your input, and I appreciate your compassionate attitude.

"You can feel unsupported or suspect you are being judged but that doesn't mean you have to internalize it and feel selfish and guilty in response."

I absolutely agree, which is why I am reaching out...its been a struggle my whole life to not have the immediate guilt response. Did I mention I live in the south? Feeling judged is part of a way of life down here, haha.

I do hear what they are saying, and I get it, but I fail to see how their hurt feelings should change my mind and wish they wouldn't expect it to. Perhaps that is just my perception, but these individuals all tend to be controlling and really good at hurting others on purpose. These are not people that I even see or talk to regularly, which is why it seems silly that they can't wait 2 weeks to come visit...if they were already a more regular part of my life, I would understand a bit more. My baby is not a reason for them to suddenly waltz back in and pretend that they've been there all along, and in the healing period after birth, I don't think I'll be up for re-cultivating already hurt relationships.

And I'm certainly not having a baby to make things easier with them, haha. The whole point was that I am being very considerate, including everyone even though some I'd rather never see my child. By being honest and kind with our expectations way ahead of time was how we were taking the leadership position with the extended family. I know it won't be easy, and this definitely shows me that I need to be ready for how they will react to any and all requests for my new family. How does one lead when not taken seriously or respected by those that need to be following?

I'm trying to put it behind me, manipulative people just get under my skin! Doing things differently than previous generations is certainly a challenge! Anyone else deal with this sort of situation?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,060 Posts
I fail to see how their hurt feelings should change my mind and wish they wouldn't expect it to. Perhaps that is just my perception, but these individuals all tend to be controlling and really good at hurting others on purpose. These are not people that I even see or talk to regularly, which is why it seems silly that they can't wait 2 weeks to come visit...if they were already a more regular part of my life, I would understand a bit more. My baby is not a reason for them to suddenly waltz back in and pretend that they've been there all along,
Did anyone ask you to change your mind? If so I hope that you didn't cave to pressure or lash out. It's extremely difficult but necessary as a parent. Maybe they didn't expect you to change your mind, only to "put it out there" that they have hurt feelings (that they are unwilling to handle and expect you to respond to - inappropriate/insensitive at this point in your life, it's true!)

And is this your first baby? Because a baby is EXACTLY the reason people suddenly waltz in and expect something from you, haha. Trust me - I've been there. And it's happened to virtually every other first-time mother I've known. This is especially true with people who are generally self-absorbed. They are now grandparents and aunts and uncles with all the rights and privileges! :rolleyes

It will be up to you to help your child have grandparents and aunts and uncles in acceptable ways. And if an acceptable way can't be found, then you can also kindly and firmly refuse, but that would have to be a last resort to my opinion, reserved for abusive people (emotionally, psychologically, physically - dangerous people).

Do you take you seriously? If so, that's all your baby really needs. Respect and support from your partner is # 2. Everything else is a bonus.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
They did, all 3 expected us to change our plans for them. Proud to say we did not cave, nor lash out. My husband handled his mom with grace and I simply told my sister that she would understand one day!

This is our first (yay!) and you're right about all the sudden entitlement! What a strange culture we live in!

I like to think I take myself seriously, and I do on some levels. Perhaps its time to think deeper there...it'll give me something to do to pass these next 6 weeks, haha.

Thank you again for your input, it does make me feel better to know that these things happen and its just part of the journey into motherhood. :smile:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,559 Posts
It's true! First babies everyone cares about and they all want to waltz right in and be part of everything. Of course when it comes to 2+ most don't care anymore, lol. In my case people cared so little that no one bothered to show up to my baby shower. Weird that they gave me their addresses and everything too for the invites and then didn't set aside time for it. I guess they were just being nice? Ugh.

I get the whole not wanting certain family members around your kid. It's understandable. Not every family member is a great example and some are rather unsavory types that you'd rather not see either sometimes. I know that's certainly the case in my family. In fact I didn't plan to tell my family. A friend (ex friend now) decided that my request to keep things under wraps and not share the info wasn't important and let it spill to my family. My whole family found out and wanted to bug me about it. So I changed my phone # and that was that. Considering my whole family is filled with unsavory characters (except my grandparents) I decided it was best to just cut them all off. Now the only family members with my current address and phone number are my grandparents. They're also the only ones who will be included in things if they are interested. Though I know they don't really go many places anymore and live on a very limited income. I'll probably just bring the baby to them when I feel up to it.

I think it was perfectly reasonable for you to request they wait to come see you. After all, who knows what all you can get on a plane these days traveling overseas?! I'm reminded of that every single time I walk into a doctor's office, which for me is at least 3 times a week now. Doesn't help that my parents let me watch that wonderful rated r movie "outbreak" back when I was a kid. Seriously, that's not something kids should watch. Sheesh. Your extended family can wait. They can be hurt too. They'll figure out how to deal with it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
684 Posts
I just want to jump in and say how thankful I am to have found this thread! I agree with @pumabearclan, it is primarily up to you how you let reactions make you feel.

I share your struggle, as a first time Mom (soon to be 2nd time Mom!). DH and I lived across the country on our own when DD was born and were pretty much alone in making decisions and juggling it all for the first 18 months. We had no help from friends or sitters or family, and we did fine (though it was challenging at times!). We learned along the way what worked best for our family and dealt with very little in the way of judgement or what have you, though I did get a little of that whenever his parents came to visit, or we came home to visit. Mostly "why don't you just leave her with us" (when she wouldn't take a bottle and I didn't want to leave her) or "why don't you let me put her to sleep" (when she only wanted mama and maaaybe dada) or "get her on a schedule" (at 7 weeks old) or "she should be able to sleep anywhere, anytime" (at 8 months old to this very day!).

We have a very spirited, particular, wonderful daughter who thrives on routine and the perfect balance of activity and quiet. His family is very loud, rambunctious, and numerous, and while that is fun for her, too much of that causes her to be very cranky, fussy, and just disrupts our overall family vibe. We're used to a much quieter lifestyle (especially she and I). We moved back to this part of the country a few months ago (also in the South!) which has been wonderful for so many reasons, but it means that I see a lot more in the way of other people's expectations - specifically when it comes to visiting my in-laws. They seem to expect us to celebrate every holiday with them and were none too pleased when we didn't fall in line. They weren't vocal about it, but it was known. I felt an enormous amount of guilt when I said I didn't want to spend my Mother's Day at their house, since it meant a long car ride with my car-hating daughter, and of course, all the noise and chaos. They don't love that I prefer to keep my daughter at home for naps and have her home well before bedtime to avoid meltdowns - because her cousins (6 of them in one household) are so much more willing and able to sleep anywhere, anytime, and can stay up well past bedtime with no problem. My daughter does not share their laid back attitude - once when we kept her at their house late she cried and screamed "nighhh nightttt!" the entire way home, which was torture for me, knowing she should have been home and in her (our) bed long ago.

Sometimes I feel like I have to be preemptively defensive of my decisions, but I'm getting better at letting the guilt go, and knowing that I know my daughter better than they do and I know what is best for her. They had their time to raise their children as they saw fit, and now I have my time. I'm also getting better at loosening up on being such a control freak, because she is almost 2 and truly is getting better at letting other people put her to bed, or being away from mama, etc. It's still very hard for me because we haven't had a lot of experience leaving her with sitters or family. It's a learning process.

Long winded reply, I'm sorry, but I do understand the feelings you are having and just want you to know that it's okay to stand firm in your beliefs. There will be many more opportunities for you to feel guilt as a mother, and it's good practice now to learn to block out the naysayers or side-eyers and just trust that you were chosen as that baby's mother for a reason. Mama knows best! ;) Except Mama-in-law. Just kidding.
 
  • Like
Reactions: pumabearclan

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
sarahl918, i'm so glad that this has helped you, too. I'm such a private person and sound a lot like you and your daughter- I need routine, quiet time, alone time, -big crowds of even happy family members exhaust me to the point of being completely overwhelmed! As for my in-laws, there is a lot of palpable strain on their relationship to one another, and I am unable to block it out. Negative energy makes me so uncomfortable. I can see that being WAY more difficult to handle once I'm hormonal (oh wait, already am!) and even more tired. Not to mention, I would kinda like to raise my daughter with good examples of loving relationships! As women we are often raised (or at least, I was) to be soo good to everyone around us, often forsaking our own sanity and inner peace. I know I've seen my mom give and give and give for the past 27 years, and because of that, that's typically how I am too. I am so thankful for having a family of my own now, because it has already taught me so much about saying no when I need to, not being expected to do things just to make others happy, and truly standing up for what I need as a woman and mother in this life instead of being placed in the default role of do-everything person. Thank you for your honest input, it helps me so much to know that this is something we all go through (so you'd think MILs might remember what it was like....) and that there are other mamas out there who stand firm as well. :)
 
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
Top