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Holy mother in law!

First, Sarah had an online auction this weekend to raise funds for her adoption, and I totally missed my chance to support her. I basically didn’t pay attention to the details of the timing, and since I’m typically offline on weekends, I BLEW IT! Luckily, there’s still the option to make a donation via paypal. (Since this sometimes means giving up your anonymity–depending on how you have your account set up–I’ll just mention that she’s totally not a psycho old man pervert posing as a long-suffering infertile woman. Or if she is, the illusion is so convincing that you’ll never know it.) If you can spare a dime, I know even the tiniest donation is such a precious show of support. Though if you have a million dollars you don’t need, that would probably be even more precious.

So what was I doing this weekend instead of spreading the word about Sarah’s auction? I was entertaining my mother in law. Mr. Bunny’s mother and I have always had a cordial relationship. A few hours after she arrived, it became evident that this was simply because we’d never had any point of conflict before.

Things started off pleasantly enough. She’s a labor and delivery nurse, and walked me through the c-section process in a way that I found very helpful and enlightening. I got to ask lots of specific questions, like and when will the catheter come out? Good times. But then she started pressing for an answer to the question of how soon she could meet Bun Bun. We’d been dreading this: since she found out about Bun Bun, she’s been talking in terms of hours after his birth, and we’ve been thinking in terms of weeks. You see, we don’t want visitors for a month. That’s right. A month.

You’re probably thinking, wow, what a SELFISH WHORE you are, Bunny. Maybe so, but when I think about the reality of a new baby, what seems nicest to me is total privacy and uninterrupted solitude as we get to know this child. What seems not nice to me is a lot of scrutiny from a very pushy and opinionated person. Anyway, I’m amenable to persuasion, and this is her first grandchild, so I understand the RABID eagerness (a bit like a famished tiger chained a few inches away from a terrified goat). It wasn’t so much the actual issues, as the approach.

I didn’t have much control over how this child was conceived, less still over how he will enter this world. The idea that, from his very first breath, she’s going to privilege her desires over mine made me exceedingly anxious about, you know, the rest of our lives. Then she started giving me shit about eating enough protein. Then she said something else that annoyed me so much I’ll have to write about it separately.

On Sunday, Mr Bunny took her aside and smacked her around a bit, pointing out that making us angry was counterproductive. When I left for work this morning, she apologized. And of course the moment she did, I became a million times more likely to make concessions. In the end, she’ll probably get to visit while I’m still hospitalized (all drugged up and barely mobile and terrified that my milk won’t come in and my baby hates me), which doesn’t sound ideal to me, but sounds infinitely better than having her in my house.

This is a classic conflict and it’s just the beginning. It’s also a great problem to have. But I must say, when I watched other people go through it, I always thought I’d be able to handle it. Now I appreciate that it’s not so easy to protect your own interests and priorities without feeling like an unreasonable control freak.

24 Comments Post a comment
  1. ay. we're trying to deal with the same issue from my parents. if they lived close, i'd love it if they were there soon. but they don't, and sugar doesn't want to deal with taking care of them and me and the bean all at once (crazy, huh?). no idea how we'll work it all out — but at least their being at a distance rules out hospital visits.

    February 7, 2011
  2. N #

    Hospital is good, since she can leave rather quickly. You may also find, (or not) that it might be nice to have some one bring you dinner or make you dinner. Then she could see bun bun again. Make it a time limited thing. I totally get your feelings, I felt the same way when I had my daughter, but in hind sight, letting parents/inlaws get some early time will buy you a TON of good will later and more investment in thier grandkid. If you don't let them, it may work the opposite. Just something to think about. :)BTW- Both my parents were in the room for the delivery of my daughter, which I thought would NEVER NEVER NEVER in a F*cking million years happen. But somehow it did. My mom was mildly annoying, but it gave them one of the best moments of thier lives (as they have told me COUNTLESS times). That makes up for the mildly annoying mom in my book and no other gift I could give them compares. Plus I kinda don't remember it well, so that helps.

    February 7, 2011
  3. I'm with you, once again. My mother has already asked if she could be in the delivery room with us! I, of course, shot her down and said no. But I suspect that both our mothers will be waiting in the hospital to visit at the first opportunity. My mother also wants to come and stay with us for 2 weeks – i've shot this down as well – told her its a time for the 2 of us to become 3 and her being there would impact on the special time we are looking forward to with our new baby. Stand your ground – you can't get this time back. I understand we have to make some concessions and I think the hospital visit is the best one – but take your time at home for yourself. Its precious time you can't get back so … be selfish Bunny!!

    February 7, 2011
  4. Oh wow – what a touchy subject. I can only imagine how hard this one is. I have a wonderful, although completely in our face, mother-in-law, and I fully expect that she'll want to come stay with us for a month or so when/if we have a child. Ugh – I can't imagine! Way to go for standing up for yourself! But also, giving in a little will win you many points…

    February 7, 2011
  5. Blimey! We might have this sort of thing going on too (when you adopt you're advised to have a month or so of quiet time to get attached and so on). Hrmmm. Lucky my family is quite stand-offish anyhow.Ha.I reckon you'll work it out. Pity the Holy One has turned it into a battle, if she'd been a tad less pushy, you might have welcomed a bit of discreet help.

    February 7, 2011
  6. JB #

    In the hospital is probably the best compromise — maybe on day 2, when you're still a little hazy but starting to see straight. There is so much coming and going of staff while you're there that it will all be a blur, anyway. We had people coming over within a week of coming home, and while I did appreciate the free food, I was highly annoyed at the constant comments on whether/how I was feeding him enough, how I should sit down and let THEM take care of the crying baby (who was crying half the time because they woke him, like poking a hibernating bear with a stick), etc. I would definitely pick your battles and try to stand your ground on the one-month-at-home thing. Because, dude, it will be a hard month, no sugar-coated unicorn turds here, and having people in your face telling you what to do will break you. (I started crying uncontrollably in front of my mother-in-law and had to leave the table, because she kept making comments under her breath about how hungry Jackson seemed — a theme that continues to this day, goddammit — and I had only recently resigned myself to supplementing with formula for a week or two to treat his jaundice and dehydration since my milk came in kind of late and we had latch problems — I lost my shit in spectacular fashion. She still tells me I should give him formula — gah.)

    February 7, 2011
  7. Oy-vey! I am bracing for this one too, have not heard how and when the in-laws will decend upon us. I was even surprised to discover my own mother (who I have a good relationship with) is expecting to visit the day of his birth. Yikes! I think you have already done the most important thing: come up with a plan with the mister. Good luck!

    February 7, 2011
  8. My Mom is an OB nurse with TONS of experiance, and I am a patient at the same Dr's office she works for. She would NOT go into any appointments with me, see a sonogram, or look at my chart, and would not go to the hospital until after the baby was born. I am very close to my mother, and she said when you are in that kind of pain (labor) I would gravitate towards her, and not my husband. She strongly feels that birth is to be shared between the mother and father ONLY – grandparents will have plenty of time after. I would, however, take this one as it comes. It will be SO much help to have her there, and help you take care of the baby. Teach you how to do things that you have never done before. Tell you if what is happening is normal. You will have a lot of fears when you bring home your baby – especially since it is your first. Given the fact that she has raised a child and is a nurse she will be able to help you so so much. C-sections are surgery, and you will need help taking care of yourself and the baby. Just a thought – tell her that you will see how you feel. That way you dont shut her down, and you dont lose the option of tapping into her helpful resources.

    February 7, 2011
  9. i hear ya on this. maybe she can come visit for an hour or so in the hospital, and then give you guys a few weeks at least on your own at home before coming by again. i'm letting my parents and sisters visit us in the hospital and quite frankly, will give them almost unlimited access to the baby, but i draw the line at anyone sleeping over. my mom moved into my sister's house for 2 months when my nephew came last year and she wore her bossy pants and made my sister and BIL crazy. not happening for us. dh's family on the other hand is a different story. they can visit only when i say they can … doesn't sound fair? well, who said life was fair?? xoxo.

    February 7, 2011
  10. This is precisely why we didn't call our families until *after* Arlo was born and once we'd gotten settled into our room on the mother-baby unit. From the beginning I was absolutely sure that I didn't want anyone but N present for the delivery. At least with a c-section birth, the number of visitors is typically very limited (usually just one person), so you should be able to preserve that moment nicely with just you and Mr. Bunny. For me, meeting Arlo for the first time was ONLY about creating a memory for ME and N. And those first few moments were lovely and perfect, and I wouldn't change a single thing about how we went about involving our families in his birth. I didn't feel the slightest bit guilty when everyone asked us why we didn't call them when we went to the hospital. I think your plan to limit visitors in the first month is SMART. The first few weeks hard and exhausting. (I was guilty of being someone who read all about how hard that first month is and though, "Oh, that won't be me…" I was quickly humbled.) We had family in and out of our house within days of coming home, and they were a huge distraction and general pain in the ass. And if you're breastfeeding, there's really not much that guests can do for you in terms of alleviating some of the baby care (not that you want it to be alleviated–it's what you've been dreaming of for years, right?). I would get so frustrated because what I needed to be doing was resting/sleeping, but I couldn't because people were up in my house. Even if they said, "Oh, why don't you go take a nap…" I couldn't nap knowing they were in my house. And my experience with Arlo? He was and still is super fussy on days/nights when we have guests–it's just way too much stimulation.This early time is really all about your family, meaning you, Mr., and BunBun. It's about learning each other, loving on each other, and just getting some bearings on this new life. In my experience, the fewer distractions, obligations, and interruptions…the better.

    February 7, 2011
  11. Whatever, selfish whore…No, I completely understand where you're coming from on this one. I'm glad you were able to at least keep her out of the house for a while, if not the hospital.

    February 7, 2011
  12. On the contrary, I actually thought, "What a sensible woman our Bunny is."I think there are reasons to have people around, people with whom you get along under all circumstances, people who are not pushy or opinionated who will basically hold, burp and change when you instruct them to do so. And I can see that even those people would occasionally get on your nerves. But when someone wants to come in and show you how it's done…stop the presses. No way, no how. And a L&D nurse…it's a force that would be stronger than her.Sounds like you reached a good compromise.

    February 7, 2011
  13. Oh, reining in the in-laws are what I worry most about should I ever find myself in this situation. Good luck. And continue to share tips and advice about this topic!

    February 7, 2011
  14. Fabulous post, this has totally been on my mind. My Mom keeps asking me when my "birth is scheduled for" (b/c, you know, I'm having TWINS so she's POSITIVE I'll be c-sectioned up, which I very well might, but still). She wants to book the plane tix! And hubs's Mom used to be an L&D nurse and is renting an apt nearby so she can help us by being the night nurse. Which is gloriously kind and wonderful of her and I am SURE we will need her and it's amazingly thoughtful that she is so freaking considerate that she is actually paying for housing so we can have our space (okay, also, we don't have a guest room in the apt any more b/c it will be the baby room). But stiiiiiiiill, I want some "us" time just like you do. And I have no idea how to express my needs without sounding emotional and ungrateful and ridiculous. So, you are not the only selfish whore! Seriously Bunny.

    February 7, 2011
  15. AL #

    UGH, I haven't even thought about how all this will play out. My family is four hours away and I know they'll be at my doorstep the very first moment..my two brothers, my mom, my dad, my sister and her husband, my sil, and all of the in-laws that are in town and will be dropping by from time to time. i think it's very smart of you to set up some boundaries and space for your family of three now so that when baby comes she's prepared for how things are going to work best.

    February 7, 2011
  16. After all you've been through and knowing you'll have a c-section, it is completely reasonable to want SOME control in all of this. I'm glad you're "discussing" this now so it's not an issue when you're postpartum and hormonal and tired! Smart girl.

    February 7, 2011
  17. I actually found it incredibly helpful to have people around at the beginning – not to take care of the baby, but to do everything else so the Mr. and I could concentrate all our attention on baby and me. But the people who visited all brought food, washed dishes, walked the dog and were basically our slaves. I'm not sure I'd want someone with advice and opinions. Even now I'm so irritated when well-meaning family offer unsolicited advice cause it's hard enough to learn to care for this guy without second guessing myself all the time. Anyway, if you want time for just the three of you, then take it. P.S.- Your baby's gonna love you and your milk supply will be the stuff of legends.

    February 7, 2011
  18. I loved you from the very start… You stole my breath, embraced my heart. Our life together has just begun, You’re part of me, my little one. As mother with child, each day I knew My mind would be filled with thoughts of you.I’m daydreaming of the things we’ll share,Like late-night bottles and teddy bears.Like first steps and skinned knees,Like bedtime stories and ABC’s.I’m thinking of things you’ll want to know,Like how birds fly and flowers grow.I’ve thought of lessons I’ll need to share,Like standing tall and playing fair.When I first see your precious face,I’ll pray your life be touched with grace.I’ll thank the angels from above,And promise you unending love.Each night I’ll lay you down to sleep,I’ll gently kiss your head and cheek.I’ll count your little fingers and toes,I’ll memorize your eyes and nose.I will linger at your nursery door,Awed each day that I love you more.Through misty eyes, I’ll dim the light,And whisper, “I love you” every night.

    February 7, 2011
  19. JC #

    Yea, this is one thing I do dread if we ever have a baby. Like F's dad/step-mom haven't visited us ever (5 yrs married) and I know they would be all about trying to be here right after the baby was born…F even joked he wouldn't tell them I was pregnant/or we adopted till afterwards. 😉

    February 7, 2011
  20. Wow! This post is causing a great deal of (virtual) ink to be poured in your comment section, Bunny. I guess we all have pretty strong feelings about in-laws. As for your MIL, we all want her to go fly a kite, and come back when Bun Bun has been home for 1 month or more, but it sounds like the hospital visit might be a good compromise. You will be on drugs. How bad can anything be while on opiods? I'm sorry she is pushing the boundaries of your cordial relationship.

    February 8, 2011
  21. Like our wise Adele, I thought, how sensible. I applaud you for trying to set some boundaries and it sounds like you have reached a good compromise. The MIL battle – always going to be hard.Fortunately my MIL lives on the other side of the country and if we ever get to contemplate this issue, it will be grandchild #8 for the MIL. So it's probably the grandma version of like, whatevs, at this point. 🙂

    February 8, 2011
  22. You could totally have written this about my MIL. Ok, minus the nurse part, but hey, she had two kids, that must qualify as enough experience. Since we'll (hopefully) be on the other side of the planet, and plane tickets are expensive, this would sure become an interesting topic early on… (I say "hopefully" because that would mean we'd have a baby in the next couple of years, not because I insist on that much distance).Setting up boundaries sounds good.

    February 9, 2011
  23. There is no whore like the selfish whore. Except maybe the fertile whore, who is just a superfucker.I think it sounds like a great idea. Especially when you put it into the context of lack of control. Hold loosely to it. Try as you might to go with the flow. You never know where your hormones will take you. You never know if you will end up taking BunBun to the Target just to allow commoners to revel in his/her glory.MIL are tough bastards especially in the breast feeding dept. Fight this battle too. There will be many and they will all be worthy.

    February 10, 2011
  24. Thanks for the shout out :). And yes, I'd like to reassure everyone that I am in fact an infertile women, not a creepy old pervert. Can you imagine? If I were a dude, that would take some serious research on cervical mucus to be so convincing, that's for sure :).I definitely think a visit to the hospital is much better than a visit to your home! Stay strong Bunny!

    February 12, 2011

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