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Overbearing New Grandparents….Just Whose Baby Is This?

I am 20+ weeks pregnant with my first child. It is the first grandchild of both sides so understandably the grandparents to be are excited. Unfortunately my MIL and FIL are excited to the point of being hyperactive children. My FIL wants to videotape the entire procedure and my MIL keeps gushing about how all her friends are going to be so jealous about how she’s going to be the first person to see the baby to the point of being tasteless. She crudely joked that if I take too long in labour she’s going to get FIL to strap me down to a table and yank the kid out of me. When I get upset she just dismisses me by saying that I’m just jealous the baby is going to love her more.

Understandably, this is giving me nightmares to the point where I don’t even want the in-laws around my child. I have stopped going over but they complain to my husband about not seeing me. I can’t post on Facebook or Instagram because they hijack my posts saying all sorts of overly positive things like “can’t wait to see meet you baby,” “make sure you eat only organic foods , only the best for my grandchild” and I look petty complaining or blocking them.

It’s just so exhausting being around them. They’re already talking about turning a spare room into a nursery so they can have overnight visits with my child and joke about my husband and I having “adult nights” on those days.
My husband doesn’t seem to care. He just shrugs off their behavior and says that’s how they are or they’ll settle down once the child is a few months old but in the meantime I feel like I’m out in the middle of a storm naked. 0928-18

Are you in the UK? I don’t know what the privacy standards are in UK hospitals or birthing centers but in the US it’s easy to keep specific person or persons out of the labor room. Just tell the head nurse. There will be no videotaping or photography of anything if you do not wish it. Have a talk now with the birthing center or hospital head nurse as to your wishes.

As a former first time grandmother, I can assure you that your MIL’s friends are not invested in being jealous that she might be the first person to see the baby. They likely don’t care. Among my friends, it was typically the mother of the pregnant woman who was allowed in the birthing room to be with her daughter, no husbands and no MIL. Just mom. So consider limiting people in the room to just your husband, the doula/midwife if you have one, the medical staff and your mom claiming nerves as a first time mom. You are about to have a new experience that, while women had given birth for millennia, you have not and it’s scary. You don’t know what to expect.

Your MIL has, perhaps unwittingly, prioritized the future grandbaby over your comfort, almost as if you are the incubator, the means by which she gets a grandchild. That is insensitive and you should tell them that you are not comfortable with the joking at this time.

P.S. Grandmoms may be great but no one replaces mom in a child’s heart, even when they are 30 years old. Be a good mother and all will be well.

{ 88 comments }
{ 88 comments… add one }
  • MamaToreen October 1, 2018, 6:45 am

    You could always look her in the eye, with an arctic voice, say “That’s enough, MIL. It’s no longer cute or funny.”

    • gramma dishes October 1, 2018, 9:32 am

      It never was cute or funny!

      I’d make darned sure that MIL was definitely not the first person to see that baby. Make sure your attending physician and the hospital admitting staff and the maternity wing nursing staff are all aware that you do not under any circumstances want anyone but your husband with you. MIL wasn’t there for the conception and she has no business being there at the birth.

      Also be sure not to tell her you’re leaving for the hospital. She doesn’t need to know anything until that baby is here.

      • ladyv21454 October 1, 2018, 2:54 pm

        gramma dishes, I love the idea of not letting MIL know when you’re leaving for the hospital! That way, she can’t attempt to force her way in.

        • Jade October 2, 2018, 6:30 pm

          Agree – in fact there’s no reason why MIL should not get the call from the hospital after the birth saying ‘good news, the baby has arrived it’s a (insert gender here) and all is well. Mum and bub are resting at the moment but we’ll let you know when it will be convenient for us for you to pop by for a short visit.’ – because unless the OP is unfortunate enough to go into labour in the presence of her in-laws or is posting step by step updates on social media there is no reason at all why they should know when you are leaving for the hospital and not making that information public will solve all these problems.

      • AttackKitten October 6, 2018, 10:50 am

        Exactly! And I trust advice from someone with the name Grandma Dishes! Priorities, for sure.
        Also, I was having extreme Ruth Gordon, “Rosemary’s Baby” vibes from this letter. Chilling!

  • Lisa Marie October 1, 2018, 7:28 am

    I think you should have your husband speak to his parents now and put his foot down. You want to make it clear from day one that this is your baby and you are the parents. Hubby should make you and baby number one in his life. I doubt I would leave my baby alone with his parents until they accepted that fact.

    • Em October 1, 2018, 8:17 pm

      “He just shrugs off their behavior and says that’s how they are”

      Can you imagine hearing “that’s how they are” for the rest of your life as an excuse to overbearing behavior. Major husband issue, I agree!

    • Calli Arcale October 2, 2018, 12:08 pm

      Especially with the comment about yanking the baby out! Bad enough that she’s getting tut-tut about her diet, but that’s pretty disturbing, joking about physically harming the mother just because she’s anxious to see the baby. It’s not funny, and OP should tell her husband exactly how frightening that statement was. When you’re giving birth, you are in an exceptionally vulnerable position; jokes like that, combined with the aggressively overbearing demeanor of the MIL, is downright threatening.

      This MIL is going to be a problem, and if OP’s hubby doesn’t allow her to set boundaries, this is only going to get worse. If this is how they are, according to him, then it’s time to set those boundaries so the way they are doesn’t poison their marriage.

      • Princess Buttercup October 2, 2018, 10:16 pm

        On the “yank it out” comment I would respond, “you just threatened to assault my baby and me. You just banned yourself from the hospital and being alone with the baby.”. And I’d stick to it unless she spent some time proving she will respect your parenting.

        • galatea October 5, 2018, 3:32 am

          My thinking, exactly! “How DARE you threaten to assault me and MY BABY!” Because yanking the baby out is traumatic to *both*.

          Babies should absolutely never be “yanked.”

          This is a husband problem. If “that’s just the way they are,” he probably doesn’t know any better. Which means he’ll probably think it will be just fine for *him* to parent *his children* the same way they parented him.

          Get him some parenting classes right away, OP! And absolutely no unsupervised (by you!, not him!) visits with his side of the family.

      • Nialla October 2, 2018, 11:36 pm

        This poor woman doesn’t have in-law problems so much as she has major husband problems. She needs to sit him down, tell him they are starting a family, consisting of husband, wife and child and *that* family is the priority. Let him know she, and only she will be deciding who is in the delivery room, and baby will not be going anywhere overnight without her express permission. If he objects she should make it clear that “that’s just the way I am” and he had better get used to it. Of course it’s his child too, but if he’s going to be a wimp about setting boundaries, she’ll have to do it for both of them. I’d put it rather bluntly. You either support me, your wife, or you don’t. If you won’t, perhaps it’s time to rethink the relationship.

        And I will never, ever understand all the drama people go through about social media and what other people will think. Nobody HAS to be on social media and if it’s causing issues, quit using it. You’re going to be busy enough taking care of a newborn. Leave that nonsense to people with nothing better to do.

        • Jenn50 October 3, 2018, 11:41 am

          I found social media immensely helpful when my kids were babies. It was a way to stay connected when I couldn’t get out and about. It was something to distract me from discomfort and frustration during 4 AM breastfeeding. It allowed me to let people know our progress/needs with minimal work. It was a source of humour and support when I was struggling. Social media isn’t the problem. The problem is that people haven’t learned to set boundaries and live them. Don’t like what Aunt Josie posts? Unfollow. Mom uses my posts against me? Change my audience so she doesn’t see them. People whining that you didn’t answer them promptly? Shrug and tell them you’re not on very often and the should contact you directly with urgent matters. Cousin Bill grouses that you won’t accept his friend request? It’s ok to be honest and say “I find the jokes you post offensive.” or just, “Oh, I don’t use Facebook that way.” It doesn’t have to be a big dramatic thing, and you can refuse to be drawn into any drama about it. You don’t have to abandon all social media, if it’s something helpful or pleasant, just remember that your account is for *your* use and don’t let others use it to control you.

  • Lauren October 1, 2018, 7:33 am

    She can’t do anything without your permission, so I wouldn’t let her intimidate me. I would be very annoyed at her constant blathering on about the baby.
    She sounds pretty crass, so I don’t think being sarcastic or challenging her will work in your favor. Maybe putting a fire under your husband is the way to go with this. He doesn’t have to cut ties with them or be mean, just deflect everything she says back to her. If she makes a crude joke about yanking out the baby, he can say “If anyone tries to touch my wife and child, they will have to go through me.”
    I can’t stand people who let their mothers dominate them…I just find it incredibly unattractive. If it was my parents annoying my husband, I would shut them down instantly, but I doubt my parents would ever be as crass as those two.

  • Ripple October 1, 2018, 7:36 am

    Tell you husband that may be how THEY are, but it is not how YOU are. You would appreciate some support to rein back his parents. You still have several months of this and you do not want to get more and more nervous about their role in the future of your (both of you) child.

    • Kimberly October 1, 2018, 9:00 pm

      It sounds like your husband is more worried about upsetting Mom than you. You need to make it clear siding with someone who even jokingly has threatened violence against you in the delivery room is a deal breaker. He either gets them in line and that includes no contact with you and your child until you are comfortable with it – or he can go home to Mommy.

  • essie October 1, 2018, 7:40 am

    They’re talking about invading your privacy and abusing your body, laughing at your discomfort with their words/actions, and belittling your feelings. These are NOT the actions of hyperactive children; these are the actions of bullies. Don’t want to see them? Don’t. Want to block them on social media? Do. Husband says “That’s just the way they are”? Respond with “This is just the way I am.” Stand up for yourself (and your baby) because, clearly, your husband won’t.

  • jokergirl129 October 1, 2018, 7:46 am

    I agree with Admin that talking to the head nurse at the hospital would be best so that only certain people are allowed in the room when the time comes to give birth. OP might be more comfortable having only her husband and her own mother in the room at the time (with the exception of the doctors and nurses involved 0f course).

    OP I would try to talk to your in laws and explain how, while it’s good they’re excited about the baby coming, their jokes about how the baby is going to love them more, yanking the baby out and so on is making you really uncomfortable. That you want them to tone it down (or however you feel is best to word it) because they are inadvertently causing you stress about the whole thing. If that doesn’t work or you’re not sure how to best get through to them maybe try talking to your husband again. Sit him down and make him see and understand how the whole thing really is stressing you out.

    Hopefully something can be done before the relationship between you and the in laws become strain.

  • DGS October 1, 2018, 8:04 am

    Set boundaries now. Firm boundaries. Also, your husband shrugging off his overreacting, hyper, inappropriate parents is a red flag. If this does not get nipped in the bud now, there will be no end of this behavior in sight – you will be demeaned and criticized in front of your husband and child, you will get undermined in your parenting, and the aggressive and passive-aggressive behaviors will not end.
    How do you set those boundaries?
    1) Step 1. Every time, and that is every time your in-laws make any inappropriate comments, you respond with ice in your voice, “This is not cute or funny, and it is highly inappropriate. Please, stop MIL and FIL”.
    2) Step 2. You give the hospital or birthing center clear instructions on who is allowed in the labor and delivery suite.
    3) Step 3. Your in-laws can set up a nursery or a circus in their own home, but you don’t have to use it. You can also restrict any daycare agency if you plan on using one to who is legally allowed or not allowed to pick up the baby. If you and your husband do not feel comfortable with overnight visits (and who would with these loonies), you do not have overnight visits.
    4) Step 4. Block them on social media. If they can’t behave like adults, then they do not get treated like adults.

    Most of all, your husband has to set a firm boundary with his parents. He has to nip it in the bud when they say demeaning things like that the baby will love your MIL more than you (the baby won’t. The baby loves its mother more than anyone in the world always). He has to protect you in the your vulnerable, post-partum state and now allow them to move in and hijack the baby and rearrange your nursery, etc. If he continues to shrug this off, it will only worsen. This is not the normal excitement of a retiree for her first grandchild – this is Loony Tunes behavior of someone starved to be the center of attention and willing to demean and undermine her daughter-in-law at all costs.

    • bap October 1, 2018, 8:53 am

      ^^This^^ ” This is not the normal excitement of a retiree for her first grandchild – this is Loony Tunes behavior of someone starved to be the center of attention and willing to demean and undermine her daughter-in-law at all costs.”
      Our first child was born 33 years ago. She was the second grandchild on my side and the first on my husband’s. Add to that my husband is only child, my MIL is an only child, and FIL’s siblings live states away from their mother – my husband’s other grandmother. This side of the family hadn’t had a baby in almost 25 years and the excitement could be cut with a knife!
      BUT…. although excited beyond belief, none of them would ever have done anything to make me feel less. If anything, I was treated like a queen simply because I was the one carrying this child. I’m not saying I was 100% pleased at all times with how they handled things, but I also recognized not everyone responds to excitement the same. And I had absolutely NO question that my husband had my back at all times. If anything, I held him back a few times when he thought they had maybe gone too far.
      And now, my daughter and I could not be any closer. I know exactly who and what I am to her. But best of all, she is extremely close with both of her grandmothers. So, to restate: There is excitement, there is over-the-top excitement, and then there is dangerous looney. Stand your ground.

    • clairedelune October 2, 2018, 9:14 am

      Absolutely agree. As for Step 2–yes, OP, for sure tell the hospital who is and isn’t allowed in, but also simply don’t tell your ILs that the birth is happening until it’s done. This is in some ways a drastic step, but they’ve earned it with their crazy behavior. I don’t know if you can trust your husband not to “slip” and tell them anyway, so that’s why giving clear instructions to the hospital is also important. But at the least, make a plan to go no-contact for the period of your labor & delivery, and reinforce that plan with your husband as much as possible in advance of the baby’s arrival.

  • Phoebe161 October 1, 2018, 8:29 am

    The nurse who will be monitoring you/assisting in the birth is your best line of defense. Yes, set these firm boundaries NOW with your in-laws (and hubby’s firm support), but when you are in labor, the nurse can and will bar anyone you say can’t enter the labor/delivery room. The nurse will tell you that they will be the “bad guy,” and will tell people NO.

  • Mames October 1, 2018, 8:34 am

    I HATE when people excuse bad behavior with ‘that’s just the way they are’
    They’re like that because they’ve been allowed to act like that.

  • Goldie October 1, 2018, 8:47 am

    Overbearing grandparents are a serious thing that you and your husband will need to nip in the bud. Otherwise, you’ll have his parents telling you how to parent your children, or worse, undermining your parenting work behind your back, all the way into your children’s teens and 20s. My parents weren’t anywhere close to being excited when my sons were born, and lived far away from us until the kids were 4 and 1, and I still had that problem with them for most of the kids’ childhoods. Heck, my son told me last night that Grandma had come over and cleaned his room and rearranged his closet while we were all out, without being asked, and he’s 23. And mine were nowhere close to being as invasive as your in-laws sound! They will not “settle down in a few months”. They will get worse instead! Your husband needs to start setting firm boundaries with them now.

    I didn’t have anyone with me when my kids were born, honestly if my mom was in the delivery room, I’d probably still be there giving birth, because she is a perfectionist and would have wanted me to do everything just right, and to keep doing it over until I got it right. (Kidding, but not quite!)

    I really love every word of Admin’s response to you, OP. I would follow all of it.

  • Michelle October 1, 2018, 8:57 am

    I have to agree with Admin and others. When she makes rude, inappropriate comments, call it out immediately. This is your child, your body, your experience- YOU get to decide who is in the room with you. Let the head nurse/nursing staff know and, believe me, they will have no problem sending MIL back to the waiting room and/or calling security if they need to.

    Also, the baby is not going to love MIL “more”. That’s completely ridiculous and sounds like someone who is desperate for attention. Not a single one of her friends is going to care or want to know that she saw the baby “first”. Actually, I don’t understand why they want to stare at and photograph your nether regions during childbirth. That sounds…disturbing.

    Finally, your husband needs to stop shrugging it off and step up. He really needs to have a little chat with his parents and tell them that they are not going to be in the delivery room and to stop making inappropriate comments. You are his WIFE, not the baby-maker for MIL. She needs to back off.

    P.S. Maybe you could update us in a few months and let us know how it goes?

  • AJ October 1, 2018, 9:23 am

    I agree with all the others. My MIL called my baby ‘her child” and I finally had enough and told her that it is My child and your GRAND child. My own mother tried to take the baby out of my arms without any warning a few times and I almost dropped her. I told her to ask and I will hand the baby to her.
    I suspect your MIL will want the baby to call her Mama. There are many similar stories out there. I feel for you. Get your husband on board immediately in terms of boundary setting. All decisions are for you and your husband to make.
    Good luck OP.

  • viviennebzb October 1, 2018, 9:28 am

    OP, you have way more power here than you realize…in fact, you hold all the power in this dynamic. Your baby, your rules, you are the gatekeeper, and no one will do anything you don’t approve of first. Begin as you mean to go on, with a firm voice and a beatific smile on your face, you lay down the law. They’ll either get in line or miss out, their choice. Greatest good luck (and a shiny spine!) to you.

    • LizaJane October 2, 2018, 6:29 am

      This. The OP needs to get this all straight in her head and be prepared to verbalize it, but getting and staying upset about it is unnecessary and unhealthy for her and the baby. She’s already in control of the situation, she just needs to stay there.

  • Cathy October 1, 2018, 9:44 am

    MIL and FIL need to back waaay off. You and your husband need to set boundaries with them, and present as a united front. Your husband is going to get a very unpleasant surprise if he thinks they will mellow out after the baby arrives- they are pushing now to see how far they can get away with these behaviors, and will only ramp up unless you put them in their place.

    There are other sites where people give advice on these sorts of behaviors and boundary stomps, aka, “baby rabies”. BabyCenter Community has two boards, All in the Family (AITF) and Dealing with In Laws (DWIL) with plenty of posters who have been in your position and how they dealt with things. Be warned- these folks are blunt and to the point. They will provide advice and taking it is entirely your choice. You and your husband may want to read the “best of” threads on DWIL, which include stories of major boundary violations by in laws during Labor and Delivery, and post partum. It may surprise both of you to see similar patterns of behavior and what you might see if you don’t take steps to establish rules and boundaries now.

    Reddit also has a page, JustNoMIL with stories of Mothers and Mother In Laws who have stomped all over the wishes of their children or their children’s partners, and the fall out from that. Lots of good advice and resources, including on ways to establish and ensure your privacy both during delivery and after you bring the baby home.

  • LizaJane October 1, 2018, 9:51 am

    My daughter’s MIL (who is also my friend) was overly excited at the prospect of being a first-time grandma. She kept talking about being in the room when the baby was born, how exciting it was going to be, etc. I never took it upon myself to tell her that Daughter and I had already discussed who was going to be in the room: Daughter, Son-in-Law and medical staff. Period. I did tell her that we needed to wait and see what Daughter wanted since she would be the one actually having the baby. MIL would agree, then go right back to the silliness.

    When Son-in-Law let us know that the baby was here, she became impatient and after about 20 minutes walked back to go into the room and was stopped. She then became convinced something was terribly wrong because the nurse wouldn’t let her in. She asked if I was worried and I told her that I hadn’t been until she walked back there to ask and please don’t do it again. I think it may have occurred to her what she’d done.

    She’s really a good person and my Daughter loves her. She’s very helpful and positive. However, she’s completely clueless about things that involve sticking to a plan.

  • Mary Sgree October 1, 2018, 9:56 am

    Oh, leave it alone. Grandmother has a right to be excited. Is she immature? Yes. But that’s her problem. I hear soon-to-be grandmothers going on like this all the time. And yes, if she is a popular woman, she will get her friends all hyped up about it too (believe me, I’ve seen it) and yes, many grandparents set up their own nursery/grandchild room, it’s very common. You will come to appreciate that fact one day. Overbearing, yes, but infinitely better than the grandparent that doesnt want to be or act like a grandparent.

    • Girlie October 1, 2018, 1:07 pm

      Seriously?
      As someone with an overbearing MIL who is NOWHERE near as bad or as crass as this one, I am stunned that you are essentially granting permission for this woman’s aggressive, rude, callous, dismissive, bullying behavior.
      This is NOT how excited grandmothers talk. This is how crazy people who have stopped viewing their DILs as HUMAN BEINGS rather than as BABY MAKERS talks. This woman doesn’t sound concerned at all about anyone other than herself, and DIL would do herself well to put as much space between her family and her DH’s parents as possible.

    • Lenore October 1, 2018, 1:39 pm

      There’s excited, and then there’s acting like YOU’RE the one who’s having the baby. MIL is being an overbearing, interfering, boundary crossing harpy. Not to mention, you don’t get to tell other people what does or doesn’t make them uncomfortable. OP isn’t comfortable with it, she’s the pregnant one, she gets to call the shots. Not MIL, not DH, and definitely not you.

    • Michelle October 1, 2018, 1:50 pm

      Whoa- you see no problem with the MIL and FIL saying they are going to be filming the birth, the MIL will be the first one to see the child and, most egregiously, telling the mother of the child that she’s jealous because the baby will love the grandmother more? Also, telling her that if she “takes too long”, she’ll have FIL strap her down and yank the baby out of her? Excitement is one thing, this way, way, way over the top.

      • theLadyBugg October 1, 2018, 2:51 pm

        Some of this might be sweet, but some is clearly WAY over the line. I don’t care if the next coming of God is busting out of my ladybits, followed by 76 trombones and 110 coronets right behind – I am the ONLY person who decides if that’s being recorded and if so (nope!), who would be doing the recording.

      • Kirsten October 1, 2018, 3:53 pm

        She’s completely OTT, but believing that she would actually restrain the OP and deliver the baby is ridiculous.

        • Michelle October 2, 2018, 8:10 am

          I know that won’t happen because the nurses, security and police would drag the grandmother out of the hospital, but she shouldn’t be saying anything like that. I think it just underscores how overbearing she is and how she thinks this is all about her.

          I wouldn’t let her anywhere near my child until she learned how to behave.

          • Kirsten October 2, 2018, 11:42 am

            I really don’t think the tying down and yanking was a serious statement of real intent. Tasteless expression of enthusiasm, yeah, but not to be taken seriously.

          • Calli Arcale October 2, 2018, 2:12 pm

            I’m sure she wouldn’t actually do that either, but to jokingly suggest something so violent goes beyond good taste. I would put that right up next to rape jokes, honestly, given it’s a joke that depends on body horror. To find that funny, one needs to have little regard for the person’s feelings, and given the rest of her behavior, this is all part of her territorial motions. She’s trying to put OP in her place as subordinate to her, and that is nothing one should casually dismiss just because she woudln’t *actually* commit a crime that would probably seriously harm if not kill both mother and child. If my MIL had said these things, I would probably be seriously curtailing her presence in my and my child’s life. I do not need a toxic person in my life.

          • MzLiz October 4, 2018, 12:30 am

            I wonder how MIL & FIL would take it if when she makes her little ‘jokes’ about strapping the OP down & yanking the baby out of her, the OP relied with, “And if you continue to make comments like that, I’m going to push you in front of a bus & feed your bodies to some feral dogs”. How many chuckles would that get? None, I’d wager.
            These in-laws are horrible. But it’s the husband that needs to be woken up – quickly & permanently. Therapy is necessary here. Please go to couples counseling, OP.

    • AMac October 1, 2018, 6:03 pm

      You are totally wrong Mary Sgree. This is absolute horrendous behavior and if OP does not stop it now it will continue.

    • lakey October 1, 2018, 8:32 pm

      You might be able to write off the crude jokes, but the in laws’ assumption that they get to be in the delivery room, and that FIL gets to film the birth is clearly boundary stomping. There is a difference between grandparents who get excited about a grandbaby, and grandparents who think they get to control things. Grandparents are important to a child’s life and can be a great help to the parents, but in the case of pushy grandparents, the parents need to establish that they make the decisions. The delivery room is a good place to start that.

    • Goldie October 2, 2018, 9:29 am

      I am honestly still trying to figure out what is it about “the grandparent that doesnt want to be or act like a grandparent” that is infinitely worse than the insanity OP is describing. I only had one living grandparent when I was born. She lived two days away by train, I saw her for a few weeks every year or two for the first ten years of my life and then she had a stroke when I was 11 and was in very bad shape for the next ten years until she passed away. For the first few years of my children’s lives, both sets of grandparents were far away and we only saw them a few times a year. I admit it was difficult not having anyone to help out with the kids, but being far from the grandparents paid off in other ways. Definitely not “infinitely” worse than a MIL jokingly threatening to yank your baby out of you (still cannot wrap my brain around that one either – how did she ever think it was a good idea to say this to a pregnant woman, or to anyone for that matter??)

      • EchoGirl October 2, 2018, 11:35 pm

        As someone who grew up in much the same scenario (both grandmothers died before I was born, my paternal grandfather passed before I was old enough to remember, and my surviving grandfather lives in a different time zone), I agree with this completely. People act like it’s such a terrible thing for a child not to have (present, involved) grandparents. It may be a little strange for them if all their friends have grandparents nearby, but it’s not going to ruin their childhoods. And many children in this position (including me) end up with lovely “surrogate grandparents” in the form of other relatives (in my case, my grandfather’s sister and her husband) or family friends… they don’t “miss out” on anything.

        The only charitable interpretation I can give is that this could possibly refer to grandparents who are so averse to the idea of having grandchildren that they insult or hurt the parents in other ways, but that doesn’t seem to be what’s being discussed here.

    • Ai October 3, 2018, 11:16 am

      I would be willing to let a lot of what OP’s MIL said up to the threatening physical harm upon the mother and the baby. She literally to make the baby’s first moments upon the world horrifically frightening and painful.

      No. That’s a firm no.

      My mother never acted like this when my niece was born. My mother-in-law, who’s only child is my husband, has never acted like this and I’m currently pregnant. This is bananas-level behavior. It’s one thing to offer to have a little playroom and be available to babysit when the parents want a date night. It’s another to say “You’re just afraid the baby will love me more.” WHAT GRANDMOTHER SAYS THAT TO THE MOTHER?! That’s…no.

  • Miss R October 1, 2018, 10:11 am

    “When I get upset she just dismisses me by saying that I’m just jealous the baby is going to love her more.” when she says this, raise an eyebrow and ask “Oh? do your kids love their grandparents more than they love you?”

    And tell hubby to hint to his parents, if they don’t tone it down, they are NOT going to be seeing a lot of the kid, and definitely NOT unsupervised overnights.

    • Queen of Putrescence October 1, 2018, 1:24 pm

      I absolutely love that first response that you wrote!

    • Huh October 2, 2018, 12:49 pm

      I think it’s a good idea to constantly turn those comments back on MIL like you did – “Oh do your kids love their grandparents more than you?” When she says things like, “Only eat organic, only the best for my grandkid,” “Oh, so you ate only organic healthy foods when you were pregnant/and fed your kids only healthy foods growing up?” “Oh so your FIL filmed your kids’ births? Funny I’ve never seen DH’s birth video.” (And P.S. – Who wants to watch a birthing video? I’ve had two kids and I don’t want to watch a video of their birth, I was there, thanks. I remember everything pretty vividly. And I have no desire to watch anyone I know give birth or be born.) “Did your MIL have a nursery at her house, keep your kids all the time, etc.?”

  • PJ October 1, 2018, 10:12 am

    Agreeing with the others. I’d like to add one more thing to their suggestions: find a friend or two– or a sister/brother or your mother– who is willing to be your bouncer. Someone who knows that this family is stepping waaay over the line. Have them around often, especially when the ILs are visiting. Have them ready to kick out anyone who overstays their welcome, to defend private spaces in your home from intrusion, and basically do the things that your DH would be doing if he wasn’t so blind to the way his parents are affecting you. You’ll be exhausted during recovery and having someone looking out for you is so very important.

    As the others said, nip it in the bud. Tell the hospital that they are not welcome in the birthing room, and rest assured that while grandmothers have a special place in our hearts, it is nothing compared to the love we have for our moms. Not even close.

  • SCC October 1, 2018, 10:43 am

    Argh! First, sending you oceans of support. Here are some things that helped me navigate with over-eager relatives:
    1. Write down your birth plan. Include who is/who is not allowed in your room. Give a copy of this to your nurses when you go to give birth. They (should) will be the guardians – they only care that YOU are as stress-free and peaceful as possible.
    2. YOU SET THE RULES. You’re going to be absolutely exhausted the first few weeks – and possibly breast feeding. And guess what? No one can breastfeed but you! If this is your plan, make SURE that everyone understands that baby is NOT to be given a bottle at any time. If you have bottles as backups – hide them. I had relatives try to go around me on this (!!!). NOPE. This will also put the kibosh on any overnights. Nope – baby has to eat!
    3. If relatives come over put them to work doing laundry (there will be more than you can imagine).
    4. If anyone has been exposed to anything – cold, whatever – insist that they wear a paper mask (you can buy these ahead at a drugstore cheaply). My MIL wanted to hold my newborn while she had a cold! I nearly died. I insisted on a mask and lots of hand-washing. You are the baby’s guardian – you get to set the rules.
    5. You will be more emotional than you can imagine – so if you end up losing patience, don’t sweat it. You can ALWAYS blame birth hormones for making you emo. I did!
    6. Enjoy that baby. It will seem like forever – but it goes so quickly.

    Congratulations! Sending you all best wishes.

  • mariana October 1, 2018, 10:46 am

    My mom is great and all that, but she is very anxious and it drives me bonkers. She freaked out once because she read online that the baby’s room cannot be over 27C ever or the baby will overheat and die. I live in a tropical country, I guarantee most babies sleep in rooms hotter than that.. and no, I wasn’t going to get air conditioner for the 3 days a year where temperatures in my apartment go over 27C (I live in a cooler city in an apartment that does not get direct sunlight in the afternoon).
    So I told the hospital she was only allowed in once the baby was born. And told her the hospital only allowed 1 person in with the mother, and that was going to be my husband.
    Best decision ever.

    • kingsrings October 1, 2018, 2:40 pm

      Reminds me of what my mom told me my grandmother told her when my older brother was born. My parents were living with my grandparents for a bit after he was born. My grandmother was absolutely insistent that my brother have two baths a day! Thankfully my mom refused to do that.

    • SadieMae October 1, 2018, 3:56 pm

      I knew my very anxious and pushy mom would flip out if I allowed her in the delivery room. It would have been like “Terms of Endearment,” seriously. I would have been comforting HER instead of the other way around!

      So I gently told her I loved her very much but it would just be my husband and me there. I even refused to call her when we went to the hospital because I was afraid she would just rush in and say “I know you said I shouldn’t come but I was so WORRIED…” And yes, I told the nurses to keep her out if she found out and showed up. (She didn’t.)

      She was so upset – but I would have been more upset if I’d had to deal with her drama – and I was the one giving birth! So I stood firm. Whew!

  • Annie October 1, 2018, 10:55 am

    I agree with the others, but I would suggest that if they keep being obnoxious and not understanding boundaries, you notify them of the baby’s birth AFTER the baby is born. My mother and father told me that when my mother was having me, paternal grandmother kept calling the hospital non-stop: “WHEN IS SHE HAVING THE BABY?!” It drove both of them crazy; Dad had to tell her to stop and then refused to take her call after the 4th one. Three years later when mom was having my brother, neither of them notified her until after my brother was born.

  • C7 October 1, 2018, 11:00 am

    Boundary violations must be met with consequences, or her behavior will not change. Set the boundary. When she violates it, hand her her coat and show her out or, if at her house, pick up your child and leave. Stay away as long as the violation merits.
    Sorry, husband–insisting on parenting your own child is just the way you are. And he took vows to put you first.

    • BeachMum October 2, 2018, 8:39 am

      This does work. Years ago, my boundary crossing MIL invited us for dinner. I said, when invited, that we’d need to leave by 7 p.m. (In those days, my kids went to bed around 6:30, so we were willing to stay up very late for this dinner.) We got there and she had appetizers out. Around 5:30, I asked about dinner. She demurred, saying it would be a bit longer. At around 6 p.m., I put together plates for my kids because they were used to eating dinner at 5:30 (which I had told MIL ahead of time). By 6:30, no dinner had been served, and MIL said that it would be a while. The kids were getting cranky, it seemed that we were having a power game rather than a dinner, so DH and I said we were leaving. She was horrified that we’d leave without eating, but DH explained that we’d told her our needs, she’d agreed to them, and then hadn’t followed through. She responded that she knew many children who stayed up late so ours should too. We left and ate dinner when we got home after putting the kids to bed. She didn’t speak to us for a few weeks, and then it blew over.

      Sometimes you have to stand your ground.

      P.S. We didn’t call her until the babies were born both times. She would have rushed over to be in the delivery room, and I didn’t want that at all.

  • lakey October 1, 2018, 11:11 am

    ‘That’s completely ridiculous and sounds like someone who is desperate for attention. ”
    Exactly. Your husband thinks this is normal because he has lived with it his whole life. This is your and your husband’s baby. You decide everything. So speak up. Consider not telling them when you go to the hospital. Use short, direct statements.

    No one will be in the delivery room except …..
    That joke bothers me.
    No overnight visits for Baby.

  • staceyizme October 1, 2018, 11:13 am

    Your issue isn’t the in-laws. Its hubs. He should be supporting you by acknowledging your concerns. Your instinct not to hang out with them is absolutely correct. Don’t let anyone minimize your concerns. If your other half doesn’t see the light after you lay it out for him, then make it a binary choice. “We’re a family. Your parents are important, but they aren’t this baby’s parents. We are. Talk to them and get them to back off. They’re your parents. You need to make this happen. If not, we have a bigger problem because I’m not sharing my life or my child’s life with people who bully.” Follow up. Don’t ever, EVER settle where this is concerned. And if your other half has a habit of postponing difficult conversations, tell him that this conversation with his parents is excellent practice for setting a few limits with the extremely charming little person about to arrive on the scene, whom you hope to convince of the value of self-awareness and self-control over the course of time and with some practice. If you’re afraid that hubs won’t support you, stay away from situations that place you at the mercy of others. (Drive yourself so that you can leave. Screen your calls so that you don’t have to deal with them until they get it. Block them on Facebook so that your posts aren’t hijacked. Make a birth plan that has a security component AND a backup and a backup to the backup… Get your family to help you if needed. (Hopefully, it WON”T be needed, but you’ll rest a little easier if you’re in control.) That’s the essence of the matter. Make certain that you’re in control or that your trusted designees are in any given situation and you’ll be okay. Sorry for the gloom and doom verbiage, but you’re NOT overreacting and it’s NOT okay to bully a mom in the guise of “GOLLY GEE WHIZ, WE’RE JUST S-O SO SO EXCITED AND WHATEVER WE WANT…!!!” No. Not at all. Don’t allow that.

  • JD October 1, 2018, 11:27 am

    Wow, these people are disturbing. And it disturbs me, too, that the husband shrugs it off. The OP needs to make it clear to her husband that she does NOT want the in-laws in during her delivery, or he might let them convince him to tell the staff to let them in. He needs to be tending to his wife’s needs right now, and the fact that she is stressed out over his parents means he needs to put the law down to his parents. My F-I-L had already passed away before I gave birth, but had he been alive and suggested filming me during labor and delivery, I would have given him a wide berth after that, because that would have given me the creeps.
    Yes, speak up, OP. Tell them no, you are not having a crowd in with you in the delivery room. No, no filming. No, there is no need to build a nursery at their house. That the remark that the baby will love M-I-L more (which is crazy) is insensitive and offensive, and you want to hear no more of it.
    And absolutely, tell the staff before hand that you don’t want them in, and in the meantime, have a talk with your obstetrician, explaining the stress you are under concerning the birth.
    I’m a grandmother, too. When my first grandchild was close to arriving, I sat my daughter down and told her I would be there for her at the hospital in any manner that she needed me, but if she wanted no one in the labor and delivery besides her husband, then she should do just that — it was her decision and her right to privacy. I had no one but her father in with me when I gave birth to my kids, so I was fine with waiting in the waiting area for my grandkids to be born, which is what I’ve done with all of them, so far.
    Oh, and my first grandchild immediately loved all of her grandparents, but my next two grandchildren have been much slower to warm up to any of their grandparents, although they are finally getting there as toddlers. I wonder what OP’s in-laws would do if OP’s child was slow to warm up to his or her grandparents? Fall apart? Blame OP?

  • Twirly October 1, 2018, 11:33 am

    UK Midwife here. If you are indeed based in the UK then the majority of delivery suites and birth units allow only 2 birth companions, although it is normal for just the partner to attend the birth. Your Midwife will coordinate your care (we do not favour medicalised birth care as the US do) and if you make your wishes known then they will be followed. The security in maternity units is very high, there will not be a problem. Additionally, the videotaping or photography of the actual birth is highly unusual and you would need to gain permission from the Midwife. Of course, a few pictures after the birth are expected, but we protect our women’s dignity. Hopefully, these facts will put your mind at rest about the birth. With regards to the rest, I would put my foot down early. Make sure they are aware of your boundaries.

  • bopper October 1, 2018, 1:58 pm

    START AS YOU MEAN TO GO ON.

    You have to set boundaries now, which you are doing by not visiting.
    You have to get your husband on board too. Otherwise they will get used to you not being around, and why doesn’t hubby bring baby over while you stay home?

    Having read some other discussion boards like outofthefog.net this is a classic narcisstic MIL . Its all about them…all about how it makes them look good…all about looking the part of the best grandmother ever. These are the people when the come to visit after the baby still expect you to cook for them.

    You need to sit with your husband now and talk about how this is your and his baby, not his parents. How you need him to push back on any talk of them yanking babies out. How at this point you and he will not be calling when you go into labor, because you cannot trust them. You do not wanting them showing up while you are in labor.
    Also discuss how there will not be sleepovers with the baby.
    Discuss how visiting will happen and how often.
    So maybe it will be that the day after the baby is born, they will be invited for a short visit in the hospital.
    Then perhaps you want some family bonding time at home with no visitors. Then they can visit for an afternoon. Watch that they don’t start to pooh-pooh you breastfeeding because they want to bottle feed. Watch that they don’t try to give you outdated baby advice…”Well we fed solid food at 3 weeks!”

    Also read this:
    https://narcissisticmil.wordpress.com/2015/07/11/grandparent-grooming-1-what-it-looks-like/

    Remember: Yes it is normal for grandparents to be excited, but it is not normal not to treat you like a cow that they can put a glove up to get the calf out.

    Do block them at this point. If they ask your DH about it he can say “Yes, we are getting really concerned about the control you seem to want over this baby. The more you try to control, the less we are going to want you around. ”

    But you have to get your DH on board and set boundaries together. You are a team. Not him and his parents.

  • Sarah October 1, 2018, 2:07 pm

    Decorate the nursery the way YOU want, lock your doors (change the locks if these nuts have your key) and move out of town until you give birth. Call them when the baby is born, but don’t tell them where you are. When you are feeling well enough to deal with them, come home.

    • LizaJane October 2, 2018, 6:38 am

      “…move out of town until you give birth.” Seriously? How are they supposed to do that?
      You’re assuming that they can just stay in a hotel for an extended period of time or rent an extra house/apartment. I missed the part where the OP said that they were quite wealthy and can afford 2 rents/mortgages.

      Hiding isn’t the answer. Getting things on track for how they’re going to be should happen now. It will save a lot of drama and grief in the future.

      • Sarah October 2, 2018, 1:21 pm

        Oh LizaJane – you are so cute! Silly girl, I didn’t mean for six months – just the last week or two before birth and they don’t have to move out of town – just stay by a friend or even in a hotel for a week or two.

        • LizaJane October 2, 2018, 6:44 pm

          I took your post to mean what you wrote…so color me silly. A week or two in a hotel is going to be quite costly. What if she goes past her due date?

          99% of the advice on here is to take a stand now, begin as they aim to continue,etc., so I can’t imagine why you think it’s a good time for them to start hiding. They’re about to be parents—now is the time for them to be grown ups like never before.

          I managed to disagree with your post without being condescending or calling you a “silly girl”, it seems like you could show me the same consideration.

      • Rodo October 2, 2018, 1:30 pm

        Hey Liza Jane – chill – do what works for you and let others do what works for them. You don’t have to agree with everything posted here but don’t diss it. Moving actually sounds like a great idea to me!

        • LizaJane October 2, 2018, 6:45 pm

          Are you a moderator?

    • Devin October 2, 2018, 9:59 am

      Move out of town?!? Who has the luxury to just up and move for months at a time, especially in the months/weeks before giving birth? Don’t let MIL and FIL have this kind of control on your life!!
      OP I second many other posters that this is really the time for your husband to step up as your husband and the father of your baby to lay down the ground rules for grandparents, specifically his. Luckily in the US you have complete control on who has access to you and your baby while in the hospital. Find out if your hospital/birthing center can lock your medical record. This will mean that the clinical team knows you’ve asked for extra privacy and can guarantee that no one has any access to any of your medical information, including if you are even at that specific facility. Most maternity wards are locked units and you can specify who has access to you and the baby. Even if your husband lets it be known where you are having the baby, they still need your permission to access your room. Hope you have a healthy little one!

  • ladyv21454 October 1, 2018, 2:53 pm

    If my husband wasn’t putting his foot down with his parents when they were behaving in a way that was demeaning to me, and totally insensitive to my feelings, he would rapidly become my EX-husband. As others have said, this is where you need to set some very, very firm boundaries – starting with, “No, you will not be in the delivery room!” Personally, if it was me, I wouldn’t allow ANY visitors until 24 hours after the baby was born, to allow mom and dad to have some bonding time with the baby. Definitely make sure hospital personnel know your wishes. This is one of those situations where only ONE person gets to make decisions – and that’s the mother to be.

  • SadieMae October 1, 2018, 3:51 pm

    LW, to paraphrase Captain Awkward, you don’t have an in-law problem here, you have a husband problem. Not that the in-laws’ behavior isn’t problematic – in fact, it’s cruel! – but you could head them off at the pass with firm boundaries if not for the fact that your husband is brushing off your very reasonable feelings.

    It is pretty common for people who have grown up with a really overbearing/upsetting family member(s) to try to avoid conflict at all costs. They spend so much time hearing “Don’t upset your mother/father/aunt/etc!” that they shut down at the first sign of drama. And I expect that’s what your husband is doing here. But that’s not okay, because he’s sacrificing your sense of safety and autonomy just to keep his parents from getting upset. That isn’t fair to you. And no, it won’t all blow over after the baby comes. It will be worse!

    If I were you I would really lay down the law with my husband about how he needs to support and defend you (and advocate for the safety and well-being of your baby) – and he needs to do it now. He needs to be a united front with you in telling MIL and FIL they won’t be in the delivery room. He needs to be willing to speak up and say “Mom, that was a terrible thing to say! If you keep talking this way, we will need to leave,” and then carry through. This is not to say you can’t stand up for yourself – just that if hubby continues to try to duck out of these conversations, the dynamic it sets up is where your in-laws see you as the “problem” who is keeping their perfect son and perfect grandchild away from them, raising the child “wrong,” etc. You are some demon woman who’s entrapped their son and is forcing him to exclude them from things. It’s a really painful and unhealthy dynamic.

    I know it’s SO hard (I’ve been there) but I think if you insist your husband stand with you here, even to the point of insisting on couples’ therapy if he doesn’t agree, you and your growing family will be happier in the long run. (And once his parents melt down at the both of you once or twice, he may see that the world has not ended and be more ready and able to hold boundaries into the future. These things tend to be harder at first.) Good luck!

  • Bea October 1, 2018, 4:10 pm

    You are swimming in an ocean of hormones. Of course you’re stressed out right now, I’m so sorry she’s such a callous woman.

    I hated my grandmother with a passion because she was fine enough to me but was rude to my mom. Setting up these wildly inappropriate boundaries will not endear a child to her. You’re the mom and have been bonding with baby since conception. What a vile thing to even joke about.

    Your husband is used to her and has developed a “oh that’s just mom” attitude. Now is the time he realizes that she’s obnoxious and can’t be allowed to stress out his pregnant wife.

  • Secret Sauce October 1, 2018, 5:43 pm

    Tell your MIL you might consider her video recording request right after you get to video record her getting a pap smear. Yes, I know. I belong in Etiquette Hell.

  • Jenn50 October 1, 2018, 6:26 pm

    When she says something gross, like, FIL is going to yank the baby out, you can make a repulsed face and say, “What a disgusting thing to say!” If she says she’s building a nursery, you laugh and say, “Why on earth would you need a nursery?? It’s not like I would leave my baby overnight!” And if she persists, you can say, “You’re clearly not thinking straight. We’ll chat again when you’ve had a chance to calm down.” And then leave.

    Your husband definitely needs to get on board. It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t bother him. It bothers you, so he should stick up for you.

  • Mia October 1, 2018, 10:55 pm

    My MIL was almost exactly the same, she purchased a car seat so baby could go with her on drives, she told me she planned on taking baby to visit friends with her, to the shops.. everywhere. She even had a schedule drawn up of when she would have the baby.

    It was insane, she showed no respect for Hubby or my thoughts, plans or wishes. She expected baby to call her Mama. She also woke our newborn baby up to show him off to the rest of the family.

    It was ridiculous. We told her if she had to stop, that if it didn’t we would have to limit her time with baby as it was our first child and she’d had her chance to raise her children, this was our time. It didn’t work.

    It only stopped when hubby and I moved 8 hours away, now we only see her maybe once a year and skype every couple of weeks or so.

    • Michelle October 2, 2018, 8:21 am

      She drew up a schedule of when she would have the baby? Nope. I would have laughed at her and dispose of that schedule. Call her Mama? Again, nope. You should have shown her the door when she woke up the baby to show him off. You could always use the classic Julia “The Terminator” Sugarbaker line:
      You: MIL, I’m going to have to ask you to move your car.
      MIL: Why?
      You: Because you’re leaving and don’t come back until you can learn how to act like an adult. MY baby, MY rules.

      • LadyV October 2, 2018, 12:30 pm

        Michelle, +1 just for the “Designing Women” reference – especially since that’s my favorite Julia moment!

  • Bada October 2, 2018, 8:24 am

    Facebook allows you to set who can see posts on a post by post level. Change it to “all friends except” and choose MIL plus anyone who is likely to say “oh, did you see OP’S cute post in FB?”. She won’t even know she doesn’t see every single thing you post. She’ll still see some so it won’t look like she’s blocked. I filtered out my mom a few times because I found her posts to be annoying and she’ll never know!

    I hope you’re planning to/able to breastfeed, just because it would give you a huge, easy out if she wants the baby overnight. You aren’t even supposed to introduce a bottle at all for the first few months (otherwise baby will use it instead because it’s easier for him). It dovetails nicely with her concern about “only eat organic” since many studies show breastfeeding is healthiest. (But obviously do what you gotta do!)

    I hope you’re able to successfully talk with your husband about this. Tell him that even if HE isn’t bothered by their crap, you are and he needs to be your biggest defender right now. I’m so sorry he’s not, and I hope he steps into that role like he should.

  • Kitty October 2, 2018, 8:48 am

    Put your foot down.
    Tell your in-laws to stop those jokes because they are not funny. Tell your husband to back you up. His reaction is not one that would instill me with confidence that he will follow your wishes when it comes time for you to give birth or even after.

    Yes, tell the staff who is allowed to go into the birthing area. If necessary, I might even say do not let your husband in. As said, he might insist on his mother joining or letting her see the baby before you are comfortable with that happening.

    If push comes to shove, openly tell your in-laws that you refuse to let them see their eventual grandchild unsupervised. This might get to the point that fights erupt, maybe even with the idea that your husband has to ‘choose between his parents or his wife and child’. But if it goes that far, I hope you can see what will be best for you. And for your baby.

  • Dawn Stafford October 2, 2018, 10:55 am

    I agree that DH should be more involved in keeping his parents in check, but this is what he grew up with and he just does not get the affect it is having on you. I’m offering a different opinion. If someone is bothering ME, that’s MY problem and, as an adult, I will deal with it on MY terms. I think you should have a sit down with MIL and FIL, just the 3 of you, and lay down the law. List your issues on paper so you don’t forget. And don’t let them interrupt. “I’m still talking. If you’re talking, you aren’t listening, and you need to listen. Believe me, you need to hear this.” And tell them:

    1. You are RUINING my first pregnancy experience.
    2. I’m happy that you love this child, but back off. Waaaaay off.
    3. You will not be there for the birth, so you can just accept that right now.
    4. Your jokes and comments are not only not funny, they’re offensive.
    5. Quit telling me what to eat and how to be. I got pregnant without your help and have managed to survive this long without your input. It is not welcome. However, if I do need your advice I PROMISE I will ask for it. I won’t be mean-spirited with you.
    6. Don’t even think of taking all the firsts. Before you do anything with this child, clear it with the parents. Before you buy anything significant, clear it with the parents. (First movie, circus, Sesame Street musical, bicycle, pierced ears, haircut, etc.)
    7. If you keep telling me my baby will love you more than me (which is offensive and stupid), I will do everything in my power to limit your contact. And I have a lot of power.
    8. WE will decide when and if this child is ready for a sleepover. The more you push, the longer it will be.
    9. Whatever else you can think of!

    Then give them the floor, knowing there’s absolutely NOTHING they can say that will excuse them, or change how you feel about what you’ve said.

    Afterward, give them the chance to show you they heard and listened. It will also give you the opportunity to point things out to them. So don’t avoid being around them. If they say something stupid you look at them and say, “That’s what I was talking about.”

    Understand you’re now at the point they can’t do anything right in your eyes, so you need to examine yourself. If you post something pregnancy related and they say they can’t wait to meet the baby, well, that’s not really something to get worked up over. If they comment about what you should eat or do, comment right back with, “Adult here! I got this.” Don’t give a care about what other people think about your response. You’re engaged in a conflict? relationship? that will last for years and you need to address things as they come up.

    Good luck!

    -Dawn

    • Kitty October 2, 2018, 4:23 pm

      I feel like the in-laws will insist on interrupting her… or even ‘listen’ and then vilify her to her husband behind her back. Making it out like she’s overreacting and she’s “hurting their feelings”, and “can’t she let them have some fun” and “be part of the intimacy of the pregnancy? I mean, it is their first grandchild!” and stuff like that. And given his reaction to her already pointing out their behavior, I wonder if the husband would choose his wife and child over his parents… I hope he does, but maybe I’m seeing things a little too bleakly.

      • MzLiz October 4, 2018, 1:59 am

        She has to try though. And while it’s important for OP’s husband to start backing her up & begin presenting a unified front with his wife to his parents, Dawn has a valid point regarding the OP learning to stick up for herself.

        Dawn’s idea of having a list written down is an excellent one, as is calling them out when they do interrupt her, cos you’re right, they probably will but she needs to press on until they get it into their thick skulls that she’s not going to keep quiet about their behaviour anymore. I esp. think it’s wise to add in the bit about not being mean-spirited going forward & not letting it become a ‘BEC’ situation where absolutely every little thing they say or do becomes a battle to fight.

        The only thing I’m not totally sure about is Husband not being there – It would be good if he was present to support her (and maybe he has a few things he’d like to add to the list if OP manages to wake him up, either by explaining her feelings to him or going to therapy with him) but also so everybody has the same version of what was said. If the in-laws are like this, they’re probably not above exaggerating or being overly-dramatic when repeating the conversation to Husband (and you know they will if he’s not there); “We’ll decide when Baby has a sleepover at your home, not you” becomes “Your wife told us we could never see the baby!!!’ or something. Dawn’s advice is sound & it gives OP her agency & control back. It’s scary to confront your in-laws but it’ll be worth it.

  • Kheldarson October 2, 2018, 7:59 pm

    In addition to everybody’s advice, OP, you might find some help in the subreddit r/JustNoMIL. There’s a lot of folks over there that have had the exact issue you’re having and can give you support and tips through this.

    That said, your MIL is bonkers and you’re right to want boundaries.

  • SJ October 2, 2018, 11:51 pm

    I’m so sorry you’re dealing with this!

    On top of everything else, you might be feeling hormonal, which can make everything worse! (Or, maybe you’re not feeling hormonal. Either way, your feelings are totally valid.)

    The joke that your baby will love MIL more than you is so disgusting.

  • Lex October 3, 2018, 6:20 am

    Wow. They sound a bit like my sister’s IL’s. It won’t improve – MIL will be on at you all the time OP – “Oh let me have $BABY for the night”, “How about I take $Baby for the night so you can get some rest”, it won’t stop.
    I want to give you encouraging advice, but the truth is that realistically until you can get your husband on side and running interference with his parents, you are going to be fighting a losing battle.

    You can’t change the IL’s, so address the problem you CAN change – Your husband. He needs a big dose of sensitivity and a fresh spine. Tell him that their behaviour is making you anxious and until he puts a stop to it, you are going to withdraw from all family events.

    Explain to him that you do not want ANYONE told about the birth until after it’s happened – sell it to him as a special time for you and he to bond with baby. Anything can happen – even the most unthinkable outcome – and the last thing you both want is for a bunch of over-excited people hanging around the hospital/birthing centre if you’re trying to deal with a difficult outcome – perhaps baby might need some extra care after birth, perhaps baby got into distress and you had to have an emergency C-section, perhaps baby came out with some special challenges that need doctor intervention, or perhaps everything went smoothly and you’re both tired and just want a little time together before the hordes descend.

    If you do go down this route, you will have to apply this rule unilaterally to your own family as well as his – you cannot impose rules solely on his family. It is much more likely to be easier to implement if both sides know they are getting the same treatment. If you can announce your intentions over a joint dinner that would be best – that way the IL’s will have witnesses to their behaviour.

    I know my sister’s MIL was going on and on and on about ‘turning up to the hospital anyway’ in the lead up to the birth and my sister was getting increasingly stressed. In the end she did the exact thing I mentioned above and enforced a 24hr no-visitors policy. Which turned out to be a good thing because $nephew got into distress and she had to have an emergency C-section. I didn’t find out that he was born until several hours afterward. When I got the picture on my phone I sat in my car and bawled like a baby.

    As for my own IL’s, I have said before and will say again that I am very fortunate with my MIL. She’s very chill about everything. When she and my late FIL got married, they were living with his parents, and when BIL (Husband’s older brother) came along, apparently FIL’s mother was a NIGHTMARE, so my MIL knows well how awful it is to have an overbearing, interfering MIL and has explicitly said on more than one occasion that she actively makes an effort to not be THAT kind of MIL because she suffered herself during the first couple of years of her marriage.

    My own parents are happy to respect whatever boundaries we impose – as a former midwife (now retired) I may decide I want my mum to attend any possible birth (we’re embarking on IVF so who knows when or if that might be), or I may not. LeHusband has already expressed a wish for us to pose a 3 day embargo on visitors. I think 3 days is a bit excessive tbh. I’m thinking 24 hours for immediate family (the Mums, mostly), then 48 for siblings (my sis and BIL) and a week for everyone else (I have some aunts and cousins that will want to come visit, and husband’s aunt lives nearby so we’d need to be explicit to stop her just dropping in).

    I think the key to dealing with this issue is going to be getting your husband on-side and setting boundaries.

    • NicoleK October 13, 2018, 8:44 am

      You most certainly can impose different rules for his family, this is a birth, and she can have anyone in the room she wants as long as the hospital allows for it.

      It is absolutely reasonable to have her mom there for the birth and not his.

  • Ai October 3, 2018, 11:11 am

    I have to agree with a lot of the commenters’ here. Your MIL sounds like a real ‘peach’, OP, but the actual issue is your husband.

    My husband is not one to let anyone (including me) seem rude to his parents, BUT he is also not one to let his parents steamroll over his or my choices. That kind of talk from my MIL or my mom would not at all go over well with us and while he’ll let me handle my mother, I have witnessed him taking my MIL to task and she is not at all as overbearing and rude as your MIL seems to be.

    I hope can get on board with you on setting boundaries. This just sounds like nightmare in the making and preparing for a baby is stress enough!

  • Catherine St. Clair October 3, 2018, 1:36 pm

    If your husband says that this is just how his parents are, make it clear to him just how you are. Now is the time to tell husband and in-laws who will be allowed in the delivery room. Do you really want it recorded? By whom? It is your choice. You can tell them when they will be allowed to see the baby and you. It is your choice. Make it clear there will be no over-night visits without you until the child is far past infancy. Two people are responsible for raising this child, you and your husband. If you don’t take a stand now, they will plow right over you for years to come.

  • Archie October 4, 2018, 4:43 am

    One question. How often has she been overzealous? And has she done it after you’ve told her you’re uncomfortable?

    Yes, people should have better sense and better control, but if they did, we wouldn’t have, at minimum, this site. Not to mention a whole host of other headaches. If she made these off color remarks once, push back, but then for your own sake, move on. If the behavior is repeated – why the hell are you trying to be NICE? And you can be nice AND have a spine, as the wonderful people here show all the time.

    Having support, having this excitement is great, no doubt. But not to the point of upsetting anyone, future-mother or not. And certainly not required for repeat offenders. Your child is NOT her status symbol.

  • NicoleK October 13, 2018, 8:43 am

    I was only allowed one person in the room with me. I chose my husband. I wouldn’t have minded my Mom but she had to wait outside.

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