Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Family and Children => Topic started by: Syrse on September 26, 2012, 10:40:34 AM

Title: When the baby comes, family that is completely uninterested (update pg. 6)
Post by: Syrse on September 26, 2012, 10:40:34 AM
Hey everyone,

I'll try to keep it short: me and DH are expecting our first (hooray!) I'm about 10 days away from my due date.

The relationship between us and DH's mom has always been rocky. Things seemed on the mend after he moved out, but dipped down after our wedding again. At 8 weeks pregnant, we went over there to share the good news. The day after that, we got a mail in DH's inbox from her. It basically stated that she had no interest in any further contact, she had her life and he had his, and if he wanted to meet up with his dad, she'd prefer if he did so when she was not at home.
So yes, he basically got a cut direct from his mom.
DH was prepared for some kind of reaction, but not to that extend. He's been dealing graciously with it in my opinion; he respects her wish and leaves her alone, and only tells the truth to people if they ask him 'so how's your mom dealing with all this?'. Which isn't badmouthing, he sticks to the simple truth and then changes the subject.

Anyway, we were planning to call his dad when the baby gets here, just a simple phone call to say the baby was born, and see how it went from there. We haven't seen his dad a lot since the pregnancy, and he never really asked anything about it, but DH thought he was maybe just trying to keep the family from fighting. And if his mom then suddenly decided to switch around, we'd work from there.
.. except last weekend, we learned that his parents have left for a trip out of the country, and they won't be back for three weeks. Which means they will not be around when the baby comes.
I'm not saying everybody should put their lives on hold for our baby, but... it was quite a shock to DH that they didn't even notify him of this. He had to hear this from his grandmother. That his dad wouldn't even drop him a line or something really hurt him.

We're trying not to let it get to us, but I've been wondering what to do about notifying them now?
Part of me wants to just not call them and let them find the birth announcement in their mail when they get back, but that's probably rude.
So should DH still call his dad after the birth? Maybe send him a text message? What's the etiquette on this?

If we don't say anything I just know she'll go on a wailing rampage along the lines of 'my own son didn't even call me when his baby was born!'. But if we do call, she'll probably be mad as well, because she gave us the cut direct.

And how do we explain this to his other grandmother? I'm afraid my hormones might get the better of me at one point, and next time someone asks me where his parents are, I might not be so nice.




Title: Re: When the baby comes, how do we notify family that is completely uninterested?
Post by: Steve on September 26, 2012, 10:46:35 AM
I think you can just stick to your original plan of calling him when the baby is born and take it from there. Why should it matter where he is when he takes your call?
Title: Re: When the baby comes, how do we notify family that is completely uninterested?
Post by: LeveeWoman on September 26, 2012, 10:47:32 AM
I send them a birth announcement at the most.
Title: Re: When the baby comes, how do we notify family that is completely uninterested?
Post by: Jones on September 26, 2012, 10:52:47 AM
I was about to suggest what Levee Woman said...Make some sort of baby announcement and mail it to them.

If the ILs are planning on having nothing to do with any of you, this should be more than adequate to let them know they are biologically grandparents. If MIL tries to scream to everyone that you didn't bother to call her, well, that is her choice. If the mutual friends/family ask you about it, you are to be surprised, as they were out of the country and have asked you not to bother them.
Title: Re: When the baby comes, how do we notify family that is completely uninterested?
Post by: Outdoor Girl on September 26, 2012, 10:57:06 AM
I, too, would just send the birth announcement for them to find when they get back from their trip.  What's the worst that could happen?  They get mad and don't talk to you.  Kind of like what you have right now.  Their loss.
Title: Re: When the baby comes, how do we notify family that is completely uninterested?
Post by: amylouky on September 26, 2012, 11:01:19 AM
My first thought on reading the subject was, "Why would you?"

That didn't change after reading your post. How sad for DH that his mother (and his father, to a lesser extent) don't want to be involved with him. But, it is what it is. I'm not sure I'd even send a birth announcement, I don't think they deserve one. I'd tell DH's grandmother, and let her spread the word to his parents.. that's apparently their chosen method of communication.

If MIL wails about not being notified, and you hear about it, I think an innocent puzzled expression with, "We thought about calling, but she asked us never to contact her again.. not sure why she's upset that we're following her wishes?"
Title: Re: When the baby comes, how do we notify family that is completely uninterested?
Post by: heartmug on September 26, 2012, 11:02:34 AM
I send them a birth announcement at the most.

I would too.  I agree that just  a quick phone call to let you know that they would be out of the country, or an email, would have been kind, so if that is how they chose to stay in touch, send them the birth announcement because truly you do not know exactly when they will be back in town.
Title: Re: When the baby comes, how do we notify family that is completely uninterested?
Post by: Outdoor Girl on September 26, 2012, 11:03:33 AM
I'd tell DH's grandmother, and let her spread the word to his parents.. that's apparently their chosen method of communication.

I like this, too.  And then skip the birth announcement.
Title: Re: When the baby comes, how do we notify family that is completely uninterested?
Post by: poundcake on September 26, 2012, 11:11:52 AM
I'd tell DH's grandmother, and let her spread the word to his parents.. that's apparently their chosen method of communication.

I like this, too.  And then skip the birth announcement.

Agreed. I suspect MIL would see a mailed announcement as pretentious. (Not that it actually is.) Really, why go through the effort for them?
Title: Re: When the baby comes, how do we notify family that is completely uninterested?
Post by: gramma dishes on September 26, 2012, 11:18:03 AM
I do realize these are your husband's parents.  But I think if I had parents like that, I'd honestly prefer for them NOT to know that they had a grandchild.  What good would come of it?

As several other posters have mentioned, if MIL gnashes her teeth bemoaning the fact that you and your DH didn't notify them about the birth, just calmly explain that your MIL specifically told you not to -- that she had no interest in the baby at all.  So you are quite puzzled as to why she is complaining about not being told.   Then "Have you sampled this wonderful bean dip?  It's truly delish!"

If the new Grandparents have no interest in your baby, they would do it more psychological harm than good anyway.  Better perhaps that he/she never meets them and has to deal with their most unloving attitudes.

Title: Re: When the baby comes, how do we notify family that is completely uninterested?
Post by: NyaChan on September 26, 2012, 11:29:48 AM
My first thought on reading the subject was, "Why would you?"

That didn't change after reading your post. How sad for DH that his mother (and his father, to a lesser extent) don't want to be involved with him. But, it is what it is. I'm not sure I'd even send a birth announcement, I don't think they deserve one. I'd tell DH's grandmother, and let her spread the word to his parents.. that's apparently their chosen method of communication.

If MIL wails about not being notified, and you hear about it, I think an innocent puzzled expression with, "We thought about calling, but she asked us never to contact her again.. not sure why she's upset that we're following her wishes?"

This is my reaction as well.  Why would you notify people who have clearly stated that they don't want to be?  MIL specifically stated that she does not want to be involved - her loss. 
Title: Re: When the baby comes, how do we notify family that is completely uninterested?
Post by: gingerzing on September 26, 2012, 11:38:15 AM
Jumping on the bandwagon of letting DH's grandmother know.  She tells them or she doesn't.  Whatever.

I was first going to say send DH's dad a birth announcement (either snail mail or email) but since he didn't have the courtesy to let you guys know that they were going out of country for 3 weeks that gives you a pass.  Seriously, it isn't like they are taking a weekend trip a few hours away. Out of country requires planning. 

I would just stick with DH's grandmother and call it good.  She can decide if they need to be told.  (Personally, from what it sounds like, not so much.)
Title: Re: When the baby comes, how do we notify family that is completely uninterested?
Post by: LeveeWoman on September 26, 2012, 11:44:05 AM
Whatever you choose to do, please print out a copy of her e-mail in case she does a 180 and denies cutting you off.
Title: Re: When the baby comes, how do we notify family that is completely uninterested?
Post by: Syrse on September 26, 2012, 11:49:41 AM
Thanks everyone for the insight.

It somehow feels rude of us not to notify them though, if that makes sense? Just because they're rude doesn't mean we have to be...

But DH will probably text his sister, so it'll work its way up the grapevine that way.
I'd prefer to keep his grandmother (her own mom) out of this, as she has been taking this whole situation quite hard. And apparently DH's mom only came over to her place to ask her if she would be able to cook for DH's sister for the entire week, because they would be out of the country and unable to do it for her, and sis would be working long hours that week.
The things to keep in mind here is that grandmother got out of the hospital only two days prior after a two week visit, and has been placed on rest to give her back a chance to heal. On top of that DH's sister has been living on her own for years now with her boyfriend, so it's not like there's nobody around to cook for her in the first place. I just can't wrap my head around her at times.

I guess the thing I fear the most is us coming to a heated argument at one point: his other grandmother's big annual feast is coming up, and his parents always make an appearance. Are we supposed to just ignore them when we arrive? What if they suddenly pretend they're taking an interest and try to interact with baby?
I mean, there's going to be events where we're going to bump into each other eventually. What exactly is socially correct in those kinds of situations?

And I can already see his other grandmother (his dad's mother) showing up in the hospital, asking where her own son is, and have it ruin her day to find out how he's been behaving. But short of keeping silent or lying, I don't see how we can fix this.
Title: Re: When the baby comes, how do we notify family that is completely uninterested?
Post by: Sophia on September 26, 2012, 11:59:27 AM
I would be honest with people.  Don't dramatize it, don't sugar-coat it, don't lie.  Your husbands parents do not care about the baby.  Period.  It will not be your fault if your husband's grandparents are upset.  Just be gracious and loving yourself. 

p.s.  It was weird reading your posts.  It was like instead of Having A Baby, the posts were really about something voluntary and ghastly like that you were offering your child as a human sacrifice. 
Title: Re: When the baby comes, how do we notify family that is completely uninterested?
Post by: jedikaiti on September 26, 2012, 12:03:51 PM
You can't fix it. They made their own bed, they can lay in it.

Tell the folks who are interested - your DH's grandmothers, sibs, whoever. Give no further thought to those who aren't interested - they're not giving you any! If they don't want to hear about it through the grapevine, or if they're surprised to learn that they've got a grandkid at the next family gathering, well, tough - you're just respecting their wishes by not contacting them directly. They don't get to eat that cake and have it, too. And I POD the PPs who have suggested that keeping those two in your life at all is not likely to benefit your child in any way, and could be harmful - they sound like walking hazardous waste dumps, and your first priority now needs to be the health and well-being of your child. If they come back from their vacay and pitch a fit about not being the first to know, or finding out through the grapevine, then by all means feel free to give them a cut direct yourself.

Congrats, and best of luck with labor & delivery, and those first few sleep-deprived months. :-)
Title: Re: When the baby comes, how do we notify family that is completely uninterested?
Post by: gramma dishes on September 26, 2012, 12:03:55 PM
...   And I can already see his other grandmother (his dad's mother) showing up in the hospital, asking where her own son is, and have it ruin her day to find out how he's been behaving. But short of keeping silent or lying, I don't see how we can fix this.

She doesn't know how her own son and daughter-in-law are behaving?

If you want her to come to the hospital, invite her.  If you'd rather she didn't, then let her know Baby has arrived and that you'll be home with the little one on [Wednesday] if she'd like to drop by and meet him/her anytime after that day.

Should she inquire as to whether her son and DIL have seen the baby yet, then you can respond by just reminding her that they are currently out of the country.  No further explanation required.

But if she pursues the subject, I'd simply calmly tell her the truth.  That her son and DIL have expressed their desire to have nothing to do with either your DH or their new grandchild.  You can't really keep something like that a secret forever.

As far as the regularly scheduled family feast?  Go and be civil, but pointedly keep your baby away from them.  I'm sure there will be MANY other people there who will be clamoring to get their hands on that precious baby.  Those who are disinterested can be safely ignored.  If other people notice?  Oh well.
Title: Re: When the baby comes, how do we notify family that is completely uninterested?
Post by: Judah on September 26, 2012, 12:07:09 PM
It somehow feels rude of us not to notify them though, if that makes sense? Just because they're rude doesn't mean we have to be...

So far, I haven't seen anyone being rude.  It's not rude of your DH's mother to want no contact and it's not rude for you to comply with her request.  It is most definitely a relationship ender (imo) to tell your son that you don't want to be apart of his life. So give her what she wants, don't make her be a part of your lives.  That's not rude; it's what she told you to do.
Title: Re: When the baby comes, how do we notify family that is completely uninterested?
Post by: Hunter-Gatherer on September 26, 2012, 12:55:22 PM
Thanks everyone for the insight.

It somehow feels rude of us not to notify them though, if that makes sense? Just because they're rude doesn't mean we have to be...

By not telling them, you're not being rude, you're simply doing what she asked you to do.

But DH will probably text his sister, so it'll work its way up the grapevine that way.
I'd prefer to keep his grandmother (her own mom) out of this, as she has been taking this whole situation quite hard. And apparently DH's mom only came over to her place to ask her if she would be able to cook for DH's sister for the entire week, because they would be out of the country and unable to do it for her, and sis would be working long hours that week.
The things to keep in mind here is that grandmother got out of the hospital only two days prior after a two week visit, and has been placed on rest to give her back a chance to heal. On top of that DH's sister has been living on her own for years now with her boyfriend, so it's not like there's nobody around to cook for her in the first place. I just can't wrap my head around her at times.

Apparently she cares about her daughter, but not her son or mother. 


I guess the thing I fear the most is us coming to a heated argument at one point: his other grandmother's big annual feast is coming up, and his parents always make an appearance. Are we supposed to just ignore them when we arrive? What if they suddenly pretend they're taking an interest and try to interact with baby?
I mean, there's going to be events where we're going to bump into each other eventually. What exactly is socially correct in those kinds of situations?

Yes.  Just ignore them.  If they come up to you and you can manage coolly polite, that's fine too.
Honestly, I'd keep a copy of the message she sent with you at any occasion where she might show up, and if she tries to pretend an interest or interact with the baby, I'd remind her of it (using the copy to reinforce it if she tried to deny it).

And I can already see his other grandmother (his dad's mother) showing up in the hospital, asking where her own son is, and have it ruin her day to find out how he's been behaving. But short of keeping silent or lying, I don't see how we can fix this.

It's not your job to protect your parents from the consequences of their actions.  While I understand that you'll feel bad if his other grandmother is upset, remember that it's not you that's hurting her, it's them.
Title: Re: When the baby comes, how do we notify family that is completely uninterested?
Post by: Zilla on September 26, 2012, 12:57:23 PM
I would call like normal and leave a message and mail the birth announcement.  That way you did your "part".


If the grandmother ask at the hospital after the birth, doesn't she already know that he is out of the country since she was the one that told you they left?  Why would she ask?


ETA that I realized it might have been his mother's mother that told you.  But would his father also have told his mother that they left?


And at upcoming events, treat them like any seldom seen family members.  Because that's exactly what they are.  No need for dramatics or extreme behaviour. 
Title: Re: When the baby comes, how do we notify family that is completely uninterested?
Post by: bonyk on September 26, 2012, 12:59:21 PM
Agree 100% with everything that Hunter-Gatherer said. 

Being polite doesn't mean you have to take poop from people with a smile on your face and ask for more. 
Title: Re: When the baby comes, how do we notify family that is completely uninterested?
Post by: gramma dishes on September 26, 2012, 01:04:18 PM
...    It's not your job to protect your parents from the consequences of their actions.  ...

Great sentence.  Simple, eloquent, concise and true!
Title: Re: When the baby comes, how do we notify family that is completely uninterested?
Post by: Zilla on September 26, 2012, 01:07:59 PM
...    It's not your job to protect your parents from the consequences of their actions.  ...

Great sentence.  Simple, eloquent, concise and true!

ETA:Disregard bottom portion, I didn't realized the mother had specifically asked for no contact.

While on paper it's true, but the OP is feeling otherwise.  I can understand the hope she carries for a change. I would simply call and leave a message saying, "I know you are out of the country but just letting you both know, baby came and both mother and baby are doing fine.  (give stats) Bye" and consider yourself done.
Title: Re: When the baby comes, how do we notify family that is completely uninterested?
Post by: cicero on September 26, 2012, 01:28:26 PM

We're trying not to let it get to us, but I've been wondering what to do about notifying them now?
Part of me wants to just not call them and let them find the birth announcement in their mail when they get back, but that's probably rude.
So should DH still call his dad after the birth? Maybe send him a text message? What's the etiquette on this?

If we don't say anything I just know she'll go on a wailing rampage along the lines of 'my own son didn't even call me when his baby was born!'. But if we do call, she'll probably be mad as well, because she gave us the cut direct.

And how do we explain this to his other grandmother? I'm afraid my hormones might get the better of me at one point, and next time someone asks me where his parents are, I might not be so nice.
bed. made. lie

*they* are the ones who gave *you* the cut direct. or she is the one (and i'm assuming dad is going along to keep the peace?)

i wouldn't let them know. it's not rude. you're going along with *her* wishes. if your DH wants to call /text/email his dad, he can do that. but really, for whatever reason, they've pulled away from you.

and if someone asks? "Its a long story. hey, did you see how tall baby is? takes after my dad, i think"
Title: Re: When the baby comes, how do we notify family that is completely uninterested?
Post by: bonyk on September 26, 2012, 01:29:50 PM
...    It's not your job to protect your parents from the consequences of their actions.  ...

Great sentence.  Simple, eloquent, concise and true!


While on paper it's true, but the OP is feeling otherwise.  I can understand the hope she carries for a change. I would simply call and leave a message saying, "I know you are out of the country but just letting you both know, baby came and both mother and baby are doing fine.  (give stats) Bye" and consider yourself done.

What if the mom sends a nasty email for violating her no-contact request?  That is going to make the OP and her DH feel much, much worse.  The MIL knew the baby was coming when she requested no contact; she must've known the baby was coming when they scheduled their trip.  Other family members will let her know that baby is here.  If MIL has a change of heart, she will call.
Title: Re: When the baby comes, how do we notify family that is completely uninterested?
Post by: Judah on September 26, 2012, 01:32:48 PM
...    It's not your job to protect your parents from the consequences of their actions.  ...

Great sentence.  Simple, eloquent, concise and true!


While on paper it's true, but the OP is feeling otherwise.  I can understand the hope she carries for a change. I would simply call and leave a message saying, "I know you are out of the country but just letting you both know, baby came and both mother and baby are doing fine.  (give stats) Bye" and consider yourself done.

Wouldn't this be rude?  The mother has asked for no contact. If I had given someone the cut direct and they kept trying to keep my in their life, I'd be pretty ticked.
Title: Re: When the baby comes, how do we notify family that is completely uninterested?
Post by: JeanFromBNA on September 26, 2012, 01:35:52 PM
I agree with everything that Hunter-Gatherer wrote.  I also think that if it would make you feel better, it would not be rude to send his Dad a text or leave a message when baby is born.  Mother asked for no contact, not Dad. 
Title: Re: When the baby comes, how do we notify family that is completely uninterested?
Post by: Zilla on September 26, 2012, 01:39:01 PM
I completely skipped over the no contact line.  Wow!


I have to say I would only contact the father and leave him a message.  Others are right, it would be rude to continue to try and contact her.  I would also mail the announcement addressed only to the father.


And if anyone asks, I agree, simply tell them that the mother requested no contact.  And leave it at that.  And at family functions treat the mother as if you don't know her.  Greet the father with a casual wave but I wouldn't approach them.  Let him approach you if he wants to meet the baby.
Title: Re: When the baby comes, how do we notify family that is completely uninterested?
Post by: SPuck on September 26, 2012, 01:40:14 PM
I think you might want to change your thought process when it comes to the relationships with your life. Your friends are the people. Your family are either the people who you blessed to be born sharing a connection with, or the people you are saddled with until you are financially independent. If your not getting any back and forth in the relationship, there is no need to have it just because they are "faaamily."
Title: Re: When the baby comes, how do we notify family that is completely uninterested?
Post by: gramma dishes on September 26, 2012, 02:16:36 PM
Syrse ~~  This is probably rude to ask, but is there some particular reason that your husband's mother does not want either your husband or you (or your baby) in her life?  Was there a history there between your husband and her?  Are you maybe of a different religion, color, ethnicity, age group, socioeconomic background or whatever that makes you in her eyes "unacceptable" so she's shutting out not only you, but her son for making choice of which she did not approve?

I'm having such a hard time relating to a mother who isn't over the moon excited about her first grandchild!  I just (as a grandmother) cannot relate to that!   :-\
Title: Re: When the baby comes, how do we notify family that is completely uninterested?
Post by: Sophia on September 26, 2012, 02:21:44 PM
...I'm having such a hard time relating to a mother who isn't over the moon excited about her first grandchild!  I just (as a grandmother) cannot relate to that!   :-\

OP, I know you didn't ask for hugs, but you and your husband are welcome to them. 
Title: Re: When the baby comes, how do we notify family that is completely uninterested?
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on September 26, 2012, 02:22:42 PM
My first thought on reading the subject was, "Why would you?"

That didn't change after reading your post. How sad for DH that his mother (and his father, to a lesser extent) don't want to be involved with him. But, it is what it is. I'm not sure I'd even send a birth announcement, I don't think they deserve one. I'd tell DH's grandmother, and let her spread the word to his parents.. that's apparently their chosen method of communication.

If MIL wails about not being notified, and you hear about it, I think an innocent puzzled expression with, "We thought about calling, but she asked us never to contact her again.. not sure why she's upset that we're following her wishes?"

That was pretty much my reaction as well.  I do sympathize with your DH, as that has to be rough on him and hurtful.  But the most I'd send, if you feel you ought to, is an announcement.
Title: Re: When the baby comes, how do we notify family that is completely uninterested?
Post by: BeagleMommy on September 26, 2012, 02:42:52 PM
OP, you would not be rude by not telling your ILs about the arrival of the baby.  MIL asked for no contact.  She made her bed and needs to lie in it.  Tell those around you who care about you and will joyfully welcome your child

If anyone asks you can say "MIL requested no contact from us".  Your DH's grandmother will learn the truth eventually.  It won't be kept secret for long and it will be painful for her.  You cannot change that.  I feel bad for her, but hopefully she will be a wonderful Great Grandma to your baby.

Hugs to you and your DH.  This has to be tough.
Title: Re: When the baby comes, how do we notify family that is completely uninterested?
Post by: Alpacas on September 26, 2012, 03:03:53 PM
Quote
I guess the thing I fear the most is us coming to a heated argument at one point: his other grandmother's big annual feast is coming up, and his parents always make an appearance. Are we supposed to just ignore them when we arrive? What if they suddenly pretend they're taking an interest and try to interact with baby?
I mean, there's going to be events where we're going to bump into each other eventually. What exactly is socially correct in those kinds of situations?

I don't think that Ignoring is the solution. That could probably perceived by others (on that gathering) as rude, but being cooly polite, as others already mentioned, could do the trick.
If MIL comes over and pretends that everything is fine and suddenly is interrested in you, DH and the baby, then you could suddenly need to get something from another room, or wish to speak with a relative that you haven't seen in a while. There is always a way to excuse yourself from their presence.
If they want to hold or interact with the baby, then maybe baby suddenly needs a diaper change, needs feeding or needs some sleep.

Quote
And I can already see his other grandmother (his dad's mother) showing up in the hospital, asking where her own son is, and have it ruin her day to find out how he's been behaving. But short of keeping silent or lying, I don't see how we can fix this.

Others have already put it so well.

It is not your job of fixing it.


On the question of how to contact them/if to contact them at all when baby is born.

I wouldn't. They chose to do the cut direct knowing very well that they'd be grandparents.
To me the cut direct also involves loosing the privilege of knowing what goes on in your lives. That involves knowing when the baby is born.

Just concentrate on the familymembers that are interrested and that are a positive influence in your, and your childs life.

Best wishes..
Title: Re: When the baby comes, how do we notify family that is completely uninterested?
Post by: JaneJensen on September 26, 2012, 04:07:36 PM
I'd tell DH's grandmother, and let her spread the word to his parents.. that's apparently their chosen method of communication.

I like this, too.  And then skip the birth announcement.



I like this choice as well.
Title: Re: When the baby comes, how do we notify family that is completely uninterested?
Post by: Venus193 on September 26, 2012, 04:52:16 PM
I would send an announcement addressed only to his father and leave it at that.

Your MIL could be playing a passive/aggressive game similar to the way some people fish for compliments or other praise.  I refuse to play that game by taking all such statements at face value.
Title: Re: When the baby comes, how do we notify family that is completely uninterested?
Post by: gramma dishes on September 26, 2012, 05:12:28 PM
I would send an announcement addressed only to his father and leave it at that.

Your MIL could be playing a passive/aggressive game similar to the way some people fish for compliments or other praise.  I refuse to play that game by taking all such statements at face value.

But even if MIL is game playing, the FIL is going along with this.  I don't think he's one bit more innocent in this scenario than the MIL.  I wouldn't notify either of them, by phone, mail, email, text or skywriting.  They've said they want no contact.  Give them what they want. 

If FIL gave a diddly about this baby, he'd have made that clear.  He either isn't interested in being a Grandfather to this child, or he is but isn't willing to speak up and make that clear.  He has chosen deliberately to go along with his wife.
Title: Re: When the baby comes, how do we notify family that is completely uninterested?
Post by: O'Dell on September 26, 2012, 05:25:43 PM
Thanks everyone for the insight.

It somehow feels rude of us not to notify them though, if that makes sense? Just because they're rude doesn't mean we have to be...

But DH will probably text his sister, so it'll work its way up the grapevine that way.
I'd prefer to keep his grandmother (her own mom) out of this, as she has been taking this whole situation quite hard. And apparently DH's mom only came over to her place to ask her if she would be able to cook for DH's sister for the entire week, because they would be out of the country and unable to do it for her, and sis would be working long hours that week.
The things to keep in mind here is that grandmother got out of the hospital only two days prior after a two week visit, and has been placed on rest to give her back a chance to heal. On top of that DH's sister has been living on her own for years now with her boyfriend, so it's not like there's nobody around to cook for her in the first place. I just can't wrap my head around her at times.

I guess the thing I fear the most is us coming to a heated argument at one point: his other grandmother's big annual feast is coming up, and his parents always make an appearance. Are we supposed to just ignore them when we arrive? What if they suddenly pretend they're taking an interest and try to interact with baby?
I mean, there's going to be events where we're going to bump into each other eventually. What exactly is socially correct in those kinds of situations?

And I can already see his other grandmother (his dad's mother) showing up in the hospital, asking where her own son is, and have it ruin her day to find out how he's been behaving. But short of keeping silent or lying, I don't see how we can fix this.


Yes you should ignore them when you arrive. If your FIL approaches then you can be polite and cool but there is not need to be friendly. And your MIL you should ignore altogether...walk away from her and excuse yourself if she enters a conversation you are in with others. She stated that she wants no contact, so give her that. If anyone asks, tell them the truth: MIL told us not to have any contact with her and we're respecting her wishes. Are you worried that makes her look bad? It does, but *she's* the one making herself look like a horse's hind end.

As for your husband's other grandmother, her own son is the one who would be ruining her day in your scenario. Etiquette does not require you to lie to protect others or to shield someone like your FIL or your MIL from the consequences of their own behavior. You can tell the truth...make it short simple and get it over quick and move on. "FIL is out of the country. No he doesn't know yet. We're not sure where he is or how to get a hold of him. Bean dip?"

And you can't fix this. You aren't the ones who broke it. It's not your responsibility to fix it. IME, it's best to accept that some people are like this and disengage your feelings from them. Concentrate on the people who care and matter to you.

One thought I had...FIL sounds like a go along to get along kind of guy. Is there any chance that he went on a trip with MIL to appease her but also to keep her out of your way when you have the baby? If not, it does still give you some space where you don't have to worry about MIL showing up and making a scene.
Title: Re: When the baby comes, how do we notify family that is completely uninterested?
Post by: Otterpop on September 26, 2012, 05:47:32 PM
POD to others who said to tell grandma and that's that.  You did not create this situation, they did.  It's not your job to protect them or cater to them.

I would never schedule a long stay in another country on the due date of my first grandchild.  I suspect MIL did this on purpose.  She asked for no contact, honor her request.  As far as sending a letter to FIL only, that would provide ammunition in MIL's cold war.  Don't do it.  He can hear from his mother.

Take care of your new family first.  Other's are supposed to be supportive and happy, so sorry MIL and FIL are jerks.
Title: Re: When the baby comes, how do we notify family that is completely uninterested?
Post by: Iris on September 26, 2012, 06:18:03 PM
One aspect to consider is do you want your baby to be exposed to this kind of person? Let's imagine for a moment that you send the birth announcement, or track them down in outer Uzbekistan, or greet them lovingly at the family get together. What I would consider to be the *worst* case scenario would be for them to see baby and fall in love with him/her and suddenly want to be active grandparents.

Active grandparents who openly favour one child over all others, who may drop YOUR child from the 'favourites' list when SIL has a child. Active grandparents who care SO LITTLE about the feelings/well being of others that they think a pregnancy announcement is a great time to administer the cut direct, or that an elderly woman on bed rest should cater to the needs of Favourite Child.

Honestly, unless you have missed out some detail in your post like "Last year when we thought she was dying we all gathered around her bed and had a big party and laughed at her" then she sounds like a horrible woman. I just think you are better off without her in your child's life. From the amount of worry that this is generating in your family I'm guessing that DH, FIL and her mother have been more or less successfully emotionally manipulated by this kind of game playing. Please, get her out before she does the same thing to *another* generation.

As to the family gatherings, unless there is a huge part of back story we are missing then I would consider just not going when they are going to be there.
Title: Re: When the baby comes, how do we notify family that is completely uninterested?
Post by: LEMon on September 26, 2012, 07:02:06 PM
May I suggest your DH find a counselor who can help him talk this through?  This must be heartbreaking and emotional for him, yet at the same time he wants to protect you.  He may well be hiding his emotions and thoughts.  A neutral person who can let him get it out and help make plans for all the 'what to do when's might help immensely.
Title: Re: When the baby comes, how do we notify family that is completely uninterested?
Post by: Winterlight on September 26, 2012, 07:26:36 PM
One aspect to consider is do you want your baby to be exposed to this kind of person? Let's imagine for a moment that you send the birth announcement, or track them down in outer Uzbekistan, or greet them lovingly at the family get together. What I would consider to be the *worst* case scenario would be for them to see baby and fall in love with him/her and suddenly want to be active grandparents.

Active grandparents who openly favour one child over all others, who may drop YOUR child from the 'favourites' list when SIL has a child. Active grandparents who care SO LITTLE about the feelings/well being of others that they think a pregnancy announcement is a great time to administer the cut direct, or that an elderly woman on bed rest should cater to the needs of Favourite Child.

Honestly, unless you have missed out some detail in your post like "Last year when we thought she was dying we all gathered around her bed and had a big party and laughed at her" then she sounds like a horrible woman. I just think you are better off without her in your child's life. From the amount of worry that this is generating in your family I'm guessing that DH, FIL and her mother have been more or less successfully emotionally manipulated by this kind of game playing. Please, get her out before she does the same thing to *another* generation.

As to the family gatherings, unless there is a huge part of back story we are missing then I would consider just not going when they are going to be there.

I'm with Iris. They have opted out, so leave them to it. Be coolly polite if you must be in the same room, but keep them at arm's length.
Title: Re: When the baby comes, how do we notify family that is completely uninterested?
Post by: Ceallach on September 26, 2012, 08:27:03 PM
I never understand why people feel the need to "protect" the hurtful people in their lives by not being open about what is happening.  I'm not advocating the airing of dirty laundry in public, but as others have noted it's 100% fine to say "MIL told us that she had no interest in anything to do with the baby and requested that we do not contact her for any reason.   We are respecting her wishes".       You are not the bad guys here and there's no need to let family and friends think that you are by hiding MIL's atrocious behaviour from them.   As long as you're not badmouthing her around town it's fine to say outright what happened - it's the truth, it's fact, and the rest of the family would be understandably confused otherwise as to what is going on.     

Sending a birth announcement is the most I would do.  They will find out through the grapevine anyway.   Share your joy with the people who will share your joy, and don't let these people ruin it for you by wasting too much time or effort on them.     
Title: Re: When the baby comes, how do we notify family that is completely uninterested?
Post by: breny on September 26, 2012, 08:28:36 PM
We're trying not to let it get to us, but I've been wondering what to do about notifying them now?  You don't. MIL has asked for no contact. It is not rude to comply with her wishes.

So should DH still call his dad after the birth? No. FIL obviously isn't concerned about baby's arrival since he didn't let your DH know he's be out of town during this time. FIL will call when he gets back to town if he's interested.

If we don't say anything I just know she'll go on a wailing rampage along the lines of 'my own son didn't even call me when his baby was born!'. So? Actions have consequences. Bed, made, lie.

And how do we explain this to his other grandmother? If she asks, tell her you've been asked for no contact. If she doesn't ask, don't offer any explanation

It somehow feels rude of us not to notify them though, if that makes sense? Not rude at all. It would be rude to continue to contact after you've been asked not to.

I guess the thing I fear the most is us coming to a heated argument at one point: his other grandmother's big annual feast is coming up, and his parents always make an appearance. Are we supposed to just ignore them when we arrive? Why will there be an argument? If she wants to argue, let her argue with herself. I would acknowledge her if she acknowledged me. Otherwise, ignore.

What if they suddenly pretend they're taking an interest and try to interact with baby? If you feel comfortable and it's what you want, allow them to interact with baby. If not you don't feel comfortable or it's not what you want, remove baby/yourselves from their presence.

What exactly is socially correct in those kinds of situations? Preserve yourself and your sanity. Cooly polite. Remove yourself from the line of fire if needed.

And I can already see his other grandmother (his dad's mother) showing up in the hospital, asking where her own son is, and have it ruin her day to find out how he's been behaving. But short of keeping silent or lying, I don't see how we can fix this. GMIL is an adult. You are not responsible for her feelings. You can't fix it. Simply state that they're out of town and they've asked for no contact. Then bean dip. If she wants more information, she can ask her son.

I agree with LEMon that your DH could benefit from counseling to work through this.

Above all, remember you have a new baby to take care of. The baby is your priority. Don't let the Drama Llama parents take away from that.
Title: Re: When the baby comes, how do we notify family that is completely uninterested?
Post by: MyFamily on September 26, 2012, 09:55:24 PM
OP - how were you planning on getting in touch with your FIL to let him know about the baby before you knew that he would be out of the country? Were you going to call his cell phone? Call him at home? Text him? Email him?  Call him at work? Unless you were planning on knocking on his door at work, I'd suggest doing exactly that, only since he won't be there, just leave him a message.  If you were going to call him at home, then leave a message for your FIL, not your MIL - ie "Hi, Dad, this is OP's DH.  Just calling to let you know that the baby is here.  She/He is X pounds, and X inches.  Mom and baby are both doing well. Bye." 

You haven't cut off contact with your FIL.  Yes, he hurt you by not telling you that would be out of the country, but is he someone who normally shares?  I'm asking because it seems that whenever people post about about toxic mothers, the father is someone who is not approachable and quiet; someone who doesn't share and doesn't get involved.  If this is true now, then maybe that explains why he didn't get in touch with you.
Title: Re: When the baby comes, how do we notify family that is completely uninterested?
Post by: Isometric on September 27, 2012, 12:40:37 AM
I agree with those who have said to let others spread the news. She requested no contact from you and your husband, you're respecting her wishes. If she tries to make herself the victim, you have the truth on your side.

I'm so sorry you have to go through their hurtful words and actions, how awful. I think you'll be better off without her/them.

Congratulations on the bub!!
Title: Re: When the baby comes, how do we notify family that is completely uninterested?
Post by: sparksals on September 27, 2012, 03:12:29 AM
I am also wondering why the MIL has done something so drastic to give the direct cut, especially when a baby is looming. 

I would grant their wish and have zero contact.  I wouldn't even notify them at all, even FIL of the birth.
Title: Re: When the baby comes, how do we notify family that is completely uninterested?
Post by: Syrse on September 27, 2012, 06:02:52 AM
Thanks again for all of your insights everyone.

as for my FIL: he is indeed the type to keep quiet to avoid fights at home. He generally doesn't really reach out to his kids for contact, but when we do see him, he's pleasant to be around. That didn't really change during the pregnancy, he never really called us up or anything, but then again he normally never does. We're thinking he doesn't know about the email she sent us, and I'm not exactly sure if he even realized our due date was around this time.

Just wanted to clarify that we have in fact been respecting her wish for no contact. The only time my DH has seen his mom since the 8 week mark, is when he called up his dad to ask if he could come pick up some old stuff, and his dad said 'sure, come on over', and she happened to be home as well. He can't very well go 'is mom home?' every time he calls, can he?

The original plan was for DH to call up his dad, not his mom, to notify him. After all, he never asked for a cut direct. But maybe a text message might be better, just to avoid potential drama after a long hormonal delivery?

Syrse ~~  This is probably rude to ask, but is there some particular reason that your husband's mother does not want either your husband or you (or your baby) in her life?  Was there a history there between your husband and her?  Are you maybe of a different religion, color, ethnicity, age group, socioeconomic background or whatever that makes you in her eyes "unacceptable" so she's shutting out not only you, but her son for making choice of which she did not approve?

I'm having such a hard time relating to a mother who isn't over the moon excited about her first grandchild!  I just (as a grandmother) cannot relate to that!   :-\

I've been trying to find that out for ten years now. In the beginning when we were just friends, she was pleasant and polite to me. Then we started dating, and she cooled off considerably. I tried to be nice, but everything backfired; if I was quiet at the dinner table, DH later got a mouthful about how unsocial I was. If I tried to make conversation the next time, I 'talked too much'. I would help with the dishes and put clean things away: 'why is she rummaging around our cabinets??' I ran upstairs to get my sweater that I forgot there: 'who does she think she is, going upstairs like she owns the house?' (we were at the 3 year mark at that point)
At one point, she told DH flat out I was no longer allowed in her house. We respected that wish, even though she never gave us a reason. DH tried to press, but the best he ever got out of her was 'you should be enjoying life, not wasting it in a long term relationship'.
He did have girlfriends that she did accept, so this was quite puzzling.

Eventually DH moved out and we moved in together, and surprisingly, things went better. Even up to the point where she would invite me over for dinner when he was out of the country for work. Scary, but we tried to make it work.
Then we went over to announce our engagement... and she slipped right back into cold. DH did press her this time for a reason, and this time he got a 'marriage isn't from this age anymore, why would you want to do something so stupid?'
Nevertheless, we invited her, she showed up, she danced at our wedding... and she seemed back on her way of warming up again. So we figured, hey, maybe this can work after all.
And then we went over for the pregnancy announcement, and got the cut direct.

Now I'm not saying she has to like me. I could manage cool polite with her if that was the way she would want to go. But the way she treats her own son just makes my blood boil at times.

The best I can come up with myself is that she was a teenage mom, who was 'forced' to marry because of DH's birth. (she wasn't, her parents told her at the time they would help her out whatever she chose to do)
I think she had a whole life planned out for him, where he could fool around without any responsibility, and he deviated from that path, and it upset her? But I suppose we'll never know for sure.

Thanks for the congratulations everyone  :) 8 more days! Or so they claim  ;)
Title: Re: When the baby comes, how do we notify family that is completely uninterested?
Post by: sam on September 27, 2012, 06:14:53 AM
Is there any chance that they have gone away at this time on purpose?  Could you mil be avoiding being around when baby is born?

I only ask because I thought maybe she has decided to go away so she doesn't have to deal with everyone's excitement when the baby is born. You know like a child will go sulk in his/her room.
Title: Re: When the baby comes, how do we notify family that is completely uninterested?
Post by: Venus193 on September 27, 2012, 06:44:46 AM
Is there any chance that they have gone away at this time on purpose?  Could you mil be avoiding being around when baby is born?

I only ask because I thought maybe she has decided to go away so she doesn't have to deal with everyone's excitement when the baby is born. You know like a child will go sulk in his/her room.

This question also occurred to me because my mother did something similar.   She went to Europe to visit her mother and sisters just before my high school graduation.  She had not seen them in 17 years, but nobody was getting married, having a baby, or dying.  There was no good reason for her to not have gone two weeks earlier or later.  I have since concluded that she did this to avoid facing the fact that I was already educated beyond her level and would be the center of attention for a day or two.

As tempted as I am to play armchair shrink I won't.  I'm just providing this story as food for thought.
Title: Re: When the baby comes, how do we notify family that is completely uninterested?
Post by: Last_Dance on September 27, 2012, 07:48:32 AM
Syrse, in my language there's a saying that goes "Those who don't want me don't deserve me."

You have been extremely patient - much more than I would have been in your situation - but after 10 years of continously bouncing back and forth like this, I'd stop wasting time and feelings on you MIL. She doesn't deserve either from you.

If your FIL has his own cell phone or a personal e-mail, I'd consider dropping him a line, though I wouldn't go out of my way to inform him - and by the way, I definitely wouldn't call, international phone calls are expensive.
Title: Re: When the baby comes, how do we notify family that is completely uninterested?
Post by: Roodabega on September 27, 2012, 09:20:37 AM
Syrse, your story hits close to home for me.  My biological mother gave me up for adoption to my grandparents.   She was still in my life when I was young, so I attempted to keep her involved. 

She missed my wedding (which she had months advance notice) because she had to work.   We sent her an announcement when we had our first child, but she never responded.  The only reason she saw the baby at all was because we lived in an area that is touristy, and she needed a favor.   We tried again with the next child, but no response and no contact.

So we took her lead and never notified her of the third one.  I expect she heard about it through the grapevine.  She also wasn't notified of graduations and my kids have no idea who she is. 

If I were in your shoes now, I wouldn't notify.  Just let the grapevine make your announcement for you.

Congratulations and good luck with your baby.
Title: Re: When the baby comes, how do we notify family that is completely uninterested?
Post by: HermioneGranger on September 27, 2012, 09:47:08 AM
I'm having such a hard time relating to a mother who isn't over the moon excited about her first grandchild!  I just (as a grandmother) cannot relate to that!   :-\

My husband's father wanted grandchildren.  Just not ours.  It's his loss. 
Title: Re: When the baby comes, how do we notify family that is completely uninterested?
Post by: gramma dishes on September 27, 2012, 09:53:12 AM

The best I can come up with myself is that she was a teenage mom, who was 'forced' to marry because of DH's birth. (she wasn't, her parents told her at the time they would help her out whatever she chose to do)
I think she had a whole life planned out for him ...


That could be it.  Maybe her feeling was that she made such a huge "sacrifice" to bring him into the world that she thought he would repay her by being the devoted son who would compensate her for all she 'gave up' by staying with her forever and taking care of her every whim.  Then YOU came along!!   ;D
Title: Re: When the baby comes, how do we notify family that is completely uninterested?
Post by: Octavia on September 27, 2012, 10:13:22 AM
Syrse, in my language there's a saying that goes "Those who don't want me don't deserve me."

You have been extremely patient - much more than I would have been in your situation - but after 10 years of continously bouncing back and forth like this, I'd stop wasting time and feelings on you MIL. She doesn't deserve either from you.
That's an awesome quote and perfect piece of advice! Reminds me of another quote that applies here:
"Never grow a wishbone where your backbone ought to be." (Cynthia Paddleford)

I believe it's time for you to drop your end of the rope in this emotional tug-of-war. Stop letting your toxic MIL rent space in your head for free. And please consider seeking advice from a counselor, together with your husband. It's probably going to be difficult to break away from the roles you both have been playing for so long with MIL, and there is only so much help that your friends on the internet can provide.
Title: Re: When the baby comes, how do we notify family that is completely uninterested?
Post by: bloo on September 27, 2012, 11:47:27 AM
Is there any chance that they have gone away at this time on purpose?  Could you mil be avoiding being around when baby is born?

I only ask because I thought maybe she has decided to go away so she doesn't have to deal with everyone's excitement when the baby is born. You know like a child will go sulk in his/her room.

This question also occurred to me because my mother did something similar.   She went to Europe to visit her mother and sisters just before my high school graduation.  She had not seen them in 17 years, but nobody was getting married, having a baby, or dying.  There was no good reason for her to not have gone two weeks earlier or later.  I have since concluded that she did this to avoid facing the fact that I was already educated beyond her level and would be the center of attention for a day or two.

As tempted as I am to play armchair shrink I won't.  I'm just providing this story as food for thought.

This, these, so totally these thoughts!
Title: Re: When the baby comes, how do we notify family that is completely uninterested?
Post by: YummyMummy66 on September 27, 2012, 04:46:37 PM
If family is uninterested, why would I go out of my way and bother to inform them of my good news?

Honestly, I would not share the news with them personally.  If they hear it from other people and want to come back at you about it, they would get a not so nice response in return.
Title: Re: When the baby comes, how do we notify family that is completely uninterested?
Post by: StarFaerie on September 28, 2012, 05:40:12 PM
I'd probably get DH to send a quick text message to FIL or just include him in a mass text sent out to all friends and family, as he hasn't cut you off and it's nice to let him know. Just something along the lines of " Baby (name) born (time) (date). (Weight) (Length). Syrse and baby are doing well." I wouldn't text or contact MIL in any way.
Title: Re: When the baby comes, how do we notify family that is completely uninterested?
Post by: gramma dishes on September 28, 2012, 08:13:07 PM
I don't understand why FIL is getting off so easily here!   >:(   I think he is just as much a part of this mess as MIL.  He knows you're expecting a baby very soon.  He knows he will be in Timbuktu when it arrives.  He has made no move to let you know he wishes to be told about the birth of HIS grandchild. 

I think if he wanted to know or cared at all, he would overstep his wife and let you know that.  He hasn't done so.  I'd take that as being that he's aware of her game and has made the CHOICE to go along with her plays.  In my opinion, so be it.  He gets no more consideration than MIL.

I would only make an exception to this if he honestly doesn't know that MIL sent that letter expressing her desire to have no further contact with you.  If he's sitting there thinking that YOU'VE abandoned him, that would make a difference.   But I'd find it hard to believe that he has no knowledge of her stated declaration on this matter.
Title: Re: When the baby comes, how do we notify family that is completely uninterested?
Post by: greencat on September 28, 2012, 09:03:21 PM
I don't understand why FIL is getting off so easily here!   >:(   I think he is just as much a part of this mess as MIL.  He knows you're expecting a baby very soon.  He knows he will be in Timbuktu when it arrives.  He has made no move to let you know he wishes to be told about the birth of HIS grandchild. 

I think if he wanted to know or cared at all, he would overstep his wife and let you know that.  He hasn't done so.  I'd take that as being that he's aware of her game and has made the CHOICE to go along with her plays.  In my opinion, so be it.  He gets no more consideration than MIL.

I would only make an exception to this if he honestly doesn't know that MIL sent that letter expressing her desire to have no further contact with you.  If he's sitting there thinking that YOU'VE abandoned him, that would make a difference.   But I'd find it hard to believe that he has no knowledge of her stated declaration on this matter.

I can believe it.  My mom hides things like that from my dad all the time.  My family is extraordinarily dysfunctional though...
Title: Re: When the baby comes, how do we notify family that is completely uninterested?
Post by: kudeebee on September 29, 2012, 04:53:46 PM
DH should text his dad when baby is born.  Fil can then decide whether o tell mil or not..  Don't waste any more time worrying about what to do.  Instead focus on the new baby's arrival and surrounding yourself with people who love and care for you and are excited about the baby.

Title: Re: When the baby comes, how do we notify family that is completely uninterested?
Post by: Syrse on October 14, 2012, 10:10:18 AM
OP here, with an update

Well, I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl about a week ago  :)
DH ended up calling his dad. He seemed pleased, but the conversation was kind of short, and after that, his dad didn't call again to check how we were doing. DH had a bit of trouble with that.

We've been home from the hospital since thursday, and today, out of the blue, the doorbel rings. DH's parents!

Loose from the fact that they didn't call ahead to ask (suppose I was in the middle of feeding?), his mom pretended nothing ever happened. She did say congratulations, and they brought a gift, but then she basically went straight into 'she's dressed too warm, she needs a diaper change', etc. Sigh.

DH's mom also basically ignored me the entire time she was there, unless I addressed her directly. I somehow found it hilarious: so they're coming over to see a baby. Where exactly does she think that baby came from?  ::)
DH's dad was very much taken with our little girl, and even held her. DH's mom couldn't even manage to sit down, she was obviously very uncomfortable.

I honestly don't know what to think of it all, or how to respond. DH always said that if she ever showed up and pretended nothing happened, he wouldn't let her in. But they completely surprised us. I can tell it upset him, and it took him quite a few hours to calm down. He's now sitting with our daughter watching TV, it seems to help.

So yeah... now what? Do we go, yet again, back to the 'lets pretend everything is fine' until the next time she cuts us off? Because honestly, I do NOT want to explain to a sad little girl why her grandmother suddenly does not want her to come over anymore. And my husband is coming to the end of his rope as well.

And then again, she's not my mom, so what exactly can I say about it?  :-\
Title: Re: When the baby comes, how do we notify family that is completely uninterested?
Post by: Firecat on October 14, 2012, 10:20:38 AM
I'm sorry, Syrse...this has to be tough to deal with on top of a new baby. I think the first thing you need to do is have a long talk with your DH. How does he feel about it?

But the most important thing is your daughter. She's the one who, right now, needs you to take care of her and represent her interests. Your DH may already have realized that, or he may not have, but it's something to consider and talk about.

You don't have to decide right this minute. It will be awhile before your daughter's really in a position to notice anything odd happening with her grandmother, and probably a bit longer before she begins asking questions about it. So it's not like you need to make a decision right this minute.

You can start discussing it and trying to figure out how you want to proceed, though. That might be difficult with all the new baby stuff, so give yourselves the time you need. And congratulations on the new little one!
Title: Re: When the baby comes, family that is completely uninterested (update pg. 5)
Post by: suzieQ on October 14, 2012, 10:21:12 AM
No advice, just congrats on your new baby :) And hugs. Lots of hugs.
Title: Re: When the baby comes, how do we notify family that is completely uninterested?
Post by: LeveeWoman on October 14, 2012, 10:23:01 AM
OP here, with an update

Well, I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl about a week ago  :)
DH ended up calling his dad. He seemed pleased, but the conversation was kind of short, and after that, his dad didn't call again to check how we were doing. DH had a bit of trouble with that.

We've been home from the hospital since thursday, and today, out of the blue, the doorbel rings. DH's parents!

Loose from the fact that they didn't call ahead to ask (suppose I was in the middle of feeding?), his mom pretended nothing ever happened. She did say congratulations, and they brought a gift, but then she basically went straight into 'she's dressed too warm, she needs a diaper change', etc. Sigh.

DH's mom also basically ignored me the entire time she was there, unless I addressed her directly. I somehow found it hilarious: so they're coming over to see a baby. Where exactly does she think that baby came from?  ::)
DH's dad was very much taken with our little girl, and even held her. DH's mom couldn't even manage to sit down, she was obviously very uncomfortable.

I honestly don't know what to think of it all, or how to respond. DH always said that if she ever showed up and pretended nothing happened, he wouldn't let her in. But they completely surprised us. I can tell it upset him, and it took him quite a few hours to calm down. He's now sitting with our daughter watching TV, it seems to help.

So yeah... now what? Do we go, yet again, back to the 'lets pretend everything is fine' until the next time she cuts us off? Because honestly, I do NOT want to explain to a sad little girl why her grandmother suddenly does not want her to come over anymore. And my husband is coming to the end of his rope as well.

And then again, she's not my mom, so what exactly can I say about it?  :-\

Just who does she think she is?!

She's not your mother but, you are the mother of this baby. I'd do whatever I have to do to protect her from this mean nut.

CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR BABY GIRL!
Title: Re: When the baby comes, family that is completely uninterested (update pg. 5)
Post by: gramma dishes on October 14, 2012, 10:47:21 AM
Well, first of all Congratulations on your new daughter!   ;D

Just enjoy her.  Don't waste a single brain cell worrying about the baby's grandmother.  As Firecat says, this nonsense with your husband's mother isn't anything that will have any effect on your daughter for months or even years.  You have plenty of time to see how things unfold and how she intends to behave in the future -- and what you and your husband want to do about it. 

I'm glad that at least your husband's Dad seems to like his new granddaughter!  Grandpa's can be very special to little girls.  I hope he finds a way to be that for your little girl.
Title: Re: When the baby comes, how do we notify family that is completely uninterested?
Post by: JoW on October 14, 2012, 10:56:05 AM
....his mom pretended nothing ever happened. She did say congratulations, and they brought a gift, but then she basically went straight into 'she's dressed too warm, she needs a diaper change', etc. ....DH's dad was very much taken with our little girl, and even held her. DH's mom couldn't even manage to sit down, she was obviously very uncomfortable. ......
Its obvious to me that the visit was driven, maybe even forced, by your DH's father.  Your DH's mother wants as little to do with the child as possible.  You can expect more, similar visits - Grandpa shows up to visit his little princess and drags his wife along.  Sorry, I have no hints on how to deal with her. 

Congratulations on the new baby. 
Title: Re: When the baby comes, family that is completely uninterested (update pg. 5)
Post by: taffywduck on October 14, 2012, 11:50:29 AM
Congratulations!

I'm also guessing that Grampa put his foot down, maybe he just said he was off to see the new baby and your MIL decided to tag along figuring she'd convice him to turn around or something, but good for HIM for holding his grounds... now if only he can learn to call in advance next time!

If she keeps showing up with Grampa and ignoring you/being overly critical, I'd just ignore her right back and focus on the baby/DH/Grampa. She can ignore you all she wants, it should make it easier for you to ignore her right back when she starts with the diaper/dress comments.

If I were you, I'd try to talk to DH to see how he feels and what he might want to do next, but I'd emphasize the fact that his Dad clearly thinks enough of him to (somewhat) stand up to his mom, perhaps the arrival of your little girl will help your FIL be more assertive when it comes to his relationship with his son!
Title: Re: When the baby comes, how do we notify family that is completely uninterested?
Post by: cicero on October 14, 2012, 12:00:04 PM
congratulations and enjoy your bundle of joy!

I think it's time for your DH to come to terms with who his parents are. your MIL is extremely dysfunctional - unless you comitted some major crime or social faux pas, she acted horribly to you for years. I honestly don't think it matters *why* she is doing this; the point is that she *is* doing this.

Over the course of 10 years she:
*forbade you to come to her home while you were dating her son.
*she constantly found fault with you and no problem talking to her son about it.
*she was extremely inappropriate when you announced your engagement - but then came to the wedding and danced.
*she was again inappropriate when you announced your pregnancy - and then she came to your house after you gave birth. and then she ignore you.

I can understand your DH - when things happen one at a time, it's hard to see the full picture. but the full picture (and i'm sure you have many more stories to tell) is not a pretty one. As sad as it may be, i think you and he both need to ignore her from now on - that seems to be what she wants. and your DH may benefit from therapy (I know it helped my son immensely to get over his birth father's behaivor).
Title: Re: When the baby comes, family that is completely uninterested (update pg. 5)
Post by: kherbert05 on October 14, 2012, 12:38:24 PM
I think this is the one time when it is ok to invite 1/2 of a social unit. Your DH needs to tell his Dad that he is welcome, but must call first. Mom is not welcome because she is rude to you and unhealthy for the baby.
Title: Re: When the baby comes, family that is completely uninterested (update pg. 5)
Post by: LeveeWoman on October 14, 2012, 01:04:03 PM
I think this is the one time when it is ok to invite 1/2 of a social unit. Your DH needs to tell his Dad that he is welcome, but must call first. Mom is not welcome because she is rude to you and unhealthy for the baby.

Yep. This is one situation in which the rule should be broken.
Title: Re: When the baby comes, family that is completely uninterested (update pg. 5)
Post by: gramma dishes on October 14, 2012, 01:28:31 PM
I think this is the one time when it is ok to invite 1/2 of a social unit. Your DH needs to tell his Dad that he is welcome, but must call first. Mom is not welcome because she is rude to you and unhealthy for the baby.

Yep. This is one situation in which the rule should be broken.

Not only that, but MIL herself stated very clearly that she wanted no further contact, so seeing Dad without her is merely being respectful of her wishes!  Right?   >:D
Title: Re: When the baby comes, family that is completely uninterested (update pg. 5)
Post by: LeveeWoman on October 14, 2012, 01:29:41 PM
I think this is the one time when it is ok to invite 1/2 of a social unit. Your DH needs to tell his Dad that he is welcome, but must call first. Mom is not welcome because she is rude to you and unhealthy for the baby.

Yep. This is one situation in which the rule should be broken.

Not only that, but MIL herself stated very clearly that she wanted no further contact, so seeing Dad without her is merely being respectful of her wishes!  Right?   >:D

You got that right. Now, let's hope his dad has the gumption to do as he wishes.
Title: Re: When the baby comes, how do we notify family that is completely uninterested?
Post by: Browyn on October 14, 2012, 02:06:28 PM
OP - how were you planning on getting in touch with your FIL to let him know about the baby before you knew that he would be out of the country? Were you going to call his cell phone? Call him at home? Text him? Email him?  Call him at work? Unless you were planning on knocking on his door at work, I'd suggest doing exactly that, only since he won't be there, just leave him a message.  If you were going to call him at home, then leave a message for your FIL, not your MIL - ie "Hi, Dad, this is OP's DH.  Just calling to let you know that the baby is here.  She/He is X pounds, and X inches.  Mom and baby are both doing well. Bye." 

You haven't cut off contact with your FIL.  Yes, he hurt you by not telling you that would be out of the country, but is he someone who normally shares?  I'm asking because it seems that whenever people post about about toxic mothers, the father is someone who is not approachable and quiet; someone who doesn't share and doesn't get involved.  If this is true now, then maybe that explains why he didn't get in touch with you.

I wish I could remember which book i read it in, but Dad's like that are described as the shadow parent.  Quiet, in the background, not toxic but not able to stand up to and stop the toxic parent's behavior.  They sacrifice their children for the sake of peace at home since they have to live with the toxic one.
Title: Re: When the baby comes, how do we notify family that is completely uninterested?
Post by: LeveeWoman on October 14, 2012, 02:09:00 PM
OP - how were you planning on getting in touch with your FIL to let him know about the baby before you knew that he would be out of the country? Were you going to call his cell phone? Call him at home? Text him? Email him?  Call him at work? Unless you were planning on knocking on his door at work, I'd suggest doing exactly that, only since he won't be there, just leave him a message.  If you were going to call him at home, then leave a message for your FIL, not your MIL - ie "Hi, Dad, this is OP's DH.  Just calling to let you know that the baby is here.  She/He is X pounds, and X inches.  Mom and baby are both doing well. Bye." 

You haven't cut off contact with your FIL.  Yes, he hurt you by not telling you that would be out of the country, but is he someone who normally shares?  I'm asking because it seems that whenever people post about about toxic mothers, the father is someone who is not approachable and quiet; someone who doesn't share and doesn't get involved.  If this is true now, then maybe that explains why he didn't get in touch with you.

I wish I could remember which book i read it in, but Dad's like that are described as the shadow parent.  Quiet, in the background, not toxic but not able to stand up to and stop the toxic parent's behavior.  They sacrifice their children for the sake of peace at home since they have to live with the toxic one.

Sacrificing your own children in order to stay with a toxic partner IS toxic.
Title: Re: When the baby comes, how do we notify family that is completely uninterested?
Post by: Danika on October 14, 2012, 03:52:15 PM
OP - how were you planning on getting in touch with your FIL to let him know about the baby before you knew that he would be out of the country? Were you going to call his cell phone? Call him at home? Text him? Email him?  Call him at work? Unless you were planning on knocking on his door at work, I'd suggest doing exactly that, only since he won't be there, just leave him a message.  If you were going to call him at home, then leave a message for your FIL, not your MIL - ie "Hi, Dad, this is OP's DH.  Just calling to let you know that the baby is here.  She/He is X pounds, and X inches.  Mom and baby are both doing well. Bye." 

You haven't cut off contact with your FIL.  Yes, he hurt you by not telling you that would be out of the country, but is he someone who normally shares?  I'm asking because it seems that whenever people post about about toxic mothers, the father is someone who is not approachable and quiet; someone who doesn't share and doesn't get involved.  If this is true now, then maybe that explains why he didn't get in touch with you.

I wish I could remember which book i read it in, but Dad's like that are described as the shadow parent.  Quiet, in the background, not toxic but not able to stand up to and stop the toxic parent's behavior.  They sacrifice their children for the sake of peace at home since they have to live with the toxic one.

Sacrificing your own children in order to stay with a toxic partner IS toxic.

POD

And I wouldn't allow someone into my home who ignored me like that. The first time, you were shocked and didn't know how to react. Now, you're prepared. Next time she shows up, you don't let her past the front door. If the people in DH's family don't respect you, you must respect yourself and tell your DH that you will not expose your DD to them anymore and you refuse to be in their company. If he wants to travel elsewhere to be abused himself, that's his business because he's an adult. You have to protect your DD.
Title: Re: When the baby comes, family that is completely uninterested (update pg. 5)
Post by: Octavia on October 14, 2012, 04:01:32 PM
Syrse - congratulations, but I'm also furious on your behalf! If you can't be safe from toxic people in your own home, then where can you go?!

Please don't ignore MIL's past behaviors and try to play nice going forward. Tell your DH to sit down with FIL and explain that MIL's behavior is beyond the pale. After throwing you out of her emotional roller coaster awhile back, she doesn't get to forcibly strap you into it for another wild ride. In your own home. With a new baby and wife recovering from childbirth. This ends now. Either MIL starts family counseling stat and shows significant progress in treating you and DH with respect, or she gets cut out for good.
Title: Re: When the baby comes, family that is completely uninterested (update pg. 5)
Post by: blue2000 on October 14, 2012, 04:24:29 PM

So yeah... now what? Do we go, yet again, back to the 'lets pretend everything is fine' until the next time she cuts us off? Because honestly, I do NOT want to explain to a sad little girl why her grandmother suddenly does not want her to come over anymore. And my husband is coming to the end of his rope as well.

And then again, she's not my mom, so what exactly can I say about it?  :-\

Ouch. That brings back bad memories.

My oldest brother has had an on-again off-again relationship with my dad. They don't speak for years and then they talk for a few months, and then they are off again (there are faults on both sides for this).

Oldest Bro has a little girl. At one point (when she was just a toddler, I think?) Dad and Oldest Bro were fighting again and Dad had refused to acknowledge he even had a granddaughter. Oldest Bro looked at us with a sad face and said "How do I tell her that her grandfather doesn't want to see her? How do I explain that to her?"

I don't know what Oldest Bro has said to Niece, but I think that not seeing her grandfather has actually been a good thing for her. Instead of being someone who walked out of her life, he is a shadowy figure who was never in it. Similarly, keeping a polite distance from your MIL might be the best thing for your daughter. MIL will just be a sour-faced shadow in the background instead of a significant figure in her life.
Title: Re: When the baby comes, family that is completely uninterested (update pg. 5)
Post by: JoyinVirginia on October 14, 2012, 04:44:35 PM
Congrats to you OP and to your DH on the new baby!
You can choose to do several things. Let her in whenever she shows up with fil and ignore her. Have dh tell fil to just come visit without her. Refuse to let either of them come in if they stop by. Tell fil they can't come back until mil apologizes.
I would probably choose to treat mil as if she had some type of brain injury or mental illness and tolerate visits by essentially ignore her and not let her interact with baby. little girls love grandpas who idolize their granddaughters, so get dh to tell fill to come alone.
Title: Re: When the baby comes, how do we notify family that is completely uninterested?
Post by: violinp on October 14, 2012, 04:48:57 PM
OP - how were you planning on getting in touch with your FIL to let him know about the baby before you knew that he would be out of the country? Were you going to call his cell phone? Call him at home? Text him? Email him?  Call him at work? Unless you were planning on knocking on his door at work, I'd suggest doing exactly that, only since he won't be there, just leave him a message.  If you were going to call him at home, then leave a message for your FIL, not your MIL - ie "Hi, Dad, this is OP's DH.  Just calling to let you know that the baby is here.  She/He is X pounds, and X inches.  Mom and baby are both doing well. Bye." 

You haven't cut off contact with your FIL.  Yes, he hurt you by not telling you that would be out of the country, but is he someone who normally shares?  I'm asking because it seems that whenever people post about about toxic mothers, the father is someone who is not approachable and quiet; someone who doesn't share and doesn't get involved.  If this is true now, then maybe that explains why he didn't get in touch with you.

I wish I could remember which book i read it in, but Dad's like that are described as the shadow parent.  Quiet, in the background, not toxic but not able to stand up to and stop the toxic parent's behavior.  They sacrifice their children for the sake of peace at home since they have to live with the toxic one.

Sacrificing your own children in order to stay with a toxic partner IS toxic.

LeveeWoman, I do understand your point, but I don't think it's always that simple.

My paternal grandparents had a shotgun wedding, and my grandpa soon found out that his new wife was abusive, vindictive, and just plain mean. My dad's first memory was of being beaten around the house at the age of 2 for leaving one toy on the floor of his bedroom. However, if Grandpa had tried to divorce her (an act that would've made him a social pariah in his small town in the late 50's/early 60's), Grandma probably would've gotten majority, if not total, custody of Dad, and then it would've been even worse for Dad.

So, Grandpa stayed with his wife, and took his son on lots of trips and had him help out with his construction business, so it wouldn't be as bad for Dad. That's not to say Grandma never had an opportunity to abuse him - I could tell stories that would curl anyone's hair - but Grandpa tried as much as he could to protect his son.

My grandpa suffered two strokes and got Alzheimer's before I was ever able to know or understand all of that, so I was never able to ask him about that time, but I think that Grandpa loved his son very much and tried to keep him safe and happy. In a perfect world, Grandpa could've divorced Grandma and gotten sole custody of his son. However, we don't live in a perfect world, and sometimes people make what they think is the best decision from many bad options, and live with the consequences.
Title: Re: When the baby comes, family that is completely uninterested (update pg. 5)
Post by: CaffeineKatie on October 14, 2012, 05:17:36 PM
First order of business--install a peephole in your door!  Just like the phone, just because someone rings the doorbell, it doesn't mean you have to answer it.  MIL shows up without a call and permission to come--don't answer the door.  It's also great for safety as well, if you feel you need to give someone an explanation, BTW.
Title: Re: When the baby comes, how do we notify family that is completely uninterested?
Post by: Sophia on October 15, 2012, 08:37:20 AM
...Because honestly, I do NOT want to explain to a sad little girl why her grandmother suddenly does not want her to come over anymore. ...

Let me tell you a story from my life.  You might see your MIL in the story.

One of my Grandmothers always treated me like a doll.  When I was 8, we moved 1000 miles away.  Around my 9th birthday, these Grandparents came down for a visit.  On the second day of their two week visit.  Dad and Grandpie were watching a movie.  I was in my room studying (during the school year).  Grandmother says to Mom "I want to play a game".  Mom says, "That sounds great.  The guys were watching a movie.  If they are ready to play a game, then I am too."  Grandmother walked into the living room and said, "I want to play a game!"  Dad said, "That sounds great.  There is 15 minutes left on the movie, and then we will be ready"  (This was pre-VCR)  Grandmother left to go harangue Mom.  Then she came in to the Living Room to say, "I want to play a game now!"  Dad said, "There is now 5 minutes left.  By the time everyone is gathered, and the game is set up, we will be there."  Grandmother threw a snit and said "We are leaving, right now!"  They got a taxi and ended up sleeping at the airport because there were no more flights that night.  Mom and Dad were left to explain to a crushed me why they were gone.  They also gave the highlights of some other things like that she/they boycotted their wedding.  I remember thinking as a child, "What kind of person am I that even my Grandmother doesn't love me?"
Title: Re: When the baby comes, how do we notify family that is completely uninterested?
Post by: cicero on October 15, 2012, 09:19:13 AM
...Because honestly, I do NOT want to explain to a sad little girl why her grandmother suddenly does not want her to come over anymore. ...

Let me tell you a story from my life.  You might see your MIL in the story.

One of my Grandmothers always treated me like a doll.  When I was 8, we moved 1000 miles away.  Around my 9th birthday, these Grandparents came down for a visit.  On the second day of their two week visit.  Dad and Grandpie were watching a movie.  I was in my room studying (during the school year).  Grandmother says to Mom "I want to play a game".  Mom says, "That sounds great.  The guys were watching a movie.  If they are ready to play a game, then I am too."  Grandmother walked into the living room and said, "I want to play a game!"  Dad said, "That sounds great.  There is 15 minutes left on the movie, and then we will be ready"  (This was pre-VCR)  Grandmother left to go harangue Mom.  Then she came in to the Living Room to say, "I want to play a game now!"  Dad said, "There is now 5 minutes left.  By the time everyone is gathered, and the game is set up, we will be there."  Grandmother threw a snit and said "We are leaving, right now!"  They got a taxi and ended up sleeping at the airport because there were no more flights that night.  Mom and Dad were left to explain to a crushed me why they were gone.  They also gave the highlights of some other things like that she/they boycotted their wedding. I remember thinking as a child, "What kind of person am I that even my Grandmother doesn't love me?"
oh my, hugs! and you gave me goosebumps! that is what my DS (26) said to me after our last visit to his bio-dad. he said "i spent my whole life wondering exactly what was so terrible about me that my own father doesn't love me. now i finally realized that it's not *me*. it's *him*".

Title: Re: When the baby comes, family that is completely uninterested (update pg. 5)
Post by: Twik on October 15, 2012, 09:43:14 AM

I don't know what Oldest Bro has said to Niece, but I think that not seeing her grandfather has actually been a good thing for her. Instead of being someone who walked out of her life, he is a shadowy figure who was never in it. Similarly, keeping a polite distance from your MIL might be the best thing for your daughter. MIL will just be a sour-faced shadow in the background instead of a significant figure in her life.
I agree. Kids can quickly accept "GM or GP isn't around. Because that's how it is," much easier than here one day, gone the next. They don't think "GM or GP would be here if s/he really loved me." They just get it that GM/GP is "somewhere else".
Title: Re: When the baby comes, family that is completely uninterested (update pg. 5)
Post by: bopper on October 15, 2012, 10:02:51 AM

I don't know what Oldest Bro has said to Niece, but I think that not seeing her grandfather has actually been a good thing for her. Instead of being someone who walked out of her life, he is a shadowy figure who was never in it. Similarly, keeping a polite distance from your MIL might be the best thing for your daughter. MIL will just be a sour-faced shadow in the background instead of a significant figure in her life.
I agree. Kids can quickly accept "GM or GP isn't around. Because that's how it is," much easier than here one day, gone the next. They don't think "GM or GP would be here if s/he really loved me." They just get it that GM/GP is "somewhere else".

Exactly. There is no "norm" for grandparents (unlike, say, parents).
Title: Re: When the baby comes, family that is completely uninterested (update pg. 5)
Post by: Seraphia on October 15, 2012, 10:16:42 AM

I don't know what Oldest Bro has said to Niece, but I think that not seeing her grandfather has actually been a good thing for her. Instead of being someone who walked out of her life, he is a shadowy figure who was never in it. Similarly, keeping a polite distance from your MIL might be the best thing for your daughter. MIL will just be a sour-faced shadow in the background instead of a significant figure in her life.
I agree. Kids can quickly accept "GM or GP isn't around. Because that's how it is," much easier than here one day, gone the next. They don't think "GM or GP would be here if s/he really loved me." They just get it that GM/GP is "somewhere else".

This!

Both of my parents had fathers. But I only had one Grandpa. My dad's father abandoned his first family for alcohol, and I've never so much as seen a picture of him. I know that was really, really hard for my dad. But, as far as I was concerned, the man didn't exist, and I've lost absolutely nothing for it. I love my Grandpa with all my heart, and don't feel I've missed out by not having another one.

Better to have MiL as a non-entity than as a source of fear/worry/unhappiness for your baby girl. Also, congratulations on the new wee one!
Title: Re: When the baby comes, family that is completely uninterested (update pg. 5)
Post by: heartmug on October 15, 2012, 12:21:51 PM
Congratulations on your baby girl!

I agree with the others who said have  long talk with your DH and find out his feelings on his parents and their behavior.  Go from there.
Title: Re: When the baby comes, family that is completely uninterested (update pg. 5)
Post by: Marbles on October 15, 2012, 04:13:44 PM
Congratulations on your new baby!

I agree with the others that this is something that your DH ultimately needs to address with his parents, but I also think that you can ask that a start be made in saying that MIL is not to come into your home (or whatever boundary YOU need to make yourself comfortable in your home). You and your DH can be thinking about how or whether he or you choose to allow a relationship with his parents. Does he take Baby there? Does he meet with his parents but without either you or the baby? (I'm personally not in favor of allowing children to see their parents being treated disrespectfully.)

I was in a similar place with my father and SM when I was pregnant with my first. SM felt I was too disrespectful of her (she was *such* a hypocrite; it still galls me), so she encouraged my father not to contact me and he went along with it for four years. I sent him a letter letting him know that he was going to be a grandfather and it was the spur that reopened communication. They actually went as far as family counseling with us. After the first session with her, when it was clear that she was still a dreadfully unpleasant person, DH and I talked it over and decided that she would never be a part of our child's life. And that's what I told my father: she would never be a grandparent to my child. Period. End of story. He was welcome to come back into our lives, but she was not. Dad took it hard, but he had seen some of her shenanigans in counseling and it opened his eyes. So, when he came back from visiting his newborn grandson and she told him he wasn't allowed to see us any more, he told her to take a hike.

Now, my story has one of the better outcomes that come from discussions like these, but the discussion has to happen for change to happen. Sometimes it can spur dad to look at his wife's behavior in a new way and say "you know, this isn't okay; it isn't how I want my relationship with my kid and grandkid to be". He may come up with another solution, such as visiting by himself, but you won't know until your DH talks to him about it.
Title: Re: When the baby comes, family that is completely uninterested (update pg. 6)
Post by: Syrse on January 01, 2013, 03:09:16 PM
OP here again...

So, we're having a problem here. Today, DH's sister visited us for new year. She mentioned 'dad is coming over later today'. Okay... we asked her if DH's mom would come along too. She said she wasn't sure, but she thought not.
Doorbell goes... and there they are, both of them. DH's dad strides in and gives me a very happy new year, beaming. I can hear DH and his mom talking in the hallway, without hearing what they're on about. (once they were gone DH told me he caught his mom in the hallway to tell her to be civil. She then wanted to leave, but DH told her 'I'm not telling you to leave, you're welcome, but be civil.' She decided to stay).

So the visit went pretty well. They were all pleasant, gifts were given, and after a couple of hours they all left.

... except half an hour after they left, DH gets a phone call from his mom. It was a very long phone call, and he had to repeat 'mom, stop yelling, I can't understand you' quite a few times.
Long story short, DH told her that she was welcome here and that he would like it if there could be a relationship with Baby and her as a grandmother. She replied that she still did not feel like she could have a relationship with us, and that she did not feel the need to be a grandmother. She literally said 'I can't change.' She admitted that she came along just because of his father. DH asked her to be fair and tell his dad what was up. She replied that he did know, and that they had 'an understanding.'

So as far as I can gather, this is the situation:
DH's mom wants nothing to do with us, or our baby.
DH's father knows this.
DH's mom is still going to come around whenever DH's father wants to visit us. (???)

So here's my dilemma; I really, really don't want her in my house if she doesn't want to be here. I don't want her to shower us with gifts, yet stand back and not give our daughter any attention. Baby doesn't understand now, but what about once she gets older? I'd rather have a 'grandma is not here' than a 'why does grandma ignore me?' situation.

Both me and DH are a bit at a loss at what to do now... I'm thinking it might be best if he either tells his dad to please leave her at home, or tell his mom that she's no longer welcome. But the second one sounds quite harsh.

Also, what about these gifts?? Far as I understand the baby clothes are a gift from DH's father and not from her, but they also gave us two movie tickets, and 200 Euro in cash. Since the visit went well, we accepted them with many thanks, but now I feel like I should just give it back. I mean, I can't very well take her money and then tell her to stay out of my house, can I?
Title: Re: When the baby comes, family that is completely uninterested (update pg. 5)
Post by: Amara on January 01, 2013, 03:15:15 PM
Can the four of you sit down together and have a calm discussion about this? Find out what each of them wants and see if it can be accommodated to everyone's satisfaction. Does FIL want a relationship with his granddaughter? Does MIL not want a fully relationship, a partial one, or none at all with her granddaughter? Can she calmly state why? Is it possible this is all too new to her and she might change her mind later on? Does she like being around you two but not young children?

I think if you can have that kind of open, honest and kind discussion it might help in finding a solution. But everyone would have to want it and be willing to speak clearly and calmly.

OP, I wish you luck. It sounds difficult at best.
Title: Re: When the baby comes, family that is completely uninterested (update pg. 5)
Post by: Iris on January 01, 2013, 03:29:40 PM
Personally, I would stop giving her any attention. Don't stop her in the hallway and tell her to be civil or anything else. Calmly invite her into your home, expect that she behave like a 'normal' guest, and make her leave if she doesn't, but without drama or listening to her reasons or anything else. If she rings to talk about her 'relationship' then simply calmly say "Yes, you have said this. I have to go now. 'Bye!" If she tries to engage you in any crazy, act uninterested and then remove yourself from the situation.

The reason I say this is because at this point the only options I can see are that either your MIL is the biggest attention hound that ever lived OR she has an actual mental illness. I'm assuming she doesn't have an actual mental illness, although I haven't read every post in the thread, so I'm just going to speak to the first possibility. I don't like to feed attention hounds and so I just don't feed into their drama. I take a calm and polite interest in them and stay at least outwardly detached (easy to say I know, but it can be done I promise). I don't cut them off because that gives them a source of attention as they martyr themselves over it to others, I don't argue, I don't listen to their hour long rants about their feelings. This worked so well with one attention hound closely related to me that she doesn't ring me anymore (hallelujah).

If you stop giving her attention I'm predicting one of two things will happen; either she will stop visiting altogether or she will visit but make a big point of her distance - refuse to interact with your DD at all etc. If she does the second one then after a couple of visits I would simply say to FIL "Look, we love it when you visit, but WHY are you bringing MIL? That kind of behaviour is going to be awful for DD when she is a little older. Why don't you just come on your own from now on?"
Title: Re: When the baby comes, family that is completely uninterested (update pg. 5)
Post by: Hmmmmm on January 01, 2013, 03:38:12 PM
I think your DH needs to tell his mom he doesn't want her to fake a relationship and you guys are fine with his father visiting and participating in your families life with out his mom.  And I'd look at the gifts as being gifts from his Dad and keep them.

And you eventually tell your child that grandpa's wife is not comfortable with family and prefers to live separately.
Title: Re: When the baby comes, family that is completely uninterested (update pg. 5)
Post by: gemma156 on January 01, 2013, 04:13:08 PM
Actually it is sounding like your dh's mother is afraid of getting old, and handling it very badly.  When she was in her prime she was great. Then came along a newer and prettier female version into the family, aka yourself, and she felt threatened.  Your engagement meant that you were becoming a new member of the family she had to compete with on an ongoing basis, then the wedding confirmed it.  Now she is in a panic and not handling it well. 

The next stage of life comes along in your family and you welcome a lovely and beautiful girl, this now means she is officially a grandparent, no longer in her prime and beautiful.  So she cannot function at all in this family unit where she has lost her feminine power and not wanting to confront it, as that would be naming her fear - she tells your family that she cannot be in your lives.

But your dh's father is delighted, he may not show it emotionally as most older men don't.  They also don't normally know to follow up right after having children to see if all is well.  Usually they wait to be told when they are needed and probably thought you'd appreciate him not being underfoot, at a big time.   But he must be talking about it excitably at home, sending your mil into a panic to plan a holiday to get away from going to the hospital.  He most likely thought that no big deal, again you probably would be very busy and not wanting too many visitors, so he could kill 2 birds with one stone.  Keep the wife happy on a holiday, then come visit the new baby when you would most likely welcome visitors.

So they come FIL excited to see the new family member and MIL because not coming would mean having to disclose her real reasons of growing older and no longer attractive.  She can't not come because in FIL's eyes that would mean she's in danger of losing respect and her feminine charm to him.  So she goes along and endures, what she has to.  Your FIL is obviously in love with his new granddaughter as he is talking about her to others, such is why your SIL told you that they are coming again.  She knows how her mother is because she also is a threat to her beauty as a woman, and is no doubt of her mother's behaviour.  So they come again.  I would say that your FIL is smittened with your new baby.

It probably is time for the family to name the white elephant in the room before it gets any bigger, or just accept that your MIL cannot function well in what she believes to be a threat to her aging. 
Title: Re: When the baby comes, family that is completely uninterested (update pg. 5)
Post by: Deetee on January 01, 2013, 05:22:59 PM
Personally, I would stop giving her any attention. Don't stop her in the hallway and tell her to be civil or anything else. Calmly invite her into your home, expect that she behave like a 'normal' guest, and make her leave if she doesn't, but without drama or listening to her reasons or anything else. If she rings to talk about her 'relationship' then simply calmly say "Yes, you have said this. I have to go now. 'Bye!" If she tries to engage you in any crazy, act uninterested and then remove yourself from the situation.

The reason I say this is because at this point the only options I can see are that either your MIL is the biggest attention hound that ever lived OR she has an actual mental illness. I'm assuming she doesn't have an actual mental illness, although I haven't read every post in the thread, so I'm just going to speak to the first possibility. I don't like to feed attention hounds and so I just don't feed into their drama. I take a calm and polite interest in them and stay at least outwardly detached (easy to say I know, but it can be done I promise). I don't cut them off because that gives them a source of attention as they martyr themselves over it to others, I don't argue, I don't listen to their hour long rants about their feelings. This worked so well with one attention hound closely related to me that she doesn't ring me anymore (hallelujah).

If you stop giving her attention I'm predicting one of two things will happen; either she will stop visiting altogether or she will visit but make a big point of her distance - refuse to interact with your DD at all etc. If she does the second one then after a couple of visits I would simply say to FIL "Look, we love it when you visit, but WHY are you bringing MIL? That kind of behaviour is going to be awful for DD when she is a little older. Why don't you just come on your own from now on?"

This. MIL needs waaaay less attention for her unreasonableness. (Or way less attention from her son. Perhaps some attention from a medical professional would be a good idea.)
Title: Re: When the baby comes, family that is completely uninterested (update pg. 6)
Post by: weeblewobble on January 01, 2013, 05:53:51 PM
Er, no.  She doesn't get to give you the cut direct, but then show up to your house whenever it suits her.  You can tell anyone not living in the home to stay out of your house, and when someone tells you, "I don't want anything to do with you or your baby." GIVE HER WHAT SHE WANTS.

Tell your father-in-law that 1) when he wants to come visit, he needs to address that with you so you can set that up, not relay that message through a third party like SIL.  and 2) He needs to leave MIL at home.  Her presence in your house is stressful, particularly when she shows up unexpected and uninvited.

As for the gifts, they gave them willingly and you accepted them thinking that you were all attempting civility.  There's no fault here.  But, if the cash makes you uncomfortable, you can always mail it to them with a polite note stating that you are comfortable accepting it.

Title: Re: When the baby comes, family that is completely uninterested (update pg. 6)
Post by: Otterpop on January 01, 2013, 06:19:02 PM
Yes, it sounds like MIL is addicted to drama and must manufacture it at every opportunity.  Don't get caught up in it or give her the attention your new baby so rightly deserves.  Treat her like a mentally ill relative that you must work around to have peace and family relations.  When she becomes unreasonable, quickly show her the door or take your leave.  FIL can decide what to do because she's his problem not yours.  Your first concern is your DH and baby.  Everyone else can behave or miss out.
Title: Re: When the baby comes, family that is completely uninterested (update pg. 6)
Post by: Magnet on January 01, 2013, 06:40:58 PM
My goodness this is a lot of drama for an expected momma.

I agree with Gemma that MIL is afraid of the title "grandma" in an over-the-top, possibly psychotic,  way.  Leave her be and don't see her for a long while.  If FIL wants to see the baby, then you should follow Weeblewobble's advice and all communications go through you (not DH) and MIL is not invited.  This is a baby.  She is going to be around for a long-long time (I hope) and will be a new member of the family, and MIL cannot control the growth and diminution of the family.  No one can.

Congratulations on your little girl, don't speak about this woman for a while, and concentrate on you.
Title: Re: When the baby comes, family that is completely uninterested (update pg. 6)
Post by: bonyk on January 01, 2013, 06:53:20 PM
I agree, no more attention for MIL.  If she calls again, DH should respond, "Look, Mom, be in our lives or be out of our lives.  Your choice.  But I'm just not interested in this drama.  Good-bye."
Title: Re: When the baby comes, family that is completely uninterested (update pg. 5)
Post by: JenJay on January 01, 2013, 07:31:31 PM
I think your DH needs to tell his mom he doesn't want her to fake a relationship and you guys are fine with his father visiting and participating in your families life with out his mom.  And I'd look at the gifts as being gifts from his Dad and keep them.

And you eventually tell your child that grandpa's wife is not comfortable with family and prefers to live separately.

Exactly! DH's mom wants him to beg her to come around and do back flips to please her when she does. I imagine when he stopped her in the hall she probably though he was going to try to negotiate some kind of compromise. Man she must have been ticked when it turned out he meant only to stand up for his wife and child and demand they be treated with kindness and respect in their own home. Your DH is awesome, btw, but I doubt you need me to tell you that.  :D

Anyway, you know what you'll get if you actually succeed in talking her into maintaining a relationship with you? Constant criticism about how you're raising your child. Do yourselves a favor and accept what she's offering. DH should call his dad and explain that you two are fine with MIL choosing to check out of this relationship and she shouldn't feel pressured to come over when he visits - it'll just be awkward for everyone. Tell him he's welcome to come alone or you can meet at a restaurant, park, etc. Tell him, too, that gifts should be addressed from him only because it'll be too difficult to explain to DD as she grows up why she has a grandmother who sends her gifts but never visits.
Title: Re: When the baby comes, family that is completely uninterested (update pg. 6)
Post by: RooRoo on January 01, 2013, 09:00:48 PM
JenJay, I think you were, at one point, a little too easy on the grandfather. So I edited:

Quote
DH should call his dad and explain that you two are fine with that MIL choosing has chosen to check out of this re1ationship and she shouldn't feel pressured to come over when he visits - it'll just be awkward for everyone, and tell him about the e-mail. Tell him he's welcome to come alone or you can meet at a restaurant, park, etc, but that MIL is not welcome. Tell him, too, that gifts should be addressed from him only because it'll be too difficult to explain to DD as she grows up why she has a grandmother who sends her gifts but never visits.

The main reason for my edit is that it's not direct enough to be effective. Saying "she shouldn't feel pressured" shows a sympathy towards her that you don't have - and she doesn't deserve. And why suggest that you all meet elsewhere? DD will still have to deal with a toxic grandmother. It should be clear that she is the one who requested an end to the relationship.

And be sure to tell Grandpa that he is very welcome, as he obviously loves his DGD. She deserves loving grandparents. She definitely doesn't deserve to be asking herself what it is about her that is so awful that her grandmother hates her. (BTDT. Daddy left when I was still in diapers. I have no memories of his presence, but it still scarred me.)
Title: Re: When the baby comes, family that is completely uninterested (update pg. 6)
Post by: ladyknight1 on January 01, 2013, 09:28:03 PM
From the yelling on the phone after the impromptu visit, I don't think the MIL is willing or able to speak calmly about this situation.

OP, I am so happy you and your DH have a beautiful baby girl to love. Now that she is here, you will need to make sure your family of DH, you and your baby are your priorities. I don't think you should waste any energy on your MIL. DH and I have made a family of friends and some relatives we are close to. Our lives have been enriched by them. I wish the same for you.
Title: Re: When the baby comes, family that is completely uninterested (update pg. 6)
Post by: JadeAngel on January 01, 2013, 09:32:20 PM
I read your story and the updates and it sounds to me like your MIL was fine with you when you were just friends with her son, but when the two of you got together she realized that you were a serious contender to be more important to her son than she was and she cooled off on you very rapidly. I would also guess that the other girlfriends she liked were the ones who were perhaps not serious and stood no chance of stealing DH away from her. Now you've produced a beautiful daughter for DH (congrats by the way!) pushing MIL further down the line in terms of importance.

I assume DH is not an only child since you mention his sister so I wonder if he is the youngest child and she resents you for taking her 'baby' away from her. At any rate her behavior has been steadily worsening the more DH cements himself into the family he has created with you and away from MIL and her influence.

It's a tricky situation, she has given you the cut direct and yet she keeps turning up unannounced at your home. Telling her to leave will probably exile your FIL who clearly wants to be part of his grandchild's life, but having her come in and criticize and make these visits all about her is hardly ideal. My suggestion would be to ask FIL to call before he just turns up to give you some time to prepare and be forewarned and to adopt what is almost a dog training technique with MIL where you reward her for the behavior you want to see and ignore her when she starts misbehaving. Don't rise to the bait when she starts making passive aggressive comments, she's trying to display herself as the victim here, shunned and dismissed by her son because he is under the spell of his 'evil wife'. After all he would never say such things to his own dear mother if she weren't making him do it... poor, deserving of sympathy, hard done by, blameless MIL  :'(

She's being manipulative, your job now is to make sure that your daughter never gets drawn into this game, if that means cutting off your MIL so be it.
Title: Re: When the baby comes, family that is completely uninterested (update pg. 6)
Post by: JenJay on January 01, 2013, 09:55:19 PM
JenJay, I think you were, at one point, a little too easy on the grandfather. So I edited:

Quote
DH should call his dad and explain that you two are fine with that MIL choosing has chosen to check out of this re1ationship and she shouldn't feel pressured to come over when he visits - it'll just be awkward for everyone, and tell him about the e-mail. Tell him he's welcome to come alone or you can meet at a restaurant, park, etc, but that MIL is not welcome. Tell him, too, that gifts should be addressed from him only because it'll be too difficult to explain to DD as she grows up why she has a grandmother who sends her gifts but never visits.

The main reason for my edit is that it's not direct enough to be effective. Saying "she shouldn't feel pressured" shows a sympathy towards her that you don't have - and she doesn't deserve. And why suggest that you all meet elsewhere? DD will still have to deal with a toxic grandmother. It should be clear that she is the one who requested an end to the relationship.

And be sure to tell Grandpa that he is very welcome, as he obviously loves his DGD. She deserves loving grandparents. She definitely doesn't deserve to be asking herself what it is about her that is so awful that her grandmother hates her. (BTDT. Daddy left when I was still in diapers. I have no memories of his presence, but it still scarred me.)

Actually I wrote what I did deliberately. I think the MIL is looking to martyr herself here and I would refuse to play along. At this point I wouldn't state that she is not welcome because I think that's what she wants. Drama, drama, drama! Like the tactics discussed in the "giving P/A people what they want" thread, I would disengage. She said she wants out. Fine, we accept that, you're out. She says she'll come over even though it'll be awkward *big martyr sigh*. No need, we accept that you choose not to come over.

I'd absolutely escalate to "Nope, you aren't welcome." if she jerked me around again. I just wouldn't kick it off now, personally. She ended this relationship and she should feel that.
Title: Re: When the baby comes, family that is completely uninterested (update pg. 6)
Post by: Gondwanaland on January 01, 2013, 10:11:34 PM
Your situation sounds very much like the one my DH and I found ourselves in years ago when my father re-married at the age of 60 (he's now 93 and a widower, thank goodness even though I know that sounds horrible). My SM was so horrible that we eventually had to bar her from our home, the children hated her and the feeling was mutual.  Unfortunately she forbad my father from visiting us alone, as I had asked him to do.  At first she would sit in the car while he visited, then she stopped him coming at all and my strong gentle father gave in to her "to keep the peace".  We hardly saw him for 10 years until she got sick and he realised he would be alone soon, so he started visiting us (secretly at first). SM has been dead now 5 years and even though he is now very old, at least we have him in our lives.    The reason I say this is I can hear the SM echoing in your relationship with your MIL.  I'm pretty sure your FIL tells her he is going to visit, they have a row, and she goes along because she cannot bear not to know what goes on while he is there, or if you all discuss her in her absence. With people like this it is "all about them" and they thrive on drama.  Try and get the FIL to visit alone, as he probably has a hell of a time with her over the visits.  Good luck and don't waste a moment trying to work out how her brain works, you never will.
Title: Re: When the baby comes, family that is completely uninterested (update pg. 6)
Post by: bopper on January 02, 2013, 10:06:49 AM
So she doesn't want to be a grandma.  Your child will grow up thinking that to be "normal" as it will be how her grandmother acts to her.
You are expecting a certain behavior from MIL...so stop that.  Treat her as she wishes to be treated. As long as she is civil and not disrespectful, let it be.
Title: Re: When the baby comes, family that is completely uninterested (update pg. 6)
Post by: greencat on January 02, 2013, 11:01:58 AM
So she doesn't want to be a grandma.  Your child will grow up thinking that to be "normal" as it will be how her grandmother acts to her.
You are expecting a certain behavior from MIL...so stop that.  Treat her as she wishes to be treated. As long as she is civil and not disrespectful, let it be.

Actually, the child will not grow up thinking it is normal - up to a point, maybe, but grandmothers are regularly portrayed in the media as loving, and when she starts interacting with her friends' families, she'll probably see something more like the media portrayal than what she's getting at home.  Then the issues will start.

Far better to not expose the child to MIL at all, and explain to her when she's old enough to question her absence that MIL is unable to visit.  It is also possible that by then she might have come down off her snitfit and decided that she does want to be a loving grandmother after all.


Title: Re: When the baby comes, family that is completely uninterested (update pg. 6)
Post by: gramma dishes on January 02, 2013, 11:05:00 AM
So she doesn't want to be a grandma.  Your child will grow up thinking that to be "normal" as it will be how her grandmother acts to her.
You are expecting a certain behavior from MIL...so stop that.  Treat her as she wishes to be treated. As long as she is civil and not disrespectful, let it be.

Actually, the child will not grow up thinking it is normal - up to a point, maybe, but grandmothers are regularly portrayed in the media as loving, and when she starts interacting with her friends' families, she'll probably see something more like the media portrayal than what she's getting at home.  Then the issues will start.

Far better to not expose the child to MIL at all, and explain to her when she's old enough to question her absence that MIL is unable to visit.  It is also possible that by then she might have come down off her snitfit and decided that she does want to be a loving grandmother after all.

I agree with your (Greencat) whole post, but would add that it is far more likely that she will come out of her snit fit much faster if she realizes that acting like a slightly more "typical, loving" grandmother will get her far more attention, adoration and adulation than ignoring and avoiding this child.
Title: Re: When the baby comes, family that is completely uninterested (update pg. 6)
Post by: Steve on January 02, 2013, 02:16:39 PM
I would like to add that nobody should be expected to be 'like they are in the media', because nobody can. You get the parents, siblings and grandparents you are given, and you deal with them.
Title: Re: When the baby comes, family that is completely uninterested (update pg. 6)
Post by: ladyknight1 on January 02, 2013, 02:45:40 PM
I would like to add that nobody should be expected to be 'like they are in the media', because nobody can. You get the parents, siblings and grandparents you are given, and you deal with them.

This is why so many people on this forum have given the cut to those family members.
Title: Re: When the baby comes, family that is completely uninterested (update pg. 6)
Post by: wolfie on January 02, 2013, 04:00:35 PM
So she doesn't want to be a grandma.  Your child will grow up thinking that to be "normal" as it will be how her grandmother acts to her.
You are expecting a certain behavior from MIL...so stop that.  Treat her as she wishes to be treated. As long as she is civil and not disrespectful, let it be.

Actually, the child will not grow up thinking it is normal - up to a point, maybe, but grandmothers are regularly portrayed in the media as loving, and when she starts interacting with her friends' families, she'll probably see something more like the media portrayal than what she's getting at home.  Then the issues will start.


My grandmother is not the typical grandmother you see in the media and I thought our relationship was normal. She was loving in her own way and that was fine with me. I don't think this relationship is but I don't think it is a given that the DD would rebel against it when she gets older. It will be her normal.
Title: Re: When the baby comes, family that is completely uninterested (update pg. 6)
Post by: aikigirl on January 02, 2013, 05:42:34 PM
My grandma didn't like my sisters and me much at all. She was cold and distant. Since we've gotten older we've discovered that we all knew what her attitude was and knew it wasn't "normal". Others in my life were warm, loving and accepting, so her distance really stood out in comparison to them (and she was the only living grandparent, so it wasn't a matter of comparing her to a loving grandparent).

I would have preferred it if she stayed away than the forced, uncomfortable relationship we had. It just made me question what I was doing that made me unlovable and no child should have those thoughts.
Title: Re: When the baby comes, family that is completely uninterested (update pg. 6)
Post by: greencat on January 02, 2013, 06:58:30 PM
Of course no one's exactly like the media portrayal - but I have known a number of other people's grandparents and my own grandfather* who were pretty close to that.  It was pretty clear to me that my grandmother was not "normal" even as a young child - she wasn't unloving, but she had an untreated mental illness that caused her to periodically pitch a fit about something minor and refuse to see my family for awhile.

*Only dealing with one set of grandparents for the most part, because the other set lived out of state and I can count the times I met them before they passed away on one hand.