Author Topic: When the baby comes, family that is completely uninterested (update pg. 6)  (Read 23222 times)

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Sophia

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...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. 

Piratelvr1121

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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.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars.  You have a right to be here. Be cheerful, strive to be happy. -Desiderata

BeagleMommy

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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.

Alpacas

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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.

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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..

JaneJensen

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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.

Venus193

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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.

gramma dishes

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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.

O'Dell

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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.
Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.
Walt Whitman

Otterpop

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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.

Iris

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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.
"Can't do anything with children, can you?" the woman said.

Poirot thought you could, but forebore to say so.

LEMon

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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.

Winterlight

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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.
If wisdom’s ways you wisely seek,
Five things observe with care,
To whom you speak,
Of whom you speak,
And how, and when, and where.
Caroline Lake Ingalls

Ceallach

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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.     
"Nobody can do everything, but everybody can do something"


breny

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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.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2012, 09:30:36 PM by breny »

MyFamily

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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.


"The test of good manners is to be patient with bad ones" - Solomon ibn Gabirol