AIBU re post-birth visiting

(254 Posts)
BraveLilBear Fri 17-May-13 14:20:49

I'm nearly 31 weeks with our first child (tho DP already has an 11-yo son), and I am being tortured by the pressure of visiting times after birth.

My family live a long way away (2 hours+ drive). This is a choice I made several years ago to take up particular jobs, and I have now settled here and very happy. This is my choice, and I made it at the time understanding this may restrict my support opportunities later in life.

Fast forward to the impending birth of the first baby in the next generation of my family. I understand that they can't wait to meet him or her and I, equally, can't wait to introduce him or her to its wonderful extended family. Despite the physical distance, we are fairly emotionally close and I am very blessed to have such a loving family.

However, I have serious concerns about becoming overwhelmed in the days after birth. I have never had a child before, and this will be a huge change for me, and to my relationship with my DP. I am pretty sure that I will not be in a position to play hostess whilst in pain, bleeding, tired and attempting to learn to breastfeed. DP will be trying to support me, and will also be tired. He is not exactly a great host at the best of times - there's no chance he's going to suddenly become a master at this in these circumstances.

So I have said I don't want any visitors for at least 3 days after we get home in order to adapt. Ideally it would be longer, but I think this is too selfish.

I have also said we do not want any overnight guests for at least a month, for the same reason, and that we would prefer people to come in the daytime (ie leaving before 7) so that when DP goes back to work we can have some family time in an evening and he can chill out after two long commutes a sleep-disturbed night etc.

Anyway. I have started the task of communicating this to people so they can get their heads round it. My mum, who had offered to come and stay for a week after DP goes back to work (we have declined because we can't handle anyone staying over so soon, and would want some space in the evenings), has used phrases such as 'you're going to ostracise people' and 'when you decide you want to share, I'll see if I can fit you in the diary'.

She says that she has/had expectations of suporting her daughters when they have children, and is obviously upset with me for challenging that.

The added complexity is that I could be in for 5 days or could be out in 6 hours, so I can't offer a guarantee of hospital visitation so our families can get that initial newborn baby fix.

AIBU to ask for space to settle in? I feel terrible, but also that I know we will never ever get this time again...

<sorry for epic>

Soupqueen Fri 17-May-13 15:52:20

I'm only 19 weeks with DC1 and already dreading this. Both sets of parents live 5-7(depending on conditions) hours drive away.

My parents will be fine. Unprompted by me, they have already started looking at local B&Bs. My father in law, however, is a different matter. He will expect to stay with us and to spend all the time he is here with us. He is a difficult person and not an easy house guest at the best of times. I'm going to be firm, but already know it will cause ructions, I'll be accused of being excessively PFB and that he'll bring it up for the next 20 odd years.

wibblyjelly Fri 17-May-13 15:52:49

Hope they offer for you Brave How are you finding the pregnancy, hope its not too hard going for you?

DioneTheDiabolist Fri 17-May-13 15:53:13

I too lived 2 hours away from my family when I gave birth to DS. My mum came when I went into labour and stayed until I got out of hospital. That way she got her newborn baby fix and was invaluable in bringing the right things to hospital, getting food, doing a clean up before I got home and buying overlooked baby essentials on the day I got out. It Aldo meant that she could support me in my first few BFing sessions when I got home.

Could you arrange something like this OP?

I've got a 10 week old so this is all pretty recent. Personally I found the first 2 weeks the easiest time to have visitors as newborns eat, sleep, and are relatively speaking quite easy to deal with. They get much harder once they wake up a bit, especially if they don't nap well.

Also you might welcome some help from your mum in the evenings. After about 6pm you'll hit the witching hour. Anyone with a tiny baby will know about this! Think cluster feeding, colicky crying and refusal to sleep. If your DP wants some me time in the evenings he isn't going to get it.

I would have loved someone to hold dd in the evening, even for half an hour, so I could have had a meal without her latched on, or have a bath.

Sunnysummer Fri 17-May-13 16:06:39

Yanbu, and generally we found that the people who get really miffed about being excluded are exactly the ones who are the most annoying and unhelpful when they actually show up. angry However I agree with other posters at depending on your relationship, having your mum stay for a week could be a godsend...

We've just had our first DC and while a lot of 'short stay' visitors would have been really stressful, we actually begged my mum to extend her stay for a second week. Our DS is adorable but also has some health issues that are leading to regular doctor visits and many sleepless nights, and having a spare pair of hands around while DH is at work to help with driving, shopping, cooking and even just holding the baby between feeds while I nap/cry/eat has kept me sane!

That said, if your mother is thinking she'll get to turn up and just play with the baby, I'd cheerfully lock all doors and keep to the 3 week plan. Also, the best tip i got about visitors was to make a list of jobs that need doing, so that when a guest asks (sincerely or otherwise) if there is anything that they can do, allocate them something from making a pt of tea to vacuuming a room. Good luck!

DontmindifIdo Fri 17-May-13 16:08:17

You know what, only you know if they will be a help or not - people say "oh, you'll need help" but not all parents turning up are a help - mine are much more the "sitting on the sofa expecting tea, deliberately waking up sleeping baby to look in it's cute eyes, or attempting to help by rearranging cupboards to reflect their kitchen, so you can't find anything" type of parents. PIL are the "would you like FIL to cut your grass while MIL does the ironing" types. I know which I'd rather have stay.

Plus, if you've lived away for a while, you are used to not having them there all the time, it's a very different relationship to someone who's got parents they are used to spending a lot of time with.

I would say asking for visits in the day is best - apart from anything else you will want to relax and sleep, if they are even a little bit 'hard work' you will have had enough by 7pm, even if your baby isnt asleep, you might need to wind down. If that's roughly when your DH gets home from work, then it's nice that he'll get some time with the baby, inveriably if your parents/extended family are there, he will feel he has to let them have the cuddles with the baby and he'll have to 'play host' to them, very different from coming in from work, cuddling his new DC and asking you all about your day. You will both be shattered, if your parents aren't part of your day to day life, then suddenly having to entertain them into the evening will be hard work.

I'm having an ELCS this time round, I'm planning on keeping my parents away as much as I can even with that - I know I'll need help, but I also know what I won't need is people who claim to help but are acutally just getting on my nerves and adding to the burden.

BraveLilBear Fri 17-May-13 16:11:36

Totally not planning to exclude DSS, in fact, I'm quite keen for him to meet his brother/sister as soon as possible! He doesn't stay that often at the moment, but very keen for him to be involved.

I think biggest issue is with my parents - most others are willing to be understanding. Haven't even mentioned this to my dad yet, I know he will take this very badly.

Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii Fri 17-May-13 16:13:42

I think YANBU, in fact I think you are being very, very sensible.

I love my parents and my MIL, however they were all a bit gushy and over the top when I had my first baby. I think a bit of new 'family' time without visitors is a great plan.

You also need to take control of telephone calls, I had to take my phone off the hook.

oldwomaninashoe Fri 17-May-13 16:26:14

I am absolutely with you on this!
Being passed round for a "cuddle" is extremely disruptive for a new baby.
After DS1 catching a cold from a hospital visitor (which caused feeding problems) I tried to "put off" people for the others.
In fact when my twins were born by Csection Dh didn't tell any of his family that they had arrived as I couldn't face any visitors apart from my Dad and Sister!

tomatoplantproject Fri 17-May-13 16:30:53

I would play it be ear a bit more. I had a cs so was in hospital and having visitors wasn't at all practical. But once we were home I couldn't wait to show off dd. both set of parents are 3hours drive away an initially came for a day only (on separate days), then mum came for a few days during the week to help after dh went back to work. We were then also up to having visitors. I was so proud of her though - I was really impatient for the whole family to meet her!!

parttimer79 Fri 17-May-13 16:35:06

YANBU I am due just after you and my DMiL will be coming up (probably not with DFiL as he is not super excited by newborns much prefers them when they get a bit mroe exciting!) and will stay either in a hotel down the road or with my DM 20 minutes away.
My DM has said let me know when you want me to come over, give me a list of what you want me to do and tell me to bugger off when you want - she hit a parenting high there!
I am so grateful for parents and inlaws who realise that we will need time after I have a c-sec to just recover and work out which way is up.

fluffymindy Fri 17-May-13 16:37:18

YABU - just imagine when it is your turn and you cannot see your grand child for a few days! It makes no odds really, just drink tea and go upstairs if you are BF and then announce you need bed if you want them to go.

fluffymindy Fri 17-May-13 16:38:16

and when you have a second baby you will be gagging for their help!

seeker Fri 17-May-13 16:38:54

"Being passed round for a "cuddle" is extremely disruptive for a new baby." Since when?

fluffymindy Fri 17-May-13 16:39:33

agreed seeker

Adsss Fri 17-May-13 16:47:29

YANBU I did the same. But within hours reneged on it and got everyone around! Their joy added to my own joy. Their non exhaustion did the things I did not want to do and freed me up lovely to "just enjoy" the little ones.

BraveLilBear Fri 17-May-13 16:49:16

It is such a challenge. I think mum would be a genuine help, but I always end up feeling constantly guilty when she does anything for me as it is (she has a martyr's way at times) - I would feel like I'd end up 'owing her' for the rest of forever.

I would love it if my folks (ie grandparents) could just pop up for a couple of hours, but it seems unfair to ask them to do that as we won't offer them overnight accommodation.

Pregnancy itself hasn't been too bad, thanks wibbly - had an emergency op in first trimester, and had to cancel holiday due to moderately low-lying placenta, but have been ok apart from that. Am very lucky.

hatebeak Fri 17-May-13 16:54:27

YANBU. At all. A small thing: I had a (not uncommon?) hormonal crash at some point round the 3 day mark and that was when I had family visitors trying to hold the baby/ standing around gawping at me as I tried to change nappies / work out latch etc. It was ghastly. There might actually be a case for getting everyone out the way as soon as possible while you're still on an adrenalin high. But obviously, as you don't know how you'll feel, I'd second the advice that you wait and see. (No overnight guests is an excellent plan, whatever).

justmeunderanothername Fri 17-May-13 16:54:58

She's not just a martyr she horrid.
saying 'when you decide you want to share, I'll see if I can fit you in the diary'. Is horrible emotional blackmail and she is basically saying that she is prepared to snub your child later if she doesn't get her own way. I'd call her on it.

BraveLilBear Fri 17-May-13 16:56:59

Fluffy what's the best way of dealing with the 2hrs+ drive but only for a short visit? If they lived round the corner, it wouldn't be a problem, although we would still ask that they warned us in advance in the early days (as we will be doing with DP's folks who live round the corner).

shellsocks Fri 17-May-13 16:59:31

I was worried abt this loads before DS was born, but we had to stay in for two days and my massive extended family all visited in hospital and I have to say getting it out the way early was the best thing...I'm PG again and intend to say to everyone to come visit at the hospital then leave us alone when we get home smile

Two hours isn't that far, they can be at the hospital the day of the birth (assuming no bad complications) stay for as long as you want and then come back again once you are ready smile

shellsocks Fri 17-May-13 17:04:02

Oh and my ILs came the day we got out of hospital (3 days old) and didn't see me or DS longer than a few seconds as he was on a 24hr feeding frenzy and I camped upstairs...he just slept the first couple of days so it really was better all round to have early visitors smile

BraveLilBear Fri 17-May-13 17:04:56

justme there has been another issue during this pregnancy, DP didn't want my folks to buy us/baby a pushchair for fear of being manipulated by DM. He doesn't trust her. I'm sure she doesn't mean to come across so mean but she pushes my buttons like nothing else and it cuts me to the core.

I really really don't want to block them from seeing their first grandhcild. I just need to have boundaries in place, and don't want to end up guilted/manipulated into shifting those boundaries when the time comes - especially if I feel I need them then.

BraveLilBear Fri 17-May-13 17:11:55

I think part of the problem Shellsocks is that I could be out in as little as 6 hours <which is terrifying but a whole other thread> but there'll be no way of knowing that until the time comes.

Am now thinking if we are out quickly, maybe we could allow two hours of early visit for grandparents only but that's it. I just don't want them kicking off if they decided that's not long enough or if they 'hang around' or if they decided to book a B&B somewhere and keep popping in.

shellsocks Fri 17-May-13 17:17:40

That's it, my family wouldn't overstep the boundaries but my ILs did and didn't get to see him! Only you know if they will just go after a shorter visit, so if not then you are right to say so now.

Anecdotal I know but I don't personally know anyone who BF and was out within 6 hours for a first birth?

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