New mom needs support

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz  April 27, 2011 06:00 AM

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[Ed note: this letter has been edited and condensed]

My MIL is a first-time grandma and she never been married and she had my husband at 36 years old. He is the only child and I just had a baby in Jan but she always has something bad to say to me. She never says it when he's around. She makes feel like I am not taking good care my son. For example: We told her that I was going to breastfeed cause it was better for the baby. She said ...I will not even make it week cause others in the family said the same thing and they had to put the child on fake milk. She told me to go head and get formula cause I will not keep breastfeeding.

I also have a 4 year old who is her step son but now it seems like she only wants the baby and that is not right... She always pops up without calling and if I let her see or keep (the baby) one day, she wants him back the next day. It is like she doesn't want him to be with me at all. When I tell her that ...that she hurts [my feelings], she laughs like she doesn't even care.

I am to the point where when I see her calling, I don't answer. I did not want it to be like this.... I also send the baby with my husband to her house. I don't go, or I go i stay in the car. ...She tells people that I do not let the baby go anywhere with her; the baby is only 3 months old....She is the type to want to show off and I have seen her with other people's babies in church and all she does is pass the baby around... Nothing I do is good enough, I am at my end. It is like she is trying to raise my son and I feel that a grandma is not to do my job but if I need her to help watch him while I am in school or work that's what she [should] do. I did not go back to work, my husband wants me to stay home and go to school. She was mad that I did not go back to work. Every day she tell me you need to go to work, so that she can keep her baby -- not her grandchild but her baby. That hurts me, too. ... I need help. I don't know how to deal with her any more. I am to the point where I love her son but he can go back to her and take the baby, too, and me and my four year will start a new life with out them. It hurts me to say that, there are tears in eyes.

From: Allison, Dublin, NC

Dear Allison,

I am so sorry at how sad you are; it makes me want to cry, too.

The conclusion you come to -- that you want to leave your baby and your husband -- makes me think that you might be suffering from some degree of post-partum depression. PPD can affect up to 80 percent of all new mothers, and many of them never even realize it's happening. So, for starters, I urge you will take your letter (and my answer) to your doc and see what ideas she/he might have. Make an appointment today.

I also wonder if your husband has any idea of how sad you are. You say you love him, so give him the chance to help you. Show him this letter, too. Don't assume that he will take his mom's side. Post-partum depression affects the whole family. .

And then there's your MIL. Try to think about her from another perspective. For instance: (1) When you sit in the car while your husband takes the baby inside, perhaps you're enabling her to say, "My DIL hates me so much, she won't even come in my house!" (2) When she wants to take the baby for a second day, perhaps it's because she sees you are exhausted and overwhelmed, not because she thinks you are unfit.

Allison, everyone involved needs to know how you feel, that you are sad and feel unsupported. Perhaps it won't change anything, but there's a chance it will. Until you try, you won't know, and I truly think trying needs to start with a professional, like your OB/GYN.

I hope some other new moms & been-down-this-road moms will weigh in today.

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1 comments so far...
  1. I have lived through this with my in laws. Grandma needs a lengthy talk from her son. He is your husband. Let him be your advocate. Let him be your support system.

    Its YOUR baby. YOU make all the decisions regarding how the baby is cared for. YOU are the number 1 person that baby needs right now. (Husband is important too but since you are the mom and the food source, baby doubly needs you). Don't let anyone make you feel that the awesome job you do as a mom is not good enough. That includes all family and friends. No one on the planet knows more about your baby than you do. Even Michelle Duggar who raised 19 kids herself doesn't know more than you because you are the true expert when it comes to caring for YOUR child.

    Don't let your mother in law ruin your family. Make your husband talk to her. Don't let her in the house. Don't go over there. (That includes all of you.) She doesn't run the show here, you do.

    Posted by Another-mom-with-crazy-in-laws April 27, 11 08:04 AM
 
1 comments so far...
  1. I have lived through this with my in laws. Grandma needs a lengthy talk from her son. He is your husband. Let him be your advocate. Let him be your support system.

    Its YOUR baby. YOU make all the decisions regarding how the baby is cared for. YOU are the number 1 person that baby needs right now. (Husband is important too but since you are the mom and the food source, baby doubly needs you). Don't let anyone make you feel that the awesome job you do as a mom is not good enough. That includes all family and friends. No one on the planet knows more about your baby than you do. Even Michelle Duggar who raised 19 kids herself doesn't know more than you because you are the true expert when it comes to caring for YOUR child.

    Don't let your mother in law ruin your family. Make your husband talk to her. Don't let her in the house. Don't go over there. (That includes all of you.) She doesn't run the show here, you do.

    Posted by Another-mom-with-crazy-in-laws April 27, 11 08:04 AM
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About the author

Barbara F. Meltz is a freelance writer, parenting consultant, and author of "Put Yourself in Their Shoes: Understanding How Your Children See the World." She won several awards for her weekly "Child Caring" column in the Globe, including the 2008 American Psychological Association Print Excellence award. Barbara is available as a speaker for parent groups.

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