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- Hide Preview | 26 Comments | submitted about a year ago by WonderfulandValuable [Post Locked]

I was really hesitant to write about it here. But I do it regardless.

I had an easy birth without interference. We left hospital the same day.

At home MIL awaited us and plucked my LO from my arm. She shooed me away to rest. I did. After I napped LO reeked like her perfume and I began to cry after telling MIL to take a shower. DH took LO and told me to compose myself and apologize to his mother. I took LO to our guest room and tried to nurse him. It went great at the hospital but now it burned and my breast was very tender. Two hours later our midwife came for a checkup and tried to get my inflamed breasts under control. SIL offered to nurse LO herself. WTF? DH was completely on board, and gave LO to his sister. I called the police.

3 weeks later an awkward sense of normalcy returned. But I felt like LO was not truly my own. I felt like a nanny, or aunt to LO. I cried often. LO is a needy baby that slept never more then 2 hours straight and I was sleep deprived. DH had initially planned to ask for time off (paid leave, full job safety granted by state but it needs to be announced some months in advance) but never followed through so I was alone. One day the Midwife made me take the test for PPD. I scored very high. DH called his mother and told her. The midwife set up a plan to combat PPD and left. (Counseling, a Family Helper, and MC to keep the marriage strong)

I am doing good now. But MIL induces anxiety and my respect for DH is waning and waxing depending on his willingness to set boundaries with his overbearing family. I have set Friday as a day where I pamper myself and consciously allow myself to be a slightly less loving, and caring wife. I might go to the Thermal Bath, watch a movie, attend a women's retreat or just cook my favorite meals. Baby wearing allows me to keep LO closer to me and less exposed to grabby hands. Something I still struggle with.


[-] dashdotdott 17 Points about a year ago

I get ante- and post-partum with every pregnancy (I've had three kids). I'm sorry, it sucks!

I did not have an immediate connection with my eldest, it came with time. So don't worry about that.

No advice but it does get better!

[-] Hannelore010 16 Points about a year ago

Hi, I have about 4x the average number of kids. I know exactly the hole away and hide from everyone while getting to know baby impulse. There’s an innate “don’t touch my baby!” possessiveness that can be weird, but I think it’s natural. You just have to be aware of it and decide how to handle it without hurting others around you :)

I declined my mom staying with me when my first was born because I knew she stresses me out sometimes and I didn’t know what to expect with my first. We also had an extremely small apartment and I need my husband emotionally more than I need my mom (which isn’t her fault, just the way it is). Babies and nursing and childbirth are her jam (she was in LLL back when it was weird to breastfeed). But she has an extremely strong personality and is type A, and I’m laid back and an INTP 9w1 (ie peacemaker to a fault). So I knew I had to win this and assert myself.

Eleven years later we’re still mom and daughter and she watches my kids sometimes and we’re not estranged or anything. But recently she brought it up again, it’s something she still nurses as a wrong against her, and I just let her speak her feelings and made a sympathetic response without apologizing. Because I absolutely made the right decision.

So that’s my story. I recognize a mom is different than a mil, but it sounds like they both wanted to help and take care of us, but in an overwhelming, not helpful way. Now, some advice

  1. Don’t look at your mil’s and husband’s actions as intentionally unhelpful. They are actually trying to help you, just need direction to where to help. If you have more kids, you now know to assign beforehand what’s helpful (this first time you had no idea!) You did not know you would feel this way, so don’t feel bad.

There’s this bipolar aspect of maternal culture in America where we’re expected to do it all without weeks and weeks of all the female relatives helping, like other cultures, but also expected to sleep a lot and personally recover. So which is it? Which is best? Whatever you and your husband decides is best at the time (and this will change, so you have to practice being self aware of what you need). Your mil was maybe a) selflessly remembering her own deliveries and exhaustion and b) selfishly wanting to hold Baby and have him to herself. Focus on a. She wasn’t doing b. Consciously.

  1. Is this your mil’s first grand baby? Unless you ask her to watch the baby so you can sleep (because you want that to happen), divert her excited energy to helping you clean, make meals, go shopping. Seriously don’t keep her from never holding your new one, but if you want him/her at your side, keep him there!! It helps with both attachment and nursing. Give that as an excuse if you want to defer the “blame” (“I need to hold him a lot to bond and keep my milk flowing” or something like that)

  2. The sil nursing is kind of weird. I think calling the police was a little over the top, though, unless she was actually kidnapping the kid against your will. What did the police say?

If you had mastitis or were engorged, nursing him yourself is what helps (while expressing the other side), along with proper attaching and meds if you’re infected. Hang in there! You’re doing great! Nursing is a learning curve for both mom and baby. Your sil offering to nurse isn’t really helpful at all unless he’s seriously malnourished, which he isn’t, right? In which case maybe her pumping and giving you the milk would help.

I take it your husband’s side is kind of crunchy when it comes to parenting and childbirth and raising kids. Start drawing boundaries now; listen to their advice, and be respectful, but be noncommittal and keep all important decisions about raising your kid between you and your husband. You are the parents. Have a long talk now with your husband about the sister-in-law nursing thing, if he’s the one who passed the baby off. Again, defer it less to how you feel and emphasize what’s best for mom as baby (ie you nursing him, you holding him, etc). This will prevent a lot of resentment.

Strike those first few weeks as a learning experience and don’t dwell or regret it all too much. Spend time with your baby as much as you like, and offer others to spend time with him when you need rest and feel resentful toward him :)

Re: husband and taking off. This happened to me with the last baby. I specifically asked he be home for morning prep and bedtime, since he couldn’t take a whole week off like previous babies. A deadline emergency came up and that request was forgotten. If I have another baby I’m going to be very aggressive about NOT convincing myself “oh, it will be ok, I can do it, blah blah.” I need help with dressing the kids and breakfast and then putting them to bed when I have a newborn

So last bit of advice: start really thinking about what you need, how you would like things to be, especially the first 3 months, and managing all the helpers around that. You might hurt some feelings; be kind, be generous with your baby with them (within reason), and it will pass.

(Oh, one last thing—re: the perfume, I’m sure one time didn’t hurt the baby, even though it upset you. I do side with your husband on this, although “pull yourself together” was a little much. I would have said something to her at the end of the day (“babies can get rashes from strong creams and perfumes, according to the pediatrician. Could you maybe use a non-fragranced moisturizer while Bobby is still so little, with such soft, sensitive skin?” Frame it like taking care of your baby—you and your mil want what’s best for him, right!? You’re in this together

(All this is great advice for ME and MY MOM. I totally (regretfully) Lose my temper with her when I don’t really want to. But I always apologize for the anger part, not the actual disagreement, if I still stand by that)

So happy for you and your husband!! Having babies is the best, best, best, for all the work and heartache. Enjoy her/his smiles which should be coming soon! Mine is already starting to crawl at 4.5 months!!

[-] Hannelore010 9 Points about a year ago

Sorry, my numbering went weird

Tl;dr. Your reaction to stuff right after delivery wasn’t unreasonable or a sign of pp, necessarily; set boundaries with your extended family, reasonably; talk to your husband about his goals and thoughts for you and speak clearly about what you want

I’ll add if your in-laws are there to help for a while, set a schedule (ie mil comes MW afternoons, sil F afternoons), so it’s the amount you want and there are no surprises, you get alone time with baby, if that’s what you want, and they also get to help, which you DO need.

Graciously accepting help from those who love you, but on your and your husband's terms,is very feminine :)

[-] Hannelore010 8 Points about a year ago

Last: be brutally honest with the post partum test, too. A lot of women I know admit now, in their wise old age 30s and 40s, the first few pregnancies they really weren’t honest in their answers and probably had ppd

[-] WonderfulandValuable 5 Points about a year ago

Many good points! MIL is unfortunately one of those women that do not accept their turning into the wise old crone aspect gracefully. That is putting it politely. It is common sense in my circles to leave strong smelly perfume off if visiting a new mother. Expecially if one wants to hold the baby. Smelling that stuff on LO was triggering my sense of mother bear but also (midwives observations from years of experience) affected my bonding. I will apologize for the anger - if she respects the boundaries I wrote up and accepts her fuck up. SIL is a Green Femnazi. I totally overreacted though. Still, I will watch LO like a hawk around her.

[-] WonderfulandValuable 6 Points about a year ago

LO is now 3 months old. I thought I had written about it.....

But only now I am able to truly accept that I had PPD and acted like I did.

[-] Hannelore010 2 Points about a year ago

It’s fine to be protective, especially around those you don’t trust or have a history of behavior in bad faith

I doubt your sil’s politics influenced her nursing your baby. I also don’t think your mil purposefully put on fragrance to sabatoge your bond. It was a mistake; you’ve already apologized at your husband’s prompting, I assume she doesn’t wear it any more around your house. I would drop it and not bring it up again. I try to always read what people do in the kindest way—not blind denial, but your mil would really have to be a ninja level she-devil to PURPOSEFULLY wear perfume to make your life miserable and separate you from your baby. I don’t know how old she is, but perhaps she can’t even smell it, and it’s part of her morning routine, she was thoughtless and made a mistake, and got defensive at being less than perfectly grandmotherly and knowing what to do around babies

Could your husband be part of the boundaries conversation? Is there a way you can both just talk to her about what works best for your family, kindly and unwaveringly, instead of handing her a list?

[-] WonderfulandValuable 2 Points about a year ago

MIL might not have been out to sabotage me - but her disregard for other people’s well-being and comfort while being a guest in their house is just not acceptable. I was very clear with DH that her behavior is not excusable.

[-] WonderfulandValuable 2 Points about a year ago

In her hippy circle of Friends anything is possible. But she has always been a boundary stomping nuisance.

I stood up to DH and enforced a no strong perfume rule. But I know MIL will wear it regardless - and find herself confined to the kitchen. (The room that can be cleansed of smells most easily, do not fret the kitchen is spacious with a seating area we often use)

[-] trumpolina 3 Points about a year ago

In my country nursing someone else's baby when the mother is unable to (not lactating yet, pain, whatever the reason) is not weird.

Sometimes in the maternity ward, after the birth and if lactation has not started for one of the mothers, another one of the new moms will offer to nurse the baby so that they don't resort to formula and to also teach the baby to latch onto the breast properly.

It's a cultural thing maybe, but here in the Balkans it is not that weird. It's actually seen as a very kind gesture as you are helping both the mom and the baby.

[-] WonderfulandValuable 3 Points about a year ago

If one wants to be kind one asks before grabbing the baby out of its mother’s arms!!! SIL is an overbearing nuisance and has zero respect for personal space. (Linksgrünversifftes Hippy - Girl)

[-] trumpolina 2 Points about a year ago

In your post you stated that your husband was the one who gave the baby to SIL because he agreed that she should nurse the baby, not that she grabbed the baby from your hands. And that she offered to do so because your breasts were inflamed.

I hope this doesn't offend you, but I think that your dislike for your SIL and MIL is making you look at their behavior as intentionally malicious.

[-] WonderfulandValuable 2 Points about a year ago

SIL is grabby but you are right DH gave LO up to her. I dislike MIL and SIL. MIL for being a busybody with no respect and SIL is just a child in a woman body in my opinion.

[-] trumpolina 2 Points about a year ago

I understand. I also understand that it is quite overwhelming at a moment like this.

You said your baby is only 3 months old, it's such a short time for you to have gotten used to all of it and having people that you dislike there only adds to it. But just try and see if you can find some middle ground with them as I am sure they are trying to help out, albeit in an overbearing way.

[-] WonderfulandValuable 3 Points about a year ago

I tried that the last 2 months. But I will keep trying after setting iron clad boundaries.

[-] Hannelore010 3 Points about a year ago

I agree, but when I said “weird,” I meant here in the US. I have pumped several times for moms who unexpectedly had to have surgery or couldn’t nurse their baby for a time, and didn’t have milk stored up. I don’t thinks it’s strange, but others do. I don’t think I would nurse another baby directly unless it were an emergency.

Perhaps the OPs in-laws are of those cultures that do, which would go along way explaining the behavior!

[-] trumpolina 3 Points about a year ago

I understand, just wanted to put it out there that in some cultures it is quite acceptable and seen as a gesture of kindness rather than disturbing since she called the cops over this.

It's understandable that she would overreact due to how messy the post birth experience can be, so just wanted to give her some perspective on why her SIL may have offered to nurse the baby and why her husband was on board.

[-] twinkiesmom1 9 Points about a year ago


[-] jduong219 5 Points about a year ago

I think the feeling like your LO isn’t your part is normal. Especially with the first but even a little with subsequent kids. Well, at least I def had that feeling and I wasn’t actually PPD. I think it’s just the weirdness of like holy crap, I’m a mom! Hope your day goes well btw!♥️

[-] organicsunshine 5 Points about a year ago

I think about it this way, they are family, your childs village, and trying to help. Setting boundaries should have been done early on. It isn't too late and you cannot give yourself over to others having an imprint on a child who will look to you as #1 the rest of their lives.

I had a colic baby too. It is exhausting. Talk to your pedi, antacids can help. Also, thank and embrace the women around you who want to help but control it by telling them how....and that is to support YOU and not the baby.

Talk to DH about your boundaries as well and have him run interference. He needs to take paternity leave as it helps the family bond with aline time and sets up responsiblitys.

Use their help to take time for yourself. Get your hair or nails done and workout. It helps. Dominate upon your return.

Finally, be kind to yourself. You are amazing and no matter what you are the mom. The others will fade. Love yourself and your baby and find a mom group to celebrate the milestones with. There are due date clubs online and Facebook groups. It helped me for 5 years get through the tough stuff.

Also, continue to have biweekly dress up dates with your husband. Let him know that he is still important to you as well and nurture the relationship.

Finally, get regular bloodwork done. My thyroid died in pregnancy and I went undiagnosed for 10 months that exacerbated the issues, including depression.

Good luck and congratulations.

[-] WonderfulandValuable 1 Point about a year ago

. get regular bloodwork done

I will raise this with my doc next week. I am probably very low on iron too.

. He needs to take paternity leave as it helps the family bond with aline time and sets up responsiblitys.

He should have arranged that months before the due date. Now it is trice as difficult. I was so proud for not nagging him about it.

[-] organicsunshine 1 Point about a year ago

He should have doesn't mean he cant. FMLA allows it within the first year.

[-] WonderfulandValuable 1 Point about a year ago

I am from Germany. Here it needs to be done well in advance.

[-] professionalpassengr 1 Point about a year ago

I agree that a lot of this sounds like PPD, but you need to set boundaries with your MIL and SIL if they are contributing to it. 3 weeks after having a baby is not the time to be worrying about if you're RedPill or not. You and baby come first.

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