Mother-in-law and My Soon to Be New Baby

Updated on February 11, 2011
B.R. asks from Bloomington, IL
23 answers

So I'm a little over 30 weeks pregnant and my mother-in-law wants to be very hands on .
She told (not asked) my husband yesterday that she wants to be in the delivery room .
I am totally not ok with this, so my husband is going to tell her no, but i feel kind of guilty about it, i dont want to hurt her feelings.

Also she had previously offered to watch the baby for us once i go back to work , which i am also not ok with.
Im not a control freak, i just really dont trust her and ultimately would not feel safe placing my son in a situation that could be life-threatning. This sounds extreme, but its not. Just last weekend my SIL walked into my MIL's bedroom and found her passed out on the floor from taking too many pills or mixing them, we're not sure which.
She also is a chain-smoker, and i dont want my baby to be around any sort of secondhand smoke.
Whenever my husband and i discuss her babysitting it ends up being an arguement because he feels as though i look down on his family, which is not the case, i just cant risk my baby's safety.

My mom suggested that i let my MILwatch the baby for like an hour or so when i run errands to make my MIL and my husband happy, but after this past weekend's episode i dont even think i could handle doing that without going out of my mind with worry.

I'm also afraid she will try to stop by all the time after my baby is born and i really value my privacy and don't want any univited guests.
I dont know how to tell her to back off without being rude, but she has even referred to the baby as "my baby".
Her baby?

I just need some advice on how to nicely deal with my overbearing MIL.

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answers from Saginaw on

Try to give and take.

If you don't want her in the delivery room and you don't want her to babysit. Stand firm on that. But try to ease up at the fact that she'll want to visit. Especially if this is her first grandchild.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Modesto on

Saying NO to the delivery room thing is perfectly ok. Just let her know that you would not feel comfortable with it, period.
What you are gonna do after that as far as her wanting to spend time with the baby is going to be more difficult tho.
Let her know you dont want the baby around second hand or third hand smoke. Print out some of the dangers of it and let her know you love her and realize she is the baby's grandmother but you as a mom are just not comfortable with the smoke environment.

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from New York on

Yikes, MIL sounds like she may have a pretty serious mental health issue and your child (under no circumstances) should be left alone with her for periods of time. Your husband has no argument here on this one- MIL was passed out? NOT OKAY. If she wants to come over for an hour or so and "watch" the baby while you shower, pay bills, do laundry- maybe.

I would suggest speaking with your MIL and thanking her for her "generous" offer, but you feel that grandparents shouldn't be in the position of having to discipline their grandchildren and be responsible for anything other than fun and bonding. For that reason, you have secured a reputable and licensed daycare provider, but you appreciate her offer and if you need "back-up" care you know who to call. Sounds legit? Whether it is or it isn't, find a way to make it about "preserving her relationship with her son and grandson" and not about her issues.

**My "rule" regarding the delivery "If you haven't seen 'it' before today, today is NOT the day" My MIL and SIL thought it was kind of funny, but they got the message that only my husband, OBGYN and mother (not even my dad) were welcome**

5 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Usually I urge that people try to work with their in-laws, etc. Yikes - this is a situation where you have to stand firm.

First - as for the delivery room - NO WAY. You are entitled to privacy - even your own mother. but no woman in labor should have to deal with her mother in law while in labor ever. Do not feel bad about this.

Second - as for having her babysit - second hand smoke is awful for babies. So there you go - you have your reason. The passing out because of too many pills is yet another reason - but the chain smoking is good enough reason. You don't ever have to explain to her why you don't want her to babysit.

As for your husband - tell him that you can onlyh love the person who raised him - but what we now know about babies is different than years ago and you want to be cautious. Ask him gently about the too many pills & passing out thing - and what would have been the best case and worst case scenario if she had been watching your child at the time? Best case would have been that baby would be crying with no one responding to him - worst case - would of course, be awful. Once he has his baby in his arms his protective nature will take over and he'll agree with you.

Asd for anyone who may ask (including your MIL) you can always blame yourself and say something like "oh you know how we first time moms are - I jsut can't leave my baby with anyone..."

Your job is to protect your baby - not placate your MIL. But maybe in the process of protecting your baby you can find a way to be gentle with you MIL. Include her as much as possible, explain to her that the pediatrician insists on a smoke-free environment, have her come over and allow her to hold the baby in your house, when your husband is around - and go take a nap.

My inlaws were not the safest people for my kids to be around - but there was definitely a deep love between them. I invited them over nearly every weekend (based on our convenience) and we'd have l unch or dinner together. yes they annoyed me a litte - but it was wonderful for the kids to have another layer of people who loved them. But it wasn't until they were much older that we every allowed them to have the kids without our supervision.

Good luck with your labor and brand new baby!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Sounds like you need to have a conversation with the family ... your mother, MIL, daddy, SIL, sis, etc and boundaries need to be laid out that apply to everyone. I let everyone know that my sister was going to be in the room, daddy wanted to wait in the room and I wanted him to wait there too! I did not want any visitors until baby was 3 weeks old. My sister flew in from out of state a few days before to be with me and was there for the csection and left a few days later ... she was chosen because she KNOWS how to keep me calm and I knew that she would only do what she was asked to do not tell me how to do it better. I wanted the 3weeks for me and baby to get to konw eachother and get our routine down (daddy worked a ton at this time since I was not going to work for at least a year). It worked VERY well for us even friends and family in the immediate area resisted dropping by, they also knew that if they came over I was going to turn them away. Figure out what you want to have happen and let everyone know at the same time if you can that way questions can be asked and you only have to explain things once ... conference type calls may be needed. Good luck and congrats on the new baby may I suggest looking into the Miracle Blanket it is THE BEST swaddle blanket ;)

3 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

You're the mom, if your not comfortable you are going to have to flat out say no. I have gone through the same thing. I apologized to my MIL that her feelings were hurt, but I wont apologize for keeping my baby safe. I really didnt care who I upset, it was worth it.
But, with that being said, it also sounds like you dont like her. Dont be upset about her being excited about her grandbaby. I understand you not wanting her to be a caretaker, but not wanting her to visit the baby is taking it a little too far. The first couple weeks you are probably going to have a lot of excited guests to see the baby, that you will have to get over. And really, some advice, some people come over, they actually are pretty helpful and you might want to embrace it. So, Like I said, she doesnt sound fit to watch the baby, but please dont keep her from seeing the baby, its not fair.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Tell her how you feel. Tell her she will not be allowed in the delivery room when it comes time...the nurses will enforce this if you make it known to them too.

Tell her you are making other arrangments for babysitting.

Don't answer the door to uninvited or unannounced guests. Tell her that due to working out a new schedule you really need her to plan ahead before coming over and make sure it is a good time instead of just showing up.

Dealing with overbearing people can be very stressful. Somebody isn't going to get their way. Somebody isn't going to be happy. You can be nice and still tell her no.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Savannah on

Definitely put your foot down and do it NOW. My MIL wanted to be in the delivery room, wanted to come stay for a month or longer when my first was born, wanted us to spend every weekend with them, visit all the time, have many sleepovers, etc. It was ridiculous. I know they're excited about a new baby---but this is between you and your husband. and what YOU want. This is your birth experience and if you don't want her there...tell her now before she plans on being there. You don't have to insult her...just tell her you'd really like the birth experience to be just between you and your husband and that she can definitely come see the baby right away after he/she is born.

As for her watching the baby---if she's passed out from pill popping or smoking up a storm...there is NO way I would leave my baby with her. Heck I wouldn't even leave a 15 yr old in her care. I let my inlaws watch my daughter overnight ONCE (she is now 5) and there's a reason for that. I was not comfortable with the way they cared for her and I still don't feel she is safe. Sure my inlaws get pissy that they don't get to have either of my girls over night or all to themselves...but we do visit often enough and that should be suffice. If your MIL wants to watch the baby...let it be on your terms. She'll get over the hurt feelings. Safety is definitely priority. Tell her you already arranged a daycare situation for the baby for when you go back to work. You can make up some excuse that you want the baby to be around other babies for socialization. Or be a point...tell her you are very against the smoking and that they've done extensive studies that even second hand on clothes is dangerous. So what is she going to change and shower everytime she handles the baby. She may get insulted...but again...are her feelings more important than yours? You'll be at work frantic worrying if she's passed out or smoking while toting your newborn around. Not worth it.

Finally...if she stops by unexpected or have to tell her that's not ok. You guys have plans, may be busy, she may be waking the baby, etc. If you're not comfy telling her all these things---your husband MUST do it.

My husband and I had many disagreements over his parents and it boiled down to I was not comfortable and I was his wife. He needed to stick by me even if he didn't agree with it. Just like in reverse situations if he wasn't comfortable with your parents. Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

I was adamant that NO ONE but my husband was going to be in the delivery room. Just make that known and it's too bad if she doesn't like it. I think it's a pretty private and intimate time and I did NOT want to share it!

As far as your MIL being a chain smoker -absolutely no smoking around the baby. Period. She can smoke up anytime but whenever the baby is around -no. You're about to be a mother, so quit worrying about hurting others feelings and just look out for your child and yourself. Quite honestly I love a smoke when I drink, but anyone in 2011 who doesn't know and realize that you don't smoke around babies and kids isn't smart enough to take care of one.

Don't leave the baby with her alone. The pill thing is FRIGHTENING! I would tell her the truth if she asks in the future. Tell her you're worried about her and about what would happen if she passed out while watching the baby. You don't have to be mean or ugly when saying any of these things, but they're going to have to be said eventually. You'll run out of excuses eventually and it's better to get it over with now. Your husband should talk to her -she's his mother. Maybe it will serve as a wake up call to her about the smoking and the pills!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on


2 moms found this helpful


answers from Charleston on

Remember that you are in control of yours and your baby's lives. She cannot control the situation unless you let her. I wouldn't feel a bit guilty of saying no to her being in the delivery room. If needed, I'm sure your OB would be glad to state that there is a "limit" on the number of people in the room and leave it as that. If it makes you feel any better, my MIL told her friends at a party that, "come hell or high water, she would see her grandson being born". That tripped my crazy switch, because she didn't show up to see any of her 3 granddaughters until days/weeks after their births. Needless to say, she came, but she sat her butt in the waiting room during my son's delivery. :)

Your husband needs to back you up. Your baby's safety comes first before anyone's feelings, and clearly from what you've stated, your MIL is unstable. Talk to him about this in a calm, loving manner and hopefully he will let down his guard and see the facts.

As far as the uninvited visits, set a schedule from the get go with her and others. Tell them you only want visitors on certain days from x-y timeframe. Explain to her that as a new mom you're trying to get on schedule with the baby, and that you both need rest. If she shows up anyway at the unscheduled times, don't answer your door!

Good luck and stay strong! MIL's are so trying. Thinking of you!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Saftey for you and your baby first!! I am with you and with the exception of my hubby no one was in the delivery room with weird for my taste. You have every right to say no and it sounds like your DH is on your side with the delivery. As far as babysitting I don't blame you...If she does turn herself around and when your son gets older an hour here and there is ok... Sounds like she has issues.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Albuquerque on

Put your foot down now. If your hubby wont talk to her than you need to. My mil has done a lot of the same things, she even got to hold my twins before i did after they were born. I just recently had enough and told her how i felt, she did get her feelings hurt, which i didnt want to do, but i needed to feel like i was the mommy and in charge of my family. Since i talked to her the daily visits have reduced and i dont have her right there all the dang time. Good Luck

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Oh My God. Your MIL sounds awful! I have also heard my MIL say "my baby." It is annoying!

The main issue is what you said - your mil is not qualified to be alone with your baby - ever. If you leave your baby alone with her even for an hour like your mother sugested, your mil probably will smoke, harming your baby's health. NO!!!! Tell your husband that you will NOT make your baby a second hand smoker! Does your husband know that his mother passed out from a possible overdose? There is no way that your husband can think that his mother is a safe babysitting choice for your baby! No way. Don't budge on this one. Your baby's safety always comes first. About your MIL being in the delivery room - no, no, no! Please do not feel guilty about this! Have your husband (not you) tell his mother that he will be the only non-health care professional in the room with you! Period, end of story. This is not your MIL's choice! Also, have your husband tell your MIL that she cannot stop by unannounced, and that you are not having visitors for the first month or so. He must talk to his mother! Remember, hold your ground and NO GUILT!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

You're not alone. I wouldn't leave my son with my own bio-mother either. She is a chain smoker and apparently has problems with pills. It's not "looking down" on her, it's a safety issue. Hubby's going to have to realize that there BEHAVIOURS that are not acceptable, even when it's our parents, when it comes to family safety.

You don't need to have her in the delivery room, and you can let the hospital know who you want in there as well. It's a private moment, and only people you NEED in there should be in there. My MIL was there for me, but I would NOT ask my bio-mother to be there.

It's possible that when the baby is born that your husband will "get it" - that his protective daddy urges will kick in.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

I kind of have the same issue with my MIL. Don't get me wrong, I love her, She is so helpful and a wonderful lady.
Here is the problem: I'm scared to death to let her babysit my kids.
She is a very VERY forgetful person. She puts her dog outside to pee and forgets he's out there...for several hours.
She forgets she has food cooking on the stove.
She also has many illnesses. Back problems, Vertigo and more.
I'm so afraid she'd forget my kids were there.
Also...the last time we let her "babysit": My hubby & I went out to a late dinner after our son was asleep. My MIL was there to "watch" him.
When we got back my son was in his bed crying. She told us that he woke up one time and she went in there to try & put him back to sleep. The next day she told my hubby, when they were alone, that she went in like 4 times.
She also gave him a cup of water to go to bed with...a leaky sippy cup with a rubber nipple. I was so mad.
My son didn't sleep through the night after that for weeks.

Whenever she offers to babysit, I just say I'm not comfortable leaving my babies yet. Thankfully she lives two states away so it doesn't come up much.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

there really is no nice way to say it. you just gotta tell her that YOU aare the babys mother and what you say goes period

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

Well, on the delivery room, just put your foot down. I didn't want my mom in the delivery room and I didn't/don't feel bad about telling her. And I've never let my mom watch my daughter for more than the few minutes it can take for me to go from one room to another. You can't be too careful.

Does your MIL live near you? Surely your husband can understand, he knows about her little incident with the SIL finding her passed out, right?

With my MIL, she has to call before she can come over. She came over once when I was having trouble breastfeeding, boobs hanging out and leaking all over, she wanted to help, and it just made me really mad. So the rule was no coming over without calling to make sure it was ok first.

The smoking thing would bother me, too. My mom only quit 2 years ago because it made her sick when she had chemo. She's never understood why I cant stand myself and my daughter around when they've been smoking. We've actually never been to her new house, my husband is allergic to smoke and I dont want to be around it.

Just make up your mind how you want it and dont compromise. Maybe give your husband some studies on the effects of secondhand smoke if he doesnt get it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I agree 100% with not wanting her in the delivery room with you. I ONLY wanted my husband, not my mom, sister and DEFINITELY not my inlaws in there. Some people want everyone and a TV camera. Just tell her no.

I wouldnt have her watch your baby until you feel comfortable with it - even for a short time. Invite her to come visit often, or set up a standing time (my inlaws came every friday afternoon/evening) to visit. She can play with the baby while you do laundry, take a shower, eat, or even take a nap if you felt comfortable with that.

I dont see why she would need to watch the baby alone unless it was to help you out.

I dont think, at this point, you even need to talk about her watching the baby alone.

My inlaws are great, and I think my son was over one before they ever kept him by themeselved. Also, grandparents get super excited about babies and I think, as a new mom, its easy to get overwhelmed by them. My MIL bought TONS of clothes for my son and it really aggravated me (silly now - looking back) because it was like I couldnt buy clothes and pick out things I liked for him because she was always giving him clothes.

Just ask your husband to be patient with you and make sure he is in your side. You will need his support most of all.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

When you are at the hospital, the staff probably won't mind to be the 'bad guys' - if you tell them your feelings, they can be the ones to say - sorry - you are not allowed in the delivery room at this time.
I had so many visitors in my recovery room that they gave me a note to put up on the door (which, honestly, I didn't use because I didn't mind it, but in your case it would be a sanity saver).
When you get home, put a sign on your door - Baby Sleeping, please leave a note. - and see if you can temporarily unplug your doorbell.
You can test her - say - well, if you want to watch the baby, I would have to make sure you have a certificate in infant CPR (after all, all daycares require that). It's not unreasonable and may have her think twice about the responsibilities of an infant.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

My mom watched my son when he was 2m - 1 yr. I won't say that it was a bad situation, it just added stress that didn't need to be there. When she was sick I didn't have a backup sitter so I'd have to stay home. Whenever HE was sick she didn't want to catch what he had so I'd have to stay home. She wasn't in the best physical shape so caring for an infant made her extremely tired.

She also felt stuck. Mon- Fri she'd turn down lunch invites because she didn't want to deal with taking him along. She began to feel not resentment, she loved him, but she felt she was missing out. Finally at the 1yr mark she was going on a 2 week trip. I used that time to approach her about changing the situation. I couldn't take 2 weeks off. She was sad but SO relieved.

As for the delivery room - I didn't let anyone in for and sort of regretted it. An Aunt who'd never had kids wanted in and I said no. She missed out on sharing a common woman's experience. For my daughter my mom was the only person waiting at the hospital so I let her stay so she wasn't alone. She was there the moment my daughter was born. I thought SHE was going to pass out! She said it was the most special moment of her life. While she had 4 kids, she'd never had that point of view before.


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Bloomington on

Aw man! I hate the sensitive in-law really stinks! I was in a similar situation and luckly, my husband and I are/were on the same page. That is the first thing. Whatever you decide, you need to be in agreeance.
We filled out a form before going to the hospital and made it very clear to the nurses and Dr. that my husband was the only visitor allowed during delivery! They took care of the rest!
About babysitting, I choose a daycare near my job (45 min. from home). We told my MIL that I wanted that bonding time in the car and I wanted him close to where I was working in case of emergency. We also told her that we didn't want to take advantage of her. "How can we ask you to watch him for date night if you have him all week? That's not fair to you! Maybe he could stay with you a day here or there." Which we never followed through on.
Good luck, that in-law stuff can be so touchy! She did raise your husband, so you don't want to hurt his feelings by criticizing his Mommy!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Just tell MIL, "i love that you want to be in the delivery room, but I only want hubby in there with me, we'll call you as soon as baby is here and you can come" As far as baby sitting. Just make the baby sitting situation you want whether it is daycare, at home nanny whatever. Then tell her again "you really appreciated the offer but you want her to enjoy her grandchild not have to be the caregiver, we want you to have fun with the baby and daily care won't let you really enjoy him/her". As far as unexpected visits tell her and everyone else that they all have to call before coming over as you will not know the sleeping patterns of your child as well as you like to have personal time with baby and for yourself.
Ask hubs if he truly is ok, that his mom passed out and could possibly do it again, to have his baby with her? I doubt it. It's just that he is in a difficult position. And even if she doesn't smoke around the baby a smoker a real one always reaks of smoke and their fingers stink, even when they wash them before picking up baby. And a smokers sense of smell is off they don't even smell it on themselves. Just be nice with all your comments and tell her you appreciate all she wants to do, bottom line she is your hubs mom and she ain't going nowhere, so you have to learn how to deal with her. Good luck with new baby.

1 mom found this helpful
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