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My mother in law is affecting my mental health


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My mother in law is a very lovely lovely helpful woman. We have always had a good relationship and I've treasured that.
However since I have had a baby, I feel like our relationship isn't going too well.

Unfortunately, I don't have any parents and she had lost her partner too. So this is a new lease of life for her and I was excited about us all sharing that.
In some cases it has become a bit over bearing.
As soon as I had come out of theatre (from my emergency c section)
My partners mother said she was going to come into the hospital and chase a fuss if she wasn't allowed. Restrictions were in place and I had to explain that my partner takes priority for visiting hours in the nicu ward.
As soon as I'd gotten home I could finally wash myself! But I couldn't stand up. I was very sore and didn't have the bottle to look at my stitches. But I could hear my phone constantly going off with his mum saying she couldn't bare to wait any longer.
My partner took the reigns and said we needed a couple of days to settle in.
As soon as she rushed through the door kissed me, said well done and grabbed my newborn saying "now give me my baby"
I'd never felt such a horrible feeling before. But stayed silent. My partner and his mum were crying and thought it best to let them have this moment. I didn't hold my baby for 4 hours and nobody asked if I wanted her back.
It then become intense. Everytime she came which as 3 times a week, she took her straight off me and when I needed to change her, would take over what I'm doing and walk away with her. Whenever I was holding her she would come and sit next to me saying "look at nanny over and over again"this happened for weeks.
Our house was like a nightclub and none of my family were getting a look in. Then we all got sick, baby included and we shut the doors and said no to visitors. By the time we were better she came round telling me she was sick because we hadn't vaccinated her yet and I needed to get up and take her out as she had done with hers 30 years ago. I still had stitches in my stomach and it had barely been a month since the op.
Maybe she would calm down with alone time with her new grandchild, so from 8 weeks old I set up once a week for me to  do some admin work and she could have her for the day.
But I never heard from her at all. Radio silence. Is my baby OK?
Yes she's fine.
When my family did get a look in, I would tell her I had seen them and she would say she needed to spend more time with us so when her other grandaughter comes in 3 months then then will be close. I just feel a bit like when we are all together she doesn't allow me to be a mum without inter fearing but qhen I give her time alone she doesn't let me know anything for hours and then I see photos go up on Facebook. I need to let her know she is loved and her grandchild isn't going anywhere but I need to grow my confidence as a mother and have the space to do so and I feel like she's monopolising my child.

I have been independent since I was 18 with an abusive mother. My whole life has  even leading up to being a mum so can expwri3nce unconditional love and right the q

wrongs for the next generation and I just feel so depressed about ever thinking having a baby was a good idea 😓

Edited by Rachaeljay27
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What is your partner's response to all of this?

You definitely need to set firmer boundaries in place, and he needs to take the lead in speaking with his mother about it. She cannot expect to come over whenever she wants, and she needs to respect your role as the mother. 

Don't be afraid to say no to her the next time she tries to take over what you're doing with the baby. A simple "thank you, but I've got this" and stand firm. Don't hand over the baby. She can have plenty of grandma cuddles when it's convenient, but Grandma doesn't get to choose when that is. You and your partner do. 

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25 minutes ago, MissCanuck said:

What is your partner's response to all of this?

You definitely need to set firmer boundaries in place, and he needs to take the lead in speaking with his mother about it. She cannot expect to come over whenever she wants, and she needs to respect your role as the mother. 

Don't be afraid to say no to her the next time she tries to take over what you're doing with the baby. A simple "thank you, but I've got this" and stand firm. Don't hand over the baby. She can have plenty of grandma cuddles when it's convenient, but Grandma doesn't get to choose when that is. You and your partner do. 

I feel like I've driven him nuts about it.

She has said herself she thinks her son is a proper mummy's boy. I expect him to have loyalty to her. But I feel like when I talk about these situation and how I've dealt with them, he gets really frustrated.

He tells me to speak to her as its better coming from me, they're at logger heads a lot and he will back what I say and he understands where I'm coming from, this is just isn't the way he expect having a baby to go.

I think its a bit conflicted and him and his sister compete for his mum and he does get left out by his sister a lot. they're both having babies within 6 months of each other. I can tell he thinks he is going to loose his moment in the sun soon and I do feel bad about that, 

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1 hour ago, Rachaeljay27 said:

He tells me to speak to her as its better coming from me.

Change the locks and get a video security system. Delete and block her from your social media and phone. Let your BF deal with his mother.

Your BF is passive-aggressive and throwing you under the bus. 

He has to talk to his mother and deal with her, not you. He wants you to look like the bad guy.

Your job is to protect your and your infant's health and well-being, not entertain his mother.

Explain to your BF that his mother has zero legal rights and that seeing your child is a privilege she's abusing. 

Once you change the locks and delete her from your phone, you'll have peace to recover and take care of your child.

Your lazy BF will have to finally deal with his aggressive mother. A huge part of the problem is your BF. So you'll have to take action to protect yourself and your child.

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This is all about boundaries and grandma is HIS mother so it's HIS job to set her straight with some strong boundaries.  Dont let her walk into your house and try to take over.  She needs to let you know when she'd like to come over and if it's not a good time, HE needs to tell her that.  Once a week for an hour or two is plenty.

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I was Mama Bear with my infant the first 6 months -no one but immediate family could hold him or touch him and no they didn't just "take him".  There was an H1N1 flu epidemic, he was in the NICU briefly when he was born and couldn't get his vaccinations before 6 months (or the H1N1 vaccine until 8 months).  A bit like covid. 

Immediate family was - my sister, my parents his parents (husband is an only child).  I fought off others as much as possible whether I was polite or not.  There were some really aggressive relatives/family friends who would get too close or ask again to hold him etc and I stood firm. I didn't care. I only cared about my baby's safety and health.  

One friend did lift him out of his playpen as soon as she walked in -I said nothing -I was shocked - but made sure it was short lived.  Most people asked.  Your MIL like others who care about your family should know that helping means attending to both mother and child especially when the baby is an infant - the mother should also be respected, taken care of, nurtured - deferred to with all matters baby-related.

Your husband needs to set his mom straight. I'm sorry this is so stressful.

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It is your husband that needs to say something. But if him and his sister battle for attention by the time her baby is born unfortunately your child might become grandbaby who and his mom will be at her daughter’s house incessantly. 

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If I waited for my husband to say something, nothing would ever be said.  I did in fact wait, asked, insisted and it was all for nothing.  He couldn't bring himself to go up against his mother.  The advice is good if it works, but not always practical.  If at some point you recognize it isn't going to happen, you need to take charge.  It's not a popular position, but she clearly insensitive to your needs, so at this point you don't need to spare her feelings.  Don't forget, this is your moment.  Not hers.

There is a way to do it firmly, yet respectfully.  When she takes the baby for 8 hours, you tell her the terms and you will be checking in periodically.  You tell her that this is your time to bond with the baby and though you genuinely appreciate her help, time alone to rest and establish a routine is paramount.  You tell her you are feeling overwhelmed and have decided the only way to get a handle on it is to establish a quiet routine and schedule.  Tell her that you hope she understands.

Set aside an afternoon that she may visit, or whatever YOU are comfortable with.  I would compromise with her holding the baby while you are present.  That will foster some good will.   I remember feeling the same way and didn't want anyone to hold the baby for any period of time. Looking back, it was likely my hormones running the show.  But with everything combined, it's clear her intrusion is too much.  

Remember, come 2 or 3 years and the possibility of extending your family you might appreciate her being able to step in.  But until then, this is your baby, your family and you get to set the terms.  

You can do it in a way that doesn't alienate your MIL.  Saying nothing, assuming your husband will do it isn't working.

Edited by reinventmyself
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Ugh this gave me chills reading your story of her taking the baby "now give me my baby" as though you are just a means for her to get a baby. Gross, gross, gross. I'm so sorry that happened! It shouldn't happen and it shouldn't be normalized. It's not your baby, you weirdo! And honestly, to my eyes, that speaks to some mental health issues on her part. 

I just have to say this though. Maybe you will consider going to speak to someone professionally? Babies arent meant to be the cure for childhood traumas nor fill that void where unconditional love for ourselves needs to be. They are little people in their own right, same as you are a person in your own right seperate from what MIL needs and wants from you and her grandbaby. You don't want to do to your child what MIL is doing to you - her own needs are so engulfing she fails to actually see you. 

And I agree with reinventmyself. Hubby SHOULD have better boundaries with his mom, but he doesn't, so it is on you now to lead the change. 

And fft don't feel bad about another baby "stealing the sunlight"... That is not healthy either on your hubs part. Again, a baby is not there to get attention or approval or whatever it is he seeks from his mom. That's his job to figure that all out. All of you, please stop putting all this on a little baby. 

Edited by itsallgrand
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Thank you for all of your replies, I really appreciate it.

I just want to clarify. I did not have a baby because of anything to do with my past. For a very long time I was against having children. But The reason I wanted to have a baby was because I was ready and genuinely wanted to have my own family with my partner.

She is my world. I just meant that I am very conscious about not repeating history and things that may have been OK in the past are not now. I did everything with my own life and power to remove anyone who I felt would be bad for her and have spent over a decade learning forgiveness, doing therapy but also taking responsibility for mistakes I experienced as a result of bad parenting and knowing it stops with me.

I thought I had learnt enough about my partners family to know that I was bringing her into a healthy situation. I was just not prepared at all to receive this treatment, I was looking but there were no signs until now.  Generally she's a very kind hearted woman and has been before this. It's just so massively intense and that's alien to me.

I am trying to take responsibility for the fact that some hormones may be at play. But I mean it when I say in these first few months I'm still getting to know myself as a mother and I'm not always sure of my footing. 

Having a baby has knocked ten bells out of me and it was only 3 months ago. I'm just trying to do my best I just feel I'm failing her by not being more vocal every time.

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Husband had to tell his mom to cool it after our son was born. She wanted to come every week after church because she was out anyway. It was too much . I had had a major hemorrhage after my son was born and surgery ( D&C which caused the major hemorrhage but was unavoidable) I should have been transfused and was exhausted. 
However, after my husband talked to his mom she never came back and our son was a bit on the outs even he was and still is her only grandchild. 
 

I guess it depends on the temperament of grandma. 

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9 hours ago, Batya33 said:

I was Mama Bear with my infant the first 6 months -no one but immediate family could hold him or touch him and no they didn't just "take him"

I usually love your advice, Batya, but respectfully, I don't think you've ever had to deal with this kind of human 😕. They literally RIP your baby out of your arms - it feels very violent, and it is I think when you're a new mom.  

It's not that I *let* my MIL take my baby... she literally ripped him away from me in a tearing motion that felt so cruel, inhumane, and humiliating.

That's what she's dealing with.  Her husband has to stop it, but when a mom is like this, it's really hard even for the son to deal with her.

Just my 2 cents 🙂 

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5 minutes ago, maritalbliss86 said:

I usually love your advice, Batya, but respectfully, I don't think you've ever had to deal with this kind of human 😕. They literally RIP your baby out of your arms - it feels very violent, and it is I think when you're a new mom.  

It's not that I *let* my MIL take my baby... she literally ripped him away from me in a tearing motion that felt so cruel, inhumane, and humiliating.

That's what she's dealing with.  Her husband has to stop it, but when a mom is like this, it's really hard even for the son to deal with her.

Just my 2 cents 🙂 

Yes, if someone grabbed my baby I might drop kick them. I was lucky no one was “grabby “ , it was more or less telling me when they were coming to MY house like I didn’t have a say. 

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38 minutes ago, Rachaeljay27 said:

I thought I had learnt enough about my partners family to know that I was bringing her into a healthy situation.

I think sometimes you can't tell as much.  My husband didn't seem like a, "momma's boy, " at all, and I don't believe I overlooked any red flags as to his behavior with her (and I've been to therapy over this so my counselor agreed for what it's worth).  My MIL did show signs of being extremely bossy, I just didn't foresee that this would translate into her thinking she would be like that with our kids.

42 minutes ago, Rachaeljay27 said:

I was just not prepared at all to receive this treatment

I don't think anyone is prepared for that.  It's hard 1) because this is your first time having a baby, which is horrendously hard in and of itself, and then on top of that 2) this is something your husband has to deal with, so you largely don't have that much control... and that lack of control over how HE responds to toxic family members, really sucks.

Hoping it gets dramatically better ❤️ 

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2 hours ago, maritalbliss86 said:

I usually love your advice, Batya, but respectfully, I don't think you've ever had to deal with this kind of human 😕. They literally RIP your baby out of your arms - it feels very violent, and it is I think when you're a new mom.  

It's not that I *let* my MIL take my baby... she literally ripped him away from me in a tearing motion that felt so cruel, inhumane, and humiliating.

That's what she's dealing with.  Her husband has to stop it, but when a mom is like this, it's really hard even for the son to deal with her.

Just my 2 cents 🙂 

Not rip -I had people in mine and my baby's face -in his personal space - even when I had expressed that it wasn't ok.  I think you misinterpreted what I wrote -I'm not saying she shouldn't "let" I'm saying to go Mama Bear and physically block her from getting near.  Wearing the baby in a carrier helps too.  I'm sorry you went through this. 

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Since your partner hesitates to speak up to his mother, you speak up to your MIL for yourself and your baby.  (Btw, relatives and in-laws were not allowed to hold my sons until they washed their hands first!  They were nice and didn't over do it with their visits though.  My mother brought home cooked meals to my house for years and then left.  She never lingered.)

I would greatly reduce visits with your MIL to once a month (or twice a month at the very most) and if she does not cooperate to these new rules, don't answer the door, period.  After a while, she should get the message.

It's ok to be the 'bad guy' and speak up.  You are the MOTHER and you do what is right and comfortable for you, your baby and family life. 

Become more outspoken.  (When I was younger, I remained too silent which is no more.)  Use your voice because it's very empowering.  Never allow others to take advantage of you, your new motherhood and  family life.  

 

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18 hours ago, Batya33 said:

I'm saying to go Mama Bear and physically block her from getting near.  Wearing the baby in a carrier helps too.

I do think I would have had to hold onto my baby stronger to prevent what she was doing, which could have hurt him potentially, her tearing him from my hold was so forceful... it was just nuts!  

Maybe a carrier would have helped, but we were on our way out, I was politely saying we had to go now, trying to leave and she prevented us from leaving this way.  Just a nutty situation and I was 23 so really young and naive, looking back she took advantage of how young I was I believe... she never did that with our later ones because I think she had more respect and fear of me at that time.

Thank you, Batya I get what you were saying now.

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