Dear Abby: I recently found out that after 13 years of marriage, my son and daughter-in-law are expecting a child; my first grandchild! I was overjoyed at the news. They live about 1,000 miles away from me. I mentioned to my son that I have been looking at flights and want to come out a week before her due date so I’ll be there for the big moment, and stay three to four weeks to help with the baby. I was shocked when he told me they don’t want me to visit until at least three weeks after the birth, and stay for one week MAX. He said my daughter-in-law will need time to heal, and they both need time to adjust to being parents before they have guests.
I am not a “guest.” I am the grandmother! I was also told not to expect to take care of the baby because it is “their” job. It hurts so bad not to be wanted to share in the joy of the new baby. I have always dreamed of watching my grandchild take his or her first breath, and see the look on my son’s face when he holds his child for the first time. Is there anything I can do to change their minds and allow me to be there for my son at this important moment? Do you agree that they are being unreasonable and cruel?
– Family First In Florida
Dear Family First: I’m sure you are a loving mother, but I don’t agree, and I doubt you can change their minds. If it is going to take three weeks for your daughter-in-law to heal, it appears the baby’s birth will be by C-section, and she will need time to regain her strength. The new parents will also need time to adjust to the baby’s sleep and feeding schedules. They will be sleep-deprived, and she will be nursing every few hours and not up for company.
While you have always dreamed of being present at your grandchild’s birth, the reality is your son and daughter-in-law would prefer this intimate moment be shared by them alone. I’m sorry you are hurt, truly. Let them know you are willing to help them in any way you can on their terms, and take your cues from them. Do not take any of this personally.
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