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Dealing with in-laws during pregnancy

My edd is June 21, which puts me right at 6 months pregnant.  Here lately, my in-laws have become worse and worse at letting me know when they're coming to town, this past weekend they gave me an hour's notice that they were here and coming over and they live an hour and a half away.  I've already handled that problem, but they've recently told me that they're planning on taking off a week or two for when the baby comes and they need a place to stay since they can't afford to stay in a hotel that long...the last thing I need right after labor is my in-laws staying in my house with my newborn baby and DH for 2 weeks!  I really don't want any visitors until several weeks after the baby is brought home, so my DH and I can spend some quality time with him.  How do I politely set boundaries with my in-laws without hurting their feelings.  My MIL has already gotten emotional when I told her to give me more notice before coming into town, saying "It's my grandchild too, I should be able to come over anytime I want."  Any advice would be great.  Thank you in advance...

24 Responses
Avatar universal
I had the SAME problem with my in-laws too!!!! What we did was send out a nice, polite letter to all friends and family (that way in-laws couldnt say we singled them out) saying that for the first couple weeks, we were not accepting any visitors. People could call and stuff, but no visitors. Then after we got home, we put a note on the door saying "thank you for coming, but we are having quality family time alone right now. Please come back later." and put a date and all on it. Seems mean and rude, but its honest and its applies to everyone, so noone feels "left out" if you know what i mean.
HOpe this helps.
Good Luck!
Avatar universal
Ok, this can be touchy.  I felt the exact same as you.  I told my in laws up front that my mom would be staying with me to help out for the first week or so.  They were ok with that.  I thought it would drive me crazy with them there.  I was wrong.  It was a welcomed break.  They came when my son was 4 weeks.  It was nice to be able to go for a walk, take a nap, etc without worrying about caring for the baby.  Maybe you will change your mind.  If not, you have to be honest and upfront from the beginning or tensions will build.  Is this your first?  Good luck.
Avatar universal
Yes, this is my first.  My mother lives in town and when I told her about wanting to spend the first couple of weeks alone with the baby and DH, she completely understood.  And my mom is the kind of mom that is VERY aware of how people are feeling and trying not to be rude, she wouldn't even chance it.  But my MIL isn't that way, and also to note, my MIL weighs 300 pounds, is diabetic, doesn't cook, doesn't clean, and needs as much (medical) attention as the baby does (and FIL smokes like a chimney and had adult ADD).  I can't see how having the in-laws would beneficial here, I mean, I guess if I wanted to go out and take a walk or lunch without the baby, then that would be nice for them to stay and watch him.  But, I can see me needing help around the house (cleaning, cooking, etc.) more and I don't think they can do that.  

I have already talked to my SIL (my brother's wife, not related to in-laws) about it and she said she never had to talk to my mom since my mom was really conscience about intruding, but that I'm probably going to have to send a note or something.  Thank you both for the advice and keep the thoughts coming, because I have a feeling next time we visit the in-laws, this conversation is going to happen...
108334 tn?1253647995
How does DH feel about this all? Does he agree with you? I would talk to him about how to talk to his parents about it. They should understand that this is your new family and you want some time to adjust to it before being hostess. I don't think it's fair for her to play the "it's my grandchild" card on you. My MIL was like that with my niece and nephew to my SIL (dh's brother's wife). I don't have any advice on what to say, but hopefully DH can hekp you with that. I wish you luck with that and the rest of your pregnancy!
Avatar universal
Hmmm, this certainly is indeed a sticky situation. totally understandable that you just want to be alone with the baby and hubby after he/she is born.
i wanted that time too. one good thing for me about having a c-section was i was in the hospital for about 7 days so visitors were limited and they had the whole week to come and see the baby. so when i went home, no one really came because they got their "fill" at the hospital.
anyway, i do know a couple people who had a baby and the MIL came to the house to see the baby, help out, whatever. well, the MIL totally took over holding the baby, bathing it, changing it, rocking it. she didnt even sleep over! however, was there daily.
that in turn made them resent the MIL and felt as if they missed out on that bonding time with their baby.
what is your financial situation like? would it be at all possible to set them up in a cheap hotel? hotels are usually pretty cheap during the week. then you could tell them YOU will give them a call when it's a good time for them to come by and see the baby. like, "we'll give ya a call around (whatever time) so you can come by."
do you even have the room in your home to have people stay over?  i mean everybody is on different schedules (go to bed different times, get up, shower, eat..) and this just throws off the whole environment for everyone. it's stressful enough to take care of a newborn and you want to get to know him/her without any added stress.
what does your husband have to say about it? why is it all "on you"?
Avatar universal
Try telling them that your pediatrician feels it is best to limit visitors for the first 2-3 weeks.  (true, anyway!)

Avatar universal
You could always tell them all you got is a futon and they would have to sleep on that or the floor...lol.  I think they should be considerate and at least wait a couple weeks before coming to stay for a week...letting you and your DH get adjusted to your new family.  They could come and see you at the hospital or the weekend you come home for a couple hours and then go home.  If you DH doesnt put his foot down then you definately do.  The note idea is good.  Best of luck and try not to stress to much over the situation.  Jen
Avatar universal
I'm glad I'm not the only one in this boat.  It's good to know lots of in-laws are this way...I like the note thing too.  And maybe we could put on there "By Doctor's orders, we would like to have two weeks of quality along time with the baby" or something like that.  Does anyone have any suggestions on when to send the letter?  His family is planning on throwing a baby shower for us in the next couple of months, should we send them with the thank you cards or do it separately closer to the due date?
108334 tn?1253647995
This may be a retorical question, but you never know. IF they somehow do stay at your house forever and a day, will your FIL at least be respectful not to smoke in the house?
Avatar universal
I've talked to my husband about it and he agrees with me.  He's told me if he has to tell them no, then he will, but my husband is a softie and most of the time, when he puts his foot down, I end up having to be firm.  My husband doesn't think his parents really meant a week or two, (eventhough that's what I got from the comment), but he has said if they bring it up again, then he will fix it, but I know that means I'll probably need to re-enforce it.

We can't afford to put them up in a hotel for a week.  Hotels here cost $80.00 a night (they refuse to stay at something like the motel 6).  We have a three bedroom house and I think what I might do is offer for them to stay at our house until we get home from the hospital, and then they could sleep in the master bedroom on our queen size matress.  We used to have a guest room that had a twin bed in it, but that became the nursery for the baby and is now gone, and then we have an office which has a futon in it. You must remember that my MIL weighs 300 pounds and refuses to sleep in the same bed as my FIL, so eventhough there are only two people, you need two beds, one for each.  I'll never forget when they came to visit one time (of course unannounced), they both slept on that twin bed and I never heard so much complaining in my life....she snored all night long and his feet hung off the bed and she couldn't get comfortable with him next to her and she tossed and turned and blah blah blah....

Please don't get me wrong, I love my in-laws and I know they could be worse, but having them in the house with my DH and newborn baby is just too much, even for a couple of days.
Avatar universal
I know how you feel.  My inlaws are like that too.  Since we have there 'only grandson' they used to give me 15 mins before they would come over to visit.  Then when they were visiting you could cut the knife between the silence between them and me since I was not quiet (facially) about how I felt.  They visited 'everyday' at the hospital (c-section- 3days).  Even when I was clumsily trying to learn how to breastfeed they just sat there.  I've already told my husband that with our next kid he is going to have to talk to them about the visiting issue because they are his parents.  If not, I don't care how rude it is I will speak to them myself.  You have every right to have the time for your family.  It is already stressful enough without someone else being there watching your every move.  I know for me, for the 1st couple of weeks I wanted to just wander in the house in my night gown because I felt comfortable and was nursing and everytime they came over I would have to clean the house and get dressed.  They should understand if they don't give you guys at least a couple of weeks breathing room they might cause a rift and not see you guys and grandchild at all!
Avatar universal
He doesn't smoke in the house, he is respectful enough to do so outside, but I can smell it all over him and my furniture after he finishes and comes back inside.  My DH has told him to smoke after he gives me a hug or anything like that because I'm really sensitive to it right now and it makes me sick when I smell it.  Oh, if ever smoked around my baby I might just go ballistic on him!
Avatar universal
I know that you don't want to hurt their feelings, but I think you and your husband need to stand your ground on how you feel about this.  If they are just an hour and a half away, why do they feel they need to spend the night?  I think it is intrusive and a bit disrespectful on their part, but you don't have to say that to them.  Simply state, that you need time after the birth to adjust to your new family, and that you need rest, and also for the simple fact, you don't have the room.  Trust me, you will be tired from all of this, and the last thing you need are family that won't eleviate stress, but possibly could cause you more stress.  Tell them to wait a bit, or just come by for the day.  I know it will not go over too well with them, as I am sure they want to see this little baby desparately, but they need to think of you guys as well.
Avatar universal
you made me laugh about the in laws sleeping on that twin bed! i know you're not laughing though! gee, they'd suffer through that but wouldn't stay in a motel 6, 8, 9 whatever it is?
i think you are just going to have to make it sound as if while you'd enjoy their visit, there just isn't enough space/room for them to be comfortable. besides, you'd be so conscious of everything in your own home that you yourself wouldn't be comfortable in. like the other poster said, you may just wanna walk around in pj's or boobs hanging out. you'd be wanting to clean up (if you are like me) so the house looks well kept for guests.
i dont know, they may want to bolt out of there anyway when the baby is up crying all night and they are on a futon. motel 8 looks pretty enticing at that point. you may find if you just suck it up that the tables will be turned and they'll want out.

do you have any OTHER relatives nearby that they could stay with???
Avatar universal
DON'T offer to let them stay while you are in the hospital!! You will be nesting SO bad in the last month or two and the idea of these people coming into your perfect home and trashing it will just drive you NUTs while you are trying to bring forth life!LOL
I would remind them of the misery they had to endure the last time and tell her that you don't even have that bed anymore. Don't make the floor an option, don't give her any options. Simply tell her No. That it just isn't a good time and if she pulls the "I'm the Grandma" card, then tell her that your mom completely understands and has agreed to wait until your family is ready to accept visitors. You could also tell her that since she IS the G.Ma, then she should want what is best for her grandchild and you feel that a peaceful home is what is best and that you are the MOTHER and you get to decide. (But nicer than that LOL)
You have to be selfish here. If you can even call it that. You do what YOU wnat to do and they will just have to deal with whatever you decide. You will be in no condition to deal with an overweight diebetic and a chain smoker. What if you have to have a C-Section?? There are many things that are UNKNOWN and she needs to take this into consideration. If she wants to stay in town, then tell her where the closest campground is. They cost about 10 buck a night to pitch a tent. I am dead serious too!
When I had mine, my mom came and stayed with me. When she made the initial offer she told me that she would be there to cook and clean and fetch things for me, PERIOD. That I was to take care of the baby, and she also kept all the volators away! Awhen I had more children, she came and took care of the kids while I took care of the baby as the bonding is SO NECESSARY. As is keeping cooties and germs away from baby. She NEVER intruded on me or our family. She just did all the c r a p work which allowed me to rest and be with baby. My Ped always said to keep people away! SO using that is PERFECT!
Sorry to go on and on, this just really frustrates me for you!
Don't give in.. She WILL get over it, I promise!
Avatar universal
i hate to say it but it sounds like you are in the same position as when you first posted! LOL....unfortunatly. i think you are right, you are just going to have to level with them and if you are like me..will be VERY difficult.

i know that i would suck it up. let them stay and be miserable. i would rather be miserable then hurt someone else or cause hard feelings. you sound much stronger than me! i hope it works out. i am sure that if they do get hurt or offended, that it wont last.

they do sound like high stress. i know that i would be STRESSED with the best of guests... let alone what you may go through. sorry, i am no help whatsoever!!!
keep us posted?
Avatar universal
Thank you all so much, especially for making me laugh.  I needed that.  You're all so right, I'm going to have to put my foot down.  I'm hoping my DH will do that so I don't look like the bad guy...but what will probably happen is me having a sit down with my MIL...:(   Anyway,  I would only offer them my our queen bed on the night that I'm in the hospital, but even if I do that, then there's the problem of getting them to leave.  They really can't take a hint when they should probably go.  I love them to death, but they're not the brightest people on earth.  I think my MIL is so scared of being the grandmother that the baby isn't as close to, you know, we all have that grandmother that lives out of town and you only see on holidays or something.  My mother has two granddaughters that live out of town and she tries to see them as much as possible, but most likely she will be that grandmother.  My MIL has 7 grandchildren (and this will be the eigth) and all of them live in the same town, so she is very close to all of them.  1 out of 8 isn't bad, but it's not fair to make me feel bad in the process.

I do have my mother and father who live in town, but I don't feel comfortable asking them to house my in-laws for 2 weeks, in fact I don't feel comfortable asking anyone to house them for 2 weeks.  They aren't the best company if you know what I mean.  They mean well, but I guess they weren't brought up with manners, like saying please and thank you and cleaning up after themselves, stuff like that.  I hate being the bad guy, but if I have to choose between that and my family's comfort, that's a no brainer.  Thank you all again.
Avatar universal
I talked to my DH last night and he seems very determined to put his foot down, so there's some comfort in that.  You're right though, my situation hasn't changed much from when I first posted.  I will definitely keep everyone posted on this, since I have a feeling it will come up again before I go into labor in June.  Thanks!
Avatar universal
Love the letter to friends and family idea  - and the added note on the door that your having family time.
Avatar universal
Let me know how things work out for you. I am only 3 months pregnant and my in-laws are already starting to try and take things over. My MIL already said she absolutely has to be in the delivery room. Thankfully i have a great doc and she said that she will only let in who i want which is only my husband. As far as after it goes my husband come from a very tight nit family. They parents make the kids feel guilty if they dont come to visit them 3 times a week and I've already had enoguh of that without having any kids. Well now that we are the first to be having their grandchild it seems as though they know every and i know nothing. I understand i am a first time mom and have a lot to learn but isnt that the great part of being a parent, learning... Anyway my DH feels as though i am trying to pull him and his family apart if i even suggest taht we just have "our family time" with the new baby. How do you handle it when the husband wont help put his foot down.
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Avatar universal
DON'T DO IT!! I am still scarred emotionally and physically from in laws after my baby's birth last July. It was AWFUL. I found a board on babycenter.com that really has helped me to communicate my feelings to my husband and my inlaws.
Avatar universal
The Pregnant Mother By Leahg

Pregnancy and the expectation of the birth of a child bring joy to entire families.  Not only the parents to be, but the grandparents and siblings of the expectant couple all wish to share the joy of this miraculous event. A new baby in the family is a wondrous thing. However, many people seem to forget the pregnant mother in all the excitement.  Grandmothers and aunts start planning what they will do and give to the child.  Family members sit and discuss who will be at the actual birth and who will get to hold the baby first.  Grandparents run out and buy entire nursery sets and decide color schemes. Many expectant Grandparents see a grandchild as their opportunity to do all that they could not do, when they, themselves, were parents for the first time.  People tend to forget or run over the feelings and desires of the actual mother to be.  Some family members even go so far as to accuse the pregnant mother of being selfish.  Anytime a pregnant woman will announce HER wishes, it is swept under the rug as raging hormones, and the other family members go on planning HER life.  The following are situations that often occur during a pregnancy.
1- Grandparents start to decide what the baby will be named.  In fact, many grandparents start to insist and are then angry and hurt that they do not get to name the grandchild.  They also believe that they have the right to veto a name that is not appealing to them.  As much as this child will be a part of your family, you already named your children.  This is the sole right of the expectant parents.
2- Decorating the nursery:  Many relatives start going all out and buying entire nurseries sets for the new infant. Either that or they totally disregard the mother’s wishes as to color schemes and decorating wishes for the baby’s nursery.  People, this is NOT your baby, please honor the mother and let her have the joy of decorating HER child’s room.
3. There have been various occasions where the Grandparents go out and buy an entire nursery for THEIR home, with the intention of the baby staying over night quite often. There have been, unfortunately, many instances where the Grandparents will keep some of the shower gifts at THEIR home, so that THEY will be able to use them for the baby.  Once again, we must iterate, this is NOT the Grandparents’ child.  It belongs to the mother and father who conceived him/her.  Most mothers want to have their infants/children with THEM at all times.  This is NATURAL.
4. Then there is the question of who attends the birth.  Nowadays, there is a loud voice demanding that things be FAIR.  Many a family believes that if the pregnant woman’s mother is with her at birth, then it is only FAIR that the husband’s mother be there as well. Quite a few families are quite put out when they are told that they cannot be in the birthing room.  They call the pregnant woman SELFISH.  In this situation, the only people being selfish are those who demand the right to be in the “audience”, and this includes the father of the child.  Regretfully, there are many men who berate there spouses, because she does not want his family members in with her while she is in the throws of labor. What people seem to forget is that while this is a miraculous moment, there is an actual HUMAN BEING going through labor here.  Just as everyone has the right to privacy when going under surgery, so does a woman have the right to privacy when she gives birth.  While the event is miraculous and beautiful, it is also one of the most undignified positions a woman can find herself in, if she has people staring at her personal parts.  No one has the right to demand or be hurt.  Not even the father of the child has the right to allow someone in the birthing room, unless the mother gives her consent.  Please do not guilt the expectant parents, do not barge in to the room when told not to.  NO ONE has the right to do this.  Fathers, do NOT tell your spouse that she is being unfair not to allow your parents view the birth.  You did not ask them to be their at conception, do not insist now.
Avatar universal
5. Holding the child after birth:  While we acknowledge that the desire to hold one’s grandchild, niece / nephew after birth is a very natural and accepted desire, the mother and father have the RIGHT to hold their child first.  They even have the right for a bit of quiet time to enjoy this bundle of joy.  Please hold your excitement for a bit and let the actual parents bond with THEIR child.  The mother has just gone through h#ll, let her enjoy the payment.  You will have ample opportunity to hold and coo over the child.
6. Visitation after birth:  A woman who has given birth is just like someone who has gone through surgery.  She needs time to rest and she needs peace and quiet.  She does NOT need tons of relatives coming to visit.  She does NOT need the grandparents sitting by her bed 24/7.  She certainly does not need rude people who refuse to leave, even when she nurses the infant.  Also, as exhausting and hard as the birth is also on the father, his wife needs him WITH HER.  He should not be catering to his family or going home to rest and leave his wife alone at the hospital while he entertains relatives.  The time for entertainment will soon come.  Taking a couple of days off and spending it helping the mother of your child is the RIGHT thing to do.
7. Visiting once the mother and child are home:  While it is perfectly understandable that relatives want to see the baby, they must remember the mother.  She is tired and needs her rest.  She needs alone time with her husband so that they can get used to this new person in their household.  The parents need bonding time, before the entire world goes back to its regular orbit.  Soon, the father will go back to work and the home must be taken care of.  Give them a week.  Also, may Grandparents want to come visit and “help” the new mother.  Helping means doing the wash and the dishes.  Helping means cooking, cleaning and doing the shopping.  Helping does NOT mean sitting around, constantly taking the baby from its’ mother and waiting to be catered to.  Helping also does NOT mean telling the mother all the things she is doing wrong, how her baby is starving and should bet the bottle instead of the breast, and generally berating her for all her child raising decisions. Coming to visit in order to help also does not mean inconveniencing the new mother.  There is absolutely no justification in allowing a woman to give up her bedroom for guest after she comes home with a new infant.  Nor is there any reason in the world to expect the mother to cook and clean for the guests.  People coming to stay after a woman gives birth are there to HELP her, not to make her their personal maid and baby supplier.  Quite often, both a husband and his family can make the new mother feel guilty for not entertaining her guests.  They seem to forget that she is the one recovering.  Yes, relatives want to see and enjoy the baby.  However, no one has the right to this at the expense of the mother.  Saying that the mother will have plenty of time with her child is not an option.  A new baby is just that, something miraculous and new.  No one has the right to deny this special time for the mother.  Anyone who insists that the new mother caterer to the whims of others at her own expense, certainly does not have the mother’s best interests at heart. If a couple has a small apartment, it is available for visiting family to stay at a hotel.  If family does stay at the couple’s small home, everyone should doe their best to insure that the new mother feels comfortable.  While hospitality is a very important thing, this is not really the case when someone comes to visit a new baby. Unfortunately, many a spouse puts his parents’ feelings and desires about his mate’s best interest.  The desires to play grandparent and the wish to have a vacation on his parents’ side out weigh the mental and physical help of the mother of his child.
8. Grabbing the baby:  There is a very NASTY and HURTFUL habit of relatives and friends simply grabbing the infant from its’ mother’s arms.  No one has the right to do this, not even the grandmother who just wants to hold her grandchild.  One has the right to do this.  If you want to hold the baby, then ASK!!!!.  The same thing goes for grabbing the baby from the stroller or waking the baby up.  If the child is asleep, leave him be!!!!  ASK the mother if you can hold him.  This is also true when it comes to giving the child BACK to his/her mother.  If the baby cries and the mother asks to have him/her back to feed the infant, THEN GIVE THE BABY TO HER.  There are numerous instances where a grandparent will refuse to hand the baby back, citing that the baby is NOT hungry or that h/she needs a bottle and not the breast.  No one has the right to refuse to hand a child back to the mother.

Please remember, in all this excitement, that it is the pregnant woman who caries the child for 9 months under her heart.  SHE is the one who throws up, feels sick and has to run to the bathroom every ten minutes.  The MOTHER is the one who goes through labor/surgery and has the child.  SHE and her husband are the only ones who have a say in what goes on during and after the pregnancy.  Let them ENJOY this special occasion and do not ruin it for them with selfish desires.  Also, do NOT put the husband in an awkward position.  Many men are pitted against their parents and their wives.  Please do not put a son in this position.  Yes, he has to honor his parents.  Yes, he loves his parents. However, he loves and honors his wife as well.  This child was created by TWO people, with no help and interference the grandparents (on BOTH sides).   No man should be put in the position to have to placate his parents at his wife’s expense. One more thing that we would like to speak about has already been mentioned above.  Many a father finds himself torn between his parents and siblings and his spouse.  There should be no problem here.  When you decide to marry/live with/ start a life with a mate, then you have made a commitment to this person.  THEIR desires should count above all others.  Especially when it comes to something so precious as a child.  Please remember that if you find yourself in the “middle” it is NOT your spouse who put you there, but your parents/siblings.  Your spouse agreed to have YOUR child, yours and hers.  She did not agree to be an incubator so that relatives on either side could have a child.  When it comes to birth and childrearing, the ONLY two people who have a say are the actual parents of the child.  To demand and insist that others have the right to tell the mother what do to is WRONG.  Attempts to try and guilt one’s spouse into placating your parents/siblings it to betray and belittle her.  By doing this, you are telling her that she is nothing in your eyes and that her only duty it to bow down to you and your wishes.   Please do not use the old worn phrase of honor they parents, because your spouse IS NOW a parent and HER desires with HER child should be honored.  Also, please take into account the implications and the results of your actions.  If you side with others against the desires of your spouse, it will lead to resentment and lack of respect on her side.  By you showing her that you have no respect for her as the woman who carried your child, and in “pain shalt thou bring forth children”, you are letting her know, intentionally or not, that you have little or to respect for her feelings AND WELL-being. This article is NOT meant to bash anyone.  It is not meant to try and ruin the very miraculous event of the coming of a child into this world.  The only thing this article is meant to do is to remind people just exactly WHO is important here and to protect the mother who wants to raise HER child.

Finally, MAKE your husband stad up for YOU!!! This is not for you to deal with - you have to focus your energies on you and your baby! Good Luck!!
Wow. Thank. You. That gives me so much strength. Indian inlaws are the worst about respecting boundaries. I am having a miraculous pregnancy apart from the demands of my inlaws. My husband is really sweet but he gets dominated by them. This makes me feel a little validated. Thanks.
Ah, ShubhaJoy.  Welcome to MedHelp.  Sorry your in laws are making things hard.  Do you have any ability to make some boundaries?  Do you think your husband would support you at all in that?  
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