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Thread: Usual practice for helping adult children following childbirth?

  1. #1
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Usual practice for helping adult children following childbirth?

    This is going to sound like a weird question, but I would like to know what people's experiences have been with regard to automatically having mothers and MILs stay at your house immediately after childbirth to help with the baby.

    I'm asking because my DD who is going to give birth in July/August, was asked by her FIL "when do you wanted us to come up to help you after you have the baby?" Not "if"--but when. I'm thrilled they want to help, but he made it sound like "of course we are going to come because that's what people do."

    When I had my four kids, I had no help. My mother had a brain aneurysm two weeks before my first son was born, and my MIL never came down to NJ to help me, but that was OK. I didn't expect it. Ditto for my other three kids. I never had family support, but I never expected it.

    When my DILs had my grandsons, I asked if I could help, but I never assumed, or stepped in unsolicited. I am quite shy and I always default to erring on the side of not wanting to intrude on the lives of others. But now I'm hoping my DILs weren't wanting me to do more. After this conversation with DD tonight, I told her point-blank, "If you want me to stay and help you after the baby comes, you'll have to tell me." Frankly, I would even feel uncomfortable barging in to help when it's my own daughter.

    For those of you grandmothers out there, did you automatically go and stay with your DD/DDIL and help for a few days? And for you mothers, did you have help from your mothers/MILs after you gave birth?
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    My mom was busy working and we weren't close in that way so she wasn't around much. DD has a lot of friends so food was brought by in the first week or so but otherwise she was on her own. Her MIL offered to help/babysit after the first few months and she did so for about a year since she lives close by. As a new mom, I would need/want some privacy and would feel uncomfortable if my in-laws just showed up as if expected but that's just me.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Yppej's Avatar
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    In states like mine where both parents now get three months paid parental leave I think there is no longer the need for this.

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    It's hard to know what to do! The good thing is that you live close, so you don't need to fly down there or drive--you can be available and cook food for her and drop by for an hour on a regular basis. I'd ask her point blank, "Honey, when do you want to start having company? Can you give a schedule for what you would like from your dad and me, so that we can meet the baby and help you, but not overwhelm you?" I'd put it out there on the table like that and give her a chance to say, "Oh, give me a week, or two weeks, or three weeks, or come the minute I get home-" people really seem to vary on this one, from my experience.

    I'd concentrate on practical things you can do, like clean her house and make meals, if she is someone who will accept that.

    My sons always wanted us out to fly out or drive out as soon as the baby came. My daughters-in-law definitely craved privacy and wanted at least 3-6 weeks before having anybody come. The privacy thing seemed very weird to me, but maybe it is something they stress in what they read now. Difficulties in nursing seem to be another huge issue, when that was not when I was a new mom.

    It was hard for me to not roll my eyes when they would explain all the intricacies of childcare and bonding to me, and none of my opinions were correct, yet they could not seem to keep up with dishes and laundry, when I had twins and did everything myself. There is definitely a social expectation that having children is grueling now, which was not around when I had them.

    My mom came and spent a week with me and my first baby. My husband went out of town on a business trip. She was great, and did all the cooking, and made me drink Guinness at lunch each day, which she said would help me have strength to nurse. I, of course, assumed everything she told me was gospel and dutifully drank my giant beer.

    It is lucky my son survived, looking back.

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    Senior Member KayLR's Avatar
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    With the first ones, I hung back and waited to be asked. I offered to bring meals in the meantime.

    With one DD, on her third one she asked if I could come and stay for a week just to help with the older boys, make meals and do laundry while she rested and took care of the newborn. She lived out of state.
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    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Catherine, I know this isn’t your focus, but I would like to know what your daughter wants. You and she are close so I’m sure she would be straightforward with you as to what she wants —you to come? In-laws to come? All of you come? None of you come?

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    Senior Member Simplemind's Avatar
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    I was a single mom so after a traumatic C section there was nobody to help me. My parents came over every day late afternoon. My dad would play with my son and my mom would come over and cook for us all. I was thankful but in all honesty... sometimes it felt like a lot of extra stress. My mom was the type who made complex meals and used every pot and pan in the place. I would have settled for a microwave dinner and a nap. It took me a few weeks to get into the swing of things. I only took a week off of work and then started working from home. I'm grateful that somebody had eyes on because I was exhausted and did run into a couple of difficulties. Beyond that I was on my own.

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    nap
    This would have been the most helpful to me as a new mom if family help was nearby. Can you come over and stay while I nap or take a shower?

  9. #9
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    I had no help after a traumatic first delivery with the public health nurse monitoring me in case I needed to return hospital after a 2-week post delivery stay.
    DD had an unexpectedly early delivery and I happened to be there, helped for a few days with meal prep and then left DD and DSiL with baby to deal with their new lives.
    I would be horrified if someone announced that they were coming when we, as new parents , were trying to cope with the changes. That is rude but could be cultural practice.
    As Cicero said, “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.”

  10. #10
    Senior Member Tradd's Avatar
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    I guess it all depends on your relationship. My friends have been grateful for practical things like meals or gift cards so they could order food for delivery. They liked parents/siblings or very close friends to come over to do light housework or laundry. Maybe spend time with older children.

    The out of town parents of a couple friends stayed in a hotel. They were only over at the new parents’ home for a few hours a day. More if asked. They visited other friends/family in the area and otherwise kept themselves occupied. This was all pre-covid.

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