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Unable to celebrate Grandchild Birthday

Started by StainedGlassHeart, July 24, 2010, 07:57:41 am

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Follow my original post 'Had to call the authorities.'  I have been coping with a heartbreaking situation.  I have always been a loving mother, placing my children and family first no matter what.  Holidays and celebrations have always been so important to me.  I have raised my children to make as many of their own choices as possible, and tried to nurture a strong self esteem.  I have always tried to help them feel special on birthdays. 

As I watched my grandchild be born nearly one year ago, my DIL refused to allow me to hold my grandchild.  She said and did so many hurtful things that day-my heart shattered into a million pieces.  I could barely speak for 3 days. I have been gathering the pieces of my heart to try to make sense of all this and find purpose and hope.  The DIL has allowed her mother to have all the control and joy of being GM.  Upon reading these posts, I notice the paternal GM is often robbed of the right to be a GP.  Why is that?

I have looked forward to being a Grandmother all my life-I had a wonderful GM.  I envisioned baking cookies, reading stories, having fun, having them over for special times, and helping the parents whenever they needed me.  I realize our dreams and aspirations don't always turn out the way we imagine. 

The precious GC that I have never been allowed a relationship (can count on one hand the times I got to see him, help him held him a total of < 5 minutes) has a first B-day coming.  I have no way of sending a card or giving a gift-this is so painful. 

I did think of a couple things-I wondered about publishing s simple message in the newspaper, wishing a him a special blessing.  The US constitution gives us freedom of speech and freedom of the press. Then I could clip it, and put it in a special place.  I thought maybe I could make a special box to put cards, letters, the pieces of the quilt I was going to make but couldn't give.  Just maybe some day when he is an adult able to make his own choices, I could give him the box somehow, so he could see he had a GM who loved him, but lost him before we had a chance to bond.  I don't know what else to do.  With all that has happened, is it even OK to do this?

I do now remember I did get to see him on my birthday-instead of buying myself a gift, I bought him several gisftsand gifted my family members on my own birthday.  That is how much my friends and family mean to me.  Does anyone have any thought or suggestions in how to heal from the pain?  This hurts almost as much as a death. 


I just want to say that I know how you feel.  In answer to your question about why this happens?  Some DILs do not consider his parents family, anyone outside them, their kids, are considered extended family. Most of us weren't brought up that way.  I'm so sorry you are having to go through this. Just hold on and don't say or do anything to her to make her have an excuse to leave you out.  Give it time too, just stay as quiet as possible, in my opinion, just my opinion.  Sending blessings.


So often someone here on our Forum says something about others being the way they are and that's what comes up for me. She is how she is. Not wanting her to be that way or trying to figure her out doesn't change anything.

Your own life is what you have. Give yourself love and kindness and yes, sympathy. Do what brings you joy and focus when you can on your own healing. Sending love...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


If setting aside cards and the quilt helps you heal, then I think it is a good thing, although I am of two minds about the newspaper ad.  I do agree with the others though that you can't change or explain your DIL's behavior.  All you can do is take care of yourself. 
This too shall pass.  All is well.


Hi Stainedglassheart. Did your DIL want you at the birth of your GC? Why then would she want to deprave you of spending time with GC?
Those who know me here have heard me repeat this a number of times. My MIL was a real sergeant major and control freak but I never tried to keep her son away from her and she saw the GC but only when I was present.

By the time the first GC arrived I resented her so much for her interferance that when she picked up my son for the first time and held him like a grandmother would I resented that too. Perhaps it was because I imagined her trying to control him too.

If you have done nothing wrong it may just be that she is jealous over him or perhaps it is her mother who does not want to share him.

My FDIL's mother is a problem. I think she is jealous where her daughter is concerned and does not want me to get too close to her.I invisage the same kind of thing you are going through when the babies arrive but this site has prepared me for it.
Fortunately my son is very family orientated and although I would not put any pressure on him I dont think--and I hope I am right--that he would allow this.If however this does happen well!! so be it.
How does your son feel about this?


My heart goes out to you, SGH. If we knew why some people have to treat others this way there'd be no need for this forum! I agree with the others who say "We can only take care of ourselves." I really hated hearing that early on, because my sorrow and my sense of justice didn't know how to deal with it. Now, although I still truly believe we're "right," I've learned from many posters here that if we back off and get on with our lives we seem to appear less needy. Quite often that's all it takes - when we're seen as people with our own lives and interests, our children and their spouses aren't as afraid of being smothered by our attention. It seems to have worked for me, although the time we spend with DS & DIL will never be equal to the time they spend with DIL's FOO & DIL will probably never completely accept us. I've been enjoying spending quality time with DH. He's much happier now that I'm not constantly crying or moping about. (I sound brave now, but check back with me when GC arrive - I may be back to square one since I suspect DIL will withhold the GC from us as much as possible.)

It will probably always irk me that the DS's mom is usually the one that will lose out, but that's just the way it is. I'm so grateful for a safe place to express my feelings and feel supported in this crazy situation.

SGH, I'm not sure a public display of your love for your grandson will help your situation with DIL. The box of mementos is a good idea, and you could add letters you've written to him on every bday instead of the newspaper ads. Please take care - you'll want to be healthy and happy for whatever lies ahead!
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb


My heart goes out to you stain.  Yes it may be as hurtful as dead itself.  Why do dil dont give us sometimes the opportunity to simply be their "children's grandmother"?  I do not understand it either.    I agree with the previous posts of stepping back silently.  Looking needy doesnt help us at all.  We cannot change their attitude....but we can control our own lives and happiness.   

We are all here because we have been there or were in the past.   Things sometimes change dramatically....with a happy ending.  Sometimes it doesnt, but we have to accept what we cannot change.    We do cry, depressed ourselves, cant sleep......all because we are not allowed to be in the lives of those we so truly love.   It is not fair.....we must continue our lives with what we do have and let life be....  and never lose hope. 
We are like a big family here and vent all our worries freely and nice ladies here always trying to advice and support you the best they can.

I do wish the best for you and your peace of mind. 

Love is not love Which alters when it alteration finds, Or bends with the remover to remove:


Stained glass, I'm so very sorry to hear of these problems your having...it's just not fair...
I'm wondering, have you ever tried to sit down and speak to your son and his wife and tell them how you feel....not in anger, but in sincerity...?

Hugs and love


Thank you to everyone here.  My grief started almost 3 years ago.  Shortly after I was diagnosed with a serious physical health condition, my son moved out within days.  He had been with this girl for not sure how long.  I noticed my son's behavior changing about age 15-16. I just thought he was a typical teen.  As I was explaining my DX to my son and girlfriend, she smirked at me.  My son showed no emotion.  This was not like him.   They both told people I was fine, and just crazy.

As soon as he moved out, the communication waned to almost nothing.  The girlfriend was so controlling, she either always answered my son's phone and said he was busy, 'he can't talk right now, or erased the messages I sent to him.  She even tapped my bank account and drained it down to nothing-my bills bounced the first time ever! Then she had the nerve to try to tell me 'how to find solutions.'  They ran up hundreds of $ in phone bills in my name-never paid me back.  When my son moved out, I  and my friend hauled out about 20 sacks of garbage, and it took about 15 hours to clean his room.  (I had been so ill I could not climb the 20 something stairs to see if he was keeping his room clean) The rest of the house was clean.  This was shocking, as I am a very clean person, and I trusted my son to keep things clean.  The communication finally stopped completely-For about one year, I knew not if my son was dead or alive.  This was devastating, on top of trying to cope with a life-threatening illness, and a major move.  All the while, I have contuinued working.

They have excluded me from every holiday-no calls, no invites, no gifts, turn their phones off.  Yet they have spent every holiday with her mother and family, as they shared in later brief phone conversations. 

I have not one photo of my grandson-yet one day I discovered his photos were plastered all over the internet.  Some of my friends would call me to tell me how cute he is.  Coworkers would ask to see photos of him, yet I was lost for words , as I could produce no photos.

I am not a pushy person, I am not mentally ill, I respect people's individuality, and I am a giver.,  I have always been available to lend a helping hand when needed. In spite of the way my son and GF/wife? have treated me, I have been loving, given them gifts, tried to step back, yet be there. 

I never, never thought something this devastaing could happen to me.  From what I see here, this is pretty common.  It seems that a number of factors influence how grandparents fit in now.  I am old fashioned, with values the same.  It is difficult to look around and see how times and people have changed.  I long for the return of family values, respect for the older generations, strong work ethics and morales, -just plain 'treating people right.'

My heart is with all of you here-I surely empathize with each situation.  For those of you who feel depressed or unable to cope, hard as it sounds-we must go on. We must daily collect the pieces of our shattered hearts and make awindow for the son to shine through. That's all for now-God Bless you all. I hope everyone here is able to find some ray of hope today and find even one little thing to sauter the heart with joy.


This is so difficult; I cannot imagine your pain, SGH, but I think you're on the right track when you say "we must go on." Yes, we must take care of ourselves and put our efforts towards those who love us and appreciate us. Our hearts can be so badly broken that it seems incredibly naive to imagine they could ever be healed.

There may be tougher challenges ahead for which we will need our "woman warrior" (spiritual, centered, protecting) strength. We must be ready. In my case I'm preparing for the day (not yet on the horizon) when GC arrive and I'm denied access. It's not that I'm thinking negatively or dwelling on a negative outcome; I'm trying to be proactive to avoid a downfall.

I appreciate everyone's stories; I've learned much from our mighty, mighty WWU!
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb


Stained Glass,

I totally can relate to your feelings of sadness. I have 3 sons. My oldest son (age 21) is married (she is 20) and stationed overseas. My granddaughter turned 1 in June.  DIL has created a lot of drama and now my son has cut me and his two brothers out of his life.  His wife wrote and said "you people" (referring to me and my two boys) were not the kind of people she wanted her children around.  I had an address to send my grandbabys birthday gifts to, however 1 week later they were returned to me. I was like you, a giver, was always there for him, was even there for DIL when her parents were not.  Its not right, but there is nothing, absolutely nothing I can do to change their way of thinking. I have to live my life.  I am told by many that one day my son will see the light, he will see DIL for what she is... I hope the tie is not forever severed... I am like you, I just cannot believe this happened. It seems like a dream sometimes. I am grateful for this forum, although I am saddened to see a similar situation as mine, I know that I am not alone.



Feeling your pain. Caring deeply and sending love...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama



We must daily collect the pieces of our shattered hearts and make awindow for the son to shine through".

I loved this.

thanks for sharing
Love is not love Which alters when it alteration finds, Or bends with the remover to remove:

Keys Girl

Stained Glass Heart, I don't have any grandchilren, but I can only imagine the pain you are going through.

Here's my suggestion, there is a book called "Always Change a Losing Game".........I would change the game that you have to play.

There must be someone in your area or among your circle of friends who has small children and who could use a helping hand.  While your are having trouble with your biological family, you can start a new one of your own, and lavish all the love, attention and devotion to some children who will appreciate you and look forward to seeing you at holidays and birthdays.

The best way to get out of a depression is to help someone else and there are lots of women and children out there who could use the help of a "step-grandmother" who would add to their lives and they would add to yours.

You could even get a group of your female friends who could make gifts for Christmas for those kids and others, there are so many people out there that need a helping hand and I think you'll find that you'll forget your troubles and enjoy helping those who will appreciate it.

Hang in there, the sun will shine through those stained glass pieces once again.

"Today I will be as happy as a seagull with a french fry." Author Unknown


I would not do anything for your grandson's birthday, at least not anything for him. For yourself maybe go rock the babies in the church nursery or see a fun movie if that helps.  But to send a card or take out a newspaper add isn't going to help and may make things worse.  It can anger your DIL and son more than they are already.  Leave them alone, it won't hurt the baby, he won't feel neglected.  And I know lots of grandparents have fantasies of presenting of presenting estranged grandchildren with tokens of love and evidence of fidelity and the grandchildren being delighted years later at the thought that the mystery grandma loved them so much to do this. 

I'm not sure why this makes me uncomfortable.  Maybe because it seems obsessive or denial or a fantasy and a bit bizarre.  I see nothing wrong with saving ONE or two tokens of sentiments and leaving them for the grandchild, but something every year for his/her birthday and Christmas and thick journals of love and longing and veiled passive aggressive hits against their parents...it's too much.  You don't know who this child is going to grow up to be; he could be like his mother.  He is very likely to be told terrible stories about you.  If indeed the worse happens and you never see him again, chances are 50/50 or more he will never miss you.  People don't miss what they never kne usually.  He might grow up and find a sentimental token and one or two long letters (2 pages or less) sweet; but to be presented at the age of 24 with boxes  of stuff and pagesof heartbreak  at age 24 will seem overwhelming and obsessive.  I don't know how many people want to know that someone who never knew THEM personally was so focused on them;  it seems beizarre because in truth you don't know THEM you know only a fantasy of what you thought they might be, and that's just weird to others.  People want to be loved for themselves, and you may not ever have the opportunity.  And he might grow up to be a person you don't like.

Also how likely is your grandchild ever to receive the stuff, if you passed on before they grow up.  Likely the stuff will be dumpstered when your personal effects are disposed of.  His mother's not going to save it for him. 

I think focusing on him is not best for your mental health; if you are destined not to know this child, this person, then imaging you do and interacting with him is like interacting with a phantom and that's not healthy.  And with your health so affected by stress, I can't see this doing you any good.  By all means leave him a legacy and a token of hyour love.

My advice, and take it for what it's worth is to grieve his loss and let go. Get professional help while mourning; you HAVE sustained a horrible and unfair loss, and you are entitled to the full range of emotional response for it.  Get help in grieving and having your grief respected and validated.  Not just for your grandson but for your son and for what could have been.  You can find peace, but it's so hard going it alone.