My Dil and I have not been able to settle into a relationship and now will be giving birth to twins in the new year.
Of course I would like to be involved in their lives but it has been rocky with her and a high risk pregnancy.
I'm leaving the country for over a month tommorrow and there has been a little communication. I had wanted
to buy the twins a stroller or some other special gift. and was able to do that yesterday only after a birthday
conversation with ds and he/not she gave me the info I had asked her for 2 months ago re: where she was going
to be listed.
Today I got an email from ds saying I would be welcome to come for a visit and stay at their house after the birth for a couple of days
SOLO (ie w/o DH). This is definitely a positive step. She doesn't allow people to stay at her house. DS says they haven't
had people over since they got married 7 yrs ago.
I don't know how to approach the situation re: coming solo. With my dh there I'm always alot safer interms of ds acting out.
also, my son had asked us to help him out in a financial favor that turned out badly and only got worked out due to dh spending many hours cleaning up the problem w/no help from my son after promises to stand behind the deal.
I would go alone for the visit even though it's a loaded situation and DIL will be more fragile than ever...if that's what she wants...doing my best and hoping for the best. It's a possible olive branch.
I wouldn't get into the financial thing between DS and DH. :(
Would you suggest not bringing up the question of why dh isn't invited this trip?
The fact that they invited you is a step forward. I think you should go and enjoy it while you can, it's only for a couple of days, you'll survive and don't mention anything.
No, T;, I don't think I'd ask. It might put her/them on the defensive. And it's traditionally a new born/woman thing.
I would not ask about DH either. She is allowing you into her home at a time when she will be physically and mentally very vulnerable, tired and probably scared (twins are a very big deal!). The last thing she needs is to be questioned or put on the defensive. If you want to encourage good feelings in your DIL, might I suggest the following dos and don'ts:
Do offer to help with the cleaning/laundry/cooking. If she says yes, go for it.
Ask first before doing anything with either of the twins--feeding, diapering, picking them up, etc. She will be VERY hormonal and asking first is a good way to ensure that you won't tick her off.
Don't criticize her choices as a parent (to breast feed or consult books or use cloth diapers or anything else).
Do give her plenty of praise (again, she's hormonal). Tell her that she is a fantastic mother and she diapers the babies like a pro--anything positive you can think of!
Do encourage your son to hold and take care of his babies.
Good luck, I hope this advice is helpful to you!
Thanks for all the great advice.
How does your husband feel about not being invited?
With the difficulties ahead for your dil, I can see why she does not want to feel that she has to entertain and adjust at the same time. Maybe your husband can pick you up on the last day and visit with the new family.
Another question, is your DH your DS's Dad? (hey, it's possible!)
If I were you, I would start pro-actively telling DH exactly why it wouldn't be 'fun' for him to be there. First off, there will be lots of talking about boobs, wazoos, incisions, stitches, various fluids, etc. If she's nursing, the first 10 days are the hardest (never mind with TWINS!), so she'll need to be comfortable and will likely be exposed a fair bit of the time. Me and my Dad had a hard time of that at first, he couldn't just leave the room every time I nursed, so we developed a 'no eye contact' agreement and that was MY Dad. Also, when my parents stayed with us after DD was born, my Dad actually had to leave early, because he just couldn't stand the crying (me and DD!). Not that it irritated him, it broke his heart.
When you're there, you absolutely have to give DIL a 'get out of jail free' card. She will not be herself, and you should NOT take anything personally. Let it roll off your back, and even imagine it in your head that you're giving her a business type card that says "I know you don't mean that." if it helps you.
When you're there, try and do everything else for them (that you can) to leave them time and space to take care of the babies. Do your DS's chores, so that he can help her with the babies. Ask them HOW they want stuff done, whether they want you to put stuff away or not. For example, wash the dishes, but leave them piled nicely to be put away in their proper places. Same with laundry (except for skivvies - let DS do the skivvies load). Offer to change the beds (if you can).
Even if you raised hundreds of kids, pretend that right now, you know nothing about it - it HAS to be their way, they have to figure it out for themselves and let them tell you how they want things done. I don't know if you have other gk's but times have changed, DIL has probably done a lot of research. And even more importantly, she has an image in her head of how it will be, and it's important that you don't disturb that. I mean, sure, it will be disturbed, because nothing ends up how we idealize it, but really, you don't want it to be YOU who does it.
Bring yourself a book and let them spend some time together as a family too. Remember to wash your hands before touching the babies, don't even wait to be asked, just do it. Don't take flash pictures of them, it's too bright. Don't wear strong perfumes around them. Don't leave lipstick marks on them.
I know this sounds like a lot of rules, but really, you're setting the tone for a whole lifetime with those kids, you can suck it up a bit now, while their Mom is at her most vulnerable, in order to be able to enjoy the whole rest of their lives.
Geez, it can't have been that long ago that we MILs were new moms/DILs ourselves...you'd think we'd remember a thing or two about post-partum issues :) Maybe it's all different now? JK, Scoop. You gave great suggestions. Most would apply to helping an old MIL after surgery or whatever, too (somehow I can't see DIL coming to help me, but you never know.)
But seriously Pen, it's even different now than it was 6 years ago when I had DD. I didn't even know about BPA or worry (much) about lead in toys.
Because I had conversations with my Mom and she told me that so many things were different from when she had us. She used baby oil and baby powder, cloth diapers (that she had to wash in a wringer-type machine) and fed us formula in bottles. So nursing was completely alien to her. She really enjoyed reading my books on nursing, because she felt so helpless. She was used to the idea of knowing how much your baby drank, and then feeding them on a schedule. She would never have questioned the doctors orders. And a midwife was a really different idea for her.
Then you graduate to slings, swings, carseats, ect.
My MIL put baby cereal in my DH's bottle (she even had to open up the holes in the nipples so it would flow). When DD was born, the Doctors recommended solids at 4 mos, now it's not before 6 mos.
And then there are the different styles of parenting, some parents don't mind letting their baby cry (because it's true, they will not cry themselves to death). Some parents want their baby to be held (in arms) for the first 6 mos of their life. And there's everything in between.
I think the key here is (especially if this MIL has had a strained relationship with her DIL in the past--I don't know if this is the case with the OP or not) that when visiting/helping the mother of newborn twins you can either generally be "right" or you can be "happy"-- not both. I am guessing that the OP would rather be happy.
Yes, I didn't mean the nuts and bolts of parenting a newborn, just the new mom's postpartum feelings and needs. I don't think anyone should advise new parents on the actual care of the infant or take over unless asked because there are so many different theories.
When my kids were born there were the same debates about nursing, formula, midwives (we had home births), etc. I was picky about which toys, slings, and bottles to use (the hippy/yuppy/natural foods crowd was on top of all that) and nursed until the babies quit on their own (thankfully at an appropriate age.)
But being aware of the needs of new parents isn't so different now; mom still needs peace, quiet and privacy. The new family needs time to themselves while getting support to run the household. Household chores should be done the way the couple usually does them as much as possible. Anyone who comes in to help should realize it's about the baby, mom & dad, & sibs if any. That's how it's always been.
Hi!! Take all of this advise with you and treasure every moment...Just remember the "Hormones" will be alive and kicking....Plus she will need lots of sleep, so you get your rest now too. Just remember to have fun and enjoy every precious moment. Blessings to all of you...Faith