How would you feel if your mother-in-law got to cuddle your child before you did?sgilsdorf/Flickr CC
As Mamamia reports, that was the question posted by one mom, who is still trying to get over what happened when her daughter was born. The anonymous mom posted on the forum Mumsnet asking if it was unreasonable that she was still upset with her husband and his mother.
As the mom explained, she’d had a traumatic birth experience, ending in an emergency cesarean section. As she was being wheeled into the operating room, her husband called his mother for emotional support.
Because her mother-in-law is a doctor, she was able to use her own access card to enter the recovery area while the mom was still in the operating room. The mom wrote:
I wasn’t asked if it was okay if she could be there, and because I was being stitched up […] she held my [daughter] before I even got to.
For the new mom, it was an enormous betrayal to learn that her mother-in-law had moved in without permission and became the first family member to hold their daughter:
I’m so angry and upset about this. Prior to going into labor, I’d discussed with [my husband] that I didn’t want anyone visiting for at least a day or so, let alone have [my mother-in-law] there before I’ve even held my own child.
To make matters worse, her mother-in-law lingered in the recovery room as a doctor came in and discussed the mom’s intimate medical issues — all of which her mother-in-law overheard.
The mom said her mother-in-law, “means well,” but she also described her as a “dominating and controlling woman,” who uses her status as a doctor to get special access and treatment. The mom wrote:
Me and [my husband] didn’t even get to be the three of us for about five hours after [our daughter] was delivered due to her hanging around that long. I had just wanted some time for the two of us to absorb parenthood together before people coming in.
The mom explained she is still upset about what happened and blames her husband and the medical staff.
Because it took a long time to recover from the birth complications, she’s only begun to process her feelings and doesn’t know how to bring it up to her husband. However, the memory still brings her to tears:
I’m livid that the midwives allowed her to be there without asking me and I’m angry that [my husband] didn’t advocate for me more too. He should have told her not to come, or to wait outside.
Many of the commenters comforted the mother and told her she was not unreasonable to be upset at her mother-in-law. One person wrote:
She should NEVER have been allowed to do all this, and know stuff about you. Have you spoken to your [husband] about this? Don’t blame him (if you can help it), his head was probably all over the place. Your [mother-in-law] used her privilege to get her own way by the sound of it, and it was unacceptable.
Another added that a good bit of blame belonged to the husband:
I’d be livid. What a violation. […] You’re allowed to feel angry about this. You should also give your [husband] both barrels. He let you down. You were the one giving birth, you were the one being cut open. Poor diddums, but it wasn’t really about him at that moment.
Some felt blame should be shared by the mother-in-law, husband, and hospital staff. One commenter wrote:
You were let down by your husband not making sure you got to hold your baby before other family members. Your [mother-in-law] by not refusing to hold the baby before you. And the doctor for not ensuring your confidentiality and privacy.
Moreover, multiple commenters suggested looking for a new doctor or filing a complaint about the hospital.
However, there were also those who felt the mother-in-law hadn’t done anything unforgivable, especially since her son had asked her to be there.
And several cautioned the mom not to allow herself to be overcome by post-pregnancy emotions or the trauma of the birth experience. As one commenter wrote:
Your [daughter] is no less your [daughter] because you were not the first to hold her. Your [mother-in-law] wasn’t either, probably four or five different people held her and looked after her in those first minutes.
I won’t say you are unreasonable to be upset but do be careful that you don’t pin all your feelings about how the birth went on your [mother-in-law].
Finally, while there were many who agreed the husband bore some blame for the incident, there were those who urged the mom to talk it out for the sake of their new family. As one commenter wrote:
Share and voice your feelings, OP. Be prepared for them to not fully get it, though. And remember your [husband] was probably terrified for yours and your baby’s life. Maybe your [mother-in-law], too.
And in the end, your baby was cared for and loved. A baby is often held by a [health care practitioner] or even two before being handed to the mother. Yours was in loving arms.