DEar Amy: My fiance and I are expecting our first child next month. During a visit three months ago, his mother stated that she would be present at the birth. At that point, we hadn’t even discussed the baby’s birth, let alone visitors at home or in the hospital.
We agreed to this, but now I resent her statement and am also stressed out at the idea of his large family being with us in those early days.
I don’t like being overcrowded when I’m stressed and he has a large and close-knit family.
I know they want to welcome our daughter into the world and help, but I’m not looking forward to it.
I want to breastfeed privately and connect with my new family without people breathing down my neck.
I thought I could compromise by mandating that adults are welcome but the young children are not.
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I told this to an older friend who said I was being selfish in excluding the kids and that it would resent them for years.
am i selfish I know there’s a whole “no visitors” movement where mothers give up because of the stress that family can add after bringing home a new baby. I’m here for that.
I would appreciate your insight.
dear anticipation: As long as visitors (both young and old) are healthy, they pose no risk to your newborn, but your physical, mental and emotional health is of the utmost importance.
Yes, those early days are important bonding times for your little family.
My personal insight and advice to you is that you have a short time to silence the outside voices, build a backbone and take charge of your life and your baby’s early days.
If you have told your mother-in-law that she “could be present at the birth” (not actually present in the delivery room, I assume) then I recommend that you retract it immediately. You can say, “As the deadline approaches, I know more about what I need, and I definitely need privacy for the first few days.” Let’s FaceTime you on the day of delivery and then schedule a visit for afterward once we’re prepared.”
The time when you may need the most “help” and be most welcome is when the baby is three or four weeks old. Your partner should work with you to schedule visits and be a gatekeeper in relation to their clan. This is an important role, and it’s a way to protect his new family.
Once you establish your feeding routine, your confidence and patience will grow. Take your time and give your partner’s family the benefit of knowing that they need to respect your boundaries when it comes to you.
Dear Amy: I’m torn between attending a memorial service and attending a professional conference. I know the memorial service should be a priority, but the service is for someone I barely know.
My husband’s family went camping every year with a group of about five other families. His parents’ generation have continued to see each other regularly (except during the pandemic), and my husband’s generation generally only does so for big events, like a big wedding.
I only met this friend “Barry” once, briefly and probably about 10 years ago.
His wife has died. Neither my husband nor I had ever met her.
The funeral service is a big camping trip. If this event were held at a different time, I would fully participate, but my two-day symposium is very important to me.
The logistics are such that I can’t do both.
My husband told me that I can go to the conference and that he will bring our children with his parents.
In general, I think a memorial service would outweigh any professional event. But since neither my husband nor I are particularly close to the grieving person, can I pick a really important work event and not feel guilty?
Dear Torne: Your husband and children will fly the family flag at this memorial service.
He will offer you your condolences.
You could follow up with a message to the grieving husband expressing your regrets.
Dear Amy: I liked your comprehensive response to “Nice Guys Finish Last,” the delusional landlord who wanted his tenants to thank him for basically doing what landlords are supposed to do.
I have been a landlord for many years. Peaceful and clean tenants who pay rent on time are the recognition this landlord needs.
You can email Amy Dickinson at [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, PO Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068.