Inviting a child into the world is a beautiful and exciting process.
But, like anything else worth having, there is going to be some work involved.
New mothers may not realize it, but the early weeks after childbirth will be strenuous as they not only have to care for their newborn, but they also have to heal themselves and adapt to their new life as a parent, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Expecting to have a Caesarean section to deliver her son, Redditor cmdvd planned on not having any visitors during the first month to give herself a chance to heal. The one exception was her mother, who would be traveling back abroad shortly after her grandchild was born.
When her mother-in-law was hurt by her decision and didn’t understand why she couldn’t also be present, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if her visitation plan was as fool-proof as she’d originally thought.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for not wanting visitors in the first four weeks of my baby’s life, including my in-laws?”
The OP had a plan in place for when her son was born in the coming months.
“I (35 Female) am pregnant and expecting a boy in December.”
“I’m not American but my mom is coming and staying with my husband (35 Male) and me for two months to help cook and clean while I take care of my baby.”
“My husband works nights, and three times a week, he works till noon, so I already know I’ll be taking the night shift every night with the baby, and he won’t be able to help me in those days before the afternoon.”
“I’m having a Caesarean section and would like the first three to four weeks to go by without visitors so I can heal properly and take care of the newborn while my mom helps me with the house.”
“I’m also concerned with his immune system during that time and wanted to wait for him to get at least some of his vaccines.”
The parents-to-be recently broke the news to the OP’s in-laws.
“My husband told my in-laws they could see the baby at the hospital when he’s born, but after that, we’d go for three to four weeks without any visitors, them included.”
“His mom’s jaw dropped, and they said they couldn’t believe they weren’t going to be allowed to see the baby during that time.”
“Now my husband is asking me why they can’t see the baby during those weeks and if I have a problem with his parents.”
“It’s true, I don’t have a good relationship with his parents, but ultimately, I didn’t want visitors since I’ll still be healing from the surgery and taking care of the baby while also teaching online part-time (I’m self-employed, so I don’t get maternity leave).”
The OP’s parents-in-law were furious about the OP’s decision.
“I know they’re also upset that my mother will be here for two months while they can’t see the baby for three weeks. However, they never offered to cook, clean, or order groceries for us. They just keep saying they want ‘to see the baby.'”
“My MIL even went as far as to say we can bring the baby to her house whenever we wish.”
“When my husband pointed out we won’t be driving a newborn anywhere (they live 30 minutes away), she said she was reluctant to come by because my husband doesn’t like it when she drops by unannounced.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some reassured the OP that she was doing what was right for her and her baby.
“NTA. Congratulations on the newest edition of your family. A Caesarean Section takes six weeks to recover, as it is surgery and you aren’t allowed to lift anything but the baby.”
“And it will be the middle of cold, flu, pandemic virus, and RSV season. In the states, they offer flu shots, boosters for TDAP, and MMR basically whooping cough and measles. Your guests should be current with shots.”
“Also, they should come after you have healed, not over the baby’s first Christmas or New Year’s, forcing you to entertain.”
“As for your husband’s family, they can want to see the baby all they want. They wait till after six-plus weeks and schedule the visits staggered out not all at once. No kissing the baby as anyone with a cold sore can pass the virus to your child.” – Patient_Gas_5245
“NTA. Surgery is a major event. Your mom is there for a very practical and needed purpose, to take care of you. Your in-laws are being rude. It’s about competing with your mom for baby-time. Otherwise, they would have a plan to be useful.”
“Take your time healing. Three weeks might not be enough.”
“Forget the ‘it’s not fair’ whining. Take care of your health and your baby.”
“Congratulations!” – Maximum-Company2719
After reading some of the comments, the OP offered a few clarifications.
“Thank you to everyone who actually offered kind and interesting suggestions. I really appreciate it and I’m open to changing rules since we still have two months to go.”
“For those who said my husband can host my in-laws while I nap, I don’t think that’d be possible. My in-laws in the past have gone against our requests when babysitting our dog by letting her outside without a leash in a fenceless yard (she isn’t microchipped) and crated when we requested not to (I’m from a culture that doesn’t use crates). So we learned the hard way they do whatever they want.”
“In addition to that, they always complain when wearing masks during the pandemic times, so I’m worried about germs. My mom would come into the house and sanitize, and after that, she would stay in our house, not bringing in outside germs. She would not even be going out for groceries but ordering them for us instead. She doesn’t have an American driver’s license, so she wouldn’t be ‘bringing in germs every day’ as some have suggested.”
“My husband also struggles with saying ‘no’ to his parents. He’s starting to set some boundaries and speak up, but it’s still a learning curve for him. So, if they visit every week, I’d ask for masks and no kissing, but unless I’m around to reinforce these rules, there’s a good chance they will not follow.”
“NTA. I did this with my third child and since hugely regretted not doing it with the first two. The first six weeks just featured me and my daughter healing and bonding and establishing feeding. It was perfect.”
“When my eldest was born, I had a brutal emergency section and had 15 staples across my stomach. My mum turned up to the house, took the baby off me, and sent me into the kitchen to make tea.”
“I could barely walk and was in excruciating pain. My boobs were full and leaking as my milk had just come in, and he needed a feed, so he was restless.”
“I’m still cross now, and he’s just turned 17, lol (laughing out loud).” – EntropyFairy
“Perhaps the in-laws should be offering to actually help instead of forcing the recovering DIL to host them while she’s also working her job while trying to recover from major surgery and learning to be a mom. NTA.” – TheQuietType84
“NTA. I had the same rule for my kids, too.”
“One of my kids caught whooping cough at four weeks of age when I loosened the rules. She was very ill and hospitalized for a week and then on home oxygen for three months.”
“I should have stuck to my guns, but everyone pressured me for being such a worrywart. Please don’t let them win in pressuring you.” – duzins
However, others felt that the OP was creating unnecessary problems in the family.
“I don’t understand why your husband doesn’t get a say; he didn’t give birth to the baby, but it’s his child, too.”
“It’s totally understandable if you don’t want to interact with visitors while you’re healing. But what is your issue with them popping in for a scheduled visit with your husband and the baby while you rest or sleep in the bedroom?”
“And, correct me if I’m wrong, don’t the major vaccines start at like two months of age?”
“So unless something else is going on, it seems like you just don’t like your in-laws, which means YTA.” – k2aries
“Mild YTA here. Can you really not see how your inlaws (and husband) see it as hurtful and unfair that your mom gets to be with a baby for a whole month before they get a chance to see it?”
“What would be the harm of letting them come by for a few LIMITED time visits with the baby while you’re resting or teaching online?” – celticmusebooks
“This is sad. I feel sorry for the grandparents and the husband who will be put in the middle.”
“What better opportunity for you to rest than having grandparents coming to visit for a little bit and watch over your new little blessing?”
“And if one side is allowed, the other should be too. This is a recipe for hurt feelings and resentment down the road. Not wanting everyone you know coming to visit for a while is one thing. Only allowing one grandparent and not the other is hurtful.”
“I won’t say YTA, but I definitely think it’s going to cause unnecessary hurt.” – Creepy_Syllabub_9245
“YTA. I can’t imagine for a second telling one set of grandparents that they are too full of germs to see their grandchild (but apparently not in the hospital), but the other grandparents are fine. Your husband obviously doesn’t agree with you.”
“I don’t think I had one visitor who didn’t offer to help with either of my kids. I didn’t know what they were going to offer beforehand, but each did. Your in-laws may very well have helped you out when they were there.”
“You’ll be souring your relationship with them and most likely your husband too if you stick with this.” – Pollyputthekettle1
“YTA. I’m two months postpartum, so I know what it’s like in those first weeks. Babies change so much in the first weeks, and while I understand you’ll be healing, I don’t see how it’s fair to your husband that his parents don’t get to see his child at all in the first weeks. He should have a say in this; it’s his child, too.”
“You don’t have to be a host or even part of the visit, but he should be allowed to have his parents come to see his child at least a couple of times. If you’re worried about the baby getting sick, then make them wear a mask. Or make a rule that they aren’t there just to cuddle the baby; they have to help with something.” – suspicious-pepper-31
After receiving feedback, the OP shared what she planned to do about visits.
“I was hoping the fact that my mom would leave after two months and after that, she’d only see the baby in one year, since she lives in another country, would be enough to make my in-laws feel better about not seeing the baby in the first four weeks. After all, they only live 30 minutes away and would be able to see him for the rest of his life.”
“However, based on the comments I got, my decision would still generate a lot of resentment.”
“Since I don’t want the baby to be born into a situation that’s even more polarized, I liked the suggestions of once-a-week short visits.”
“I’m thinking of expanding that time to six to eight weeks of only in-laws once a week, and not his very big extended family since I learned I need at least six weeks to heal from the surgery and he can get his two-month shots.”
“Thanks to those who offered great input in a kind way.”
The subReddit found this situation incredibly divisive, and their responses greatly reflected that.
While some completely understood the OP’s concerns and supported her in doing what was right and comfortable for her and her new baby, others felt that her level of precautions would only serve to create a rift in the family, one that very well might impact her future son’s relationship with his grandparents.