Establishing Boundaries with a Babymoon

Welcome to the Fabulous Hybrid Blog Carnival. Our topic this summer is BOUNDARIES! This post was written for inclusion in the quarterly Blog Carnival hosted by The Fabulous Mama Chronicles and Hybrid Rasta Mama. This month our participants reflect on boundaries in all of its many forms. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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Cradled

Photo by The Wooden Shoes (Flickr)

Whether due to our scientific backgrounds, a tendency to planning, or a combination of multiple factors, my husband and I are researchers. Given a decision to make, we research. By that, I mean to say that we enjoy weeding through scientifc journals, digging into statistics, and ripping apart any studies to get to the factual information which we then use to make decisions. It’s part of who we are. So, when it came to the topic of having children, it only made sense that our fanatical researching would play a major role in our decisions.

When we finally decided it was time to begin our family, we were ready. We had researched. We were knowledgable. We were were ecstatic. My husband made that call. You know the one – the call to his parents to let them know that they were going to be grandparents.  My husband’s excitement about becoming a father was contagious as he shared our fantastic news with his parents. While it had only been a few days since we found out, he mentioned he couldn’t wait for our home birth.

Then the telephone calls began. Calls from relatives we knew. Calls from relatives my husband had never even met. These weren’t congratulatory calls. These were calls to tell us we were endangering our child, that we were endangering my life, that we knew nothing and were ignorant. While the black sheep of his family (would I be considered the psychedelic rainbow striped in-law?), the idea that we would go into any decision without first researching it, especially a decision of this magnitude, was ridiculous. Everything we do is for a reason.

Since we had only told his parents about the pregnancy at this point, it was clear where everyone was getting their information. We felt the situation warranted a call direct to the source. Obviously his parents had concerns, and we wanted to assure them we were prepared. We tried to share facts with them. They refused to listen. We offered to send them research. They made accusations. There was yelling and then screaming. Names were called. The dead baby card was pulled. We appealed to them just to listen. At some point, I just had to walk away from the phone. Eventually, my husband gave up, telling them they didn’t have to agree with us, but that they had to respect that the decisions regarding our family were ours to make. I’m not certain who hung up – my husband who was tired of being screamed at and belittled or my mother-in-law who realized her baby boy wasn’t going to back down.

There were still phone calls from people. There were some letters. Relations with my husband’s family were strained, but we thought things were beginning to even out. My husband went on a business trip near his aunt and uncle’s house and agreed to see them, not realizing they had any knowledge of our birth plans (naive on our part, at best). The visit seemed to be going fine until they were out on the boat with no way for him to escape. The attack began.

After that point, we really had no desire to have a relationship with his family, if you could even call what we had with them before a relationship. It definitely wasn’t healthy, whatever it was. We tried to keep our distance while maintaining enough of a relationship that our children could make their own decision some day.

As we neared the birth, my in-laws began to push for a date, unhappy with the birth month we had given. Then they began to push for a date for them to come out, knowing that we of course would want them there for the birth. We didn’t. In fact, it was at that time that my husband informed them that we would be having a babymoon. We wouldn’t be having vistors for a month, in order to give our new little family a chance to get to know each other and fall into a groove.

Two weeks before Thanksgiving, we welcomed our first child, a son – the first grandchild and great-granchild on my husband’s side of the family. My husband called to let everyone know and reiterated that we were enjoying our babymoon, getting to know this new little person. A week later, when my father-in-law called, he made the mistake of letting it slip that there were plans in the works for a hoard of relatives to descend on our town for Thanksgiving. After all, there was no way we could say no to letting them see our new baby if they showed up on our door, or so they thought.

My husband was livid. I think I may have been numb. My husband, pretending he had no knowledge of the plans, sent out a wonderful e-mail to those involved letting them know how we were getting along with our new addition, thanking them for their understanding and respect for our babymoon as we got to know our new son, as he gained immunity in his first month, as we established breastfeeding, and as we were taking on our new roles as parents. Then he casually spelled out in no uncertain terms that no one would be getting past him in that first month. The trip never happened, although we heard grumbles. There were also complaints that other people saw our baby before them, when we went out shopping or run errands.

There are many reasons why I love my husband. The fact that he stepped up to his husbandly and fatherly roles is just one of them. Many people have supportive  family – people who would come in, help out with household tasks, hold a baby in order for the mom to grab a shower or to eat with two hands. That was not a possibility with my in-laws. Establishing boundaries at the beginning was an important part of our lives as parents and continues to be an important aspect in the protection of our family.

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Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants. It will be updated by 3:00pm PST on Monday, July 30th:

8 thoughts on “Establishing Boundaries with a Babymoon

  1. Wow…jaw on the floor wow! It just amazes me how selfish other people are when it comes to babies that are NOT their own. Yes, I get that grandparents and family members want to see the new baby. I mean, babies are so wonderful and everyone wants to love on them. But honestly, to be so sneaky as to plan a trip in an effort to force you to let the family see your new addition??? That is just heartless. I commend you both for standing your ground so surefootedly. Your husband is truly a rock star! Mine would never have the hutzpah to do what yours did!

  2. Sounds like we may have identical inlaws. I applaud you and your husband for maintaining your boundary through that, something which is tough to begin with with, let alone with disrespectful inlaws! Thanks for this post, it made me feel better in knowing I am not the only one dealing with people like that.

  3. That’s amazing of your husband. My husband has been similarly protective of me and his family this time, even while being away from us!! I’m sorry y’all had to deal with all of that stress the first time around. That’s so ridiculous!! :(

  4. So many people would have caved under that pressure! It so amazes me, the liberties people take. How terribly sad that they put that sort of strain on you, obviously playing into your insecurity. Bravo for having the strength to stand up for yourselves and not succumb to their horrible tactics!

    • I wouldn’t say they played into our insecurity, although they definitely thought they were trying to do so. We had done our research and weren’t going to back down concerning what we knew was right for our family.

  5. I’m sorry to hear that others have issues with parents and in-laws. It reminds me of something my cranky grandmother once told me shortly after my husband and I were married. She was commenting on the fact that my mother was dead and we were a long way away from my husband’s parents. She said that while it may be difficult at times, she wished that she and my grandfather would have had the opportunity to have space away from overbearing in-laws and to make their own family in the beginning. I sometimes wonder if she would have been a less cranky, and more tolerable, person had she not had to fight against that for so long. I hope that my children grow up knowing they are loved and respected and that we can break this horrible cycle.