Wednesday, September 01, 2010

feeling left out...

I was gobsmacked to read this thread on Mumsnet today. in particular the comment "it may be that your mil is feeling a little left out in the feeding process". There have been several threads on there recently about interfering parents or in-laws, including ones about visitors after the birth, and there seem to be two schools of thought. The first being that women who have just given birth must include the extended family as soon as possible, sometimes even during or straight after the labour, because if they don't then they are excluding the people who love them most and messing up the grandparent's chance to bond with the baby. The other is that a woman who has given birth should be allowed to say exactly what she prefers and should exclude all visitors for as long as she wants to, plus her husband/partner should be backing her up. I know which I agree with!

So - I find this whole idea that a grandparent might feel excluded from the feeding process a bit odd. Breast-feeding is surely not something that a grandparent should feel they have a right to be included in; it's physically impossible for a start! Where does this sense of entitlement come from and why are women who want time to get used to their newborn and recover from the birth always treated like they are some kind of irrational and mean cow? Maybe because I don't have a huge extended family myself I am a little too much of an Island in my thinking and maybe I will have to learn to compromise when it comes to family wanting time with my son or daughter but I still think it's weird behaviour for a grandparent to expect all these things. I have read so many stories of grandparents punishing their offspring, sulking, kicking off - all because they feel hard done by. Obviously there is the opposite, where mums and dads sem to think they are entitled to free childcare from their own parents and are equally as horrible when it doesn't happen.

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