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Eager grandmas must defer to family’s wishes

Published: Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT

Dear Abby: In response to the letter from "Family First in Florida" (Nov. 3), it's no wonder her son and daughter-in-law want some peace and quiet when their new baby arrives. Grandma-to-be appears controlling, entitled and someone who will be more of an endurance test than a helping presence. They are right to set kind, yet firm, boundaries with her.

I wanted privacy during and after childbirth, and I'm grateful my mom and MIL respected our wishes. I needed time to establish a nursing routine, heal and get to know my baby before I was ready to host overnight guests.

My kids' grandmas both have strong, loving relationships with their grandkids, so please remind "Family First" she's not missing out on anything. She'll still get to be a doting granny, but for now she should back off and remember the arrival of the child is not about HER. – Experienced Mom in Omaha

Dear Mom: I'm pleased everything worked out well for you. That woman's letter hit a nerve with my readers. A sampling of their comments:

Dear Abby: I had the same vision of being there when my grandkids were born. However, my kids have not involved me the way I imagined.

"Family First's" son is putting HIS family first, as he should. He and his wife have chosen what they feel will make the smoothest, least-stressful launch for their new family, and he is protecting that plan. If she doesn't respect her son's right to make that decision, she risks jeopardizing her future relationship with him, his wife AND the grandkids.

The essence of a mother's love is sacrifice. It's time to put aside her dreams and help her son fulfill his. – Suzie in Olympia, Wash.

Dear Abby: The new parents are greatly misinformed about the importance of having grandparents around just before and immediately after the birth of a new baby. It helps to have a family member in the waiting room to update other family and well-wishers so Dad can devote full attention to the new mom and baby.

My mother was a godsend, taking care of everything while we bonded with our child. She did the cooking, the chores, and gave us needed breaks during the day so we were able to tolerate night feedings. When our second child arrived, she helped with our older one.

Childbirth is difficult. I don't think this new mom realizes she won't be able to do it all. – Shana in Louisiana

Dear Abby: Has "Family First" considered that her daughter-in-law's mother may be coming? Unfair as it may seem, in cultures around the world, the role of the paternal grandmother is far different than that of the maternal grandmother. – Knows For Sure in Kenya

Dear Abby: My son and DIL told everyone, including the other grandparents, who live near them, they wanted NO visitors for at least six weeks. That sad grandma needs to brush up on her Skype and Facetime skills so she can see them frequently on her computer and phone. We do this with our kids.

In the first year, the baby learned our voices and saw our faces often. When we met again, it was like we'd always been there. – Computer Granny

Dear Abby: While she isn't invited to be there for the birth of her first grandchild, I'm sure her son and DIL will be begging her to come for the next one. After a week of no sleep, they are going to wish they had told her yes this time! – Granny in Illinois

Dear Abby: When I declined my mother-in-law's offer to help out when my son was born, she paid to have a catering service deliver daily three-course dinners for two weeks so I wouldn't have to cook. It was the best gift I ever received, and I love her for it! – Lisa in North Carolina

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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