Internet Slams Grandparents ‘Gaslighting’ Daughter Over Her Premature Son

The internet has sided with a new mom after she shared her disappointment that her parents have not supported her since giving birth to her first child recently.

Shared on Mumsnet on Sunday, user TheCluelessMum posted the story which has prompted other users to share their support.

The Mumsnet user wrote: “[I] want to know if I am being hormonal or unreasonable or do I have a right to be p *** ed off? “

She explained that she moved out of her parents’ home a few years ago, and since then her relationship with her parents has dramatically changed. After recently giving birth to her first child nine weeks early, her son spent a week in the newborn intensive care unit (NICU).

“My father didn’t contact me for the entire time me and my son were in the hospital. When I asked why this was, the response was that my mom was speaking to me and so he didn’t feel the need to, “explained the new mom.

A file photo of a mom with a new baby alone. The internet has backed a woman who feels let down by her parents after giving birth to her first child.
Polina Strelkova / Getty Images

The second issue came when the woman’s mother shared information that she wanted to keep private.

“When my partner told my parents we were having to have a c-section he asked for the information not to be shared as we didn’t know the condition of our child,” explained the Mumsnet user. “My mother ignored that and shared that information with my brother, who I have a strained relationship with. When I asked why she did that, she advised that she couldn’t keep secrets from her son.”

After returning home from the hospital, the new parent did not hear from her mom or dad who kept saying they would “come round when invited.”

“I kept asking them to come round but they would regularly say they were tired after work and would come round on the weekend,” said the new parent. “By the time my son was six weeks old, they had met him four times. I was hurt.”

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) says: “The importance of a support system for newborns and their caregivers cannot be overstated.”

But a 2016 National Parent Survey by Zero to Three found that 48 percent of new parents don’t feel they have the support they need.

The UPMC suggests treating your newborn support system as seriously as you would any other preparations. They make particular note of the support system that family members can provide: “Extended family can greatly improve the emotional, mental and physical well-being of new parents by showing up and compensating for situations where they fall behind.”

It isn’t just parents that benefit from this extra support either, the American Psychological Association reports that newborns whose extended families support their parents often experience improved resilience later in life in the face of common adversity.

The new mom continued to explain how let down she felt and wrote: “[My parents] have a great relationship with my brother and his children, but don’t seem bothered about mine. “

After 11 weeks of feeling disappointed, she sat down with her parents to tell them how she felt. “Ultimately I asked what we can do to repair this relationship, to which my mother responded, ‘I don’t think there’s an issue, if you do, then that’s something you need to work through on your own.'”

At a loss for what to do next, the mom took to the internet to ask what she should do next. “I honestly feel like I am done with them,” she explained. “But they are my parents.”

Other Mumsnet users rushed to support the new parent, telling her she was right to feel let down.

“It sounds like you had a sensible discussion with them but your mother in particular gaslit you over it,” said one commenter.

“They haven’t shown much support and when you spoke to them about it nothing changed. You need to respond on their level now,” suggested another Mumsnet user. “Lower your expectations, accept that the relationship with them, and their relationship with your child, will not be what you hoped for, and focus on the other grandparents.”

Another Mumsnet user wrote: “Your mom is gaslighting you though. Maybe you could go low contact for a bit and see if this makes them think about their behavior towards you and make some positive change.”

“I have been in your shoes and it hurts when they seem to help more with another sibling. I also confronted my parents and got similar responses,” shared another mom. “I’ve spent a lot of time being angry and upset but the biggest healer is accepting. Accept this is how they are, this is the level of support they want to give and there’s nothing you can do.”

But others suggested that the new mom’s expectations were too high. “I think you’re very hormonal at the moment, understandably. Some of the things you mention really aren’t big deals,” said one commenter.

“I think you’re expecting too much,” said another reply. “You’re a grown adult and it’s your responsibility to look after your own child.”

If you have a similar family dilemma, let us know via life@newsweek.com. We can ask experts for advice, and your story could be featured on Newsweek.

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