The village has disappeared and we know we need to bring it back. I believe it starts with family and that includes Mother-In-Laws (MIL’s).*
*disclaimer…I AM a MIL so I feel completely safe talking about this!
If you follow me on Instagram, you see me talk a lot about being a mother-in-law (MIL) in my stories and in particular, helping my daughter-in-law (DIL) during her post partum. I get a lot of messages come through saying “I wish you were my MIL.” and “I wish I had a MIL like you.” These messages break my heart. While I understand family dynamics are not easy or black and white, and there are many different layers, many different factors to take into account and not all relationships are smooth sailing, I wonder if MIL’s are failing our DIL’s during their post partum?
Why are some MIL’s not treating their DIL’s as they would their own daughter during the post partum period? Or even just giving the kind of support they would have loved during their own post partum? As a MIL, you must clearly remember your own experience and the intense feelings of isolation, overwhelm and exhaustion?
I remember my postpartum experience. Very clearly. And it’s not something I’d wish on anyone.
No matter the relationship between the two of you, this is the time where your support is needed and valued so much. This is the time you can make a real difference in someones post partum, especially a loved one.
I wonder if some MIL’s feel as though they’re not needed because the DIL’s own mother is helping? To this, I gently say “Get over yourself”. Your help is needed. Your DIL needs you. Your son needs you. Your DIL may need a break from her own mother and vice versa. There is never too much support when it comes to the post partum period. There are never too many hands.
We do, however, need to remember to not nag, criticise or judge…we need to support, love and be with our DIL’s. If they reach out and tell you they’re having a rough day/week whatever…please, read between the lines because reaching out for help is the hardest thing to do…you remember how hard it was, right?
If you’re a MIL and don’t have a great relationship with your DIL, why not organise to have a week or two worth of meals delivered to their home? Or a cleaner twice a week for a few weeks?
Perhaps your son and DIL are no longer together? Guess what? She’ll always be the mother of your Grandchild and she needs your support post partum.
What are your thoughts? Are MIL’s failing our DIL’s?