New mum says mother-in-law’s actions mean “newborn has no cards or gifts”

Newborn baby

So very many mothers-in-law are brilliant, but for some women, their relationship with their partner’s mum is a bit tricky. Add a baby to the mix and things can get even more fraught.

Mother-in-law won’t send gifts on

One mum is finding herself in that very situation. She took to popular parenting forum Mumsnet to share a delicate situation and ask for advice.

In a post titled “(Not so) newborn has no cards or gifts because MIL has them all and won’t send” this mum explains that she is keen to take a peek at the presents gifted to her baby when he was born, but her mother-in-law has hung onto them. 

Her baby’s now seven weeks old and her mum-in-law’s apparently collected a bunch of gifts from family and friends but has no plans to visit and drop them off. She lives in another town and is not keen to put anything in the post either. She hints that things are a little fractured between herself and her husband’s mum.

“All the relatives (live in same town) bought gifts for the baby and as MIL said she was coming down again to visit, she told them to give them to her and she would bring them, save postage. That was six weeks ago and she still has everything and won’t post anything. She has no plans to come again anytime soon.”


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“I don’t know why she said that”

This new mum says she’s not trying to be “grabby” about the presents, but more wants to read the cards and see who was generous enough to think of her new little one.

“We have had to tell people ‘thanks if you sent a gift but we haven’t got them yet’. Embarrassing but I always send thank you cards,” the mum writes. She also notes that her mum-in-law has not been particularly reasonable about the whole situation, and that she’s even joking about the tardy gifts.

“MIL has even said that the newborn clothes won’t even fit by the time she comes down (she must have opened the presents I suppose). I don’t know why she said that, just to be horrid?”

Newborn baby sleep sleeping

The mum-in-law had apparently tried to buy the new baby a gift herself when they visited back when bub was first born, but didn’t quite manage to do so.

New mum’s husband “thinks she didn’t want anyone else to give presents until she had and as she got annoyed and walked out of the shop when she was here, she’s now making sure nothing gets to us.”

Hmmm. That sounds … terrible!

A storm in a teacup? Or a toxic situation?

Mumsnet readers advised this upset mum to send her MIL the money to post the gifts.

Her husband said “he’d drive up (800 mile round trip) but I can’t do without him right now,” was the mum’s response. “Sending the money for postage is a good idea. I still don’t know if she would send them though.”

Some thought that this was all a bit of a storm in a teacup:

“You have your greatest gift, enjoy your baby, what else matters?” one Mumsnet user posted.

Others thought that there might be an ulterior motive and a bit of manipulation at play.

“Is she holding on to them to ‘force’ you into visiting her? As in, Oh, they’ll get their gifts when they can be bothered to come and see me?”

“What a weird thing to do. If you think she’s doing it as a control thing, don’t play the game. Never mention them ever again.”

Mumsnet post

“You’ve gotta toughen up on her here OP,” another forum user posted. “It’s crazy you’ve not had your gifts, you deserve them and thank you notes are important. Sort it without delay or it’s a waste of everyone’s time, money and goodwill.”

Meanwhile, the couple have apparently begun getting in touch with the gift-givers to let them know that there’s been a delay in receiving them.

“She is toxic,” the new mum wrote of her mum-in-law. “I’m not putting up with it any more though.”

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