Home » Ask the Therapist » Parenting » Grandmother Acting Obsessively Over My Baby

Grandmother Acting Obsessively Over My Baby

Asked by on with 1 answer:

MIL had two sons, always longing for a daughter. When she found out we were having a girl she was overjoyed. She immediately went and purchased my LGs first dress, even before we could. She used to fall to her knees when she sees me, talking to and rubbing my stomach, even in public spaces and at a funeral. She set up a nursery at her house with everything from bumcream to clothing.
Before baby’s birth we told them we will call when I go into labour and let them know when they can come in to the hospital. She completely ignored this and barged into my hospital room. “I know you told us not to come but here we are!” she proclaimed on entry.
From there, things just got progressively worse. I cannot write everything down as it will fill a book so I will just name a few things she had done over the past year.
She gave my daughter her first bite of food the day after I told her that I cant wait to give her her first bite. She would take my baby from me, turn her back to me and walk away to go show her to others or go play with her alone. She told my LG, who thankfully cant understand yet, that she loves her more than I do. She has I childhood doll that she now gave my daughters second name. When my LG visits her she refuses to dress her in, or feed her the food, that I pack in for her. She sends her back with old clothing she keeps in her nursery and sends the food back, untouched. She talks about “our little girl” or her little girl. She has expressed excitement at joining future boarding school activities as she was always excluded from mom and daughter activities when she only had sons. I never even said I will send her to boarding school.
She shows up to daycare every second day and if I already collected baby she shows up at our house. She hounds me for photos even the day after she saw her. I recently heard she baths with my baby. Whenever I ask her not to feed her something that is a choking hazard, she does it and tells me afterward how she enjoyed it.
I feel like she may have an unhealthy obsession with my child.

Grandmother Acting Obsessively Over My Baby

Answered by on -


I would agree with your assessment however, the main question becomes what are you going to do about it? What you do depends upon what you’re comfortable with. I would also be interested in knowing what your partner thinks about this. Is he concerned about how his mother is behaving? Does it bother him at all? Is he willing to speak to her about her behavior and take action if necessary?

Your options depend upon the answers to the aforementioned questions. Your mother-in-law certainly seems to be overstepping her bounds. Proof of that is your reaction to what she’s doing. She seems to be doing more than she is welcome to do.

Given that this is your partner’s mother, it may be best that he attempts to correct this problem. I don’t know the nature of their relationship and how willing he is to stand up to his mother. The fact that she is so bold in her behavior, might suggest that he has no power over her and she does what she wants. If that’s the case, you might have a bigger problem than you realize. If he cannot stand up to his mother, then you would not only be battling her but him as well. He might take her side and feel that you are being unreasonable. Two against one would make your life more challenging.

You might try speaking with your partner and coming to an agreement about what is acceptable behavior for your mother-in-law. At that point, hopefully the two of you can speak to her together about what’s acceptable and what is not. The more clarity you can bring to the rules, the better the outcome you may have. However, there’s always the chance that your mother-in-law will become upset. You need to plan for that as well.

I would recommend meeting with a therapist because of possible complexity of the situation, especially if you and your partner are not in agreement regarding his mother-in-law. A therapist can analyze the dynamics of the relationships and advise you accordingly. It’s important to approach this with as much understanding of the relationship dynamics as possible, in order to achieve the best outcome. In other words, the more you understand why your mother-in-law might be engaging in this behavior, and why her son might be facilitating it, assuming that he is, the easier it will be to plan your response.

There’s no easy solution to this problem. You stated that she always wanted a daughter and she never had one. She might see this is her opportunity to have the daughter she always wanted. Obviously, that’s not okay because your daughter is not her daughter. She’s yours.

Consulting a therapist would be a wise idea. Hopefully, that will help to remedy this problem. Good luck with your efforts. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

Grandmother Acting Obsessively Over My Baby

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist and Assistant Professor of Social Work and Forensics with extensive experience in the field of mental health. She works in private practice with adults, adolescents and families. Kristina has worked in a large array of settings including community mental health, college counseling and university research centers.

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2020). Grandmother Acting Obsessively Over My Baby. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 26, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 19 Feb 2020 (Originally: 20 Feb 2020)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 19 Feb 2020
Published on Psych All rights reserved.