New Mom Who Won't Let Her Mother-In-Law Tattoo Her Baby's Footprint Says It's An 'Invasion Of Privacy'

The mom doesn't like her mother-in-law or her way of showing love for her grandson.

Mother-in-law, mom of newborn RODNAE Productions / Pexels, / Shutterstock, malven57 & Ivanka Nikitovic via CanvaPro

The birth of a baby is an emotional event for parents. Add in-laws to the sensitivity of the postpartum period, and it creates a recipe for highly-charged responses.

One new mom disagreed with the way her mother-in-law wanted to celebrate the birth of her grandson, and she wrote to the subreddit r/JustNoMIL to ask for advice.

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The mom offered context to her relationship with her mother-in-law, saying that she doesn’t like her. She explained that her husband didn’t grow up with his mother, due to divorce, and they aren’t very close. She mentioned that her mother-in-law didn’t come to the hospital for the birth of her grandson, believing that “since I am the mother, my mother should be the only one there. My husband was a little hurt by her decision, but he didn’t show much reaction.”


The mom also shared that her mother-in-law has a grandchild from her daughter, with whom she’s “a lot more involved.”

“She has never been nice to me, but has never been blatantly rude or mean,” the mom said. “Any interactions we have had she acts very facetious and condescending.”

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The mom said that neither her husband nor her mother-in-law asked her permission to use her son’s footprints in a tattoo. 

“It took four weeks for her to finally meet up and meet her new grandchild and this is where the problem happened,” stated the new mom.


Her mother-in-law joined them for dinner to meet her grandson, during which she “said a few snarky comments” that the mom ignored. 

“What I couldn’t ignore is how she asked my husband for the print of my son's foot so she can get her tattoo going.”

“She has her other granddaughter's foot on her back and it’s huge and very poorly done,” the mom explained. “I have a very big problem with this. I feel like my son’s footprint is very intimate and sentimental and having it tattooed on someone else’s body really bothers me.”

The mom said that she wouldn’t be bothered by a tattoo of her son’s name or a piece of jewelry, but “it’s something about the footprint being so intimate that bothers me.”


“My husband and I don’t even have a tattoo of him yet but yet the grandma who was barely there is attempting to get it done,” the mom said.

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The mom doesn't want her mother-in-law to get a tattoo of her son's footprints because it's 'very intimate.'

She wondered whether she was being overly dramatic for having a problem with her mother-in-law’s tattoo idea, and asked for guidance on how to talk to her husband about her feelings “without coming off as aggressive or being a hater.”

The mom stated that she didn’t know how to bring the issue up to her husband, as “he doesn’t seem to see the problem that I see. He thinks she’s just showing an act of love.” 


“Any ideas on how to express how I actually feel to my husband without coming across as hating on my mother-in-law?” The mom asked. One person stated in the comments that “there’s no other way but to start having the conversations.”

“This is your first opportunity to discuss how when it comes to your son, you both need to be on board with any decisions made,” the person continued. They recommended that the mom be open and honest about how she feels, as this is the first test of their communication skills as new parents.

Another person said to remind the mother-in-law that it’s “your child, your choice,” and unless the mom establishes firm boundaries, her mother-in-law will continue to push up against them.

Rosalia Rivera, a consent educator, defines consent as “a voluntary agreement made without coercion between persons with decision-making capacity, knowledge, understanding, and autonomy.”


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The issue of consent and children’s bodily autonomy is hotly debated, especially when the children in question don’t consent to certain behaviors, like receiving undesired affection from a grandparent.

The baby in question is unable to offer consent to the mother-in-law regarding how she wants to use a facet of his person. 


“You can’t control what other people do with their bodies but you can control your child’s records,” noted someone else in the Reddit comments. They even offered a script of how to tell the mother-in-law her discomfort around the tattoo idea. “I would tell her, ‘no we aren’t giving out copies of his footprint.’ If you want you could say something like, ‘we are protective of his bodily autonomy and he can’t consent to share that.’”

If the baby’s mother feels uncomfortable sharing this part of her son with her mother-in-law, she shouldn’t be forced to do so. She should, however, express her emotions openly, so her family can understand just where she’s coming from. 

Setting a boundary doesn’t equate to her hating her mother-in-law, it just means she’s said ‘no’ to something that she doesn’t want— and that's well within her right as a parent.

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Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers celebrity gossip, pop culture analysis and all things to do with the entertainment industry.