Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The pot calling the kettle black

This is a post about little frictions amongst family.

You may (or may not) recall a number of posts in which I harp on and on about my in-laws. Well, it's really been too long since I've mentioned them.

A recap: SIL&BIL#1 had a son in december, SIL&BIL#2 are expecting their first in a couple of months. SIL&BIL#3 announced they were going to start trying at the same time when we quietly started TTC. I worried they might be in our boat, but they just changed their minds it seems.

I feel it's time to inform the in-laws about our involuntary childlessness, DH still doesn't really want to, but agreed I could drop a hint if the topic arose.

Last weekend, SIL&BIL#3 came over for a visit. They didn't ask THE QUESTION, thankfully, but the topic was skirted. When DH popped out for a few minutes, I seized my chance and told them we were not childfree but childless. They weren't surprised. SIL#3 got a first inkling after our phone conversation last October. I assume the pinched look on my face when we first visited SIL#1 in the maternity ward told her the rest.

Before I could do any more explaining, DH came back, so we moved on to another topic. Am I being sneaky by going behind his back or being considerate of his feelings? I prefer to think the latter. Now of course, I didn't catch much in the way of a reaction from my SIL, but that will sort itself out over time.

The next big step is telling MIL&FIL, though I'm a little less sure of that one. How will they react? Will they harass us for details? Will they harass the lucky siblings to shut up about their kids when we're present? I wouldn't put it past her.
MIL has a lot of time on her hands and tends to dramatize things. At a family dinner way back in november, she asked me whether I disliked being with them because I was so quiet. BIL#1 - of all people - told her that was an awful thing to ask, after we had left. The same BIL of THE QUESTION and the sales pitch. But I digress.
One month later, when we were at the maternity ward with Nephew#1, she cornered me to say she was sorry, but couldn't leave it at that, she kept asking me all sorts of questions. It was really bad timing. At first I was just bewildered, what on earth was she talking about? I told her I had forgotten all about that comment, no need to apologize, etc.
Now, six months later, she still can't let it rest. She's given SIL#3 an earful and has talked about it at length with my mother (they're acquainted, but not more).

MIL = drama queen? Just a little? You see why I'm uneasy, don't you?

On the other hand, now it seems I'm blowing things out of proportion, hence the title of this post. It will all resolve itself over time I suppose (not the IF naturally, the rest).

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At 22 March, 2006 00:33, Blogger DinosaurD said...

It sounds like your MIL has the same outlook as my MIL - they seem to think that life is all about them (actually it's all about us, right - tee-hee).
It's so strange to ask you if you don't like being around them because you're quiet - I don't know (for the life of me) why these type of people can't just ask "is there anything I can do for you perhaps to make you more comfortable around us" or "if you ever need to talk I am always willing to listen" or anything remotely similar.
But then, if they were like that, we wouldn't find the need to blog about them in the first place would we?
Good luck on the in-law front but I would caution you not to expect too much from them (but I will keep my fingers crossed anyway).


At 22 March, 2006 00:59, Blogger k #2 said...

oooohhhh...the drama queen MIL! How awful! We hadn't planned on telling our inlaws, but they dropped in unannounced during one of my many IF meltdowns and DH kindly told them to "go away." Well, a few days later he had to come clean with them about our struggles and also our wish to keep it quiet as it was private!

Wonder if you could just mention that you have been trying, but really don't feel like sharing the private specifics at hand...AUGH!!!

Although, somehow I feel that your SIL&BIL#3 might spill the beans to the rest of the family! Good luck

At 22 March, 2006 01:38, Blogger projgen said...

This one's such a toughie. We chose to come clean and tell everyone. But that has sort of backfired, because NO ONE EVER ASKS. Which is probably a good thing, but aren't they concerned? Don't they care? Which I suppose is better than the alternative: them asking every 5 minutes.

Anyway, good luck with your decision, whether you tell them or not. Hopefully, having SIL&BIL#3 in the know will be helpful and give you a confidant within the family.

At 22 March, 2006 04:14, Blogger Vacant Uterus said...

Maybe you'll hit the jackpot and BIL & SIL#3 will tell MIL. She definitely seems like a drama queen but even more than that she seems insecure. I think what she's really asking when she badgers you is "Do you love me? Do you approve of me? Are we friends?" And unfortunately this sort of person needs *constant* reassurance, so you may have to tell her yes over and over again. Or no, depending on how you feel about it.

My heart is with you, sister.

At 22 March, 2006 06:57, Blogger Sparkle said...

Are SIL&BIL3 blabbermouths? Family have a habit of passing this stuff on without giving a second thought.
Alternatively, I agree with K#2, tell her, but advise that it's not something you're going to go into detail on, and throw in that it's because you've got alot to deal with, and will have decisions to make between the two of you only.

I think it'll be a weight of your shoulders when you get to come clean.

I'm lucky with my MIL, but not so lucky with my mother - opposite problem!

At 22 March, 2006 13:42, Blogger fisher queen said...

MIL might be sensing that something is wrong, but since she doesn't know about the IF, may be assuming it's her. I would try to tell them, and just ask that you'd like to keep it quiet and will keep them posted as necessary.

At 22 March, 2006 15:36, Blogger Fertility Faux Pas said...

I'd talk to your husband about it again. Does he know that his siblings know yet? Try not to take all of this on yourself, especially when it is his family that you are dealing with. I'm sure if you approach his mother as a team, she will be a lot easier to deal with. Good luck!

At 22 March, 2006 18:01, Blogger Mellie said...

It's so hard to know how much to divulge and what the response will be. I think you've got to follow your instincts - and get dh on board for sharing the news - if not the details - of your situation. I know that's easier said than done. Sadly, nothing of this process is easy.

At 22 March, 2006 18:54, Blogger Just another Jenny said...

It's never easy. I'm not having any fun with my in-laws. My MIL will not stop babying me and putting my head in her giant bosoms as if I am a 2yr old with a cold. My SIL, I won't ramble here, I posted about her on my blog today. It must be "in-law" fun week.
I wouldn't say that you are being senitive about your husbands feelings, just make sure he knows that you have talked to some of the family. That way he isn't caught red faced if somebody brings it up.

At 22 March, 2006 23:07, Blogger S said...

My MIL is very similar-it's got to be about how "they" feel and not about your journey here. My MIL would constantly throw the sneaky "baby barbs" out at us before she knew about our problems, and I finally broke down and told my husband that if we didnt tell her what was going on, I would on my own(and it wouldn't be pretty). I actually told her after one of her "comments" and it was very effective-I actually felt kinda bad at first because she seemed genuinely embarassed afterwards.

Of course, even though she's supportive, it's still in a selfish way. When I did the first IVF cycle, she told the entire family what was going on, and I didn't know about it until Easter dinner when her brothers and their wives were grilling me about my injections. Then my BIL told mutual friends of ours. Then, she told everyone in the family I miscarried, after specifically telling her that we didn't want anyone to know I was pregnant yet. And, that's when I lost it and told Sean that this is our story, and who we choose to share it with is our business, so he better straighten her out before I went postal.

Honestly, I'd tell them, if only to clear the air, and then move on. It might not be best for her to hear it from SIL, because then she could get pissed off that you two didn't tell her directly (or first). It's up to them how they deal (or not) with it. If they make a big issue about it, say that you don't need the added stress at this time. Make it clear that you're trying to live as "normal" a life as possible right now, and that they shouldn't make a huge dramatic deal about it. And, if she won't let it go, perhaps it's best not to spend a lot of time with her, for your own sanity's sake (easier said than done, I know).

It's always hard with the in-laws to find that "middle ground". I'm the type of person who tells it like it is (I'm almost too blunt), and my MIL is the sugar-coat it, passive-aggressive type, which is why we don't always agree.

Of course, you can always break the news during a Clomid rage-that would be a interesting conversation, wouldn't it? Dramatic in the extreme!!

At 23 March, 2006 00:37, Anonymous thalia said...

sounds like your MIL is being unbearably selfish, I'm sorry you're having to deal with that.

At 23 March, 2006 01:49, Anonymous Lori said...

It took J a long time to get to the point where he felt comfortable telling his parents which stemmed from him not really coming to grips with the fact we were facing infertility. Eventually he told them and they've been great. I hope it works out as well for you.
As others have mentioned it sounds like she either needs constant reassurance or she senses that something is up and is just trying to figure out what it could be.

At 25 March, 2006 00:19, Blogger Liz said...

It was a difficult decision to make but I was glad that we told the family. It helped put an end to questions and speculations.

At 26 March, 2006 15:32, Blogger N said...

Our family knows...but just our parents, his siblings (I don't have any), and our 2 vry best friends. We have a strict - DO NOT ASK policy. But they know that WE TELL if there are an news. It works fine for us.

Thanks for coming by my blog and leving your comment. We had been commenting on each others blogs before you went to Canada as well...my blog looked completely different before...new style while you were away.

So welcome back :-D

Take care!


At 28 March, 2006 21:10, Blogger Dream Mommy said...

I was nervous about telling people but afterwards it was a big relief. I kinda felt like I was sneaking around.

The worst part is that my mom just doesn't understand. That wouldn't bother me but we are so close and she is helpless to do anything for me because she didn't have to experience the pain.

At 31 March, 2006 13:43, Anonymous meg from the egg said...

bleuch... they sound like pretty yuck-O in-laws, I must say. like projgen, we told everyone... well, "I" told everyone... in some ways it's easier cause, no, they usually don't ask... but sometimes i just wish i didn't have to deal with all the vomitty pity... good luck with it; hope you get it done sooner rather than later... it seems you are looking forward to having it over with...

At 02 April, 2006 17:45, Blogger Mary Ellen and Steve said...

Deciding on whether or not to tell family was hard for us too. We eventually did, and were plesantly surprised at how supportive everyone was/is.

I think that it will feel good for you to finally clear the air. Don't expect them to know what to say though. Good luck with your decision, and I hope the conversation goes well if you decide to have it.


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