Friday, April 25, 2008

It wasn't relaxing...

So let me say first that my mother-in-law (MIL) is great. She definitely has her passive-aggressive moments, and there are times when I get frustrated with her relationship with S (neither one of them is ever direct with each other about anything) but she's also sweet and considerate. When she becomes overbearing, I can ask her for some room and she understands and steps back, so I never really feel like she's imposing anything on us. I also give her huge props for the way she and my FIL handled S's decision to convert to Judaism. I've heard horror stories about parents who never forgive their children for this decision, but they were both incredibly supportive, buying books on Judaism and meeting with a rabbi on their own so that they could learn more about it. They flew out here for S's conversion ceremony, and even came to town this year to celebrate Passover with us -- the first time they've ever attended a Passover seder. They still don't quite grasp that we don't celebrate Christmas, but overall, they're amazingly supportive. Now that we're having a boy, they're also very excited about being at their grandson's bris. (I don't know many Jewish people who can actually say that -- I'm certainly not looking forward to it!)

The main problem that I've had with my MIL has been her desperation to become a grandmother. S's sister, age 29, recently broke up with a long-term boyfriend, and has been declaring for years that she never wants to have kids. Thus, S and I are very likely MIL's only chance at grandchildren, at least for the foreseeable future. And she's been incredibly impatient. I've already written here about how hard it has been to listen to her comments, particularly during the last year or so of us trying. When we told her that we were expecting, we held off on telling her about the struggle we went through to get there. This past weekend, we filled her in on some of the details.

There were 3 interesting aspects to her reaction. First, she said that she suspected we were having trouble, because she thought that we wanted to have a baby early during grad school (ie, 3 years ago) rather than now, when I'm almost done. Second, she brushed aside the information that we needed medical help, insisting that we probably just needed to relax. (Yep, that ole chestnut.) Third, she informed us that she and several other relatives had "back calculated" from our due date, to figure out when we would have conceived, and it has apparently become a family joke that we probably conceived while staying in S's parents guest room when we visited them last December.

One at time, here's why every aspect of this reaction made me sad, not to mention pissed off. First, if she strongly suspected that we were having trouble conceiving, why the hell did she spend more than a year trying to make me feel guilty for not being pregnant? If you think someone is trying to get pregnant, why do you spend energy convincing them that they should have kids? How could it not occur to her how hurtful those comments would be? Before, I had avoided getting too mad at her about those comments because she didn't know what we were going through. But if she actually DID know? That's inexcusable.

The "just relax" comment I probably don't even need to talk about. But the way she brushed aside everything that we actually went through in order to get pregnant really hurts, particularly when she's so willing to blame the whole thing on me just being up-tight.

As for the last part... it's not even about the embarrassment, which isn't a big deal. I know that we did not conceive at their house because I ovulated and had the successful IUI 3 days before we flew to visit them. Not that I would care if we DID conceive there (and we did have sex in their guest room, so, you know, ... whatever). And if the bawdier members of the family want to laugh a bit about the possibility, then fine. Have at it. But my MIL kept making jokes, after knowing about the fertility treatments that ultimately got us pregnant, for the entire time she was here. She had a part to play in the conception of her grandson, because of her magic guest room. Doctors and tests and drugs and months of pain and anguish? Not important. All it took was the magic guest room. Every time she mentioned it, it pissed me off a little more.

1 comment:

Fertilized said...

maybe if she is convinced of the magic guest room - she should rent it out to other infertiles!

O'please - I am so sorry that you had to endure that conversation at all