Monday, November 19, 2007

MIL blues

Consider yourselves warned. This is a very long rant about my MIL. While it does discuss infertility as it relates to how she deals with it, it's really just a daughter-in-law bitching about her mother-in-law. Feel free to skip it.

I don't know how to deal with my mother-in-law.

I really don't.

She is a good person. She really is. I like her a lot. We've always gotten along well. In the years before David and I decided to get married, she was very vocal about wanting us to get married. We shop, we talk, we hang out.

That being said, we're really not the same sort of people. I'm a little loud. I cuss too much. I say what's on my mind- good or bad. I'm affectionate, but hot tempered. I've been known to slam doors & scream when discussing politics with my husband. (Let's just say we're on opposite sides of the aisle.) I'm a woman of extremes, I suppose. David has mellowed me a bit, as has age, but overall, I'm one with my Irish ancestry.

My MIL is quiet. I wouldn't go so far as to say she's meek, but that wouldn't be that far off. When David's father was still alive, she was the woman who asked him who to vote for on election day. She'll hug, but it's a nervous, half-hug to say good-bye. I can't think of the last time I heard anyone in their family say "I love you." They don't discuss things. Ever. Particularly anything that is remotely controversial or upsetting.

My MIL and I started having some tension during wedding planning. As I mentioned, she was quite vocal about her desire to see us married. The moment we were engaged, she all but disappeared. I was honestly surprised. She seemed the type who would want to be involved. Not at all. From a conversation that happened much later I learned that she thought having a wedding was...... wasteful, I guess. Basically, when I mentioned the headache of wedding planning she sort of gave me an eyeroll and said "Well, you wanted to have one." When I explained that no, actually, I didn't want a wedding- David did- she was surprised. David was there & confirmed that yes- he was the one who insisted on a full ceremony. I wanted to elope. You could see a change come over her instantly. She was suddenly sorry she hadn't helped. I guess it's okay for her son to be wasteful- I don't know.

In any case, I carry a little resentment from that. I did everything I possibly could to accomodate their family (which was about 75% of the guest list.) but she never wanted to do anything to help.

I know I should let it go, but there it is anyway.

When we started trying to have a baby, we didn't tell anyone. Both my MIL & my father had both been clamoring for grandchildren for some time. (About a month before we announced our engagement, my father famously announced "why don't you have a baby? You don't have to get married or anything.") We told everyone we were going to wait a year. We were buying time.

When we were originally diagnosed with fertility issues, I suggested we tell them. Not in great detail, just that we were trying, we were having trouble & we'd appreciate it if they'd be patient. We'd let them know when there was good news.

David's grand plan was to leave out the "trouble" part and just tell them we were trying. I thought that was a bad idea because it would only encourage them to ask how things were going MORE, not less.

We ended up going with something a little closer to my plan. (Surprise, surprise!) My dad took it well. He said he suspected as much because there seemed to be a lot of references to the doctor lately. (As it happened, we were actually going to the chiropractor a lot, but either way, he was right.) He pretty much wished us luck and didn't add any pressure.

My MIL was all but silent. Her commentary was more along the lines of "what is wrong with you?" When I explained that my ovulation is a little weak, but responding well, but that David's sperm left a little to be desired, her exact words were "Well, I just can't BELIEVE that. We couldn't keep from getting pregnant." (Both David & his brother were conceived while trying-to-avoid.)

I gently reminded her that actually, David's dad had a number of problems in the area. That they were actually told they wouldn't be able to conceive after the boys were already born. (MIL's tubes were already tied at that point, it didn't really matter.) And pointed out that it wasn't a genetic problem. His father's fertility has nothing to do with his. She had nothing to say to that.

Since then, she's made several comments about my uterus, my ovaries, my fertility etc. Every time, I point out to her that I'm not the only one with problems. I don't think I'm being overly sensitive. I really think she "blames" me. I honestly don't think that she is trying to be mean. I don't think she is aware of how her words come off at all. That's really the only reason I haven't given her a big Bitch Trish speech. I know she means well.

When we got pregnant last time, we called to tell her. Her first comment was "Is this baby........... do you know........if this one will make it?" Not "Oh congrats!" or anything. The first thing out of her mouth was that. I was stunned. I told her that there was no way to know that. She then asked if I was far enough along that it was likely. We said no, we'd only just found out. Apparently she expected us to keep it from her until we were further along. That seemed odd to me. If it was my kid, I'd want to know- good or bad.

After we lost the 2nd baby, David made the comment that next time we got pregnant, we weren't telling ANYONE. I told him that I guessed we'd not even tell his mom since she didn't seem to want to know. He said she just doesn't want to get excited & then be let down. (I will keep my snarky comments to myself about that.)

She didn't call to ask how I was after either miscarriage. She's never mentioned either baby at all, actually. She's actually made comments in passing that start with "When you ever get pregnant..." and I've had to respond, "I've BEEN pregnant. A couple of times now, actually." She just says that I know what she means. Yes, I do. It means she likes to pretend they never happened.

Just a few weeks ago, I mentioned something about having been off of work for a while in August. She asked why. I told her it was because I'd had a miscarriage. (In that- perhaps you've forgotten that my baby died- tone of voice.) She said "well, yes, but I didn't know you'd been off of work." I explained that since I was bleeding non-stop for more than 4 weeks, had 2 doses of medicine that should have caused me a lot more bleeding & pain but didn't work, and eventually had to have surgery- Yes.. I'd been off of work.

She said "Oh. I didn't know it was like that."

Well, no, you wouldn't. You've never bothered to ask. I just said "Yes. It was quite awful. Though none of that compared to actually having lost the baby." I've tried to stress to her a number of times that it's upsetting because she just doesn't seem to get it.

Anyway, my point being that I thought we weren't tell her anything about our trying anymore. It was David's decision, though a complete relief to me.

So when my MIL called earlier and said "Did you guys get through your stuff this week." I assumed she meant the flu. Turned out she didn't know anything about the flu. David had told her we were having an IUI.

I was totally unprepared for the conversation. She explained that she didn't know about the flu (and was appropriately concerned about that) but meant our "in vitro stuff." (Yes, I have explained a thousand times what the differences are. I can't help but wonder how many people think we're doing IVF because she can't get it straight.) I was surprised she'd even brought it up. The questions that ensued just left me floored.

I tried to dodge the questions by discussing the flu. She wasn't to be deterred. She asked if David's being sick affected our stuff. I said that it might have. She asked if David's "stuff" was okay. I said no, not really. She said "well, I'm sure being sick made it hard for him to do.........that." (My MIL talking about masturbation is so funny it was almost worth the uncomfortableness of the sitution.) I said that me managed. She asked if the numbers were okay (where did THIS come from!?) and I said no, not really. She asked if being sick is the reason why.

Now, this woman never asks any questions. I tried to avoid the questions & change the subject about 100 times. She just kept plugging away. So finally I said "I'm sure it didn't help. Being sick leads to white blood cells which aren't good for the swimmers. But he didn't have many to start with, which isn't related to being sick. The sperm were made more than 2 months ago, so that's unrelated. But yes, being sick probably contributed to the fact that only 20% of them were moving." She said "OH! I didn't know that!" (About the 2 months thing.) I gave her a mini lesson on sperm production. Then she asked why his count was so bad.

By this time David was sitting next to me, and I was even more uncomfortable. I told her that it might be related to his weight, it relates to his hormones etc. She seemed to accept that and then asked if that could be improved. I said we were working on it. I didn't know what the plan was. She was nice & supportive about how we had time to work on it etc.

Can anyone explain to me what happened to my MIL? I just never know what to expect. As I said, I think she IS well intentioned. But they are just a family that does not discuss stuff. I try to remember that when I'm feeling like she doesn't care or insenstive. I know she does care, she just doesn't deal well with emotional stuff. But then she goes and throws me for a loop tonight. Did someone call her up and tell her to shape up?

I don't get it. Ordinarily, I much prefer the supportive & involved MIL, but since we'd discussed not telling her we're pregnant, if she's intimately aware of our cycling, that's going to be sort of difficult to keep from her.

And, btw, nice of my husband to let me know he'd told her all of this. Jackass. Nothing like a little communication in the marriage.

Anyway, that's enough ranting about my MIL for the night. I must try to sleep.



tryingin2007 said...

ohhhhh. the MIL. YUCK!

feel free to vent all you want. it's good for you. I could actually have an entire blog devoted to nasty MIL stories. it's funny because all my exes had amazing mothers. it figures the guy I marry has an evil mom.

Fertilize Me said...

WOW I Can't believe you didn'y kill him. Our rule in the house - you deal with your parents, I'll deal with mine. Because ..I just cannoit deal with his .... but he loves mine.. I am so sorry that conversation sounds just awful.

Yodasmistress said...

I feel ya.

My In laws NEVER discuss anything either. I remember one time telling DH that it felt like even after all these years my relationship with them feels superficial because they never want to delve into anything that isn't sunshine and rainbows and therefore don't know or understand so many parts of who I am.

And back before the Oxycotin Doom, MIL actually TOLD DH that his crappy morph was a non-issue. She knows NOTHING about reproductive medicine but because she is a doctor she has the authority to decree this? AND make my DH believe it because, she is afterall, mom and knows more than the RE! AGGGGGG!!!!

Tracy said...

Nice of David to inform you that he told his mom! That phone call sounds so uncomfortable. Cheers for you for being so patient with her.

Will they have his eyes? said...

MIL issues can be so tricky. Good for you for handling it very well. I would have flown off the handle. LOL.

My MIL is on the other end of the spectrum. She's a nurse and asks lots of detailed questions. We get along really well, and I don't mind the sharing part, but part of me wishes we had a little more privacy. There will not be a "surprise" moment when we finally get PG again b/c she knows all about our cycles, testing, etc.

Don't know which is worse though.

Marz said...

Yikes, I can't believe he told her & didn't tell you that he told her.
Puts you in a rough spot & having to explain all that, ugh, especially to your MIL.
You did good, lol.
good luck & hope you have good end result this time.

Chili said...

I am so impressed by how patient you were with her. If I were in your shoes, I would have been so thrown by the sudden questions about something she wasn't supposed to know anything about that I probably would have clammed up and ended the convo until I could clear the air with DH!

Feel free to vent anytime - I'd never skip a post just because it wasn't about IF. :)