MIL ashamed/embarassed about this pregnancy?!

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-30-2007
MIL ashamed/embarassed about this pregnancy?!
31
Sun, 09-23-2012 - 6:34pm

As I told you in my other thread, we insisted my son tell his grandparents about the baby before they put it on facebook. (He did what we asked.)   Well, it's been like 10 days and evidently my husband's mother has not accepted this pregnancy.  You see,  my DIL was about two months along when she and my son got married. (OMG, like this never happens?????)   I knew she was being weird about this.  Today we were at their house for an informal gathering of her (MIL's) side of the family.   My SIL arrived and congratulated her and us about the baby.  MIL said "I'm not ready."  Ready for what?  Well, she better get ready because this is happening whether she wants it to or not!!!!!!   There was one aunt there who I guess she told but there were about a dozen other people there who didn't know about it.  It was not our place to tell them, they are not our brothers and sisters.  SIL suggested we tell them, but we were so mad and we needed to get going anyway, so we left.  My son really looks up to and respects and loves his grandparents and would be crushed by her behavior.  We really think this woman has psychological issues.  This isn't the only thing she's weird about.  But, she MUST accept this baby as the gift that it is and not be ashamed or she will alienate our son.  My husband is going to give her a week or two here, but before son and DIL come to visit again he will be having a conversation with his mother.  He is extremely upset by her attitude.  Tell me, if a person is so opposed to abortion, then how can they be upset with a mother and father who are married welcoming a child with open arms?  They are excited to no end about this baby and do not consider it a "mistake" and we don't either.  I am excited about being a grandma and already have bought baby things to keep at our house.  I guess I should mention that son and DIL were engaged for a year and 1/2  when they got married.  So, this baby had nothing to do with the timing of the wedding.  They/we only found out two weeks before the wedding.  My son is almost 26 years old and his wife is 24.  I think they are old enough and mature enough to handle this.  WDYT?  

Signed, Angry and Hurt 

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Avatar for shirley_v
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-29-2000
Wed, 09-26-2012 - 12:04pm

I certainly do understand your desire to express your frustration.  You asked us what we thought and we gave you our thoughts.  I think that as much as you say and even if we agreed that your MIL SHOULD do this or behave in a certain fashion - the point is, she will react and act the way she wants and will think however she thinks as well, and that is perhaps one point that we often said...you have no control over another person's thoughts or actions - you cannot change them unless of course they want to change somehow.  The question also might be how to relate to that person to get the best outcome if ever possible. What I think most people including myself, don't like is someone telling them what we think their faults are or how to improve or whatever in a given situation.  The defences go up and we get offended or upset in some manner.  Which doesn't engender a lot of cooperation in the end.  Listen, I had a SIL who was extremely psychologically sick....maybe she was a bit of a psychopath - and our family didn' t have much to do with her because in the end it was quite impossible to deal with her on a realistic level.  She lied but even though we didn't spend time with her (and in fact my brother and she avoided contact with the family and most other human beings in general!) I also tried to understand her.  I knew she was ill or not in touch with reality...she was probably terribly afraid of losing my brother, (and in the end he did die of colon cancer) so she clung to him, controlled him - though he was of the nature to allow himself to be controlled, unfortunately.  It'sa long and convoluted story in our family, but she was very difficult to relate to...so I know  how frustrating it can be to deal with someone who isn't well psychologically.  The thing is, our family pulled back from interacting with my brother and his wife, as much as they pulled away from interacting with the rest of us, but not entirely , but for the most part yes.  We knew we couldn't change her - she would need professional help if indeed she'd ever agree to going for that, but we doubted that would ever happen and it didn't.  

I don't think your case is so similar in that you probably wish to have a harmonious family interaction with your DH's parents  and aren't wishing to just cut them out of your life.  But I am not going to advise you to do this or that at this point since I have no idea what your MIL is truly like.  Except to say that no one likes to be attacked psychologically, that's all. Basically we all wish to be accepted, maybe even understood or at least treated with some sort of compassion.  That I think is the hardest thing to do sometimes!  All the best to you in your endeavours!  

Shirley  

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-30-2007
Wed, 09-26-2012 - 11:25am

I was looking for some place to vent.  I thought that somebody might say that she is being old-fashioned and that she just needs to accept this baby.  This happens all the time.  Women/girls get pregnant all the time accidently.  My point is that they are not 16, they are married, and that they have been together for 5 1/2 years, and engaged for 1 1/2 of those years.  The wedding was planned for a long time, grandma should have figured kids would be coming some time.  Just because she didn't happen the way she would have liked it to, she has to pout.  SIL called last night, and agrees with us that she is "losing it."  What we have to determine is, is she just being her normal self and trying to have her way?  Or, has she cross over into being somewhat senile and doesn't know how bad she really is?  We are going to call my husband's other sister tonight, and she what she thinks, then we will probably send the e-mail.   The e-mail will give her a chance to think before she responds.  If my husband goes to talk to her she will just start yelling and it will accomplish nothing.  Whatever the reason she said what she said, she will get defensive about it.   This e-mail does not accuse her of anything, we are just trying to understand why she said it.  We're pretty confident we know the reason, it is because she is ashamed.  We'll just see what she has to say about it.  If she does not respond one way or another, we are going to let our son know that she is not behaving rationally, and he can decide whether or not he wants to go visit.   Unfortunately, he'd probably like to go visit grandpa but of course grandma is there.  Thanks everyone for letting me ramble on.   We'll see what happens after we send the e-mail. 

Avatar for shirley_v
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-29-2000
Tue, 09-25-2012 - 9:56pm

So my question is..... Why did you bring this topic up with us on the board?  You asked us what we thought, but then shot down any idea any of us had about this...And quite rightly we DON'T know your MIL, so what's the point to us discussing any of this if it's a done deal? 

Shirley

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-30-2007
Tue, 09-25-2012 - 9:46pm

The letter doesn't say anything that should make her mad, I think my husband is being quite gentle with her, but she might get mad anyway.  If her feelings are hurt, it's because she cannot deal with the truth.  I do not see it as "opening up a can of worms," I see it as clearing the air.  We need to know what she's really thinking.  I guess you just have to know my MIL to understand why we're upset with her.  If she was always normally a reasonable person it would have been easy to say, O.K., we'll just talk about this later, great-grandma needs more time. But, since she is not a reasonable person at all, this just puts up all kinds of red flags for us.   As I have said before, her family has gotten into fights about really, really stupid stuff.  It would be just like her to use this as a way to feel sorry for herself, and then she has yet another thing to complain about.   Some members of her family have literally not spoken to other members of the family for years at a time, over the pettiest, stupidest things. 

Avatar for shirley_v
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-29-2000
Tue, 09-25-2012 - 6:38pm

Well, I have no idea what the letter says, but I'm willing to bet that it might be opening a 'can of worms' so to speak, if your MIL is as easily upset or feels attacked or whatever she may even imagine what she wants to imagine, true or not, about any given situation, as you seem to intimate she is like.  So I am not so sure that this will necessarily 'help' the situation, but I have no idea what is said to her in the letter - just that it does seem, as others here have said, that you are anticipating the worst from her and yet, all along all we have to go on is one comment of hers..."I'm not ready" which seems hardly inflammatory and also, how is it to even be interpreted?  It's rather vague sounding to me. 

You have stressed how psychologically unstable she is but I will bet that she will feel quite defensive indeed if she is told in whatever possibly no uncertain terms what you and your DH thinks how she should behave, do or say or not say...etc. etc.  When so far, nothing seems to have happened so much!  I think, speaking for most or all of us here, we can't see what the huge issue is!  Or at least, not to stir the hornet's nest so soon by poking it?  Much may depend on how you word things too. 

And it is sooooo easy to point the finger at others...when we  very much only have real control over how WE respond to what others say and do and that is the question...how to respond to not make things worse or how to respond to even try to make things better?  At least in my opinion, feeling or expressing anger is hardly the way to respond to make things better. (Well, I will admit anger can be expressed in a non-judgmental and non-accusatory way if necessary but it shouldn't be used as an attack on someone).  And yes, we don't know your MIL, but do you really know exactly how she feels about any of this so far?  If she turns out to be a toxic presence for your Ds, DIL and grandbaby, then they will have the choice to not spend time with her, I guess. 

This is my two cents, and of course you will do what you want to do as anyone does.  It would be nice if things only got better from here in...!  I hope things work out for all of you.  Somehow I cannot imagine your MIL not feeling some sort of tender feelings toward her newborn great grandchild when he or she does arrive on the scene.  In the meantime, one would hope the situation wouldn't get stirred up for the worst!

Shirley

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-30-2007
Tue, 09-25-2012 - 3:15pm

He has a good job with excellent health coverage.  The jobs that he lost had extenuating circumstances.  I believe I might have come on here some time ago and talked about it.  I won't bore you with the details now.  In a nutshell, he was just not in the right line of work.  Still it affected his self-esteem a lot.  I don't know how you can say what happened 8 years ago wouldn't affect him.  Anything that happens in one's life that affects their self-esteem can stick with them a long time.   I was teased about being fat when I was young.  To this day, I am very self-conscious about my weight.  I don't think I'd have those issues if I had not been tormented when I was a kid.  It is not the center of my life, by any means, I have many other things I concentrate on, but it's like a fly on the wall, it just never really goes away. 

It may seem like a "simple statement" to you, but, if you've read some of the other things I've said, this woman is kind of a walking disaster.  She constantly complains about things that are out of her control and that don't affect her.  Since this situation does affect her, I hate to see how far she'll go with it.  I also mentioned about the respect he has for his grandparents.  I'm pretty sure he won't talk back to her unless she says something mean to his new wife. 

We'll see how she responds to this letter.  It might get interesting. 

Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Tue, 09-25-2012 - 11:58am

I have to agree with the chorus here.  I don't see that there IS a problem.  I think you are reading way too much into a simple statement, and are way too angry over a non-issue.  Even if your MIL had REALLY said something infalmmatory, so what?  Sticks and stones, and all that. 

And I also agree that you seem too involved in fighting your son's battles.  I don't see why issues your son had in HIGH SCHOOL are at all relevant now.  That was 8 years ago, by my count.  Why do you have to "warn" your son about anything?  I would think at his age, married, and expecting a child, that he should be capable of making his own decisions about people's intentions and feelings, and be capable of standing up for himself if he dislikes what is said.

If I were you, the ONE issue I'd worry about, is the fact that your son has problems hanging onto a job.  I would be more concerned about whether or not the prospective parents can clothe, feed and house this child, and whether or not they have health insurance for the pregnancy and the baby.  This is the only thing I'd be talking to *my* child about.

  

Avatar for deenow17
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-12-2004
Tue, 09-25-2012 - 10:54am
As I said, everyone processes things at their own speed. You are demanding that your MIL process this at your speed in the way you feel. That isn't fair. Also, what criticism & condemnation did she offer? You have only shared that she said she's "not ready". That is pretty mild. Believe me, my aunt called her great-granddaughter's Mom a few less than lovely names. Thankfully behind her back. She thinks the world of this woman now but measured her reaction based on her generation's beliefs.

IMO, you need to take a deep breath & let go of your rage. The baby will bring joy when he or she arrives. You are making this into something huge that may just disappear the minute great-grandma sees that precious little one.

One a side note, 3 yrs ago I asked my then 27 yr DS why he wasn't sharing details of his life anymore. We had been the closest & like you, I had fought many battles for my shy, frightened disabled child. His response was that when he shared, I went into Momma warrior mode & was all set to make things right or at least tell him how to do it. He said he didn't need this as he was a grown man & it was time for me to leave the battles to him. As I stepped back, he started sharing once again. In fact, there are times when he will ask my opinion on how to deal with something. He also pointed out that his siblings at 22 & 30 needed me to do the same for them. His final comment that won me over was, I had taught them well. It was time for them to live their lives as adults.

Please don't let your hurt for your son get in the way here. Dee
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-30-2007
Tue, 09-25-2012 - 10:53am

We are hoping she will tell us what the problem is.  She may just get mad at us and fly off the handle or go sulk because we hurt her feelings.     If we can find out, then for sure we'll warn our son so he is prepared for it. 

Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998
Tue, 09-25-2012 - 10:45am

Doesn't your ds know all of this about his grandmother? Having grown up seeing her behavior he may accept that its just how she is. Its good that you want to explain to her the possible consequences if she continues this attitude but what if she still doesn't come around? You're back to it being out of your control.

Maybe when you find out exactly what her objections are (so far it seems like you are speculating) you can warn your ds that she's not taking the news well and why. Then he can decide if and when he wants to go visit her. 

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