Wednesday, 26 June 2013

The Reveal: My In Laws

I don't know why I have been so hesitant to write this reveal.  I guess it is probably because for me, in so many ways, it was the most uncomfortable thing I have ever done.  I wasn't/still aren't ready to share my news with my husbands family, but it had to be done for my husbands sake.

I've talked a little about this before but for the sake of this blog i want to recap a little bit why i am so uncomfortable.  I do love my husbands family, they are wonderful and kind and loving people.  But, they are so different from my family.  They do what my Grandfather used to call "loving loudly" meaning they fight and scream at each other.  It doesn't really mean anything, doesn't mean they are pissed off, just that they disagree.  My family is not like this.  My brother pisses me off on a regular basis... I complain about him behind his back to my mother.  That is the nice normal way of doing these things.  :D

I agree there are advantages to the more forthright communication, but it is something I am still adapting to.  My husbands cousin got married in November of 2011.  Within 2 months they were pregnant.  While I was struggling to conceive the first time his wife said to me "You just need to relax.  We did.  This little bundle (she pauses here and strokes her rounding belly) was conceived because we just relaxed and drank a bottle of wine".  This was the moment that I stopped confiding in her.  It was the moment that in my head I screamed "It doesn't help to give that advice after months and months and months of trying.  We were relaxed the first couple of months."  Because I grew up in a family that doesn't tell you things to your face like this I smiled politely and cried on the way home.

The day I found out that I was losing the baby we had dinner with her and another pregnant wife of a cousin-in-law (I swear these people are more like SILs to me)  I had to do all the dishes because they were pregnant.  The week that she gave birth was as I was still going through the miscarriage. (I get the impression from many women that their miscarriages last 1 really bad day.  Mine occurred over 5 weeks.  I don't know what actual day it happened.  I suspect with better medical care (I have since changed doctor's) i would have been given a D'n'C.  But I could detect hcg in my urine for months.)  I visited her in the hospital.  I brought gifts.  I held her freshly baked baby, all cute and snuggly.  I held back my tears until we got back in the hallway.  I cried for 4 days straight. 

Then things went from bad to worse.  Now the pressure was on.  My husband and I had been married for months.  Where was the announcement.  Every week if I declined scotch the jokes would start "Oh!  She's pregnant" and if I didn't decline it "OMG!  You are drinking when you are pregnant?  You are going to make a terrible mother!"  It was funny to them.  It was never funny to me.

Every week I would say to my husband.  "You need to get them to stop".  But, he is like me.  He avoids confrontation.  By the next week he had put it off until the jokes started again.  I began to roll my eyes at them.  Make sarcastic comments like "Yeah, that's really funny", and sometimes flat out say "Not funny".  Did I say stop?  I think I did.  But i can't remember how clearly.  But I also think that pregnancy is one of those things, if they aren't telling, you don't ask.  A couple who doesn't have children either is trying or doesn't want to try.  Either way, it's no one else's business. 

Then came the day when I couldn't take the teasing.  It kept going.  "Not funny".  I said the first time.

"I think you should stop that", I said the second time.

The third time I unleashed a torrent of anger upon them that ensured the topic was never brought up again.  "Stop it.  It isn't funny.  It hurts and it's hard."  I was crying and hysterical and I don't know what all i said to them.  Needless to say the dinner was quiet after that. 

In the week that followed my husband was sent multiple apologies.  I was sent advice and recommendations.  "We went to see a naturopath both times and got pregnant right away," came one unsolicited recommendation.  I wrote back "It is staying pregnant that has been hard so far".  I was angry and upset that these people had been so pushy and unkind to me even though i knew it was because they meant well and that is just what they are like.  It was a few weeks before I returned to family meals. 

Because of this I wasn't prepared to share with them the news of our baby.  The evil side of me wanted to wait until they asked... especially if it was at 8 or 9 months... i figured I had been strong enough that they wouldn't dare.  So, the last few months as I have been declining scotch no one has commented.  When my husband finished (drank) my wine at shabbat it was done fairly discretely... if they noticed no one said. 

Last friday as everyone gathered we gave my MIL a "Memories for my grandchild", attached to it was a piece of paper underneath that said "Due Jan 2014".  The amount of time it took her to figure it out was PAINFUL and i got the sense that no one wanted to be the first to say anything.  When they did I was smothered in love... not the loud kind... the normal, kind, hugs and kisses and Beshaah Tovah wishes (Do NOT SAY MAZEL TOV to a pregnant woman... you say Beshaah Tovah which means "All in good time" or "At a good time" or "In God's time). 

Of course they were happy for us.  I never doubted that they would be.  My Aunt-in-law told us she had been praying for us every night.  The pregnant wife of the cousin (seriously... can i just call her a sister-in-law?)  who had the baby last October... she wouldn't let go... she was so glad that this was happening for us.  My MIL hugged me and told me she was glad that she was going to be a grandmother. 

They all were over the moon with happiness....  but still... i am not quite ready for them to know.  I think it is because I HAD to tell them about the last miscarriage, in the most painful of ways I am reluctant to reveal any information about this one until we know without a doubt that s/he is going to be ok... even if that means not until week 42 of this pregnancy.  I know that isn't reasonable... but it is how I feel.  Please don't ask the pregnant lady to be logical or rational.  

I did think it was strange that not one of them asked me how I felt, how the pregnancy was going or if everything was ok.  It is usually the first thing that everyone asks.  I don't know if this is a difference in my family, or if it is more of the same idea that you don't wish for congratulations because the baby isn't here yet. 


  1. I'm sorry you had such a difficult time with your in-laws while TTC. I think how you're feeling is perfectly normal. In terms of their reaction, maybe it was just pure joy and faith that all would be well. I got similar reactions with the twins--it's almost harder now because everyone is so worried about how this pregnancy will go that people are always asking if everything is ok. It's not to say that it wouldn't have been nice/appropriate for them to ask you those questions, though...and mabe they will come as your pregnancy continues.

    1. Family and inlaws in particular are just such a hard thing to integrate I find... there are so many subtle traditions and habits in a family it can take years to pick up on. But I do like them a great deal and feel very lucky... much luckier than many on the in-law front.

  2. Wait a minute... you had to do the dishes because they were pregnant? I had no idea you couldn't do dishes while pregnant... someone should have told my hubby that! Lol...

    Seriously- I wouldn't have been ready yet either.

    As for them not asking the questions you thought they would- I've learned over many, many years of ttc and losing babies that people's reactions are often surprising- sometimes in good ways, sometimes in not-so-good ways. Learning to just NOT have expectations of anyone certainly helps avoid disappointment, but it's a tough lesson to learn. It took me years. By the time I lost my fourth baby, I didn't expect sympathies from anyone, and was more surprised when I got them than when I didn't. Sad, but true.

    Anyway... hugs sweetie- it's tough being pushed outside your comfort zone, but it sounds like you handled the whole situation with grace. Thinking of you...

    1. My husband does not subscribe to the poor pregnant lady must be allowed to rest theory either... although i am thinking of encouraging it. For whatever reason my aunt in law wouldn't let any of the three daughter in laws do any dishes while they were pregnant. From day one. It's bizarre to me and yet I think it is a tradition that we should embrace in our house.

  3. First of all, I also have to comment on the dishes thing. Pregnant women can't do dishes?? I get that if they were close to their due date and maybe tired of standing for long periods of time that someone else would offer to do the dishes for them, but it sounds like you were just expected to?

    Secondly, I totally get why you may not have felt ready to share the news after all you've been through. And with them, specifically. It's too bad that your husband's cousins continued on badgering the topic for so long. It reminds me of my husband's best friend's wife. She won't stop, and yet I don't feel like it's any of her business to know of our struggles, so I can't exactly give her a good reason to stop. I know she means well, as I'm sure your cousins did too. People get excited about babies and forget (or simply lack the knowledge) that having a baby isn't so easy or controlled for some people.

    It sounds like the reveal went well and the family is excited! As for not asking a lot of questions, perhaps that is just how their family is. Maybe asking questions about feelings, symptoms, etc is too personal, or they are respecting your privacy. I know my in-laws would/will be much less "invasive" when it comes to talking about my own pregnancy than my own family would be.

    At any rate, the word is out and hopefully now you can now relax and focus on your Shmily. Do you get to see/hear him/her any time soon? I have no idea what the appt schedule is like once you're pg.


    1. Ok, the dishes thing... yeah... it's weird... but it seems like my in-laws won't let you do anything pregnant... which my husband was really annoyed at when I got up to wash dishes last week at the end of one of the courses and I wasn't shooed out of the kitchen. He shooed me out and we don't have to go this week (:D!!!!) - darn.

      We get to see Shmily a week from tomorrow. I am so excited/nervous. I just hope s/he is doing ok in there. After that the permission for my mother to spill the beans is implied. I am sure the entire family will know before dinner time. I just have to make it until then.