Well that was unexpected, Part II (aka, weird experiences with the in-laws)

Thank you all for your sincere messages and concern the past few days. I’m trying to hold things together and keep from thinking too much about the situation until we know more, but it’s pretty hard to not think about it with the constant reminder of the nausea and other symptoms. In the meantime though, we decided it was time to finally tell G’s family. I told my mom pretty much right away and have kept her updated along the way, but I left it to G to decide when he wanted to tell his family.

Telling them has been stranger than we could have imagined. In the past two days we’ve had  two of the most surprising and/or strangest interactions we’ve ever had with them. G called his parents on Thursday night, but he happened to catch his dad on his commute, so he ended up telling them separately. FIL was sweet, if a little in denial. He kept telling us how he’d pray for us (which doesn’t do a lot for me since we’re atheists, but I appreciate that it means something to him), and that God would fix this. Again, I appreciate the thought, but I don’t want him to end up more let down later because he didn’t beleive how serious this is.

Then G called his mom, and she had a similar reaction, if a little less in denial. She said she’d pray, but she understood how unlikely it is to work out. Then she went on to tell us about how we could still do this, it could still work for us eventually. We made it clear that we don’t really think it’s an option to keep trying if we can’t figure out what’s wrong, and she eventually said she could understand that.

She also suggested that maybe surrogacy was the best option, and maybe my parents could pay for it. This offends me a little because they seem to think my parents are rich, which is far from the case. They own a small business that may or may not go out of business in the next year after they put all of their funds into it (leaving aside some for retirement). That’s a sore spot for me I guess, but we made it clear that we wouldn’t be asking them for money. Then MIL started to get into how much she has saved, and maybe if we were okay with only having one child, they could help us. My initial reaction to this was, wow, coming from her that’s crazy generous. She’s insane about saving money, which is why she might have enough to pay for maybe 2/3 of the cost of surrogacy despite the two of them having very modest incomes.

I really really don’t think we would take their money to do surrogacy, and honestly I’m not even sure surrogacy is something I’m interested in anyway. But, I was impressed that she would be willing to give us her hard-pinched pennies at all. Then, it came out why. We said we think that adoption is probably a better option for us, both because it costs less, and for other reasons as well, and she says, “Well, I just don’t know if that’s a good idea. You have to be so careful. We know so many people who’ve had problems with adopted kids. And look at all the problems they have when they grow up”.

Now, first of all, this is only sort of true for them. They do know a few people who’ve had serious problems with adopted kids. But these were people who chose to adopt very high risk babies. One had a very serious physical disability, and the other was born addicted to drugs. These are amazing people to be willing to take on those challenges, but it isn’t remotely a fair way to judge adoption as a whole. In her own family, MIL has three adopted nieces. One is very well adjusted, albeit a little annoying, and the other two have dealt with addiction. They are both extremely lovely women who just ran into some challenges (arguably partly due to the way they were raised!!). And lets not ignore just how many problems there are in the family amongst the people who are NOT adopted. I just despise the fact that she’s judging, rather openly, members of her own family for being adopted. The bottom line is, she’d rather give us all her hard earned money, that she won’t even spend to go out to dinner once a month or buy a functional coffee maker, on a surrogate for us, rather than have us take in one of those dangerous problematic adopted babies. This is so not what I need to hear right now, when I need to know that if pregnancy is not an option, I still have a way to have a family. I don’t need any additional reasons to be worried about adopting (my child’s grandmother talking about him or her as a family problem).

So, Friday morning I wasn’t in the greatest place anticipating having to go visit them. When out of nowhere, G forwards me this email:

Hi G – I have been thinking about you and J(me). We would love to have you come for Christmas. I want you both to feel comfortable about coming, so if you think it wouldn’t be a good time to travel, we understand. You know when you stay at our house, you can relax whenever you want. If you come and would like me to change any plans, I can. We are having the Christmas Eve dinner at K’s (SIL) and Christmas Day at Aunt K’s. You could drive separately on that day and go back to our house early if needed. Thursday was the brunch plans and (cousins with new baby) and (pregnant cousin) can’t come. Talk this over with J. I could cancel these plans for Thursday if you would rather not have a bunch over.  We can talk over the weekend. I said my prayers for you and J. This would be great if things turn around. Love, Mom

Wow. Just wow. I’m so shocked that these words came out of her mouth (well, hands). I never would have thought she could anticipate how hard it would be for us, particularly to see the cousins with the new baby, who are specifically the ones I wrote about here. I’m overwhelmed by the thoughtfulness of this email, and I feel so so much better about going to visit (doesn’t hurt that we no longer have to see the baby/pregnant cousin). It even inspired me to think that if she could surprise me about this, maybe she can surprise me and be supportive if/when we adopt.

Then comes this morning, and we get a call from SIL. G never got a chance to tell her himself, but we assumed his parents would tell her. They live down the street and talk every day. SIL calls today to ask us what we want to drink on Christmas eve (an odd question in retrospect since she did know I’m pregnant). It was probably just an excuse to talk though. I didn’t hear the whole conversation they had, but I could tell from the odd look on G’s face that it was going very strangely. After he hung up, he said, “my sister just offered to have a baby with your brother”.

Yep, you heard that right. Her solution to our problem is to use my brother’s sperm and do artificial insemination. I just. I don’t. I don’t even know what to say. I wanted to laugh, but my stomach was turning at the thought of it (not that it doesn’t do that constantly anyway). I just said “Honey, hug me, I’m scared”, and started laughing. I mean, ewwwww! There is nothing good about this idea. I would never ask that of my brother, knowing how weird it would be for him. Plus, there is no chance in hell I would let SIL carry for us. I couldn’t handle it. We’re not exactly close, first of all. Her pregnancies have never been easy, she seemed to barely survive the second one. I guess I should be honored that she’d offer given that, but I just honestly think I wouldn’t survive the experience knowing she was suffering that much for me when we aren’t even close. That doesn’t even get in to the level of awfulness I would feel having to watch someone else (someone who has everything I’ve ever wanted and I struggle with jealously of to begin with), do the one thing I can’t do, for me. I would feel so unbelievably powerless, and useless. The whole thing is just so awkward I don’t even know what to say.

I know the appropriate response to an offer like this from SIL is to be appreciative. I do appreciate that she wants to help. But, it’s very hard for me to beleive or accept that she could be doing it from a generous place. I feel like an awful person for saying it, but the bottom line is she has never once said she was sorry for our losses. She’s never implied that she cares about how hard this is for me. She’s generally done the opposite. For example, she came to visit when I was going through miscarriage number 4. She was about 7 months pregnant. I told her how I was pretty miserable and I had just had an awful experience of bleeding so heavily I almost passed out while teaching a class full of undergrads. Her reaction was “yeah, me too, I don’t know how I’m going to make it two more months”. Just wow. Last summer when she was visiting with her 3 month old and we were talking about our situation, she said “yeah, I can’t imagine if it ever happened to E (the baby, meaning if E was infertile, not if she’d had a miscarriage with E)”. What???? In what universe is even this about your baby?? I just don’t know how to ignore all of that, and take this as a generous and sincere offer. Either way we will have to have a talk with her at some point. G left it that he appreciates the thought, but we need to let this pregnancy play out before we make any big decisions.

So, that’s been my last few days.  It certainly has been an eventful two weeks of pregnancy purgatory so far, we’ll see how the rest goes…

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19 thoughts on “Well that was unexpected, Part II (aka, weird experiences with the in-laws)

  1. Wow. Just wow. That’s quite an offer, but I’m with you – more harmful than helpful. Thanks but no thanks. Sounds like, even though it may be hard to really hear it, your families want for you what you want for yourself – to build your own family. I think the same thing about my MIL, she’s very judgy about adoption and has offered to help us do IVF. Her house is practically wallpapered with grandchildren photos (she has 6) and everyone looks alike. I wonder what it will be like to bring a child with different genes into the mix. In my family, there will be instant acceptance. We have 3 relatives who were adopted at birth and there are zero issues with integration. It’s impossible to predict the future, so I say take it one day at a time and know that there is still time to make the big decisions.

    • Thanks, yep I agree, my family would be so unbeleivably happy with an adopted child, no issues at all. I think the same is true for FIL, and I’m at least a little hopeful that MIL would come around.

  2. I don’t even know how to comment here. I’ve read your post twice and I agree with rosidd78- wow. just wow. I’m so glad that your MIL recognized how hard everything is going to be on you. Hopefully you find support over the Christmas holiday. Thinking of you.

  3. Wow. That is a lot to take in!

    That is very kind of your MIL to look at the guests and know that it would be hard to be around pregnant women/babies. I do hope she is able to come around about adoption if that’s the route you end up taking. If she has a small sample size she’s looking at, I can kind of get her concerns (even if they are not fair). Adoption is also painted pretty unfairly in the media at times where the sensational (bad) stories are widely proclaimed.

    And your SIL… You are right, if that is a legit offer, it is very sweet. But if it’s just something she’s tossing out there without much thought (and it’s definitely not a great time to do that) it could be kind of hurtful. When I was telling someone we were going to find a surrogate say ‘well, you know I would offer, but we may still want one more of our own, and my uterus will be done after three, sorry”. I was like, I wasn’t asking you, just telling you where we are at. But you will hear all sorts of randomness from lots of people.

    Still hoping there is good news coming for you, my friend. And sending you good thoughts to enjoy your Christmas celebration.

    • I know, I mean, this is the same woman who totally ignored my emotional meltdown in the hospital when we went to visit that exact baby after she was born! What a change. You’re also right that people don’t really get adoption at all. Wow, what an inconsiderate thing for your friend to say, ugghhh.

  4. Holy shit. Where do I start? I can’t believe all this has come out in the last few days and meanwhile you are still awaiting the fate of your little one while suffering from horrific morning sickness. Can’t everyone just give you a break?
    SIL’s offer just astounds me. I would laugh/cry/be sick too. It’s all just a bit too much. And MIL is lovely for being hyper aware that you might not be up to socialising right now, that makes me feel more at ease about you spending time with them. But ultimately what route you chose to have a family is your decision and not hers. She can live with her own hangups, I know you won’t let them cloud your decisions. So much is going on for you right now, it’s crazy. Hope you are hanging in. Sending love xxx

  5. Families are weird. At various points, both my mom (eeeewwww!) and SIL (whom I can’t stand) have offered to be surrogates. Even though our problem was male-factor. I appreciate that they want to help, but cannot even fathom taking either one up on their offer. Ever.

  6. Wow. Just wow, is right! It is a very generous offer, but I’m with you. If it were me and my SIL made that offer, I would absolutely not be able to do it, and I could never ask my brother to do that either. I even have a close relationship with my SIL. We were friends before I knew my husband and she introduced us, but no way, I still wouldn’t be able to handle that situation. So I completely understand your hesitation! Ultimately, you need to do what feels right for you. And though it’s wonderful that your MIL is finally coming around and being supportive and helpful, it’s not fair for her to impose her opinions about adoption on you. I think there are a lot of people out there who were adopted that had a great upbringing because their adoptive parents raised them well and have gone on to live good lives and become responsible members of society. It’s wonderful that your in-laws want to help, but it’s for you and your husband to decide what you want to do. And as you said, you’re pregnant right now. You still don’t know the outcome of this pregnancy and still have a lot of questions to be answered. I’m still keeping my fingers crossed for this little one, though I know you need to be realistic too. I understand too well that feeling of hoping, but not wanting to set yourself up for disappointment. More than anything, I hope you get answers soon, and this purgatory can end! Sending you strength to get through the Holidays with the in-laws, and that they offer more support and less advice. Glad your MIL is finally getting there. Hopefully your SIL will follow her example.

  7. Wow. That email was amazing. Even their crazy solution seeking responses is heartwarming (even if they’re not the right solutions for you). I’m sure you can educate them on the idea of adoption. Nice to know family is routing for you when things are so tough. xo

    • Yep, I definitely think credit should be given where it’s due and I was very impressed with the email. I can at least hope she will come around on adoption if need be. She’s surprised me once, she can surprise me again :).

  8. Holy…that’s a lot to process. I have had two women (my best friend and cousin) make serious offers to carry, but this offer from your SIL is just coming from such an awkward space. One thing I’ll say I’ve learned over all this time is that when people act crazy like that (i.e. your in-laws) it’s not that they don’t care it’s that they’re ill-equipped, and that’s when these cooky remarks and offers come from the clear blue sky. Ironically, we have tossed around a scenario similar to what you’re talking about–should all else fail–in which we thought of using “known donors” (my brother and DH’s cousin) to make an embryo and using my cousin to carry (if need be). My support group leader (a therapist who specializes in IF) said in response to this idea, “People do really creative things all the time to forge a path that they can be okay with.” For me, I cannot “be okay” with adoption, hence the creative thinking. It’s sounds like you are open to it though, so maybe it’s the best path for you. All I’m saying is I’m a big proponent of keeping all items on the menu until the best alternative announces itself.

    • Hehe, yes awkward is right. I agree though, they do mean well and just don’t know what to say or do. I also think my reaction to the idea is very specific to my relationships with SIL and my brother. I can definitely see it working for others under the right circumstances.

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