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What can I say to my Mother in law about not wanting a baby?

By Anonymous March 8, 2010 - 5:56pm
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My mother in law and also my father in law try to put subtle pressure on me to get pregnant. My husband and I are in our thirties and don't want kids.
My mother in law, particularly when I am visiting her, will point out someone's baby and say " I want one of those". I reply by saying something like" Well, you'd better get working on it then", trying to be funny, as she is 62.
I am beginning to resent her subtle demands. I feel that it is my life and my body and that this issue is between me and my husband.

The in laws even discussed it behind my back with my husband, offering to help pay for freezing my eggs(which to me sounds like an horrific procedure of injections, etc.). i was very angry that my husband even let them discuss it with him as I feel that it is no one's business but ours. i will be visiting the in laws soon and there are lots of babies around when I see them. What should/ can I say to them if they go on about me getting pregnant? Or IS it their business? Do they have a right to be involved?
The whole thing depresses me a lot as I feel it's a very bad idea for them to want something from someone else so badly and also, it's a terrible idea to have a baby for someone else if you don't want one.
I told my husband how I feel and he finally came around to the idea that it is OUR business alone. He is super close to his parents and often talks to his mother every day! But now he is realizing that this is our life and our decision.
So any ideas would be welcome. Is it ok to tell them that I don't wish to discuss it with them? Should I ignore what they say?

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HERWriter Guide

I would not explain WHY I wasn't interested in parenting, but I would politely explain that I am NOT interested in having a child. No smack down, no big hash-it-all-out. Just one brief and friendly chat.

Anything after that are inappropriate conversations to have, particularly if one of the parties is very uncomfortable with it. People have the right to live their lives as they want to, as long as they hurt no-one.

I totally understand the position of the in-laws (although they sound like they may have other grandchildren). Most in-laws love the thought of new babies coming down the pike!

Your husband was inappropriate to talk to him mom about freezing his wife's eggs! My goodness - who does that? Husbands should never discuss these things with their mothers, especially when their wives are not around! It seems like you both have come to a happy agreement now however, which is a good thing!

It's pretty clear by now that you don't want children (which is fine and increasing in popularity as an option for adults) and it's pretty clear your in-laws feel differently. Now that everyone knows everyone else's feelings in the matter, further discussion is highly inappropriate (and futile) and crossing boundaries that should not be crossed.

You are being placed in a subservient, child-like situation by your in-laws. You are an adult and the in-laws are not treating you as a grown woman with a strong mind who is creating her own life as she wishes it to be, even if they are likely good people with good intentions.

In my opinion, the door on this conversation would have been closed quite some time ago.

March 10, 2010 - 12:53pm

Hi, Anon,

I agree with Alison -- I think that as their son, your husband is the one who speaks to his parents. And I like the ways she suggested that he do it.

But what's happening here is the clash of two dreams. Your in-laws hope to have grandchildren, and you want a life without children. This will be disappointing to them, and sure, they have a right to be disappointed. It doesn't mean, necessarily, that they are disappointed in you or in their son (although that's possible). But it means that something they were looking forward to isn't going to happen. It will take them some time to get used to it and possibly even grieve it.

Think of a woman who wants to have children and can't. This is just an older person's version of that.

If you and your husband are happy and settled with your decision, you can work your way through this piece by piece. You need to stand together and, perhaps once, if it's appropriate, explain your decision. You don't have to go into detail. But it will help them to understand why.

I hope this helps a little. I know this is difficult territory.

March 10, 2010 - 9:03am

I don't think you should say anything, but it should be their son/your husband who says something to them. It can be, "we don't wish to discuss this" or "we have decided not to have children".

If your husband is close to his mom, he can have a one-to-one with her at some point (in person/over the phone), and let her know that he realizes that she would like grandchildren, but you both have decided not to have children. It is not any of her business why/why not, but your husband can let her know now, so there are no "false hopes", assuming she is not the type of person to try to use manipulation or guilt or hold a grudge. If she is nice and reasonable, he can say, "Mom, I am letting you in on our future plans, out of respect for you, that we have both decided not to have children. I know you may be surprised by this, and I am willing to talk about it with you today, and then would appreciate the same respect by not discussing it further."

This gives her a chance to explain her concerns and feelings, for your husband to have a connection with his mom and be open/honest, and then he has set the boundaries with her that both of you will not be entertaining any future "baby talk".

How does this sound to you?

March 8, 2010 - 8:17pm
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