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The Infertile Frenemie: Your Mother-in-Law

a blog by Jenn Nixon, July 5, 2013

Mother-in-Laws are annoying when you’re infertile. Maybe yours isn’t and to that I say you are a lucky suck-up. I know very few women who actually adore their MIL, most of my friends find something irritating about the female who claims their significant-other as offspring.

My Mother-in-Law is the kind of MIL who likes to purposely make absurd comments so I will be as uncomfortable as possible. She actually told me that when my husband was a little boy, she knew by the size of his downtown friend that, “he would make a women very happy one day.”

WTF. Am I supposed to thank her?

After years of trying to procreate, my MIL constantly harasses me with:
“When are you going to make me a Grandmother?”
“All my friends have grandbabies, where is mine?”
She once dropped off a gift on our doorstep that contained baby items for a boy. We weren’t even pregnant!

MILs are an Infertiles greatest enemy. They have no filter and refuse to believe that the obstacle in baby-making has anything to do with their own child, the other half of the conception tango. My MIL actually suggested that our infertility had been caused by the three tattoos I had gotten when I was younger. According to her, the ink had seeped into my womb rendering me barren. Now obviously the fact that millions of inked women have become Mothers is neither here nor there to her.

When there was a possibility that gestational surrogacy might be our best option for success, my MIL offered to carry our baby for us. I didn’t want to crush her dreams but I was pretty sure a uterus was a vital necessity for this particular feat. She must have forgotten that the hysterectomy she had 5 years ago included the removal of her baby oven. Just a minor detail.

Many Infertiles I know, haven’t even shared their conception status with their Mother-in-Law. I cannot imagine how much worse it must be to have to deal with a woman who thinks you are purposely trying to keep her from realizing her lifelong dream of becoming a Grandmother. At least mine is aware of our fertility obstacles, not like that has kept her from toning down the crazy but I suppose she could be worse.

The one thing I have learned from my dealings with the MIL is to just ignore everything she says. No matter how absolutely absurd her suggestions, pleas, or pieces of advice may be, I just change the subject and reserve the right to laugh about it later. My husband needs me to keep the peace; otherwise he will have to face her wrath, so I remain neutral for his sake. It isn’t always easy to handle but I can assure you that making fun of her with my friends over margaritas is much more enjoyable than coming up with a snarky come-back to sting her with.

It doesn’t matter whether I am infertile, pregnant, or the Mother of her grandchild, my MIL will find a way to agitate me for the remainder of my days. I hope you have a nicer MIL than I do, if not, we should get together for happy hour.

Comments (1)

LOL! Loved your post. I can't believe the stuff about her offering to be your surrogate. No womb, but sure, I'll carry your baby! WTF, indeed! Nonetheless, I wanted to say that I actually do adore my MIL. She is not a meddler, and although my hubby is her only son, she has yet to inject an opinion about anything in our lives. I have a ton in common with her (avid gardener, loves to read and cook, and is a bigtime crafty chick like me). Unlike my own INDIAN MOM, with whom I have virtually no commonalities and who's the nosiest person on the planet! And she is always full of nonsensicals like your MIL. Which is why I wonder if yours is an Indian Mom! :-P! My Indian mother has an opinion about every single thing on the planet, which is why she was not privy to anything we were dealing with at the time we were dealing with it. In fact, I can safely say she and my dad were the last people to know anything about our infertility battle (despite him being a physician and someone I could have easily consulted about our male factor problem, as he's a urologist). We actually told my husband's folks as soon as we started treatment nearly 2 years ago, and again, they were simply great support, listening if I had frets and worries, but never suggesting how we should handle anything. My folks on the other hand? Always have an idea of some sort that they honestly believe we haven't thought of. But I can safely say that at 42 now, my childless status officially embarrasses the crap out of my mom, after 4 years of marriage and no children, and so she doesn't actually want to discuss anything about it all. She has nothing to tell the folks "back home" when she calls. She doesn't now how to explain to the neighbors that we only ever visit with dogs. She has nothing to talk to me about except my nieces and nephews, which leads me to think she has nothing to discuss about me when she talks with my siblings. But I love your ending--that there will always be something about them that agitate us, whether there's a grandkid for them to boast about or not. It's one of those sad facts of life. Fortunately, we have your blog to laugh about it! Thanks for the post, Jenn!

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