(and to a lesser extent, the Father In Law Conundrum)
Sigh. This’ll be a long one. Bless you if you read it all.
I guess I’ll need to start at the beginning. Hubby and I met and got engaged 2 weeks later, and married four months after that (if anyone else had done this, I’d call that person crazy. But I knew I was going to marry that man before we even met face to face). His parents were sort of shocked, but they were happy for us as well. At that time, they were beginning their big religious awakening, which has turned them, over the past nearly seven years, as we moved around the country and finally settled in their area, into full blown born again evangelicals.
And therein lies one of our main sources of conflict.
Disclaimer: I have no problem whatsoever with religious folk. I went to Catholic school, received all of the Sacraments, went to Mass every Sunday. I get the appeal of religion, and sometimes I do wish that I were a person of faith – I think it would make our journey so much easier if I could just have faith that some benevolent father-like figure in the sky had a plan for us. But I’m pretty sure I don’t believe in god (although Hubby does, and I do find myself praying - to whom or what I have no clue – when the shit hits the fan), and even if I did, I’d have a problem with a religion telling me what to think about complex issues such as abortion, or whether or not my gay friends are sinners simply for being who they were born to be.
Anyway, Hubby and I try not to judge his parents – who raised their two boys to be open to Buddhism, to visit Hindu temples and synagogues and all denominations of Christianity, who brought Transcendental Meditationists into the house to work with the boys – when they proclaim that theirs is the only true path. But they seem to have taken it upon themselves to convert us, and we cannot have a conversation that doesn’t involve god, or them trying to get us to some mega-church related activity. Vomit. I know that Hubby often feels like he doesn’t know them anymore, and that they don’t care to know him.
My main issue with their newfound god-love centers around our babies, and their views on abortion. I hope I don’t get flamed here, but I am decidedly pro-choice, for many many reasons. We have debated the issue ad nauseum, and his parents feel very strongly that abortion is murder. I accept that this is their point of view.
Except it isn’t, at least when it comes to our losses. We are supposed to “get over it” as quickly as possible. I am supposed to chat about their new granddaughter without feeling like I’ve been kicked in the uterus, and attend parties in her honor weeks after another devastating loss. On my 31st birthday (which I found unspeakably depressing, as I was still recovering from the surgery to remove Cletus, my ectopic baby), before said granddaughter was born, I was supposed to chat about how difficult the pregnancy was, and how terrible B, the new baby’s mama, was feeling, even though I would have cut off my arm to get to the third trimester.
A couple of months ago, after my sixth loss, my mother in law asked Hubby and I why we looked so sad all of the time.
His response: We are the parents of six dead babies. How are we supposed to look?
His mother: You’re not really parents, they’re not really babies, and you both need to get over this and move on with your lives.
(Even my father in law had the presence of mind to look shocked as she said this.)
I can’t wrap my head around her belief that it is a baby when it is growing in the uterus of a woman who doesn’t want it there, but it is not a baby when it is her grandchild, desperately loved and wanted by her son and I.
Shortly after that conversation, in an effort to open dialogue and give her some insight into what this journey has been like for us, I printed a shit ton of information from the SHARE and RESOLVE websites, and mailed it off to her. Information such as: how an infertile couple feels when their siblings have children (which we just experienced), how life altering pregnancy loss is, how to talk to a family member who has been through this shitfield.
Her reaction? She called Hubby – not me – and told him, through sniffles and tears, how hurt she was by my actions.
WTF? Excuse me? I am the one who has survived this horror, and I have to walk on eggshells around her?
Another source of conflict revolves around Hubby’s brother, M, and his wife, B. They live in the Southwest, where he is in medical school and she just recently graduated from school. They had the first (living) grandchild. They are hailed as heroes in every conversation, because the in laws “finally” have a baby to love on. Hubby and his brother have always had a close relationship – Hubby even has M’s name tattoed across his back – but the parents consider M to be the “good child.” He has always been studious to Hubby’s rebellious. He never caused trouble in school (can’t say that about Hubby). He graduated from college (Hubby never did, although he’s been supporting himself – and doing a dang good job at it – since he was 17). In short, M is the favorite, and always has been. They rarely try to hide it. I have had independent verification of this by someone who has known the family for many years.
So, the favoritism. Shortly after our sixth loss, when we were looking into adoption and getting the news that our funding had failed, the mother in law said to Hubby “I just wish we could snap our fingers and help you out.” So he asked – which he hadn’t planned to do – if they would lend us the money. Just a short term loan, with interest, until we got tax money back. Believe me, the amount we needed to borrow is chump change to these people. And, after all, they help M and B out financially, and they financially support a church program for unwed mothers.
I wouldn’t have been surprised if they said no. But they never said anything at all about it again. I know that it is their money, and I can’t – shouldn’t – resent them for not wanting to lend it to us. What really burns me is that they don’t even have enough respect for their wonderful son to tell us no. The question hangs in the air whenever we are together.
On Saturday, the mother in law tried to pressure me into going to an adoption information meeting at their church. I politely said no. She kept pressing, wanting to know why, and so I explained that since we won’t be able to afford it for several years, I would prefer not to get myself super excited and then be stuck in a holding pattern, unable to move forward with it because of money.
She just doesn’t get it.
I could go on forever, but this is long enough. The fact is, I feel the doors closing on our relationship, and while I used to want Hubby and I to have a good relationship with his parents – for the sake of our future child(ren) if not for ourselves – I simply no longer care to inflict heartache upon myself.
I would appreciate any words of wisdom, advice, or similar rants :)