Family Matters

Talking to MIL about fertility issues

Hi, Nesties!

I'm a newbie wife, fresh out of the gate.  Just got married on the third!  This isn't really a rant, per se, but I do need some advice.

My MIL has always made it clear even prior to the wedding how excited she would be for grandkids, but she's mentioned it in every conversation since the wedding.  Not a big deal or anything, but she's asking when we'll have kids and saying she can't wait to plan the baby shower constantly.  

The reason why H and I are bothered by it a bit is because I'm not exactly sure how easy it will be for me to conceive.  As far as we know, I have nothing wrong with me that would keep me from having children, BUT I do have a direct family history with fertility issues (my grandmother had many miscarriages and birthed a full-term stillborn, and my mother miscarried every child but me, and I was premature, plus both went into early menopause.  There are also some fertility issues on my father's side, but mostly with female cousins, so less direct.) and have been told in the past by doctors that conception may not be as easy for me as for most women.  Of course, no one is going to run tests until we try to conceive or there is an issue that would warrant them needing to check, but it is something I've known for a long time.

H, of course, knows about all of this and is completely okay with this, as am I.  We aren't even sure if we want children.  It's something we want to revisit in five to ten years.  We do know that in the event that conceiving a child will be difficult that we do not want to have IVF or hormone treatments.  We don't personally feel like going out of our way for a child as it isn't THAT important to us.  We've just never shared our intentions with his family.  We didn't think it was their business.  However, if this is something that is going to be brought up fairly often, I feel like perhaps we should go ahead and let his mom know so 1) she can stop asking about it and 2) it won't come as a complete shock to her that she may not have grandchildren from us.

So, my question is, should I be the one to tell her?  Should H?  Should we do it together?  What would be the best way to tell her?  Has anyone else faced this who is willing to share their story?

Thanks in advance! 

Re: Talking to MIL about fertility issues

  • Do not discuss the contents of your uterus with anyone except your dh and your dr. Discussing this with her will tell her, loud and clear, that your reproductive issues are HER business, and they are not. You don't know if you have fertility issues, you knon't know if you even want children. Don't give her any false drama over the 'we might not be able to have children" stuff when you don't have a clue, and don't kid yourself that if you tell her this she'll stop asking. She'll start hounding you to do fertility testing, fertility this fertility that, etc, because you will have told her that it's OK for her to ask about your reproductive plans.

    Say nothing. Nice smile; 'we'll let you know if we have anything to announce' is all you have to say.

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  • You aren't required to tell her anything, but you could approach this a few ways.

    You might sit down with her and kindly tell her you know how excited she is about having grandchildren, but there's a chance it will be difficult for you to conceive. It's complicated, and you don't want to go into details. As sweet as you think it is that she's excited, it's stressful for you to think about it, and you'd really appreciate it if she didn't discuss it without you bringing up the subject first. *Smile sweetly*

    Or you tell her nothing about the possibility of infertility issues and tell her you two aren't sure you want children yet, and you aren't willing to discuss your reproductive system with her. 

    Either way, I suggest having your husband deliver the message and ask her to back off because it's making you both uncomfortable.

     

    Both our families know we will have to see an RE to have a child (result of cancer treatment), and yet both families continue to ask when we are going to have children. Our response? "Are you offering to pay for the testing, drugs, and procedures?" That usually stops it. We aren't rude, but we make our point.

    image
  • Hm, I'd never thought of the possibility that it would open those doors.  I guess it's just one of those things we'll have to deal with, and if we get overwhelmed by it, we'll have conversations less often for awhile to take a break and regroup!  Thanks for answering!  I hadn't even considered those possibilities, so I appreciate your opening my eyes! :)
  • Don't even worry about this.

    Discuss nothing with anybody at all. The only discussion you shold be having about kids and al things kids and TTC is your H.

    Remember: medicine and times have changed since your grandmother gave birth. I am guessing we're talking about an era that was about 50 -55 years ago or maybe a bit earlier,

    And as you said, you and he don't even know if you wnt kids.

    Again, discuss nothing with your MIL. GL.
  • Your DH should tell her to stop asking and do it in a way that she knows he is serious. She needs to be shut down and you two need to realize this is really not her business. You also need to actually have a doctor tell you that you have a problem and not base it on family history. I agree 100% with Sue-sue.
  • image FMIL&MOB:
    Your DH should tell her to stop asking and do it in a way that she knows he is serious. She needs to be shut down and you two need to realize this is really not her business. You also need to actually have a doctor tell you that you have a problem and not base it on family history. I agree 100% with Sue-sue.

    I have talked to doctors, but usually in passing during my check ups once I hit reproductive age.  They've each said that family history could play a role in my ability to conceive, but since I'm not TTC, they won't worry about it until then, just note it in my chart.  I just don't have any more obvious issues that could potentially effect fertility like endo or PCOS.  My doctors seemed to think I should be aware of my family history and the potential it has to effect things.  Granted, I could end up being Super Fertile Girl, but I guess they just wanted me to be aware of it like any other issues in my family history that could be of concern like alzheimer's, depression and chronic kidney conditions.  I wouldn't have even brought it up with H if it wasn't something that a doctor had discussed with me.  That would be stirring up drama where there is none. It's just a trend that concerned the doctors, so, of course, concerned me a bit.  Maybe they are just wacky and have had me riled up for nothing!  :) 

  • I'm on both sides here.

    Right now, I'm w/ Sue_sue.  You don't know what will happen, so don't open up the door of all the 'what-ifs' with her.  Honestly, right now, take fertility out of it.  She's being rude - she needs to be shut down. I think your DH needs to gently but firmly tell her to stop w/ the quesitons and the pressure. You all will have kids when and if you're ready and not a moment sooner.

    Then, if she brings it up again, you both can say "we're not discussing this w/ you", and if necessary - hang up, leave, etc. 

    However, if down the road you do start to TTC and you do find out there is a problem, then you tell her more.  I went through 5 years of IF before I had DS and I do understand wanting to share w/ your family what's going on.  

    OR if you just out and out decide "no kids" - you can finally tell her that.

    But those are 2 doors to just leave closed until one of them becomes reality. 

    Until then, you need to let her k now that this topic actually isn't any of her business.

    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
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  • image EastCoastBride:

    Until then, you need to let her know that this topic actually isn't any of her business.

    This. 

    image
  • I think you are using your would-be fertility issues (you have no idea if you even have problems - I'd recommend you pick up a copy of taking charge of your fertility to understand your cycle better) to stop her questions, when really all you need is to say, MIL this is not your business and we will not discuss this with you anymore.

    You do not need some type of excuse to make her not bring this issue up - tell her. Jeezus, you just got married. I can see how this would be annoying. You don't have to mean when you tell her to MYOB, but it needs to be said.

  • Stop giving her information about all this. It's absolutely none of her business and it's super-rude for her to hound you about having a baby.

    It's nice that she's excited and anxious for you guys, but that doesn't obligate you to keep her updated on your baby plans. And I think it'd be a REALLY unwise idea to tell her that you might have difficulties conceiving, especially when you don't even know if that's a fact yet. Stop jumping the gun.

    If you guys decide that you don't want children, you don't owe her a heads-up about that. You're not obligated to provide her with a grandchild, so you don't need to inform her if there won't be one.

    I think you would REALLY regret it if you let her in on your plans regarding babies. Just say, "We'll let you know if and when a baby is coming, we promise. Until then, please respect our privacy and stop discussing this." If she keeps asking, look her in the eye and say calmly and quietly, "Really. This isn't up for discussion. Please stop it." If she STILL won't knock it off, walk away without a word.

    image
  • DH and I have the same problem with my MIL.  (although we are having fertility issues that we're in the process of figuring out)  MIL, FIL, and their extended families wouldn't stop asking us about it every time we saw them.  DH finally ended up going over to his parents' house, by himself, and having a very candid discussion with them about how our reproductive choices are nobody's business but ours and that if/when there is something to share with them, we absolutely will, but until that happens, it isn't a subject that will be entertained.

    It lasted for a while, then FIL started up again.  DH went back again and reminded them of their previous conversation and added that if they can't respect us enough to leave it be, we  have no problem packing up and leaving a family event, dinner, etc.  So far, so good - they've let it be.

    I really do think that your DH needs to talk to his Mom.  While I'm sure it is coming from a place of excitement and love, it isn't polite and she may not realize that.  Coach DH on how to talk to her gently so that nobody's feelings get hurt.  Tell her that you appreciate her excitement but that when or if you have kids is up to you two alone and until that happens, the subject is closed.   

  • image mbcdefg:

    I think you would REALLY regret it if you let her in on your plans regarding babies. Just say, "We'll let you know if and when a baby is coming, we promise. Until then, please respect our privacy and stop discussing this." If she keeps asking, look her in the eye and say calmly and quietly, "Really. This isn't up for discussion. Please stop it." If she STILL won't knock it off, walk away without a word.

    I think this is perfect.

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  • image EastCoastBride:

    I'm on both sides here.

    Right now, I'm w/ Sue_sue.  You don't know what will happen, so don't open up the door of all the 'what-ifs' with her.  Honestly, right now, take fertility out of it.  She's being rude - she needs to be shut down. I think your DH needs to gently but firmly tell her to stop w/ the quesitons and the pressure. You all will have kids when and if you're ready and not a moment sooner.

    Then, if she brings it up again, you both can say "we're not discussing this w/ you", and if necessary - hang up, leave, etc. 

    However, if down the road you do start to TTC and you do find out there is a problem, then you tell her more.  I went through 5 years of IF before I had DS and I do understand wanting to share w/ your family what's going on.  

    OR if you just out and out decide "no kids" - you can finally tell her that.

    But those are 2 doors to just leave closed until one of them becomes reality. 

    Until then, you need to let her k now that this topic actually isn't any of her business.

    Agreed
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  • You can share as much or as little with your MIL as you wish.  However, if I were you rather than go into details with your Husband's family I'd just halt all conversation of kids by saying "We're just enjoying being married right now, we'll see what happens in the future."  

    Of course it depends on the kind of relationship you have with your MIL, but that's the type of information I would be uncomfortable extending outside of my husband and I.  We don't even plan to share with our families WHEN we want to TTC--it's just not any of their business.

    TTC and especially fertility troubles (if you have them) can be extremely emotional.  I see it as if you share now, they're going to be along every step of the way whether you want them to or not vs. if you wait to share (if you need extra support) you can at any time with no pressure.

  • There's absolutely nothing to share here, other than asking her to lay off (probably more politely than that).

    Also, right now it may not seem like a big deal to you to share any potential infertility issues as they're not emotionally impacting you. However, if you do experience IF, the rollercoaster for you, your husband and marriage is going to be a big one and I'm willing to bet you will regret having everyone all up in your business if you need to process some of the emotions associated with it. We did end up telling family and friends around our second round of IVF, but through all the testing and treatments leading up to that, I don't think we were ready for the world to know.

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  • You don't have to get into specifics about your fertility. All you and your H need to do is tell her that you have decided to wait a few years before starting a family. That is all she needs to know and that has to be good enough for her. Make sure your H is in this with you. If she keeps talking about and it's getting to the point where you can't take it have your H explain to her in a firm manner that there will be no kids for at least 5 years so there is no reason for her to bring it up again because it ain't happening. Your H should do it so you don't come off as the unreasonable DIL who's keeping her baby from having the children he wants. She has to understand that this is a decision you both made together.

    Then in a few years if you and your H decide to start a family, get to gettin'. As far as any potential fertility issues, cross that bridge when you get to it. It may not come up at all. 

  • For the love of all that is holy..........don't go spouting off to your MIL about your "potential" fertility problems.  You frankly don't know if you will indeed have any issues, and bringing it up now will - like Sue_sue said - give your MIL the impression that your uterus and your sex life is open for discussion and opinions. 

    Think you're sick of her prying questions now?  Give her more ammo and see how quickly you get sick of her asking you even more personal questions about the frequency of your sex and the lining of your uterus and the quality of your eggs.  Because again........telling her that you MIGHT have fertility issues is giving her the green light to think that these questions are ok to ask.

    Your husband needs to tell his mother to stop asking those questions.  The two of you will let her and the rest of the family know when there's something to know.  And whenever she starts to ask such a question, you and your husband both need to tell her to change the subject.  All that she needs to know is that you and he are enjoying married life right now and you are happy.  She is not entitled to know any more than that.....and giving a nosy person more information than they need does not make them less nosy......it makes them more nosey.

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  • The only thing I'd say to her is that you plan on waiting a while before discussing children, so please don't bring it up often.   Or something along those lines.

    I don't think you should bring up potential problems/infertility or that you're on the fence about whether to have children.  Either topic will cause more trouble than it's worth because she'll continue to talk about it.    I think maybe saying you're going to wait a while may buy you some time without her asking about it.

  • If you want to create an expert on every little thing you should be doing to boost your fertility health and every single doctor you should visit and every single gadget you should use and every single way to chart your cycle - go ahead and tell your overly enthusiastic, eager MIL that you *might* have a fertility issue.

    You don't need to shield her from any sort of shock at not getting a grandbaby from you. People tend to figure these things out over time.

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  • tell her that you'll let her know when you're ready. give no reasons, explinations etc... if the subject keeps coming up keep answering 'you'll be the 3rd to know' and leave it at that. chagne the subject. she can ask and wish all she wants-but that doesn't have any bearing on when (or if) you decide to have kids.
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  • image livinitup:

    If you want to create an expert on every little thing you should be doing to boost your fertility health and every single doctor you should visit and every single gadget you should use and every single way to chart your cycle - go ahead and tell your overly enthusiastic, eager MIL that you *might* have a fertility issue.

    You don't need to shield her from any sort of shock at not getting a grandbaby from you. People tend to figure these things out over time.

    So true.  Don't tell her a word.

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  • Thanks for all the responses.  I didn't really think that letting her know anything could open those doors.  Mostly because her sister has fertility issues and MIL has always been extremely supportive of her sister and not bothersome about it.  Then again, considering it would effect her son, she might feel differently.  We'll just leave it be for now and steer her away from all conversations to do with children, and if it gets too out of hand, we'll shut her down as nicely as possible and hope she takes the hint! :)
  • image MeganAngela:
    Thanks for all the responses.  I didn't really think that letting her know anything could open those doors.  Mostly because her sister has fertility issues and MIL has always been extremely supportive of her sister and not bothersome about it.  
    And IF you have problems, then hopefully she'll be equally supportive of you too. :)

    The bigger message here for you is that your TTC plans are no ones business.  I know that the people who ask/push don't see it as asking about your sex life, or that it's "too personal" - they simply think they are asking about cute little babies!!! 

    But motive aside, it's a VERY personal question and it's none of her business.  That's what you and DH need to realize.  Your TTC plans simply aren't any of her business.

    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
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  • Or, you could always fall back on the sure-fire saying of, "I only discuss my uterus with my husband and my doctor."
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  • I agree with everyone who said that your (possible) fertility issues are none of your MIL's business. I wouldn't discuss it with her.

    Having said that, the possibility of not wanting kids is a different story. If this were my mother, I would sit her down and say something like, "Look I don't want to disappoint you, but I think you should know that DH and I aren't even sure we want children, and if we do have them it won't be for at least a few more years." If it were my MIL, I might suggest that DH have that conversation with her. I don't see the point in letting her go on dropping hints about wanting grandchildren if you already know you have no intention of having kids any time soon.

    SInce it's your H's mother, I would let him have the conversation. And as long as he doesn't discuss your possible IF issues, I would let him decide how he wants to handle the conversation. 

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  • I don't think you're even at the point of discussing your fertility issues with anyone.  You don't even know if you have fertility issues.  I talked to my MIL about my infertility problems, she even went to some specialist's appointments with me.  But we were openly trying to have kids and openly didn't care who knew we had problems. 

    You are right, your intentions are none of their business but since she keeps bringing the baby making deal up you can respond to end it.  You both should just tell her you both aren't ready to have kids anytime soon and nip this in the bud real quick.  You don't have to give any more reason than that. 

    But really EVERYONE is going to ask you.  And as soon as you pop the first out they will ask when the sibling is coming, trust me. 

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