Monday, October 15, 2012

Mother-In-Law Wants Grandchildren ASAP, Reacts Badly To News Of Infertility

Dear Tazi:

My mother-in-law is driving me crazy!  I am sure you hear that phrase a lot; can you stand one more letter on the woes of a monster-in-law? 

My husband and I have been married for several years and have yet to have children.  During the first years of our marriage this was our choice – we wanted to save money and establish ourselves as a married couple before becoming parents – but now our child-free life has turned into a childless one, much to our dismay.  Thinking we may have waited too long to start “trying” my husband and I have both had fertility testing.  The results showed that my husband has a dreadfully low sperm count, and that our dream of starting a family will most likely have to be fulfilled through adoption.  We are adjusting to the idea and considering all of our options, including foster parenting, before making any decisions.  We know that adopting a child is not like adopting a pet!

Here is the part where my mother-in-law comes into the story: From the moment we returned from our honeymoon she has been pestering us for grandchildren.  I am serious!  She actually met us at the airport and asked me if I was pregnant yet or if I had just let myself go now that I was married.  Tazi, my stomach looked the same as it always had!

During the first year of our marriage every conversation with “Thelma” revolved around how to get pregnant – including the best sexual positions for fertilization!  This was NOT something I cared to discuss with my mother-in-law, but whenever I told her so she would get in a tiff and tell me that grandchildren were her “God-given right” and that she had every right to instruct us how to provide them.

Over time, Thelma let up on her verbal demands for grandchildren and instead tried scare tactics and guilt, suggesting that by the time we had children she would be too old or too dead to enjoy them; or that I would be too old to have a healthy baby.  Up until we started trying I was able to tune Thelma out, but now…

Tazi, Thelma thinks her son walks on water.  It tore my husband and me apart trying to decide whether or not to tell his mother we are infertile, but we finally did because of her hurtful barbs towards me.  When we did tell Thelma that we could not have a family through natural means she accused me of “wasting all of her son’s good sperm” and leaving “the duds” behind.  Could this woman be that ignorant in the ways of the world?  Or is she just lashing out at me in anger because she refuses to see any imperfection in her son? 

My husband insists his mother does not understand how the male reproductive system works and has asked me to explain it to her (he is too embarrassed to do it himself).  I say that Thelma knows perfectly well how the male pipes work and that talking to her about it will just set me up for more of Thelma’s abuse, which I am sick of taking.  My husband and I have agreed to listen to your advice and do as you suggest.  So, Tazi, what do you suggest?  And I mean in addition to a Paw Slap of Disgust for my mother-in-law?

Plumbing Problems

Dear Plumbing Problems:

Please excuse me while I go wash out my ears with lye soap!  You might want to do the same to get the sound of your mother-in-law giving you advice on the best sexual position to conceive.  It is obvious that Thelma has had her heart set on having grandchildren for a very long time, so it is not you that she is upset with but the situation as a whole; you are just the target of her frustration, and maybe even sadness.  You do not mention if Thelma has any other children – or should I say, grandchildren providers – but if her son is her only hope for grandchildren and/or hope for carrying on the family name this puts additional stress upon Thelma’s hopes, and thus additional pressure on you to fulfill them.

I do not believe that Thelma has no knowledge of how the male reproductive system works; I think she is just so disappointed by your devastating news that she lashed out irrationally.  Haven’t you ever said something that makes no sense while in a fit of anger? 

Do I think that Thelma is undeservedly angry with you?  Yes, but she needs to be angry with someone and from the sound of your letter she would never make her son the target of her wrath.  Because of this, your husband needs to be the one who talks to his mother.  Your husband must be the one who explains to his mother that it was a mutual choice to wait to have children; that you were not the one holding all of the power in the matter of reproduction.  Most importantly, your husband needs to explain to his mother that although he is disappointed about not being able to father a biological child, he does not harbor ill feelings towards you for wanting to wait to start a family – that his low sperm count existed years ago, just as it exists now.  I also suggest that your husband have this conversation in private with his mother, so she can mourn her loss (and yes, it is a loss) without having to resist the urge to lash out at you.

I am heartened to see that you understand all that goes into adopting a child, and that you realize that a child is not a pet; you cannot return a child if you tire of caring for him or her, or if it becomes inconvenient for you to be a parent.  Although foster parenting is a wonderful calling, be certain to explore your reasoning for doing it; do you seek to make a difference in the lives of children in need or are you seeking to window shop for just the right adoptee?  Not all children in the foster care system are put up for adoption; in fact, the ultimate goal of foster care is to eventually see the children reunited with their birth parents or blood relatives, whenever that is possible.

I wish you luck in your difficult situation and hope that the lines of communication between you and Thelma can clear to the point where you understand each other’s motives.  I am hesitant to give her a Tazi Paw Slap of Disgust because, quite honestly, I think she is already hurting enough.  However, if you want to give her one yourself I will provide one to pass along:

Print, clip, and give to someone who richly deserves it!

Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.


  1. Hello there ! Your blog is very informative and gracefully your guideline is very good.Thank you for sharing this wonderful blog.
    Plumber Alabaster, Al

    1. Thank you very much!! I work hard to leave my mark in the world!

  2. Oh wow, I thought my MIL was bad. At the age of 18, she went trough the trashbin to see if I was 'ready' yet. She was drunk while doing this and threw my bloody feminine hygiene products around. After this she bought a stuffed animal and insisted it should watch us 'create the baby buddy.'
    I checked if it was bugged with a camera and tried to send the MIL to bed, since she was drunk.
    The day after she sabotaged my birthcontroll and asked me to do a fertility test. I refused and said I wanted to go home with my boyfriend (who never believed anything of this.)
    After this she threathened with insemination and on how she was going go get a grandchild, no matter what. Just FYI, I was sexually abused at the age of 12, so that was extra creepy to me.

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