Friday, March 24, 2006

Why Don't You Just Tell Everyone?

Wouldn't a lot of this just go away if we had the balls to tell our in-laws that the baby's not coming?

It's complicated, but there's one big motivator. I don't feel selfish about our choice to remain childfree, but I feel guilty about our motivator to keep quiet: It's the inheritance.

The inheritance, a sizeable one, will be from his grandmother. In addition to ownership of her condo, we are also set to receive her entire estate -- everything. Her lone son is already wealthy and she has told us that we will be getting this inheritance. She's quite frank about it. She's in good health and thank goodness we don't expect her to go anywhere anytime soon. She tells us repeatedly that this money will be for "our family", so we can raise "our family" in a nice house with a yard and blah blah blah.

We've talked extensively about his family and we have a big suspicion that his family, especially his grandmother, won't speak to us again if we explain our conviction against having children. It's not telling them, it's getting them to believe us. If we just tell them we're not having kids, that's not a big deal -- they'll just insist that I'll change my mind. If we tell them that A's getting a vasectomy, if we convince them that we're really serious, it will get ugly. His relationship with his dad is already strained, and my husband has lived his life as a disappointment. His father has always made sure A knows how disappointing his life has been -- A can never live up to his expectations. My FiL is very enthusiastic when he talks about "our kids", and how excited he is for us to start a family. Kiss that relationship goodbye once we do anything permanent.

His grandmother is the same way. Why doesn't A get a "better" job, why doesn't he do "this" with his life, or "that". Nothing is ever good enough, but again when there's talk about "our family", she's wonderful.

We truly believe that telling them we're not having kids will mean being cut off from his family, and cut out of the inheritance. Call it what you will, it is what it is. It's a chance for us to have a better life, and his grandmother wants us to have it. But she also wants so desperately for us to have children. Because of his sister-in-law's and his aunt's infertility issues, lying about this, saying we're trying when we're not, is not something I'm willing to do. It's disrespectful of their situations. A is convinced we'll be cut off completely, personally and financially, and having seen the situation, I don't think it's irrational. His family are the ones who are irrational.

So we don't tell. Selfish, absolutely. But y'know what, she'll be happier this way. And if she's around long enough that it does become an issue, we'll talk. But for now, it's too early to sever those ties. It might not be that bad, but we love that woman. Breaking her heart is not a happy option anyway; the potential to lose his inheritance is additional motivation.

1 comment:

jayel said...

I am child free all the way, and I think we all believe in letting people make their own decisions. If the grandmother is leaving her inheritance based on thinking she will be helping and supporting your family (one that includes children) it is not fair to mislead her. It sucks and it's not really fair, and I'm not saying you don't deserve the money for a better life. But the fact is it's HER money, HER choice. She may want the money to benefit as many people as possible, and that would inlude the largest family. Whatever the case, she has her reasons and is entitled to them, just like you were entitled to be child free. If you love her, respect her enough to come clean. You wouldn't want he money by deceit, would you?