Thursday, November 09, 2006

Someone Who Gets It

I got the most unbelievable validation from my husband's best friend. He's known my in-laws for nearly 20 years, and the only authority other than my husband who can pass judgments on the way I'm choosing to handle things with the family.

So to all of those who accuse me of being melodramatic, overthinking the issue of telling my in-laws about our childfree-ness…

What he said, to paraphrase:
"I don't blame you for being scared of being disowned, disinherited, any of that. I wouldn't put it past that family. I can tell you exactly what they will do: They will pass judgment, badger and bother you, and then they won't believe you. They'll continue to make comments about 'when the baby comes' and assume that buying a house means babies are imminent."

He agrees that the best approach right now is to not tell them, at least not while we hope to get in on the inheritance/trust fund. Again he suggested feigning infertility which has always been an unsavory idea for me. However, after hearing him say it, he who knows that family so well, I'm starting to think why the hell not, if we have to do it, and I'm considering talking to my mom and ensuring that, if she speaks with my in-laws we have the story straight.

I probably will go with the truth when the time is right, but early introductions of the topic to the in-laws has not gone so well. Who knows what we'll finally decide to do. Regardless, it feels good to know that someone who is qualified, who does know the situation, supports me on it, even if a dozen strangers tell me to get over myself and that it's none of their business. And that is empowering.

It's nice to feel empowered for a change.


Amber said...

Hey Tiara,
I have been reading your blog for a while now and have really enjoyed it. This is my first time EVER posting a comment so forgive me if I'm not following the usual format. Anyway, I just wanted you to know that someone else out here sympathizes with your predicament. I totally agree with your husband's best friend to stay in the closet.

I've been dealing with in-law pressure too (although there is nothing at stake in my case) and I totally understand the need for them to be understanding and accepting. But as my husband puts it, they just want some grandkids and no amount of explanation is going to change that or make them stop pressuring me.

For my own sanity, I don't even waste time trying to explain anymore. Whenever they say they are ready for grandkids or start talking about "when the babies come", I just smile and remain silent. When they ask, "when are the kids coming?" I say no time soon. When they ask, "how many do you plan to have?" I just say whatever feels right. There are plenty of ways to tell the truth without telling the whole truth. If it is uncomfortable for you to lie about infertility, then don't do it. The guilt will not be worth it and it could bite you the butt later.

And do you blame them for pushing? I know that we don't get excited about having babies, but some people really look forward to that whole experience whether it is their own or their loved ones'. We have had time to grow into and be accepting of our childfree choice. Heck, I wasn't fully convinced until I found this community and realized that there was a name for it. You can't just drop news like that on them and expect them to get it without being upset.

I know that it bothers you that they can't accept you for you and understand your hopes and dreams. Similar to you, I have a stellar background and want to reach the top of the ladder in my company, but people don't appreciate that and that really bothers me. I would hope that they would be proud of what I have accomplished and what I eventually hope to achieve. But I can't change what life accomplishments are important to them, just like they can't change what is important to me.

In time, I honestly feel that the world will come to understand and be accepting of people like us. People and popular opinion always change - Slavery, Civil Rights, Gay Rights, Feminism, etc. But we can't change overnight how things have been since the beginning of time. It is going to take a little patience and understanding on our part.

I wish all the best for you.

M said...

I have been reading through your blog and leaving a few comments. I felt compelled to share my view on this post.

Lying is never the best route and I doubt it will feel very empowering once you start doing it. Not allowing yourself to be who you really are is not healthy and will eat away at you. I think you should forget the money (if they want you to have it based on who you are and the choices you've made, they will, if not, should you really be getting it under false pretenses anyway?) and just be open about who you really are.

Your husband should be the one to speak up if possible. It's his family of origin and his not standing up to them (yes, I get it will hurt them. That's okay, they'll deal with it. Aren't you constantly hurt because of hiding who you really are? Why is that the better option?) is hurting you, to the point where you've been writing about this for more than a year.

I know you haven't asked for advice, but having been through similar situations, and having had a hard time disappointing others, as you seem to do, I feel very strongly about this and wanted to let you know what it looked like to one person from an outside perspective. I hope you find the solution that brings you some peace.