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.