Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Wacky P, Suggestions and Traditions

My DH called and told my SIL, Wacky P about the pregnancy. Finally. While my mom and I were out and about one day.

Actually, he got two for the price of one. My FIL was at Wacky P's. FIL had called my DH, so my DH returned the call. They talked and then my DH proceeded to tell FIL about the pregnancy.

Well, I think my DH had in mind that first he would tell his dad, and then his dad would hand the phone over to his sister (Wacky P) and my DH would tell her.

Instead, he tells his dad something like, "By the way, dad, BWUB is 4 months pregnant." With Wacky P sitting right next to him in the room, my FIL says aloud, "Oh, really, BWUB is 4 months pregnant?" So Wacky P didn't get to hear it first hand, and I guess my DH heard her make a comment in the background to the effect of, "Why did he wait 4 months to tell us?"

When she finally got on the phone, my DH said she seemed a little "tweaked" about the whole thing. About us not telling them sooner. About her finding out second hand. You know, things have to happen according to her rules.

I'm not sure exactly how much he told them, but he said he told them "the basics" about the embryo adoption. He doesn't want to send any of them a comic book. He said it would only open things up to more criticism.

She did congratulate him and she offered to buy us a car seat. I said to my husband, "Wow, those things are expensive, you know." He said, "Yeah, that's what she said." To which I just grinned and shook my head. Of course she mentioned to him that it would be expensive.

She also apparently offered to babysit the baby next summer while she is not working (she is a school nurse). Well, first of all, I hope to still be on maternity leave most of the summer. Second, I don't know, it sort of gives me the creeps to think about her being alone with my baby. I could imagine her putting my baby to her own breast, in some weird attempt to stimulate her breast milk. My mind is just twisted when it comes to her. Third, I don't want to "owe" her babysitting duties. Her kids drive me a little nuts...unless they want to come over here and watch TV....(ha ha ha).

Wacky P also told my DH that since men don't ever give birth, and most OB's are men who pull the baby out of you, she suggested I could get a midwife who will be more understanding and help me through it.

Ah - yes - here we go. Wacky P's know-it-all suggestions begin.

I couldn't quite gather whether Wacky P was recommending I have the midwife deliver the baby. I think so. And I know, really, I know, that many women love this idea and this option and look forward to having a midwife and want that experience. And they prefer to keep doctors at bay unless necessary. I have nothing against a woman choosing to do things the way she wants. If you want to use a midwife, I'll cheer you on.

But it's not my thing. I don't want someone I hardly know talking at me, touching me, coaching me or anything else. It's just not my style. I may not know the delivering OB or nurses very well either, but for me, that's fine. It's just the way I am. I was a nurse. I'm used to hospitals and nurses and equipment and doctors. Their presence comforts me. A touchy-feely midwife would make me nuts.

I told my husband that when I had my second miscarriage, after carrying for 11 weeks, it was just like labor (he was asleep, how would he know?). I had contractions 3 minutes apart. Of course the baby was just a peanut, but my body and uterus contracted and squeezed the shit out of my guts and I expelled everything in 12 hours - like giving birth. I had to focus and breathe and get through each wave of pain. I told him it was painful and exhausting and just going through that I know that I don't want anyone there touching me or talking to me when I give birth. Get the f*** away and let me do this. I have actually had the thought that I could possibly not even want my DH in the room - he's not good with blood or needles or anything like that. I don't want to have to think about or worry about taking care of him during the process! I haven't told him this, and I figure I'll just make that decision when the time comes.

See....and you all thought I was gentle and sweet. ha ha.

I know, maybe Wacky P was just trying to be nice and make a helpful suggestion. But my guard is permanently up when it comes to her and I am unable to see anything she says or does as innocent or well-intended.

So my MIL will be in town Halloween weekend. It will be Wacky P's daughter's 6th birthday. They want to have a get together. I foresee that I'll be explaining, defending, or putting a moratorium on questions about my position on everything from midwives to breastfeeding to TV programs for toddlers. Oh, so looking forward to it!

My poor DH. Then it will be the holidays. He says he's tired of "brokering relationships." When I asked what he meant, he said brokering the relationship between me and his family. He said he understands why I don't care to be around them much, and he admitted that they drain him of energy too. They're not relaxing people to be around. With the pregnancy and all, he hoped this might help bring us all a little closer. He said that Wacky P's kids don't have any cousins their age and family is important to her, and she'd probably like for "us all" to be closer for the sake of the kids.

I just don't see it happening. I reminded him that his family has never accepted me for who I am. They won't entertain the concept that I have my own ideas of tradition or holidays or anything else. They expect me to fit into the mold of what their family "always does" but are quick to judge my ways.

As an example, I said to my husband that if our house was big enough to host family Thanksgiving dinners, I would love it to be in the tradition I am used to. To me, Thanksgiving is magical and wonderful when the day starts with everyone watching the big parade on TV. Kids sitting cross-legged on the floor in front of the TV, excited when a giant Snoopy balloon appears. Then the men hang out together and watch the football games. You hear them occasionally cheer or shout. They drink beer. The kids play together somewhere. Giggles. The women work in the kitchen, talking and wearing aprons and taking pies out of the oven. Maybe sipping wine as they get the table ready. The women call the men to dinner and everyone gathers at the table. Talk is light. I hear the sound of my aunt's laughter and my dad saying something silly to my sister. It's just easygoing and cheerful. Afterward, the women take care of dishes and the men go back to the TV and football game. Somebody is snoozing on the couch. I know, very chauvinistic, but these are my memories.

Anyway, I told my DH this and he had to smile. OMG, TV with Wacky P?! Ha. NO.WAY.IN.HELL. Light and easy conversation? Not with that crowd.

I said, "See, she wants me to come to her house and do things her way. And that's fine. I'll do it. But she wouldn't return the favor if she came here." She'd make some snide comment or disparaging remark. So it's all well and good that they want family to be closer with each other. The problem is, they insist it be solely on their terms. So as far as I'm concerned, they don't play fair.

All I can say is it's been a heck of a week, and the rest of the year looks a little rocky too. But now I am mama bear! I will defend the interests of this baby and preserve our own family harmony. So, look out, Wacky P!


cindyhoo2 said...

Ahhhh, the joys of inlaws! Some day we Internet gals need to have a contest for who can tell the best worst story about an inlaw interaction.

In terms of setting limits and having the birth you want, I say 'you go girl!' I completely understand the desire not to be touched or petted while in pain- do what you need. No aroma therapy for me thanks!

looking4#3 said...

I have so much to say, and yet I can't say any of it. I will send you an e-mail.
Thank you so much for your comment. It is truly amazing how well you have captured my feelings. Deflated---that's exactly it. Clinging to hope--oh so true (trying with every bit of my being).
I wish you could come sit with me too!

Mad Hatter said...

You go, Mama Bear! Your Baby Bear deserves to have YOUR Thanksgiving traditions, too! I hope you can find a way to enjoy that day you describe with other relatives for friends - it sounds wonderful!

Families are tough no matter how you slice them - yours, his - it's all hard. But with your little one you and DH will find your traditions together and negotiate when/how you visit with both your families - this I know because we have had that opportunity to compromise these things in our house - after all, The Teenager was a year old when we started dating! Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Easter all encompass our self-developed "Hatter family traditions" and beyond that we'll add a special guest appearance of our respective family traditions when we visit with those relatives on that particular holiday that year.

As for Wacky P's comments and advice, I sympathize and hope you have some snappy responses prepared!

tireegal68 said...

Good luck with all the negotiating! That sounds most un-enviable. I really hope you have a good non-family support system. Maybe you can choose to have other non-family members be your fun family and minimize time with your inlaws.
Stick to your guns, Mama bear and don't let the wack jobs get you down:)

Anonymous said...

You know, I'm that way in labor..........I don't want anyone around me, I don't want anyone telling me what to do, I just want to be left alone. I think it's really really perceptive of you to recognize that in yourself. SO many women seem to think that labor is some unique thing that will make them all........I dunno. Different. I think it's just a hyper exaggeration of how one is in pain in general.

I just had my 6th anniversary.............we're both only NOW finally getting down all the crazy family stuff. And I'm sure we have years more to work out. *sigh*

Anonymous said...

I love Wacky P stories. Sorry they are real! What a nut job. Anyway, you hang in there, don't let them make you second guess anything. I have a really hard time with my own family and the in-laws, trying to be fair to everyone, and in the meantime never doing what WE (my little family) want to do. I haven't been on a vacation for YEARS except to go see family. Love both sides of the fam, but we need some separate time too.

anofferingoflove said...

ah, crazy family dynamics! so much fun! ;) its hard dealing with unsolicited advice, but it sounds like you have the right mentality. you are the mama bear indeed and the decisions are YOURS!

Riley said...

Your idea of Thanksgiving sounds just like mine - very similar to how I grew up. Reading your description evoked fond memories. Wow - I don't know what to say about Wacky P - she really sounds like a piece of work. It does make it hard to be close to someone else's family when they are so different and don't make any effort to appreciate what you have to contribute to the family.

IVF 40+ said...

Oh it's a sticky situation. Your DH in the middle and your wacko SIL the vortex of all that is annoying.

No assvice from me - we only have one half of an inlaws set and its hassle enough - but I would say that being pregnant gives you & DH an opportunity to start your own family tradition.

Good luck BWUB - bloody nightmare.

14 weeks. 14 WEEKS!!!!!!!!!! :-)

Michele said...

I love my family, but man oh man... thanksgiving at your house sounds FAB!!! What can I bring ?? he he!

I too have a SIL that I'd like to..... punch regularly. Funny her name starts with a P. :-)

So so happy for you!! And bravo for waiting 4 months! Glad you got to have those four months of private time!


K said...

It's funny how we feel like we know these people in your life! You paint such a clear picture of whacky P and she so deserves the title! I love your Thanksgiving memories. It sounds like so much fun. Mine aren't exactly the same, but similar. Sadly, having such a huge inlaw family now and a small immediate family on my side, has made all holidays difficult to coordinate.
Oh, and amen to the midwife thing.

Fran said...

Wow...I don't think I'd like to have anything to do with them either...but on the other hand, can I come to your placefor Thanksgiving? it's not celebrated here so I'm really interested in it! Like yourself, I have my own ideas on thigs and I really like Mike's side of the family...when it doesn't interfere with what I want to do! :o) Much love, Fran

stillhopeful said...

Between your mom and Wacky P, you really have your hands full! But you are completely right - it's your child, and you get to make the decisions. Period. That protective instinct kicks in and forget it!!

Your Thanksgiving sounds a lot like mine with the football and the cooking, although my liberal mom and aunts do not let the guys get away without helping with the cleanup. You go mom! That's a tradition I'm happy to carry on!

Holly said...

You know what, you shouldn't have to defend your choices to anyone. They are YOUR CHOICES, your decisions and that's all they need to know...don't even get into the big pissing match, it will only breed hostility (from them). Tell them very clearly-these are our choices and wishes and we hope you will respect them. Stop coddling them and trying to win them around to your way. They need to accept you as you are period. You are a wonderful person, a wonderful Mom and you don't need their approval. You DO NOT need this kind of stress. You have had enough stress, this is the one thing you have wanted more than anything else for 3 years. THIS IS THE MOST JOYOUS TIME OF YOUR LIFE AND IT ONLY GETS BETTER FROM HERE...when they give you lemons, squeeze the juice in their eyes.

Alex P said...

people need to learn to lay off. I think I should put that on a post it in my house, so I dont try to give advice when not asked or tell stories I shouldnt or whatever. It's dumb. People make choices, thats what makes them different from EVERYBODY else in the world, and they are allowed to do that. so they do.

What was that phrase they said on ally mcbeal all the time when people disagreed?

"Bygones." and then it was done. we should all be like that.