Unhappy at the prospect of grandparenthood
By Carolyn Hax,
Adapted from a recent online discussion.
My husband and I are finally pregnant. It’s been a long and physically and emotionally taxing road, but it’s well worth it, and we are so relieved and SO thrilled.
The only damper is that my parents weren’t in contact much through this whole process, mustered surprisingly little joy when they heard the news, and have finally revealed that it’s because they don’t believe in infertility treatments. They don’t believe it’s “God’s will,” and they would have preferred if we had adopted a naturally born child.
I’m so emotionally drained already that I can’t even think how to respond to this. I’m hurt and angry and indignant, as is my husband. My first, immature reaction is to want to deny them the pleasure of grandparenting a child they don’t think should exist, but that seems petty — although, wouldn’t it be wrong to expose our child to grandparents who disapprove of its existence? I’m just at a loss here.
First of all, congratulations.
Second, your answer has been served up by nature (or by God’s will, if that’s how you roll). You have months before your baby comes. Use them to concentrate on your health and your preparations for the baby, and opt not to do anything about your parents. Shift into neutral with them; no silence or confrontations, just civil contact where appropriate.
By the time the baby’s born, you all will have had time to cool off — plus, your baby will make a better case than you can that s/he is just as real and worthy of love as any other child conceived any other way.
If they still can’t budge off their platform of disapproval, you can deal with that then; dreading it now accomplishes nothing. You’ll just upset yourself needlessly when neither your health nor the baby’s needs that. And, possibly even worse, you might predispose yourself to shut them out no matter how they respond to the baby’s arrival.
While your dismay is justified, I hope you’ll also allow for the possibility that their response was one of deliberate and loving restraint. Your parents clearly have strong beliefs, yet they also apparently struggled with their decision to share their misgivings.
Would it be better had they chosen to put on a happy face, or found the strength not to judge you, or found joy in your joy, or opened their minds to the possibility that God created fertility treatments? (The line-drawing on this one has always fascinated me.) For your sake, of course, yes.
Among their options, though, were to condemn your efforts openly, to try to block you, to call you horrible names, to disown you, or to find other, highly invasive ways to try to impose their values on you. They chose to leave you quietly to your choice instead of getting in your face.
At least compare their response to this situation with their MO from past situations where you and they disagreed. If they made any special effort to hold back in this case, then that’s worth factoring into any decisions you make on giving your parents a chance.
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