MIL Vent - (Long) - Appreciate any advice — The Bump
November 2011 Moms

MIL Vent - (Long) - Appreciate any advice

I need some help/advice/insight as to how I can put up with my MIL because I am seriously losing it and I don't want to put DH in any more of an awkward position. Background: MIL is constantly sticking her nose in our business, and to appease her we have just spent two 3-day vacations with them (one in Vegas, one camping) in the past 6 weeks, and she has thrown temper tantrums (pissy, crying, storming off) both times. Her beef was with DH and FIL, and I felt so awkward.

The main issue now is that she is, in a very passive aggressive way, accusing DH and I (read: just me) of splitting the family up on family occassions (birthday dinners, holidays etc). The problem is my husband's brother and SIL have a foreign boarder living with them (17 yo girl) who has developed leukaemia. They are being paid (long story) to look after her, and they insist on bringing her with them to MIL & FILs house like a member of the family. She is usually in hospital 2-3 times a week and her immune system is virtually non-existent. The truth is they shouldn't even be taking her outside the home except for hospital visits. Anyway, DH and I made the decision that for the safety of our baby, and to make sure I don't contract anything the girl can easily pick up on one of her hospital visits, that we would decline attending family get-togethers (while I am pregnant and for awhile after the baby is born) if the girl would be there. Apparently SIL (ugh..cow) and DH's brother will not leave the girl at home, so now DH and I are the ones who are 'ruining' MILs family get-togethers. The back-handed comments I am getting from MIL (not in DH's presence) are seriously cutting away at me, and I don't understand why she won't accept our decision. I even told her that DH and I had made certain decisions that were important to us while we were pregnant e.g. not dying my hair, no alcohol, no smoking etc, and this is simply another one.

Help appreciated Ladies - I am really close to confronting her but I am so fearful that I will let rip with a tirade of nasty words and put DH in a super-bad position :( We are not changing our mind on this decision but I have to find some way of dealing with her. God help me if I hear fom her one more time that we're just being overprotective as first time parents, and that hormones are making me irrational. GRRR!

Re: MIL Vent - (Long) - Appreciate any advice

  • Better to say something sooner where it could come from a logical standpoint, than to let it fester and brew and unleash an emotional tirade on her.  I'd rather be comfortable in my decision, than to be uncomfortable trying to make an irrational person comfortable.  Looks to me like you're never going to win as far as she (and SIL) are concerned.

  • The first thing that comes to me (sitting on the couch resting after contractions and pain) is that we November mommies are at a very critical time in our pregnancies:  just reaching viability or on the cusp of viability.

    I cannot imagine anything more important than taking care of yourself, and by doing so, your LO.  Not that I'm an expert on pre-term labor, but it seems that many factors can contribute to this, and even the experts are sometimes at a loss of why things happen the way they do.  So why not be careful?

    Your MIL is being particularly selfish during this time.  Perhaps you can reassure her that this is certainly a temporary situation strictly to protect the health of the child (although I'm sure sometimes you wish that it wasn't temporary!)  If she still thinks you are being unreasonable, then I'm not sure anything will turn her around.  It may take all the strength you have to bite your tongue, but your DH should be firm with her as well.

    Good luck!

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  • So you have decided to boycott events where the sick 17 year old girl will be in attendance.  You think the ILs should make her stay home.  Is that right?!

     I think you need to talk to your OB -- and realize that YOU are not in danger for being in this girl's presence.  If YOU are sick, then you should stay home to not compromise her. 

    But honestly, you are coming across pretty cold in this post.  That they are trying to include this SERIOUSLY SICK girl with your family is actually lovely.  Treating her like family is wonderful, in my opinion.  This girl doesn't have her family around and is SICK - holy crap - how can you begrudge her being treated like she belongs.

    You can't "catch" leukemia from her.  She has a crappy immune system, so y'all should be careful FOR HER SAKE.  But saying she should stay home and live what could possibly be a VERY SHORT LIFE without other human contact is just mean.

    Seriously - I get wanting to protect yourself and your unborn baby, but you are not in danger from this girl.  And COMPASSION is a lovely trait to pass on to your LO.

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  • Honestly, I think if the boarder isn't sick, than you have nothing to worry about. Her immune system is significantly weaker than yours- she would know immediately if she had contracted anything. It would be v.obvious.

    I'm kind of offended that you called your SIL a cow. They have taken in a very sick girl (I understand they are being paid, and I don't know the details, but still, its emotionally and physically draining to take care of someone), and are trying to help her have some semblance of a normal life. I think they are being admirable here. I really really don't think that she is TRYING to make it so that you and your H don't get to come to things. Correct me if there is a past history here and I am wrong.

    At this point I would speak with your doctor at your next appointment. Explain the situation- bare facts. Your SIL and BIL are caring for a teenager with leukemia, you know that those being treated for cancer have a lower immune system and you are concerned about contracting something because of that. Does your doctor think you need to be worried? Then if he says yes, don't be around here, then tell your MIL that. Doctors orders. And just keep repeating that when you hear her complain about it. If your dr says its fine, then that solves your problems.

    I tend to think you are more exposed to illnesses just being in general population- shopping, dinner out, movies, hell even going to work (do you KNOW how few people wash their hands after going to the bathroom? ::shudder::). But for your peace of mind check with your dr.

     

    [IMG]http://i40.tinypic.com/28is09h.jpg[/IMG]</p> Madeleine Suzanne, born October 30, 2011
  • Yes, what Janimal said. Glad to know I'm not crazy...I was sitting here trying to figure out how the girl with cancer (that ISN'T contagious) posed a risk to you.
    [IMG]http://i40.tinypic.com/28is09h.jpg[/IMG]</p> Madeleine Suzanne, born October 30, 2011
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  • image Janimal:

    You can't "catch" leukemia from her.  She has a crappy immune system, so y'all should be careful FOR HER SAKE.  But saying she should stay home and live what could possibly be a VERY SHORT LIFE without other human contact is just mean.

    Seriously - I get wanting to protect yourself and your unborn baby, but you are not in danger from this girl.  And COMPASSION is a lovely trait to pass on to your LO.

    She never said she could catch leukemia from her...but with the girl having leukemia, its very easy for her to catch something and then pass it on to others.

    I used to babysit a little boy with Downs, who also had leukemia. When he was sick, even HIS MOTHER didn't want me there, especially while pregnant. He caught colds extremely easily, and they always snowballed into much more than just your average cold. More often than not, he'd end up with the flu, strep, etc. HIS MOTHER was protecting me and DD (and my unborn baby).

    I don't think she's doing anything wrong by avoiding illness when possible. No, she can't protect herself and her little one from everything, but she can avoid things when possible.

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  • I think that your MIL's behaviour and the issue with the girl should be seperate. I wouldn't want to be around your MIL if that is how she acts (temper tantrums etc) either. As far as the girl is concerned, it sounds like you've made a good decision for everyone's health. But on the other hand, this is a 17 year old girl fighting leukaemia. Since she is with your DH's family rather than her own during something like that she should be treated as family and made as welcome and comfortable as possible. It might make things a little easier if you explain to the girl specifically that it's nothing against her, but for everyone's health.
  • But if the girl was sick - then they would KNOW IT.  I wouldn't want to be around anyone who is sick.  But she didn;t say she didn't want to be around her when she's sick, she said she didn't want to be around her ever at all and the girl should be left at home and never be around their family. 

    I had a dear friend with leukemia.  I treasure the time I got to spend with him.  If he had a secondary illness, I didn't hang out with him. If I had one, I steered clear.  But yo, there was plenty of time where we were both fine, and spending time together was awesome.  If he were around now I would LOVE for him to see my pregnant belly.  Unless the leukemia patient ACTUALLY HAS AN ILLNESS, they are fine.  And those illnesses could be contracted by healthy people too - but with a leukemia patient they would KNOW and not be ignoring a runny nose.

    Plus the overall tone was of disdain that they are treating this girl as if she is family.  And yo, that leaves a bad taste in my mouth. 

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  • image MrsG.060708:
    image Janimal:

    You can't "catch" leukemia from her.  She has a crappy immune system, so y'all should be careful FOR HER SAKE.  But saying she should stay home and live what could possibly be a VERY SHORT LIFE without other human contact is just mean.

    Seriously - I get wanting to protect yourself and your unborn baby, but you are not in danger from this girl.  And COMPASSION is a lovely trait to pass on to your LO.

    She never said she could catch leukemia from her...but with the girl having leukemia, its very easy for her to catch something and then pass it on to others.

    I used to babysit a little boy with Downs, who also had leukemia. When he was sick, even HIS MOTHER didn't want me there, especially while pregnant. He caught colds extremely easily, and they always snowballed into much more than just your average cold. More often than not, he'd end up with the flu, strep, etc. HIS MOTHER was protecting me and DD (and my unborn baby).

    I don't think she's doing anything wrong by avoiding illness when possible. No, she can't protect herself and her little one from everything, but she can avoid things when possible.

    And I'm not disagreeing with this. By all means, if the girl is sick, don't spend time around her. I make sure not to spend time around people with colds, the flu, viruses, etc, even when I am NOT pg. I don't want to catch that crap, thankyouverymuch!

    But if the girl isn't ill, then I don't understand not spending time in her vicinity. Wash your hands, don't drink after her, don't lick her cups/eating utensils and you'll be fine.

    [IMG]http://i40.tinypic.com/28is09h.jpg[/IMG]</p> Madeleine Suzanne, born October 30, 2011
  • Really good points from all of you - Thanks. I am completely onboard with what you are saying about compassion, understanding and I apologise if the post came across as cold. I was becoming super-aware of the length of the post and was trying to lay out as many facts as I could. I am not ridiculous enough to think cancer is contagious. My concerns stem from the fact that her physicians have said that her immune system is drastically low, that being in the children's hospital exposes her to a variety of potentially dangerous illnesses, and that incubation time after exposure may mean she is a carrier without being aware. Of COURSE none of this is her fault - She is a terribly sick little girl and we are completely saddened by what she is going through. And trust me when I say that DH and I truly have considered the 'appearance' of our decision to some who have not been a party to our original discussion to reach the decision.

    I guess what I am failing to understand is how to stop MIL from taking digs at me/us on any matter at hand. This is the freshest, hardest and most delicate one to deal with. As for calling my SIL a cow...well, unfortunately you don't realise her motives behind caring for the girl.

    ETA: The last sentence re: SIL is not worth going into so I should just leave that alone. Just know, that I am a caring and sensitive individual, and I wish this young girl only the best wishes.

  • Okay, then I will address the MIL taking digs issue.

    My MIL will occasionally tell me stuff I think/know is wrong and that I'm not willing to consider. I've learned to use the phrase "huh. That is really interesting, I'll have to do some research on that/ talk to Bryan (my H) about that and get back to you."

    For example: she told me I didn't need to get a Pertussis booster, or a flu shot, because the Bible says that if you believe in Christ and his healing power over your body you will never get sick. My response was "that is so interesting, I've never taken that away from my readings before. I'll do some more research, but be reassured that prayer and faith will be a big part of this child's life."

     I think the thing with my MIL is first, validating her opinion. Mine needs to feel respected, listened to, and to believe that we seriously consider everything she says. Usually by putting her off (research! checking with H!) she moves on. Even if she does bring it back up, I can usually then discuss with her what I believe and how I will do something differently, but still respect and understand her position and will keep an open mind.

    Mostly its about respect. Yeah my  MIL can be a little crazy at times. She sometimes drives me nuts. But she did raise my H- who is an amazing guy- so its worth listening to what she has to say and showing her respect. I feel that by doing that I am also respecting my H, who I know appreciates my efforts (just like I appreciate his efforts when my own mom shows her crazy)

    [IMG]http://i40.tinypic.com/28is09h.jpg[/IMG]</p> Madeleine Suzanne, born October 30, 2011
  • I agree on your point about validation, maybe that is alot of what she is looking for. As I read that it occurred to me that being 'right' and in overall control are two big factors with her so to feel listened to and acknowledged might just bridge those awkward moments. I'll just have to find my moment in their somewhere to catch a breath, be calm and do it appropriately without losing my mind...!
  • Not just protecting your health but, the 17 yo girls too. She doesn't need to be around a bunch of people carrying germs.

    MIL should understand that. 

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  • Whatever you guys decide, people don't have to agree with it but they do have to respect it. Don't let individuals make you feel bad about the way you feel, you're just being honest and we do have to be careful. Good luck!
  • image honeybee #1:
    I think that your MIL's behaviour and the issue with the girl should be seperate. I wouldn't want to be around your MIL if that is how she acts (temper tantrums etc) either. As far as the girl is concerned, it sounds like you've made a good decision for everyone's health. But on the other hand, this is a 17 year old girl fighting leukaemia. Since she is with your DH's family rather than her own during something like that she should be treated as family and made as welcome and comfortable as possible. It might make things a little easier if you explain to the girl specifically that it's nothing against her, but for everyone's health.

    well stated.

    I do agree that MIL is a different issue then the sick girl. 

    I understand you not wanting to be around her for fear of catching something she may also have caught at the hospital (FWIW, i did not get the impression you were concerned with catching cancer, but more along the lines of catching a cold, etc) However, i think during this very sad time this poor girl definitely deserves to be loved and have family/friends nearby. However, if you choose to not go, that's your business. i wouldn't say you are ruining a family function over it. i doubt the function is ruined because 2 people didn't show up.

    My FI would be the same way, concerned about catching an illness. but i do think she deserves to have human interactions at gathering. 

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  • First of all, are you 100% sure that THIS is the hill you want to die on?  Being part of a family means sometimes doing things for or with the family and not being so precious that you have to have things your way (i.e. picking and choosing the other guests).

    If this IS the hill for you, then you absolutely have to involve your husband.  This is a decision that the two of you have to agree on completely and present to her as a joint decision.  I suppose you could just have your husband go without you until you are in a less "fragile" condition however, that is only going to confirm for everyone that you are in fact the *** here.

    I definitely agree that her passive aggressive behaviors need to be addressed and, like someone else said, she doesn't have to agree with your decisions, she just needs to respect them.  I think it will be much, much easier if you start by making reasonable decisions and then ease into the delusions that everything in the world is out to get you just because you're pregnant and you somehow have to protect yourself form the sick foreign child at all costs. 

    This child is not a danger to you.  Do you have any clue how many diseases you are exposed to every time you leave your house?   I know, people hear "cancer" and freak.  You are letting your fears overrule good judgement here.  I've been working as a paramedic, this pregnancy and the last.  Patients don't call on me unless they are really, really, really, sick and I almost never get sick from them. Why? Because I follow some basic, common sense rules of good hygiene.  If you're not sure how to wash your hands, I'm sure you can find someone to explain the concept to you.  Seriously, you are a far, far greater danger to this child than she is to you.  You HAVE an immune system.  It is much easier to picture the scenario where YOU are carrying an illness and don't get sick but can make her very ill.  

    During this pregnancy I have treated patients with active TB, meningitis, all kinds of pneumonia, hepatitis, you name it.  I'm not sick and my baby is just fine.  Do you think that the thousands of pregnant doctors and nurses hide at home from every person who might possibly  be carrying some illness?  Of course not, we all go on about our lives and have healthy pregnancies.

    I really and truly think this is about something else, and would bet almost anything that if that child were "really" family, this wouldn't even come up.  The only advice I can give you is, get over yourself and stop making up problems to have with the in laws. 

  • I wish I could give some real input here, but unfortunately I have a MIL who is also very nosy and controlling.  We live about 5 minutes from her so we are constantly together.  My ILs will pay for stuff-clothes for DD, meals if we are out somewhere, will lend us money if we are short for something.  In turn, when they suggest something, they expect us to do what they suggest and they just can't understand why we say "no thanks".  And they go into a tirade against me.  It's a long story but in the end we've even talked to a therapist about it.  Her advice was that you have to discuss with your DH, draw a line as far as your boundaries, and then stand by it.  Sometimes you have to give in to your ILs and sometimes you have to stand by your decision.  Otherwise, if there is no boundary, they will just continue to push you until you have no control.  It is a good thing that your DH supports you.  Mine doesn't.  The only way I can deal in my situation is to pull myself away from them so they can't control us.  But if you don't stand by the decisions you find most important, it will only get worse-they will want to control things you do with your child, etc.

    I would definitely discuss this with your ob.  Maybe they will just suggest keeping a distance, washing your hands, carrying sanitizer, etc.  

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  • I just wanted to acknowledge everyone again for their replies. I definitely received some really useful stuff out of posting this. Nice work Nov Mommas! Thanks.
  • I totally understand the MIL thing... With that being said, I DO NOT believe this sick girl will cause any harm to you.

    I work in an ICU, and rest assure my doctor's have never expressed any concern about my exposure to cancer patients, HIV patients, or patients with superbugs.

    With that being said, if you don't WANT to go to family functions, then that is totally your choice. I can't stand my inlaws, and sure, I make up every excuse in the book not to see them:-)

    My husband is the "baby" of 3 and the "golden child" as both his siblings have made the choice to be losers. I wish I could get more into this:-) But his mother always makes snarky remarks about how I "took" him away. 

    Good luck with you MIL. I know how exhausting this can be! 

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