It's already hurtful to not be able to conceive, but to be hounded mercilessly about it....that's a true nightmare.
u/babygreenvines told us her heartbreaking story:
I (25f) am infertile. Needing advice on how to politely deflect hurtful comments from my boyfriend’s (27m) extended family regarding “giving them a baby”
I am a 25 year old divorced mother of two young girls. Their biological father turned into a flake after the divorce and is an "every-other-weekend" father at best.
After the birth of my youngest daughter there were complications and I had to have an emergency complete hysterectomy (I have no ovaries either, so no eggs). I came to terms with this and it doesn't sadden me nearly as much as it used to. I have two kids and am happy with that. My ex husband was a piece of work that endeavored to make me feel like less of a woman because of it, so it's still a bit of a sore spot but it doesn't pain me regularly.
I feel like I hit the jackpot with my boyfriend (27m) of the past two years. He loves my daughters like they are his own and is very supportive and respectful of them. I was worried about being made to feel like damaged goods when I began dating again because I know a young mother of two without the ability to have any kids is a lot to accept.
We live a 4 hour plane ride from my boyfriend's large, extended family. He was the first born child in his generation and was a bit of a "golden child" so his family is very, very attached to him. Every visit we make (around 3x a year) is like the prodigal son returning — they arrange barbecues and pool parties for him and even more distant family members visit from out of state just to see him. They are a bit louder and more gregarious than what I am used to (my mom is a coroner and my dad is an engineer — we shake hands) but overall are very kind, welcoming people who love my children and seem to like me.
After we had been together for around a year, the expected "so when are we going to be getting a new baby!" questions began to start. I started with "that just isn't in the cards for us" but when pressed further ended up telling a few of his family members that I had had a hysterectomy. This was met with polite "oh that's too bad" comments which was expected.
The trouble is that, since then, they have gotten more comfortable with me and are pushing the issue further. Everyone in his family now knows I'm infertile (gossip travels).
They have my boyfriend's childhood on a pedestal and will not drop the idea of a little clone of him roaming around.
A few examples.
- Drunkenly begging me to "let them" use a surrogate so that they can have a "real" grandchild/cousin/nephew/whatever. This wouldn't actually be a surrogacy, by the way, because I have no eggs. What they propose is Boyfriend impregnating a random woman and then me adopting that child. When boyfriend speaks up saying that isn't what he wants at all they turn to me and continue asking, like it's a choice between me and the extended family.
- Asking invasive, deeply personal questions about the medical circumstance of my infertility and how I feel about it.
- Boyfriend's dad half-jokingly said "oh.... are you sure she's the one then?" to my boyfriend (right in front of me) when he found out I wouldn't be bearing "real" grandchildren. Boyfriend laughed it off but Dad kept staring, waiting for an answer.
- His mom wistfully says things like "Your kids are wonderful... but it's just not the same..."
My family is generally pretty sterile and drama-free so I am not used to this level of family entanglement.
This has obviously been sporadically ongoing, but a recent comment from one of them on social media was the final straw that has me posting here -- because I realize that it is not just going to be confined to our seasonal visits.
Does anyone have any good one-liners, or things I can say to kill these conversations as they start? I'm desperately trying to be polite but am having trouble toeing the line between being amicable and feeling disrespected.
I feel like anyone (women in particular) should understand that this would be a tender subject, so I am struggling to handle these "casual" cookout conversations that sometimes leave me fighting tears.
EDIT FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
1). Boyfriend has not been present for the LARGE majority of these comments, and I need to talk with him more about how they've made me feel as a whole.
2). Boyfriend and I have spoken at great lengths about children, and neither of us want any more. Even if I did have a uterus, two is enough for us and he has no desire for a biological child. I'm on track to retire at age 40 (same time my youngest will be out of the house) and neither of us have any desire to reset the clock on our countdown to an empty nest.
3). A little of the RedPill is seeping in here, so I thought I would clarify: I am not at all financially dependent on my boyfriend. I own several income properties, my kids have burgeoning college funds, etc. I'm not clinging to a new baby daddy for stability and his family knows that I am not a leech.
I have two young daughters but cannot have anymore (no uterus/eggs). Boyfriend accepts my kids as his own and is happy not having any more. He is the golden child of his large extended family and they keep making hurtful comments about my kids not being enough for them, and acting like I'm holding him back from "giving them" a baby. Any advice on what to say? I feel this is incredibly rude but don't know if I'm being too sensitive.
Here is the advice she got:
Rather than politely deflect, I would opt to firmly cut it out, which can still be done politely and kindly. Saying things like "I would rather you didn't make this type of comments", "that's hurtful", "that's not a subject that I want to discuss with you", etc. The key is to say it in a tone of voice that shows you are serious about this and that bears no discussion.
With that said, the easiest might be to let it slide and ask your boyfriend to have a private conversation with them to make them stop.
I feel like this is an issue he's going to have to bring up to his family. They are being incredibly rude and now especially insensitive since they know your medical history (which they are definitely not entitled to in the first place). No more laughing it off, no more "I'm just joking" - they need to be spoken to about how their behavior is unacceptable. After that discussion, it would be a good idea to consider limiting contact with them or cutting them out completely if they don't get better about it (read: if they can stop being assholes about it to your faces at the very least).
I'm sorry that you are going through this situation and that these people have no tact.
They sound insufferable. I am kind of in the same boat. I am CF and my mother would ask me to just find "any man" so she could have a grandchild. She even told me, "You don't have to love him. He just needs to provide for you and your children." I felt so ashamed she is my mother.
Tell them those questions are improper. What if your biological children overhear what they say? Your bf needs to speak up. If they try to talk to you behind your bf, tell them they need to speak to the bf and you will definitely tell him about it. It is easier for him to speak to them. If he is unwilling to do so, then you will have to make a decision to cut contact with them.
Wow, these people are so rude! I guess if they're usually not making these comments where your boyfriend can hear, you basically have two options 1) he sends a (brief and direct) family email before your next visit letting everyone know that he knows people have been commenting on your infertility on past visits, and that you've tried to be polite, but it's really not a kind thing to do and he doesn't want them to do it anymore, and/or 2) you learn some one-liners to let them know how unappreciated the conversation is. Obviously you'll want #2 whether or not you decide to go with #1, so here are a few:
- I don't really like to talk about that.
- I'm not sure what to say to that.
- I'm not sure what you expect me to do.
- Thank you, that really makes me feel great about myself.
- Thank you, that's just what I wanted to hear. (My go-to when people tell me how hugely pregnant I am.)
- Let's talk about something else. Do you have any life-altering medical issues we can discuss?
- What a thing to say.
- You're the fourth person to bring up my infertility today. (And then you just smile at them and dare them to fucking continue.)
- (Regarding your daughters.) I guess I'll just have to feel lucky that the man I love feels they're good enough.
- (Or) I'm sorry the loss of my reproductive organs is such an inconvenience for you.
- I understand you're disappointed that Boyfriend fell for a woman who can't carry his children, but I'm not really the right person to vent to about it.
You two need to be on Team You Two for this. If that makes sense. :/
I've had a glass of wine or three, so bear with me whilst I formulate my thoughts and try to explain:
a) You two should sit yourselves down and discuss how you want to handle this going forward. There's nothing worse than the dread-dread-dread of a far-flung visit, only to get there and it's just as bad as you thought but you're not prepared. You both know it's going to be bad, so prepare beforehand. Have some stock phrases, like, "Why are you so interested in our sex life?" and, "Are you seriously telling my boyfriend to dump me because I've had medical problems?" and, "Gosh, do you realise how awful it sounds when you say that my children, who are beloved by your son, are only second-best to a non-existent foetus?"
Go for the throat. Exaggerate and use hyperbole. They're not exactly sparing your feelings, so why should you spare theirs, in all honesty?
b) If you usually stay with his relatives, then arrange a hotel or something for the next visit. When this starts up, have it arranged with your boyfriend that you'll stand up and walk away, and go and speak to Uncle/Auntie A.N.Other. Give one warning, eg "This isn't up for discussion." Then, if it carries on, give no explanations - just up and move.
A) It's his family, so he should be doing the heavy lifting with putting them off these lines of discussion. Talk it over with him, and have him be prepared to spine up and shut things down. It may be a battle at first, but it's worth it in the long run. It's either you and him who suffer X times per year despite protestations, or he goes a bit firm on them and you both stop suffering. Either way, you both suffer, but you suffer less if you set up your boundaries.
I'm probably blathering now, but I got seriously angry as f*ck over what you said his father did (staring at him, waiting for an answer to that damn question) and what his mother said ("it's just not the same"). Cheeky pair of sods. If your boyfriend's accepted your girls as his own, then what RIGHT does SHE have to reject them as second rate??? Gah! -.-
I'm going to take my tipsy self up to bed now. Chat with your man (who sounds adorable, btw) and both of you take control back.
Good luck. x
Golden child will have to speak up on this one. Tell them to stop bringing it up. It is incredibly rude and hurtful. If it was he that was sterile, would they be saying the same things???
"I'm sure you didn't mean that to be hurtful. But you if you bring up this subject again, I'll start thinking you DO intend to be hurtful."
Or, if you're feeling snarky: "Listen, we decided we don't want to pass on the faulty "stick your nose in other people's business" and "lack of boundaries about other people's sexual and reproductive choices" genes that apparently run on his side of the family."
Your boyfriend needs to shut the comments down. In the meantime, point out their rudeness. "Wow, you said that out loud. You must be so embarrassed." I would reconsider making these trips if they don't stop though. Have your daughters heard the shitty comments they've been making?
Honestly, I would cry in front of them. Let them see how much pain this is causing you. If they aren't sadistic assholes they will feel awful and will try to avoid hurting you in the future. If that doesn't change their behavior going forward, now you know that these people aren't really that nice and can adjust how much time you spend with them accordingly.
You should feel disrespected, what they are saying is incredibly rude. This isn't gregariousness, this is an astonishingly vile lack of respect for you as a person. Yes, they might want "real" grandkids, and that's something they'll need to resolve with your BF, not you. I would talk to your BF about this and tell him that he needs to put this issue to bed with them, and he needs should be sticking up for you if they so much as slightly hint that general direction, let alone insult you as directly as they are.
I am completely blown away by the blatant disrespect and rudeness that your boyfriend's family has shown you regarding having more kids. Personally, I'm CF, but I CANNOT understand why the world thinks it is appropriate to ask a woman about her reproductive intentions, let alone badger someone who has already declared that she cannot have any more kids**!** You and your boyfriend's reproductive choices are none of their business. Neither is your medical history. Period.
I do not think you are being over-sensitive. These people have crossed several lines with their rude comments and their incessant questions. You do not deserve to feel like crap for the hand that biology dealt to you. Your children do not deserve to be treated like outsiders because they aren't "real" grandchildren. If you and your boyfriend get married, those kids will be hiskids and you have every right to fully expect that your existing children are as much as part of the family and treated the same as any biological kids. His mother's comment of, "But it's not the same" makes me very concerned that if you and your boyfriend could or wanted to have a baby together, your existing children would be pushed aside in favor of the biological grandchild. Your existing children will pick up on that, and they will be very, VERY hurt and could even end up resenting their half-sibling. Also, are they not aware that a surrogate is tens of thousands of dollars and insurance doesn't pay?!
I think that is is AWESOME you found a great guy who values your children as much as you do, and he accepts you for who you are and loves and accepts your children as well. It's hard to find a man like that. However, I feel that you NEED to tell him upfront about how his family is treating you when he is not around. It looks to me that the majority of them deliberately wait for him to be elsewhere before they start targeting you with baby-guilt and bingos. At this point, you are DONE with being polite. Time to play the asshole card. You must tell him about every instance in which they have done this and how badly they have made you feel. You need to tell him that his family has made you feel unwelcome, alienated, and like you guys will never be fully accepted as part of the family. You also need to tell him that his parents' remarks have hurt you, and that you have serious concerns that his parents and the rest of the family will treat your children differently for not being biological. Then (and this is what I have done with my own in-laws), you tell him under no uncertain terms that until ALL of it stops, you and your children will NOT be visiting his parents OR his extended family because you're tired of feeling like garbage when you're around them. Be sure to also show him the comments made to you on social media so you he can see for himself in writing what you have been dealing with. These people need to accept that you and your boyfriend have made up your minds and there will be no changing it. It is what it is, so they just need to deal with it and move on if they want to have any kind of relationship with you guys.
Your bf needs to address this directly. There is a reason they don't say it in front of him. They probably know it's hurtful. It's ok to say "these questions make me uncomfortable. I don't want to talk about it" and "that is not a nice thing to say to me".
Be frank and push back, they sound like my mother's family. South African and blunt. Be blunt but polite back, if it offends you and upsets you that they say that and that these are not options your are considering give them a piece of your mind on how you feel. You are not meat and you are not a baby producing machine and neither should you feel like one!
What horrible people. His family has made it abundantly clear that your kids are not a part of their family.
I'd be putting my foot down on this or simply not have my kids involved with people like this.
I wouldn't be walking on eggshells trying to find the best way to tactfully shoot these comments down, I'd be making it known very clearly how inappropriate and insensitive it is and to continue it is incredibly disrespectful to their own son, to you, and to your own children.
He might have said he's okay with it, but given that he never tries to shut it down, it's possible that he also hasn't truly accepted it yet, either. The family seems rude but it's hard for any parent to accept the fact that their child will not have his/her own grandchild (though in an ideal world, they should accept your children as their own grandchildren).
Considering it's a close family, it seems like it may be easier to explain to them [just one time] what happened and why it's hard for you to talk about. I think doing that or having your husband speak to them are your only options that would actually work.
The comments they are making are not funny, and are completely inappropriate, and that needs to be made known. Talk to your boyfriend, make sure he understand how all of this makes you feel. He'll have a choice to make, whether to stand by your side or avoid rocking the boat with his family.
If he stands by you (which may be difficult at first, be patient but assertive with him) then the two of you need to make it known to the family that these comments aren't jokes, that these discussions need to stop, and that ultimately these decisions are not up to them.
Don't be aggressive, just try to help them understand how you are feeling. Let them know that you understand their desire for a grandchild, but that it isn't in the future for the two of you, and that while you would like to become closer with them it is completely selfish for them to make you feel like you aren't good enough because you can't have anymore children.
There is a good chance that your boyfriend will be hesitant. This is his family, and it can be difficult for some to make themselves heard when they've lived their whole lives under the influence of their elders, especially if the family is close. That means it may take some serious discussion for it to break through to him just how much this is affecting you. Be firm, but understand that he's likely going to feel pressured from two directions. Of course, if he isn't willing to stand beside you, you're going to have a tough choice to make. Continue the relationship knowing that the pressure of his family's desires will weigh more than your personal feelings, or move on and leave behind the relationship you've invested in.
I hope things improve for you, and remember, resolution comes through open communication. It may seem tempting to ask your boyfriend to talk to them all about it, but in truth that only offers division between him and his family and him and you. You'll grow closer to both him and his family if you take this together.