To tell or not to tell: the tale of a gossiping mother-in-law

I’ve been avoiding my mother-in-law all week. Honestly, I rarely talk to her more than 2-3x a month, but I did say I would call her earlier this week.

From not taking good care of our fur-babies and our house when we were gone for IVF…

to not coming by at all until I lost the baby…

to barely calling since then…

I’ve just had enough with her lack of support. She doesn’t seem to “get” it and I don’t think I will ever get through to her.

When we got home from our IVF cycle, I discovered that she had been sharing personal details with her close friends about our cycle (i.e embryo updates, how sick I was feeling, etc). I felt like she violated my privacy and my trust by relaying this information to people I never would have told on my own. We were not secretive about the fact that we were away for IVF, but we also were not open about specific details except with our parents and on this blog (which only a handful of my non-infertility friends have access to). My husband and I both scolded her; and told her it was our story to share, not hers.

Before I left the hospital following our loss, I told her she could go ahead and let everyone know what happened.

She replied with, “No, we can keep it a secret for now“.

I told her, “There is no secret. I had surgery. We lost the baby.”

Ugh. She just doesn’t understand when things are appropriate and when they are not. 

Anyway, some extended family is getting together the weekend after Christmas to take the kids swimming and water sliding at a local hotel. My MIL mentioned it to us immediately when I got out of the hospital. We told her we weren’t sure if we would attend (as clearly we had more important things on our mind), but asked her to give us more details at a later date.

Turns out, she told the extended family that we wouldn’t be attending because of our fertility treatments. SAY WHAT?!?! 

The facts are:

  • We are NOT doing treatment in December
  • We both could go swimming if we wanted
  • We were not given any more details
  • Up until last week, she had no clue when we were going for our FET
  • She told a lie

I guess I can appreciate the fact that maybe she was trying to save us from an experience that clearly highlights our lack of children. I am upset that she chose to make that decision without actually consulting us.

So now, I’m avoiding her because I don’t know what to say. I contemplated crying my heart out to her and telling her exactly how this loss has affected me and how much fear I have for our upcoming FET. Then, I figured my personal feelings would be broadcast all over my husband’s home town. Not worth it. 

Up until the past few days, only our parents and my brother knew that we were going back in January. Since then, I’ve told a few close friends. Instead of telling my work, I’ve just booked a tentative week off.

I don’t plan on sharing much information about our FET with anyone except those who have been there for us during our loss. I know this perspective might change if I gain a more positive outlook, but I am afraid of facing another loss and being left even more alone.

How would you explain this to my mother-in-law? What would you say to that extended family if they ask any questions? 


17 thoughts on “To tell or not to tell: the tale of a gossiping mother-in-law

  1. Um… WOW. I like to err on the side of people being well-intentioned at times like this, but this seems to have crossed a line.

    My MIL hasn’t done any of what you’ve experienced– because we’ve told her exactly 0% of what we’re going through. This is, in part, because I can see her doing something similar. Weirdly, I think that tendency in her comes from her wanting to share in our life more. She becomes so invested that this does feel like “her story to tell.” (Even when it isn’t. TRUST me, I get that.)

    One thing that comes to mind… do you think it would be better coming from your husband than you? I’ve found that when I try to lay down the law about over-stepping boundaries, my MIL doesn’t hear it. But when Mr. O does, she respects it a little more.


    • We’ve struggled with both scenarios. My husband has stepped up a lot more lately, but because of that I don’t think she takes him seriously either. She isn’t used to that side of him. Maybe it would be more effective if both of us were there but he talked? I dunno. I’m at a loss for getting through to her. She only like her truth which is always far from reality.


  2. On top of everything else I wish you didn’t have to face this. I wish you, me, and everyone else could have supportive families and friends. Alas, wishes don’t always come true.
    For us, we still have not told my inlaws a single thing about our RPL or decision to adopt, but intend on telling them soon (more on that in an upcoming post) because we expect them to be less then supportive so its going to be hard. On the other hand, we have included my parents and know that recently they broke our trust.
    Honestly, I don’t know there there is an easy answer. Listen to your gut, and remember to protect yourself and your marriage. Because without your integrity and your marriage, what’s the point?


  3. This is so frustrating. I would protect your own journey and not tell but of course only you and your husband know what is right. Sorry you have to deal with this. Xo


  4. Sorry you’re having to deal with all this. I think if that was me, I would just stop telling her what’s going on. I guess it depends on how your hubby feels about it, since it’s his mom, but I feel like you need to protect yourselves and your privacy more than anything. I agree with the others, to go with your gut.


  5. Hugs! I guess I don’t feel like you have to tell her or anyone else anything you don’t want to. Take care of yourself and do what’s right for you. You and your husband and your well-beings are what’s most important. ❤


  6. Recently found your blog, and really appreciate what you share about your story. I wanted to comment because my inlaws are a nightmare and so we don’t share anything about our infertility with them. I did have a friend that betrayed my trust, and now when she asks, I simply say, we’re not sharing the details. For now, that ends the conversation. I agree with the others- trust your gut, and as hard as it is, feel confident in the decision you make.


  7. I am very sorry your MIL has been so discourteous, selfish and thoughtless in a time when you guys really needed compassion and kindness – or at least a respectful silence. As for how to explain this to her, I would not expend my energy there right now. You are feeling understandably fragile or apprehensive about the FET and you need all of your strength and energy for you in my view. As for what to say to extended family I would play that by ear based on how you feel about sharing and knowing what you say may also be shared. Sorry no big revelations on my end. Sending you heaps of love, patience and endurance.


  8. Pingback: Currently #5 | The Parenthood Diaries

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