Tag Archives: in-laws

Dear Captain Awkward,

My husband and I (cis-woman), are adopting our first child. We came to this decision after we learned that I have a medical condition which will make it difficult, if not impossible, for me to have biological children. We were very excited to tell our families about this decision. And, for the most part, the response has been positive.

However, my husband’s parents have not been as enthusiastic as I had hoped. The week after we announced our plans, they gave me a ton of brochures about in-vitro and fertility treatments, as well as information about embryo adoption. I politely explained that the same condition which makes it difficult for me to conceive makes it more likely that I’ll have a miscarriage. I also explained that we had already submitted the first part of our application, and were committed to adoption.

Explaining all of this seemed to put the issue to rest, until the holidays. While we were visiting them, I accidentally overheard my husband’s mother say some pretty unkind things about me and my body (the same condition which limits my fertility also makes it harder for me to manage my weight), as well as suggesting that my husband should divorce me and find someone who can give him children. She doesn’t know I heard her say this.

In the months since then, my inlaws have insinuated that they don’t (and won’t) consider adopted children to be “real” grandchildren, even asking me point blank why I would want to take care of “someone else’s child”. My mother-in-law also seems particularly concerned that the child that is placed with us will be disabled in some way, going on about how adopted children are often “emotionally damaged” (after which I pointed out that no child comes with any guarantees, and mental, emotional, and/or physical disability are not limited to adopted children).

I’ve asked my husband to talk to them, but he has social anxiety, and confrontation (especially with his parents) is really hard for him. And his family is close-knit. We’re over his parents house for dinner about twice a month. I don’t want to ruin his relationship with his family, but I also don’t want to hear the constant stream of criticism, and, more importantly, I don’t want to subject any potential future child(ren) of mine to that kind of talk. Lately, I’ve started using work as an excuse to skip dinner with them, but that can’t work forever. And I just don’t know what to do anymore.

Anxious Mom-To-Be

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Hiya Captain,

I need some help putting myself back together again.

Maybe they’ll be charming in 100 years? Right now they’re jerky and awful.

Basically, my partner and I moved into his parents’ house for about a year and a half after the birth of our second child owing to some financial complications we hadn’t anticipated. This was very kind and generous of them, and I want to acknowledge that. However, living with them was painful and destructive in ways I had thought I could handle, and it turns out I was wrong. They’re pretty right-wing, Fox News-watching types, and are unconsciously racist and homophobic to boot. That year and a half of living with them was filled with micro- and macro-aggressions enough to have thoroughly sunk my spirit – I spent so much time holding my tongue and gnashing my teeth around them that I’m finding it really, really difficult to recover the me that I was before I lived with them. It’s like I sat so hard on all the parts of myself around which I was the most vulnerable that I may have actually permanently squished them, and now I’m a person that I don’t really recognize.

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