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Discussing "controversial" pregnancy/birth/etc decisions with people...

Like.AustraliaLike.Australia Posts: 2,544Registered Users
I was just wondering what your "policy"-slash-experience is with discussing your potentially controversial pregnancy/birth/parenting decisions with people in your life. I'm planning on a natural birth, cloth diapering, etc and my well-meaning husband has shared some of this information with his mother, which has led to some awkward dinner conversations that I'd rather not have. The other night she told me, "I know someone who had a baby at home and something happened and now he's retarded!" I realize there is a potential for complications with any decision made about birth (and anything else, for that matter), but that isn't really something I want/need to hear from someone who is incredibly ignorant on the subject. How do I deal with this? I'm really tempted to just tell her it's none of her business and stop the conversation dead in its tracks, but that will just make it even more awkward.
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  • spiderlashes5000spiderlashes5000 Posts: 17,495Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    I think it's best to read and listen a lot...and say very little! LOL

  • Like.AustraliaLike.Australia Posts: 2,544Registered Users
    I think it's best to read and listen a lot...and say very little! LOL

    I'd rather not sit idly and listen to people who disagree for no reason other than their own ignorance. I'm very careful about what information I give, but I'm looking for ways to deal with people (mostly my parents and in-laws) who have their own ideas about pregnancy and childbirth that don't exactly mesh with mine.
  • Jess the MessJess the Mess Posts: 5,844Registered Users
    Why not find a few books and articles on natural birth and why you chose that route and give them to her to read. Say "I know you are concerned but I want you to be informed on why I made this choice for my body and my baby." What she does with that is then up to her.

    I want to add that as a parent you will always be doing something wrong or that others (mainly grandparents) don't agree with so it's best to discuss with your husband now how the two of you will handle these situations now and in the future. Yes it would be nice if people would mind their own business but IME they don't. Your MIL is already butting in, I can't imagine it will change unless you and DH are on the same page about it and how to handle it.
    High Priestess JessMess, follower of the Goddess of the Coiling Way and Confiscator of Concoctions in the Order of the Curly Crusaders

  • nynaeve77nynaeve77 Posts: 7,135Registered Users
    "Thank you for your concern, but I've done the research and am comfortable with my decision."
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  • webjockeywebjockey Posts: 2,786Registered Users
    The long awkward silence and stare down works well too.
    hello.world.
  • rainshowerrainshower Posts: 4,420Registered Users
    i don't think your choices necessarily have to be a secret, but rather information on a "need to know" basis. just be more discerning about who you share information with and what information you just have to share.

    i mean, you can tell by how flaming topics get just on this site, how passionate people are about their views on childbirth and parenting and how bold and utterly obnoxious many of them are letting others know their ways aren't right.

    the last thing you need while pregnant is feeling that everywhere you turn, you have to defend yourself and/or educate people. personally, i wouldn't put myself in that position to begin with. 9 months goes by quickly. make sure your memories are fond and not frustrating.

    good luck and congrats! :love7:
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  • spiderlashes5000spiderlashes5000 Posts: 17,495Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    I think it's best to read and listen a lot...and say very little! LOL

    I'd rather not sit idly and listen to people who disagree for no reason other than their own ignorance. I'm very careful about what information I give, but I'm looking for ways to deal with people (mostly my parents and in-laws) who have their own ideas about pregnancy and childbirth that don't exactly mesh with mine.

    But how would they know your ideas to be able to disagree with them, if you don't tell them? Unless you are looking for advice or second opinions (and it doesn't seem like you are), it's not necessary to share that information IMO.

  • rainshowerrainshower Posts: 4,420Registered Users
    I think it's best to read and listen a lot...and say very little! LOL

    I'd rather not sit idly and listen to people who disagree for no reason other than their own ignorance. I'm very careful about what information I give, but I'm looking for ways to deal with people (mostly my parents and in-laws) who have their own ideas about pregnancy and childbirth that don't exactly mesh with mine.

    But how would they know your ideas to be able to disagree with them, if you don't tell them? Unless you are looking for advice or second opinions (and it doesn't seem like you are), it's not necessary to share that information IMO.

    ^^ i agree.

    and i think most pregnant women can't escape the unsolicited advice from loved ones and even strangers. seeing a pregnant women conjures up memories that make people want to share their own pregnancy experiences, old wives tales, birthing plans, parenting techniques, horrors, etc. most are well-meaning; a few get off on causing unnecessary unease.

    with both pregnancies, i got used to smiling, nodding, and saying, "interesting! no, i hadn't heard of that" at most of the stuff i was subjected to, without letting on that i thought they were coo coo for cocoa puffs. :toothy3:
    "Dogs stink too, but I like dog stink." ~ rileyb
  • Like.AustraliaLike.Australia Posts: 2,544Registered Users
    rainshower wrote: »

    I'd rather not sit idly and listen to people who disagree for no reason other than their own ignorance. I'm very careful about what information I give, but I'm looking for ways to deal with people (mostly my parents and in-laws) who have their own ideas about pregnancy and childbirth that don't exactly mesh with mine.

    But how would they know your ideas to be able to disagree with them, if you don't tell them? Unless you are looking for advice or second opinions (and it doesn't seem like you are), it's not necessary to share that information IMO.

    ^^ i agree.

    and i think most pregnant women can't escape the unsolicited advice from loved ones and even strangers. seeing a pregnant women conjures up memories that make people want to share their own pregnancy experiences, old wives tales, birthing plans, parenting techniques, horrors, etc. most are well-meaning; a few get off on causing unnecessary unease.

    with both pregnancies, i got used to smiling, nodding, and saying, "interesting! no, i hadn't heard of that" at most of the stuff i was subjected to, without letting on that i thought they were coo coo for cocoa puffs. :toothy3:

    To date, I've shared very little. My husband, however, has shared with his mother that I've hired a doula, plan to have a non-hospital birth, and a few other tidbits. He hasn't just shared out of the blue; she asks things like, "what hospital is Like.Australia having the baby," which is followed up by "but why? who is going to be there then? what is an Abdula?" Ugh. I've asked him to share as little as possible and to play dumb, if necessary, in the future.
  • mad scientistmad scientist Posts: 3,530Registered Users
    Lots of nodding and "Mmmhmmm" while you tune out whatever you aren't interested in hearing.

    You are never going to convince mothers and inlaws (who have had actual experience birthing and parenting) that you know best just because you read something in a book. So don't bother trying. Just do things the way you feel is right.

    I had a natural birth, breastfed, coslept and all that jazz, while living with my MIL, who had a C-section, formula fed, cried it out etc... I was confident in my choices and let her know that she could support me or stay out of my way. Dare I say I've actually swayed her opinion on a number of things and I've *gasp* actually heard her encourage DH's cousins to breastfeed and delay solids.

    I think every new Mom-to-be goes through this in some form or another.
  • Like.AustraliaLike.Australia Posts: 2,544Registered Users
    Lots of nodding and "Mmmhmmm" while you tune out whatever you aren't interested in hearing.

    You are never going to convince mothers and inlaws (who have had actual experience birthing and parenting) that you know best just because you read something in a book. So don't bother trying. Just do things the way you feel is right.

    I had a natural birth, breastfed, coslept and all that jazz, while living with my MIL, who had a C-section, formula fed, cried it out etc... I was confident in my choices and let her know that she could support me or stay out of my way. Dare I say I've actually swayed her opinion on a number of things and I've *gasp* actually heard her encourage DH's cousins to breastfeed and delay solids.

    I think every new Mom-to-be goes through this in some form or another.

    Wow. I don't know how you managed that without going crazy. Kudos to you.
  • spiderlashes5000spiderlashes5000 Posts: 17,495Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    I had a natural birth, breastfed, coslept and all that jazz, while living with my MIL, who had a C-section, formula fed, cried it out etc...

    How funny! :toothy10:

    ***

    I love the phrase, "I will take that under advisement" when I have no interest in someone's advice and want to humorously let them know that.

  • Like.AustraliaLike.Australia Posts: 2,544Registered Users
    What about if someone asks you a direct question that you know they will disagree with the answer to?

    For example, the MIL asked me the other day if I will be using cloth or disposable diapers. I plan to try cloth and I know she disagrees with it, which she expressed when I answered. I just feel like she keeps setting me up to be put down by her. Maybe I'm just being super sensitive, but I feel like she should shut the he*l up.
  • spiderlashes5000spiderlashes5000 Posts: 17,495Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    What about if someone asks you a direct question that you know they will disagree with the answer to?

    For example, the MIL asked me the other day if I will be using cloth or disposable diapers. I plan to try cloth and I know she disagrees with it, which she expressed when I answered. I just feel like she keeps setting me up to be put down by her. Maybe I'm just being super sensitive, but I feel like she should shut the he*l up.

    How did she respond when you told her you plan to use cloth?

    Do you think your MIL is trying to pick a fight/antagonize you? Or is she just making conversation?

    I can't imagine a woman so much older than you who is likely long past childbearing would be trying to pick fights with you over this stuff. But I'm sure it's possible.

    Without knowing the entire story...if I told her I wanted to use cloth diapers and she said, "OMG, that's crazy! Why would you do such a crazy thing?"

    I'd probably say, "I know -- what am I getting myself into??" And I would chuckle and change the subject.

    I can't see her criticisms of your position on this issue becoming too serious. It's not like you are telling her you plan to smoke crack or something. LOL

  • Like.AustraliaLike.Australia Posts: 2,544Registered Users
    What about if someone asks you a direct question that you know they will disagree with the answer to?

    For example, the MIL asked me the other day if I will be using cloth or disposable diapers. I plan to try cloth and I know she disagrees with it, which she expressed when I answered. I just feel like she keeps setting me up to be put down by her. Maybe I'm just being super sensitive, but I feel like she should shut the he*l up.

    How did she respond when you told her you plan to use cloth?

    Do you think your MIL is trying to pick a fight/antagonize you? Or is she just making conversation?

    I can't imagine a woman so much older than you who is likely long past childbearing would be trying to pick fights with you over this stuff. But I'm sure it's possible.

    Without knowing the entire story...if I told her I wanted to use cloth diapers and she said, "OMG, that's crazy! Why would you do such a crazy thing?"

    I'd probably say, "I know -- what am I getting myself into??" And I would chuckle and change the subject.

    I can't see her criticisms of your position on this issue becoming too serious. It's not like you are telling her you plan to smoke crack or something. LOL

    It was kind of an eye roll and a "tsktsk" I-should-have-known-disapproving noise. I just feel like my decisions are constantly up for debate with her, and really, they just aren't. If she wants to offer advice, fine, but it really bothers me that she asks me things with full knowledge that she isn't going to like my answer.
  • B-Nessa11B-Nessa11 Posts: 1,050Registered Users
    U should talk to ur husband and let him know u don't like her questioning u about ur decisions.

    When ur pregnant it seems that ppl feel like they are supposed to put n their input and u are supposed to follow. But we know that's not true. You can nicely let her know that while u respect her concerns, you got this. U don't want her saying things to sway ur decisions when u and your HUSBAND have discussed them. And when she does her tisk tisk disapproval thing say something like, "Yup, I said the same thing" lol.

    In a not so obvious way, make her seem kind of stupid when she asks you questions to which she doesn't want/already know the answers too.

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  • rainshowerrainshower Posts: 4,420Registered Users
    if your mil bothers you that much, when she starts "staging" those kinds of conversations with questions, just say "you know, i'm just going to wait and see what happens to work best for us."

    that way, you can end the discussion with that, you aren't lying, you aren't being rude. and when you use that exact wording with every one of her "questions," she'll remember and will get the picture. as long as you say it nicely, she can't accuse you of being anything other than a respectful dil who just hasn't made up her mind yet about diapering, feeding, sleeping, vaccinating, disciplining, childcare, college ...
    "Dogs stink too, but I like dog stink." ~ rileyb
  • Jess the MessJess the Mess Posts: 5,844Registered Users

    To date, I've shared very little. My husband, however, has shared with his mother that I've hired a doula, plan to have a non-hospital birth, and a few other tidbits. He hasn't just shared out of the blue; she asks things like, "what hospital is Like.Australia having the baby," which is followed up by "but why? who is going to be there then? what is an Abdula?" Ugh. I've asked him to share as little as possible and to play dumb, if necessary, in the future.

    This is why I suggested that you need to talk to your husband and come to an agreement that you are BOTH comfortable with in these situations. It sounds like he wants his mother more involved and you don't. If you don't address this now it will always be a problem between the two of you. You both need to share your feelings on how to deal with MIL. You on how you want her to butt out and maybe him take a firm stand with her, and him on why he wants to give her the info in the first place.

    I'm saying this from experience. I have a very difficult MIL and the first few years after I got married/had kids were hell sometimes. I just couldn't see why my husband wanted such a close relationship with such a condescending, judgemental mother. It took therapy for us to work it out after 3 years and lots of hurt feelings. Talk about it sooner rather than later.
    High Priestess JessMess, follower of the Goddess of the Coiling Way and Confiscator of Concoctions in the Order of the Curly Crusaders

  • Like.AustraliaLike.Australia Posts: 2,544Registered Users
    We talked about it last night and he understands why I want to provide only limited information. I think he's on board now. We'll see how the next family gathering goes.


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  • webjockeywebjockey Posts: 2,786Registered Users
    I thought you said it really nice in a few posts up. You feel like your decisions are up for debate when in fact, they are not.

    Can you say that to her? Something like "hubby's name and my decisions on XYZ are not up for debate". That way, you both look like a united team on the decision making.
    hello.world.
  • Like.AustraliaLike.Australia Posts: 2,544Registered Users
    webjockey wrote: »
    I thought you said it really nice in a few posts up. You feel like your decisions are up for debate when in fact, they are not.

    Can you say that to her? Something like "hubby's name and my decisions on XYZ are not up for debate". That way, you both look like a united team on the decision making.

    I could try, I just feel weird setting boundaries with her. I'm fine doing it with my parents, but I feel out of place doing it with her. I've told the husband he needs to do it with his parents -- and he has about other issues (I think I posted about her randomly showing up to decorate our house before...) -- but if he doesn't do it soon about this, I'm going to have to.
  • Jess the MessJess the Mess Posts: 5,844Registered Users
    I'm glad you two talked and he understands how you feel. I really hope he follows up with your MIL and that these issues get resolved quickly and easily. I really do know how hard it can be. I hope everyone backs off and you are able to have a pregnancy that's as stress free as possible. Good for you for choosing what you feel is best for you and your baby and not backing down.
    High Priestess JessMess, follower of the Goddess of the Coiling Way and Confiscator of Concoctions in the Order of the Curly Crusaders

  • Like.AustraliaLike.Australia Posts: 2,544Registered Users
    Thanks Jess. I really appreciate everyone's input here.

    Also, what does one say when someone says "SO.. ANY BABY NEWS?!?" My reaction is... umm... it's still in there. What are these crazy people looking for?
  • webjockeywebjockey Posts: 2,786Registered Users
    webjockey wrote: »
    I thought you said it really nice in a few posts up. You feel like your decisions are up for debate when in fact, they are not.

    Can you say that to her? Something like "hubby's name and my decisions on XYZ are not up for debate". That way, you both look like a united team on the decision making.

    I could try, I just feel weird setting boundaries with her. I'm fine doing it with my parents, but I feel out of place doing it with her. I've told the husband he needs to do it with his parents -- and he has about other issues (I think I posted about her randomly showing up to decorate our house before...) -- but if he doesn't do it soon about this, I'm going to have to.

    I understand the discomfort, but if you want peace of mind, you'll have to overcome that discomfort because it will just continue.

    Been there, done that (and still doing that). Some people just won't stop until they are confronted in plain language. In my family, I'm battling centuries of tradition where grown mothers are seen as "rude" or "disrespectful" of their elders for contradicting them.

    It's a tough nut to break. Bottom line, my sanity and need for respect is more important than their traditions.

    As for "any baby news" questions, I usually say "still in there doin what he/she does"

    I call him/her "Cletus the fetus".

    Drives some people crazy.
    hello.world.
  • spiderlashes5000spiderlashes5000 Posts: 17,495Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    Other than on website discussion boards (and I don't only mean this one), I have never experienced anyone criticizing, mocking or challenging anyone's decision to have a certain type of delivery, serve a certain type of food, sleep a certain way, etc.

    I've found IRL (discussion boards are an entirely different thing) women usually try to be friendly and helpful when talking about these topics with other women who are pregnant.

    I've encountered differing opinions, but never "tsk tsk tsk you dummy" type stuff.

    Are these people like this about other topics when you are not pregnant?

  • Like.AustraliaLike.Australia Posts: 2,544Registered Users
    Other than on website discussion boards (and I don't only mean this one), I have never experienced anyone criticizing, mocking or challenging anyone's decision to have a certain type of delivery, serve a certain type of food, sleep a certain way, etc.

    I've found IRL (discussion boards are an entirely different thing) women usually try to be friendly and helpful when talking about these topics with other women who are pregnant.

    I've encountered differing opinions, but never "tsk tsk tsk you dummy" type stuff.

    Are these people like this about other topics when you are not pregnant?

    Yup.
  • Like.AustraliaLike.Australia Posts: 2,544Registered Users
    webjockey wrote: »
    webjockey wrote: »
    I thought you said it really nice in a few posts up. You feel like your decisions are up for debate when in fact, they are not.

    Can you say that to her? Something like "hubby's name and my decisions on XYZ are not up for debate". That way, you both look like a united team on the decision making.

    I could try, I just feel weird setting boundaries with her. I'm fine doing it with my parents, but I feel out of place doing it with her. I've told the husband he needs to do it with his parents -- and he has about other issues (I think I posted about her randomly showing up to decorate our house before...) -- but if he doesn't do it soon about this, I'm going to have to.

    I understand the discomfort, but if you want peace of mind, you'll have to overcome that discomfort because it will just continue.

    Been there, done that (and still doing that). Some people just won't stop until they are confronted in plain language. In my family, I'm battling centuries of tradition where grown mothers are seen as "rude" or "disrespectful" of their elders for contradicting them.

    It's a tough nut to break. Bottom line, my sanity and need for respect is more important than their traditions.

    As for "any baby news" questions, I usually say "still in there doin what he/she does"

    I call him/her "Cletus the fetus".

    Drives some people crazy.

    Thanks. Yeah, I'll give my husband a couple more days to deal with his mom himself. If she continues, I guess I'll confront her. We don't see them all that often, maybe once or twice a month max and it's rare that it's just us and them. She wanted to spend time with just us and not his other brothers/their wives for some reason the other night. It was odd.. and awkward.
  • picklesgirlpicklesgirl Posts: 1,955Registered Users
    I didn't read through all the posts but let me just say I sooo feel your pain!! When I had my last baby and decided to nurse him my mother-in-law and sister-in-laws had a cow. And when he was 7 months old I was asked if it was about time to switch to a bottle. (uh no) and heaven forbid I try to feed him anywhere with people around. With this baby not only am I nursing again (I can hear them shudder) but I'm also cloth diapering. My MIL said "I'll just buy a back of diapers to keep at my house" My response "Well if you want to waste your money on them go right a head" Thankfully I have my mom who nursed me and cloth diapered me who has been very supportive to me. Hold firm roll your eyes and call your best girlfriend to complain about how your MIL is driving you crazy at least that's what I do
  • msgmsg Posts: 151Registered Users
    Ahh the MIL battles.... They won't stop after you have the baby either, there will always be things you two see differently. Strange that I don't as often hear of mother/daughter battles that are quite as intense. My mom lets me do what I want and has not ever criticized my choices. I had to really establish boundaries w/ MIL. She stepped over them a few times and thankfully either my FIL or my husband stepped up to say that what I chose to do with my child was not her decision. Now things are much better, my son is a toddler, but occasionally she will say something and I will have to say, "It's my decision, but thanks for your input."
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  • picklesgirlpicklesgirl Posts: 1,955Registered Users
    last weekend Quentin (my 4 year old) wanted his aunt to cut his hair a mohawk I was fine with it, he's had them before and he looks pretty darn cute with them. As I'm telling my sis-in-law it's fine my MIL is yelling over top of me "no he can't have one you're not cutting one" and on and on and on. I finally looked at her and said "or his MOTHER said yes so it's fine!!!"
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