cereta: Laura Cereta (cereta)
Lucy ([personal profile] cereta) wrote in [community profile] agonyaunt2017-05-20 09:49 am

Dear Abby: Reluctant Grandparents veto Couple's Plans to Have a Baby

DEAR ABBY: I have been married for almost five years, and my husband and I recently decided to try to have a baby. I am really excited about the possibility of being a mom. My problem is, my parents and his parents don't want to be grandparents.

I will be 30 this year, and they keep telling me I should wait until I'm 40 to have kids. I have endometriosis, and I know if I wait too long it will be even harder to get pregnant.

On top of all the pressure our families are putting me under, I just found out my sister has been married almost a year and hasn't told anyone. I don't want to disappoint our families or force something on them they are not ready for. I'm not sure what to do now. I want my husband and me to be happy. Any advice would be appreciated. -- STRESSED OUT IN OHIO

DEAR STRESSED: I know you want to be a good daughter, but you are allowing your parents (and in-laws) to weigh in on a decision that should be yours and your husband's alone. Your reason for not wanting to postpone motherhood makes sense.

Understand that not everyone wants to be a grandparent and be glad you're finding out upfront that the parents will not be baby-sitting. Many disappointed readers have written me after the fact to express their dismay when they realized it. Take from this the lesson that you must live your own life.

And, by the way, so should your sister. If there are consequences from her elopement, she should experience them. But under no circumstances should you allow yourself to be dragged into her drama.
misbegotten: Black Books' Manny holds a sign saying "oh no" (BB Manny Oh No)

[personal profile] misbegotten 2017-05-20 03:13 pm (UTC)(link)
I'm not sure that my response is supposed to be "Maybe you're not ready to have children?" But I'm cranky.

I'd say there are definite issues going on with the (grand)parents if the children are hiding a marriage and letting themselves be pressured about personal decisions. This is one of those instances where I want Captain Awkward to weigh in because the whole letter needs some unpacking and analysis.
misbegotten: Romana sees no good reason to act her age (DW Act Her Age)

[personal profile] misbegotten 2017-05-20 03:39 pm (UTC)(link)
although making the decision to say "a plague on both your houses" and have kids would pretty much BE that bit.

Excellent point.

It's easy as a reader to say "duh, you should do what you want," but there's always so much more that goes into the decision than what's available at face value, and obviously the dynamic with the parents is more important to LW than it would be to me with my parents. Tough situation.
jadelennox: Senora Sabasa Garcia, by Goya (Default)

[personal profile] jadelennox 2017-05-23 12:09 am (UTC)(link)
Yeah, my ears pricked up at the sister's elopement and I started wondering if that was the only way to deal with those parents.
the_rck: (Default)

[personal profile] the_rck 2017-05-20 04:49 pm (UTC)(link)
I wonder how far apart the couple lives from the parents and in-laws and whether or not there are financial issues complicating things.

I do feel, though, that saying 'wait until you're 40' translates as 'we can't tell you never, but we know that 40 means never.' I can't imagine why one would tell someone, fertility challenges or not, to wait for 40. It's arbitrary, for one thing. Saying 'wait until you have a steady job' or 'wait until you finish your dissertation' or something else practical might make sense under some circumstances.

If it weren't for the thing with the sister, I might wonder if the LW's relationship looks unsteady/unhealthy to the parents or if the parents have concerns about something the LW hasn't mentioned. There are couples I've met where I look at them and pray that they never have children. Both sets of potential grandparents being against it pings me as extra weird and makes me wonder about mental health, financial, substance abuse, etc. issues. Or hereditary problems not being mentioned.

Someone who's 30 and who has been married five years is not rushing into having kids. The LW talks about it as a decision that the couple made together. That makes me hopeful that they've looked at the other potential challenges and thought about how to deal with them.
xenacryst: Peanuts charactor looking ... (Peanuts: quizzical me)

[personal profile] xenacryst 2017-05-20 06:46 pm (UTC)(link)
On the one hand, 40 is indeed arbitrary; on the other, it's also the culturally (and somewhat medically) accepted age at which you say "nope, no kids" (and I'd be highly surprised if the LW's parents and in-laws didn't know that). There are plenty of exceptions to that rule, but you're right, it's sending a pretty solid signal of "just don't ever have kids."

But yeah, there's just so much to unpack here that I'm not sure where to begin.