16w1d: Going Public

June 3, 2009

(This post talks about post-infertility pregnancy, but not about actual pregnancy.)

It’s been a week and a half since we told our families and most of the other people we know that I am carrying twins. Mostly individual announcements, except for a big reveal at a family dinner.

For someone who’s not anxious by nature, I was a ball of nerves before each family announcement. I asked DH if he was nervous, and he said, “No, why would I be nervous?”

Mostly, reactions have been extremely positive. A lot of excited screaming from family members. From friends, mild happiness at the initial pregnancy announcement followed by elation or dumbfoundedness in response to “twins.” The best twin reaction, from DH’s step-grandmother: “Wholesale!”

Much less “what took you so long” than I expected. Almost-universal questions about whether twins run in my family. Out of about 40 people told in person or on the phone, only 3 had specific questions about fertility treatments.

  • As mentioned last week, one of my bosses: “Do twins run in your family, or was it fertility drugs…?”
  • One of DH’s friends, who probably hasn’t dealt with fertility issues himself but is generally more aware than the average person: “So, do twins run in the family, or was it (knowing look) something else?”
  • Mr. Dad, husband of Anti-Mom, mentioned previously in detail here and here. Thanks mostly to Anti-Mom’s bitchiness, Mr. Dad has gone from DH’s closest friend to someone who may or may not get added to an Evite when we’re in town. “Did you find out they were twins at the 5-week ultrasound or the 8-week ultrasound?” Nobody would know to ask such a question unless he’d been through fertility treatments himself. I’d suspected, but now it’s confirmed. Although I usually like someone more after learning they’re infertile, this revelation doesn’t change how I feel about Anti-Mom — she’s always been horrible: pre-, during, and post-infertility.

For someone who has been anticipating this announcement for 7 years, there are a lot of things I did not anticipate.

  • A few minutes of talk about pregnancy, babies, etc., then moving on to other topics without me directing the conversation there. Most people aren’t as single-minded as I feared.
  • The extent to which family members would commandeer the news as their own. DH’s stepmother sent out a mass email to everyone she knows, then forwarded us all of the responses. I stopped counting at 22. I have met 5 of those 22, and heard the names of less than half of the others. Several of my dearest friends still don’t know (because we are not sending out mass emails, and instead telling people as we see them in person unless we are guaranteed not to see someone until after the birth), but some lady from my stepmother-in-law’s yoga class knows. It’s sweet, really, but still weird.
  • Insight into secret conversations that have been going on. For example, my mother said, “Last month your dad asked me when you were going to have children. I said, ‘How would I know?'” DH’s unmarried sister (with whom I’ve felt like I’m in a race) revealed that their mother has been pressuring her to have a baby, with or without getting married first, because we were too slow to produce grandchildren.
  • My dad’s first question was whether the babies’ last name will be Hers-His or His-Hers. Neither, actually.
  • DH’s father doting on me and refusing to let me lift a finger.

Unfortunately, one thing I did anticipate accurately was the extent to which DH’s mother would be a nightmare. I didn’t guess all of her statements exactly, but in many ways she’s been even worse than I expected. DH called her before telling the rest of the family in person (she lives in different city from most of the rest of the family) because he would never hear the end of it if she wasn’t the first to know. Just as I predicted, it’s been all about her.

  • Her first reaction: Burst into tears. Then, “I’m going to have my hands full!”
  • Her first words to me: “Can I ask you a series of questions?”
  • Her first statement when she called DH’s father, waiting a whole two hours after we swore her to secrecy: “We did it!”
  • Her instructions to DH’s stepmother: “We have to go to their house together and help out after our babies are born.” Stepmother humored her because she is too nice to say, “Never in a million years. That would be miserable.” I was the one who had to explain to DH’s mom that it would be more helpful if they came separately for a week each rather than together for one week (“Then we can come together for two weeks!” No, just no.). DH says he liked it better when they didn’t get along.
  • Elapsed time between announcement and her purchase of baby items despite DH telling her not to buy anything: 14 hours, 8 of which were spent sleeping.

She has called almost every day to ask dozens of questions (“Were the babies conceived in Spain? You could give them Spanish names!”), twist our arms to let her buy things (“Do you know how much a double stroller costs?”), tell us fun facts about twin pregnancy that she’s found on the internet (“African women are more likely to have twins!” Me, completely deadpan: “I am not African.”), and suggest ideas like a baby pool (my comment to dissuade her: “If the babies are born several months early, the person who collects the money for having the earliest guess will really feel like an asshole.”). I thought that scaring her with the risks of twin pregnancy was an effective way to shut her down until she started to believe that something is terribly wrong and that the only way to extract the truth is through constant questioning.

Poor DH fields almost all of the calls from his mother. He has answered all of her questions patiently, except for how we could have known they were twins so early, which he kept refusing to answer until I fed him a line about amnions and chorions (confuse her with science!). My plan before revealing the pregnancy was to come out of the IF closet — I still think that if anyone in our families asked about fertility treatments outright we would tell them the truth. But, we’re not addressing roundabout questions nor nosey questions asked for the sake of nosiness. Given how intrusive his mother has been with simple information, infertility is a can of worms that neither of us is eager to open up.


15 Responses to “16w1d: Going Public”

  1. Cat Says:

    Oh my god, both MIL’s at the same time for two weeks?! On top of the hormones and sleepless nights? I’ll watch for your name on the news!

  2. loribeth Says:

    “Given how intrusive his mother has been with simple information, infertility is a can of worms that neither of us is eager to open up.” No kidding!! Yikes!!

  3. Kristin Says:

    I’m glad that overall it has gone smoothly breaking the news. I think I would go stir crazy dealing with someone like your DH’s mom.

  4. Does DH’s mom mean well? I can kind of relate with my DH’s mom. She use to give us A LOT unwanted/needed advice. Sometimes she still does. DH is really good about shutting her down. I know she means well, but STILL!
    I’m glad it went, for the most part. I hope she doesn’t drive you TOO crazy.
    P.S. Congrats on 16 weeks! How are you feeling?

  5. WiseGuy Says:

    C, if you were not really facing the situations in their full glory, I would have rated atleast some of them as hilarious –

    “African women are more likely to have twins????!!!”

    I think sanity will be preserved only if you have them visit you separately!

    Good Luck handling these questions…I know that you are a wise one…

    And yes, given the brouhaha over the announcement, it is really not a fine time to come out of the IF closet as well!

    Good Luck!

  6. strongblonde Says:

    so…um…i think that we may have the same MIL. B and I had a long talk last night about how i really don’t want her around b/c i don’t trust her with infants, don’t like her cooking, and she can’t clean worth a crap. we DO have a lot of trees, though, so i thought she may like to rake. B didn’t think that was funny. 😦

    congrats on 16 wks!! 🙂 almost 1/2 way!

  7. Photogrl Says:

    I’m glad that it wasn’t as bad as you expected for the most part! Yay for DH mostly handling his mom…that’s tough.

    Congratulations on 16 1/2 weeks!

  8. jill Says:

    Ohhh how I feel ya on the crazy, nosey, overbearing mother in law!! I have one too. My biggest fears about being pregnant and having children are centered around her involvement. I’m not sure that she’ll be quite as bad as yours sounds but boy do I sympathize! Really hope she calms down for you.

  9. Magsy Says:

    Grrr…I keep penning a post in my head all about inappropriate comments, but I’m afraid writing it would just make me too mad. Good luck with MIL….passing her on to your DH sounds like a good plan to stay sane.

  10. Cara Says:

    Wow – you are a bit of a mind reader…but by the sounds it’s not so hard with your MIL.

    Public already…16 weeks…wow!!

  11. S Says:

    “But, we’re not addressing roundabout questions nor nosey questions asked for the sake of nosiness”.


    The MIL sounds like my painful SIL.


    funnily enough, I also give people some brownie points once I find out they’re infertile and/or have to have fertility treatment, particularly IVF, because IVF sucks but at the same time, we need it. Bad.

    so glad DH is fielding your MIL’s calls. both of them for 2 weeks…talk about post-partum homicide!

  12. Wow. I once had to deal w/ the mother of an ex that was so intrusive, that my ex-BF quoted her during our arguments and she actually wrote me an email telling me how stupid I was for not appreciating her son after he broke up with me — over the phone. After that I actually asked men on first dates from then on where their mothers lived so that I would never, ever have to deal with an intrusive MIL again.

    Having a dead mother, I pretty much have zero-tolerance when it comes to dealing with other people’s mothers.

    However, my best friend was having the exact same issue with her mother, and she eventually just had to correct her every time she said “my baby.” From what I understand, the second-guessing after the baby comes is the worse and has to be nipped in the bud from the start.

    Also, you might want to think about banning your MIL from the house for the first couple of weeks after the twins are born. It’s a lot of adjustment, and having an overbearing presence in the house is not worth it just to be polite.

    For this reason, we chose my SIL to stay with us after the baby is born. She’s a great cook, super-nice, and our personalities are really compatible. I like my MIL, but strangely enough, she’s a little too much like me (nosy, talkative, and opinionated) to put up with during the first 2 weeks, while I’m trying to adjust to life with a newborn.

  13. Oh…my…word. I feel for you. Really.

    BUt my favourite comment out of this entire post? “Wholesale”… just priceless. lol

  14. MoDLin Says:

    I agree, “Wholesale!” is a hoot! Good luck staying sane with all the comments. Well, they mean well, right? Congrats on getting to 17+ weeks. Great!

  15. j Says:

    trust me, i would be thankful for an overbearing mother in law..mine told my husband that our kids have defective genes and that she didnt consider them her “real” grandkids. she told him this on fathers day. our poor kids have no idea why they dont have a grandmother (my mom died when i was 19) and i dont intend on telling them any time soon, if ever. i would give anything for my husbands mom to even act like she cared. she doesnt even know my little girl 😦
    congratulations though, babies are so fun!!!

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