We’ve all heard them, from the subtle remarks all the way up to constant nagging by at least one parent: “When will you give me grandkids?”
I myself have a mother-in-law who was of the nagging sort. On Christmas Day 2010, my husband proposed to me. We hadn’t even set a date yet and she started asking when we were going to start having babies. I wanted to do things the way I felt were right and that was to get married first, followed by having a baby.
We struggled for 15 months to get pregnant before finally conceiving; all the while my mother-in-law kept bringing up the baby thing. I could only laugh her off for so long before I finally told my husband to deal with her. My feelings had been hurt because infertility is hurtful and there is nothing worse than the constant reminder that your mother-in-law wants a grandbaby and you aren’t pregnant yet.
Hillary Clinton wants more grandchildren, too!
It seems that former first daughter, Chelsea Clinton, isn’t safe from the grandbaby question. Earlier this year Chelsea gave birth to her daughter, Charlotte, and her mother Hillary, is already wondering when the next one is coming. During a Today Show interview, Clinton mentioned, “She was very public about wanting a grandchild, and it’s been such a joy to see her as a grandmother. I thought maybe we’d have a little bit more time but she already talks about wanting more grandchildren.” It appears even a president’s daughter can’t escape the grandbaby fever.
The questions and scrutiny come with the best of intentions. Your parents or in laws are super excited that their child has coupled up and has gotten married. Since they can’t have any more kids of their own, the responsibility falls to you.
What do you do if the comments or questions become excessive, you aren’t ready, or if like me, conception is proving to be a little more difficult than planned?
1. Be honest: You have to tell them that the grandbaby thing is getting old. If you and your spouse are struggling with infertility, say so because your feelings are already being put through the wringer every month your period shows up. Reassure them they will be the first to know when you finally conceive.
2. Be kind: The future grandparent in question may not have any tact when it comes to what they say to you, but take the high road here. Whatever you choose to say to them, be gentle about it. Remember they’re excited and hopeful about the future.
3. Have your spouse handle it: My mother and I have one of those amazing relationships where we actually listen to each other. I had no problem telling her to not ask about the baby situation. I also made her very aware of our infertility issue. But with my mother-in- law, it was different. So, I had to have my husband step in. This is the best course of action. Each party in the marriage handles their own set of parents so as not to create unnecessary friction; that way if the wrong thing is said there is no blow back on you.
Of course there is the section of the population that doesn’t want children at all. The same advice will apply to you except both you and your spouse need to say (and probably reiterate) that you don’t plan on having children… ever. Yes, there will be the occasional guilt trip unless the parents totally understand, but you know what’s best for you.
When all else fails, stick to your guns. It is really nobody else’s business as to when or whether you have children.