MIL and birth control--need advice


#1

My in-laws will be visiting for the holidays, and I would like to get some advice on how to handle this situation. Every time we get together with my husband’s parents, the subject of birth control comes up. Both of my husband’s parents are Catholic, as are my husband and I. My husband and I use NFP, and I am very happy with it. My husband is not completely convinced about why he should follow the Church’s teachings in this subject, however he “goes along” with it. (He would much rather not abstain during the fertile period and instead use a barrier method, as he doesn’t see a need for a married couple to abstain from sex.)

My mother in law always asks, and when I tell her we’re using NFP she always says, “that didn’t work for us. We had 3 kids using it, and after that we decided we were done having kids. We prayed about it and we’re ok with our decision not to use it anymore.” She encourages us to use a barrier method if that’s what makes my husband feel comfortable, because “we have to do what’s best for our family.” I usually tell her that NFP is working for us, but she insists that it didn’t work for her and that it’s ok to not use it in that instance.

So what’s best in this situation? Changing the subject doesn’t work with her, as she’ll keep bringing the subject up again and again, each time encouraging us to contracept. I need a tactful way to explain it to her, without making her feel like I’m judging her decision to go against church teaching. If that’s her choice, it’s her right to do so, but I don’t feel she should be encouraging my husband to do the same. (I say “my husband” because my mind is made up on the issue and there’s no way she will be able to convince me to go against church teaching. Since my husband doesn’t understand it, it’s much easier for her to convince him to go against it, which is usually what ends up happening.)


#2

I don't understand why you think that you must discuss your private life with your in-laws. Your practice of NFP is none of their business. If you are pressed about this by them, just say that you and your husband follow the Church's teachings about marriage, and that you do not want to discuss this further. Then change the subject. It seems to me that they are trying to justify their own behavior by trying to convince you to do the same.


#3

[quote="SummerSmiles, post:1, topic:221573"]
My mother in law always asks, and when I tell her

[/quote]

Stop right there.

**Why **is your sex life a topic of conversation that is available for your in-laws?

My sex life is off limits with my parents and in-laws. Fortunately, my family wasn't raised in a barn and would never think of asking. BUT, apparently your in-laws never received any manners related instruction from their own parents. Good grief!

So, now it's up to you to set boundaries.

You simply say that it's not a topic that is open for conversation and move on. Broken record-- if they keep asking, you keep saying that it's not their business.

[quote="SummerSmiles, post:1, topic:221573"]

we’re using NFP she always says, “that didn’t work for us. We had 3 kids using it, and after that we decided we were done having kids. We prayed about it and we’re ok with our decision not to use it anymore.” She encourages us to use a barrier method if that’s what makes my husband feel comfortable, because “we have to do what’s best for our family.” I usually tell her that NFP is working for us, but she insists that it didn’t work for her and that it’s ok to not use it in that instance.

[/quote]

Again, NOT THEIR BUSINESS.

[quote="SummerSmiles, post:1, topic:221573"]

So what’s best in this situation? Changing the subject doesn’t work with her, as she’ll keep bringing the subject up again and again, each time encouraging us to contracept.

[/quote]

"If you can't respect my boundaries, I'm afraid this visit is over. Heres's your coat."

Yes, really.

[quote="SummerSmiles, post:1, topic:221573"]

I need a tactful way to explain it to her, without making her feel like I’m judging her decision to go against church teaching. If that’s her choice, it’s her right to do so, but I don’t feel she should be encouraging my husband to do the same. (I say “my husband” because my mind is made up on the issue and there’s no way she will be able to convince me to go against church teaching. Since my husband doesn’t understand it, it’s much easier for her to convince him to go against it, which is usually what ends up happening.)

[/quote]

You and your DH need to be on the same page that you have boundaries, and your sex life is out of bounds. And then your DH needs to enforce this witih his parents.

End of story. You will continue to be a doormat until you stop letting people wipe their feet on you.


#4

My parents used the rhythm method

girl-girl-boy, girl-girl-boy

If they'd gotten married younger we'd have had a base ball team.

Truly, this is none of his parents concern. Your husband should be informing them of that, "Mom, Dad, I love you but this really isn't your concern". How about them Raiders?

That should be the last word on the subject with them- ever.


#5

Ok... I'll start of with the fact that I'm a TOTAL smart alec when people try to get into my biz. I'm happy to hear someones suggestion. EVEN if it's unsolicitied. However, I have NO obligation to take their advise. And I refuse to be brow beaten for it. And if DH doesn't stick up for me, he gets a little public licken' for that...

1)Oh MY, with DH's ED, we don't even worry about that now. And then when he denies he has ED, I'd just put my hand on his shoulder and say, Oh HONEY, it's nothing to be ashamed of. All men deal with it at one point or the other. And then I'd leave him to tell his parents it's time they BUTT OUT of your bedroom.

2) Thanks for sharing, but I've prayed on it, and I'm not comfy with that "solution".

3) Wow, We want AT LEAST 3 more kids! I need some oysters.

4) Ask them what they use for some real embarassing condition.

5) Remind MIL that YOU are not her biological daughter, and so you're not worried about your DNA not working with this method. Since your period is like clock work. And then I might even get really graphic to STUN her into stopping this conversation.

6) Lie and say you use a condem once, and you swelled up like a balloon from the internal exposure to latex. You're allergic to copper. The spermicide makes you itch.

I'm quite grossed out that ANYONE thinks they should be telling you what birth control you should be using. But hey why stop there.

START talking positions. Do you know that some are better than others for assisting in getting PG... Which means others are better of NOT getting PG.

I'm laughing really hard right now. Because I can just envision the crimson red that my FIL would be turning during this discussion.... all while thinking, DOES HE KNOW how easy he could have avoided this conversation.

You could always change the subject, or just offer some random answer.

So? Are you using BC yet?... OMG... Chocolate cake is my favorite! I especially love it with a butter cream frosting.

And finally I find this actually works wonders. "Thanks for your interest in our well being. If I need any advise regarding this situation you'll be the first I'll call. However, at this junture it's NOT up for discussion."

Yes, I've actually told my in laws some personal info. And I tell them that I'm TELLING them. Not ASKING them.


#6

Helicopter parents. Parents try to live the life for their kids. Its like this in every level of society these days. The parents are trying to manage the life of your husband. They think he is still a child and are treating him that way.


#7

[quote="1ke, post:3, topic:221573"]
Stop right there.

**Why **is your sex life a topic of conversation that is available for your in-laws?

My sex life is off limits with my parents and in-laws. Fortunately, my family wasn't raised in a barn and would never think of asking. BUT, apparently your in-laws never received any manners related instruction from their own parents. Good grief!

So, now it's up to you to set boundaries.

You simply say that it's not a topic that is open for conversation and move on. Broken record-- if they keep asking, you keep saying that it's not their business.

Again, NOT THEIR BUSINESS.

"If you can't respect my boundaries, I'm afraid this visit is over. Heres's your coat."

Yes, really.

You and your DH need to be on the same page that you have boundaries, and your sex life is out of bounds. And then your DH needs to enforce this witih his parents.

End of story. You will continue to be a doormat until you stop letting people wipe their feet on you.

[/quote]

This. All of it. If you are visiting them, keep the car keys so you can leave if she keeps bringing it up. If they're visiting your home, show them the door. She's bullying you.


#8

[quote="jazzbaby1, post:7, topic:221573"]
This. All of it. If you are visiting them, keep the car keys so you can leave if she keeps bringing it up. If they're visiting your home, show them the door. She's bullying you.

[/quote]

Not only bullying, but seriously trying to undermine your marriage as well.


#9

This is really your husband's lane to tell her to lay off. In my situation it was my own mother telling my husband to have a vasectomy. He defended our position, but I then told her in no polite terms to mind her own business.

I really wouldn't be rude, but I would just bluntly tell your MIL that this is none of her business and that you won't talk about this anymore with her. If that ruffles her feathers, then so be it.


#10

"I'm sorry, I've decided I don't want to go to hell."

:D This would never happen b/c I have well mannered in-laws and parents, and I am actually pretty non-confrontational, but if you are really fed up, this might shock them into silence. (or make them hate you forever).


#11

Thanks for all the responses.

I guess it doesn't seem odd to me to be discussing such issues with my in-laws or my own parents because n the past we've all been very open to it, and we've all had discussions about the church's teaching on contraception. It usually starts off with something along the lines of, "do you guys want more kids?" when we say we're open to the possibility, that's when the birth control issue gets brought up. "Well, when you're done having kids, you really should plan to do something so that you can still have a life."

It's just that recently the discussion has been less open discussion and more MIL encouraging contraception.

thanks for all the input, I'll be thinking about my response the next time the subject is brought up.


#12

[quote="faithfully, post:5, topic:221573"]
Ok... I'll start of with the fact that I'm a TOTAL smart alec when people try to get into my biz. I'm happy to hear someones suggestion. EVEN if it's unsolicitied. However, I have NO obligation to take their advise. And I refuse to be brow beaten for it. And if DH doesn't stick up for me, he gets a little public licken' for that...

1)Oh MY, with DH's ED, we don't even worry about that now. And then when he denies he has ED, I'd just put my hand on his shoulder and say, Oh HONEY, it's nothing to be ashamed of. All men deal with it at one point or the other. And then I'd leave him to tell his parents it's time they BUTT OUT of your bedroom.

2) Thanks for sharing, but I've prayed on it, and I'm not comfy with that "solution".

3) Wow, We want AT LEAST 3 more kids! I need some oysters.

4) Ask them what they use for some real embarassing condition.

5) Remind MIL that YOU are not her biological daughter, and so you're not worried about your DNA not working with this method. Since your period is like clock work. And then I might even get really graphic to STUN her into stopping this conversation.

6) Lie and say you use a condem once, and you swelled up like a balloon from the internal exposure to latex. You're allergic to copper. The spermicide makes you itch.

I'm quite grossed out that ANYONE thinks they should be telling you what birth control you should be using. But hey why stop there.

START talking positions. Do you know that some are better than others for assisting in getting PG... Which means others are better of NOT getting PG.

I'm laughing really hard right now. Because I can just envision the crimson red that my FIL would be turning during this discussion.... all while thinking, DOES HE KNOW how easy he could have avoided this conversation.

You could always change the subject, or just offer some random answer.

So? Are you using BC yet?... OMG... Chocolate cake is my favorite! I especially love it with a butter cream frosting.

And finally I find this actually works wonders. "Thanks for your interest in our well being. If I need any advise regarding this situation you'll be the first I'll call. However, at this junture it's NOT up for discussion."

Yes, I've actually told my in laws some personal info. And I tell them that I'm TELLING them. Not ASKING them.

[/quote]

Some of these really made me laugh, thank you! Especially since I can just imagine all the madness/uncomfortableness that would ensue if I were to respond in any of these ways.:D


#13

[quote="SummerSmiles, post:1, topic:221573"]
My in-laws will be visiting for the holidays, and I would like to get some advice on how to handle this situation. Every time we get together with my husband’s parents, the subject of birth control comes up. Both of my husband’s parents are Catholic, as are my husband and I. My husband and I use NFP, and I am very happy with it. My husband is not completely convinced about why he should follow the Church’s teachings in this subject, however he “goes along” with it. (He would much rather not abstain during the fertile period and instead use a barrier method, as he doesn’t see a need for a married couple to abstain from sex.)

My mother in law always asks, and when I tell her we’re using NFP she always says, “that didn’t work for us. We had 3 kids using it, and after that we decided we were done having kids. We prayed about it and we’re ok with our decision not to use it anymore.” She encourages us to use a barrier method if that’s what makes my husband feel comfortable, because “we have to do what’s best for our family.” I usually tell her that NFP is working for us, but she insists that it didn’t work for her and that it’s ok to not use it in that instance.

So what’s best in this situation? Changing the subject doesn’t work with her, as she’ll keep bringing the subject up again and again, each time encouraging us to contracept. I need a tactful way to explain it to her, without making her feel like I’m judging her decision to go against church teaching. If that’s her choice, it’s her right to do so, but I don’t feel she should be encouraging my husband to do the same. (I say “my husband” because my mind is made up on the issue and there’s no way she will be able to convince me to go against church teaching. Since my husband doesn’t understand it, it’s much easier for her to convince him to go against it, which is usually what ends up happening.)

[/quote]

My MIL was starting to make comments while we were engaged. It made me start fearing that she wouldn't be supportive if I got pregnant before she thought it was prudent. I brought it up to my husband and he thought I was misunderstanding her, so my brother brought it up at dinner with his folks about what her intentions were. Eventually we just expressed that ultimately it was our private decision. She apoligised for interferring and hasn't said anything since. She's also been very supportive of our pregnancy and seems very excited to be a grandma.


#14

[quote="SummerSmiles, post:11, topic:221573"]

MIL -- "Well, when you're done having kids, you really should plan to do something so that you can still have a life."

[/quote]

YOU -- "Thank you. And if WE have any questions in the future we will ask your input. Until then WE kindly ask you to respect us in not talking to us about this again."


#15

I agree that this is not something up for discussion. Not that one should never talk about NFP with the in-laws, but if it is not respectful, and if the person is harping on the topic (which your mil is doing), then it is better to set boundaries.

One way to do it - "MIL, you know how I feel about this topic. And for that matter, I know how you feel. I don't think we're likely to convince each other. Lets just agree to disagree." Step two, if the first comment doesn't get respected is. "Aren't we agreeing to disagree on this topic. I don't think we need to discuss this issue anymore." Bluntly changing the topic of conversation is good, but if it comes to it, abruptly leave the room/house.

You will have to set some of your own boundaries, because your dh is not always going to be around when MIL brings it up. But it would be good for him to make it perfectly clear to her that this is a matter between him and you, and that she needs to stay out of it. You mentioned that dh is not as strongly committed to NFP as you are. Does he agree with you at least, that his Mother should stay out of it? If not, send him here, we'll set him straight, lol.

I have discussed this matter with my mil, but she is pretty deferential to me when it comes to religion (I'm the holy roller of the extended family), so it isn't contentious. I say things like "NFP has been improved on in recent years. Unfortunately, what most women were taught years ago, was not nearly as complete as what is known now. I can sympathize with your feeling like you had no other choices. Thankfully, today, the method I use is just as effective as the pill."

It sounds like your mil is pretty pushy about this though, so if you want to give her any information, I recommend a book or a tape or something. Perhaps Christopher West's "theology of the body for beginners" (which I own, but haven't read, but I do like West). Or the tape by Janet Smith "Contraception: Why Not?" (if you can find a copy) would be good. When mil brings it up, just say, "you know I have this great book/CD that explains our position. If you're interested, here it is. I'd rather not discuss it any more though - I'd like to keep this very personal issue between myself and my husband."


#16

[quote="ThyKingdomCome, post:15, topic:221573"]
I agree that this is not something up for discussion. Not that one should never talk about NFP with the in-laws, but if it is not respectful, and if the person is harping on the topic (which your mil is doing), then it is better to set boundaries.

One way to do it - "MIL, you know how I feel about this topic. And for that matter, I know how you feel. I don't think we're likely to convince each other. Lets just agree to disagree." Step two, if the first comment doesn't get respected is. "Aren't we agreeing to disagree on this topic. I don't think we need to discuss this issue anymore." Bluntly changing the topic of conversation is good, but if it comes to it, abruptly leave the room/house.

You will have to set some of your own boundaries, because your dh is not always going to be around when MIL brings it up. But it would be good for him to make it perfectly clear to her that this is a matter between him and you, and that she needs to stay out of it. You mentioned that dh is not as strongly committed to NFP as you are. Does he agree with you at least, that his Mother should stay out of it? If not, send him here, we'll set him straight, lol.

I have discussed this matter with my mil, but she is pretty deferential to me when it comes to religion (I'm the holy roller of the extended family), so it isn't contentious. I say things like "NFP has been improved on in recent years. Unfortunately, what most women were taught years ago, was not nearly as complete as what is known now. I can sympathize with your feeling like you had no other choices. Thankfully, today, the method I use is just as effective as the pill."

It sounds like your mil is pretty pushy about this though, so if you want to give her any information, I recommend a book or a tape or something. Perhaps Christopher West's "theology of the body for beginners" (which I own, but haven't read, but I do like West). Or the tape by Janet Smith "Contraception: Why Not?" (if you can find a copy) would be good. When mil brings it up, just say, "you know I have this great book/CD that explains our position. If you're interested, here it is. I'd rather not discuss it any more though - I'd like to keep this very personal issue between myself and my husband."

[/quote]

Yes, I'm sure that if I were to present it to him in such terms, my husband would agree that our decisions about our sex life are our own. In fact, I plan to have a discussion about it before the in-laws come to visit for the Christmas break. They will likely be staying at our house, so

Yes, she's very pushy about this. She's a very opinionated woman, which is not a bad thing, but she doesn't seem to get it when someone doesn't agree with her. She's like this with most topics, not just this one.

Thanks for the book suggestions. The funny thing is, MIL actually gave DH and I our copy of Christopher West's "Good News About Sex and Marriage." When she gave it to us she said, "It's got some great information and very clear explanations. If you don't agree with him after reading it, that's ok to use whatever birth control method works. We used condoms and when we decided we were done with kids FIL had a vasectomy. But I think every married couple should read this.":shrug:


#17

As a daughter-in-law and now a mother-in-law, I would simply say that such matters are between my husband and I. I don't think it appropriate to discuss it with anyone else and then change the subject. For people nosy or crass enough to ask such questions, you have to be firm.


#18

[quote="SummerSmiles, post:1, topic:221573"]

My mother in law always asks, and when I tell her we’re using NFP she always says, “that didn’t work for us. We had 3 kids using it, and after that we decided we were done having kids. We prayed about it and we’re ok with our decision not to use it anymore.” She encourages us to use a barrier method if that’s what makes my husband feel comfortable, because “we have to do what’s best for our family.” I usually tell her that NFP is working for us, but she insists that it didn’t work for her and that it’s ok to not use it in that instance.

[/quote]

:eek:

Ok.. I'm not married. I don't have to worry about the ABC/NFP argument so much...

But Lawdy, the problem that I see? That's that you and your MIL are even having this conversation.

From what I hear (and again, this is just in the 'hear' world for me) you don't need to explain what you do in your bedroom with your husband to ANY ONE else. His mother, your mother or any one.

If you are not comfortable, I can't see why you are even entertaining this topic. :blush:

Why? I get the whole 'be respectful' and 'she's his mother' thing, but if you are starting out now, and she's this overbearing on this topic, where do you get to draw the line?

When you have children, as they grow up, will she 'decide' what's best for them and keep 'suggesting' that you do it 'her way' until you fold?

If you and your husband are OK with using NFP (as you should be), that's that. If your husband doesn't get it, but you are the wife, he can't make you have sex when you don't want to, and he shouldn't be so upset that you want a few days off. But that's just me.

I see you as the one with all the chips.

My suggestion: talk with your husband in advance. Make it clear to him that you do not welcome the advances and invasion from his mother. Ask him to talk with your MIL before they arrive. That way, she at least knows you are ready to say you don't want to talk about it. I'm sure she'll try to push it any way, but at least you've made your husband aware in advance of the conflict. :o

If he's smart, he'll side with you. 'What God has joined together, let no man put asunder' and all that. ;)


#19

Oh my gosh... I forgot to add my FAVORITE answer...

I have twins, and when I was at my follow-up appt. 1 week after they were born I was asked what kind of birth control I was going to use...

My answer: SLEEP!

I still use that.

If anyone asks "no really? What are you using?"

"I just say "Nothing. I'd be happy with an "oops."


#20

[quote="SummerSmiles, post:16, topic:221573"]
Yes, she's very pushy about this. She's a very opinionated woman, which is not a bad thing, but she doesn't seem to get it when someone doesn't agree with her. She's like this with most topics, not just this one.

Thanks for the book suggestions. The funny thing is, MIL actually gave DH and I our copy of Christopher West's "Good News About Sex and Marriage." When she gave it to us she said, "It's got some great information and very clear explanations. If you don't agree with him after reading it, that's ok to use whatever birth control method works. We used condoms and when we decided we were done with kids FIL had a vasectomy. But I think every married couple should read this.":shrug:

[/quote]

Pushy people don't take hints. So with her, I think you really have to not worry about "saying it nicely" as long as you say it respectfully. And if she doesn't take no for an answer, don't stop answering "no." And simply refuse to let the conversation happen. It does take two after all. Eventually, she'll learn the new boundaries.

And may I say I'm surprised about her promotion of West's book. It's usually the die hard no-ABC'ers to pass that out (like myself - I've got a copy sitting next to me, waiting to get mailed to a newly-married cousin). I guess that's a good thing, but also frustrating that you can't blame her view on pure ignorance.

I've had many conversations with my parents, who are spiritual opposites of mine in many ways (still Catholic though). I have learned that talking about these issue gets us nowhere but upset. And there's almost nothing I can tell my mom that she will admit to now having heard before. I have been having these talks/arguments with my parents (mom especially) for the last 17 years, although less and less. It is a gradual process for me to learn to stay away from certain topics, and it has been a gradual thing for my mother to let it go as well. It's not just birth control/nfp, but lots of other things. I'm sure that if your mil feels entitled to cast aside a church teaching, there are other areas of difference too. Do ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in your relationship with her, and let her know that one reason you don't want to talk about this issue with her is that you love/care about her and want to have a good relationship with her.


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