DH and I are an NFP teaching couple. MIL is one who thinks that two kids are enough and people can’t afford more than that. When I was pregnant with my second child and had just found out the sex, she called me and had a very long conversation trying to convince me that since I already had one of each sex that we shouldn’t have any more. When I politely disagreed, she pulled out all of the standard arguments [my age (36 at the time), finances, health, “what if you have retarded children?”, etc] all of which I refuted. DH and I discussed this and decided we wouldn’t tell them (in-laws) the next time we got pregnant until well into the pregnancy, since they seemed to view any subsequent pregnancies so negatively.
Sadly, our next pregnancy ended in miscarriage this past February. DH felt that we should tell her, but I was feeling very uncomfortable about letting his relatives know. However, I told him to do what he felt was right and he did let her know.
Fast forward to last night, July 4. We were at a party at her house and discussing my sister’s upcoming wedding next year. My mom was asking if I planned to stay longer than just for the wedding (they live in the next state) and I jokingly said, “That depends on how pregnant I am”. MIL immediately jumped in “Are you pregnant?” “Not yet”, I replied. “Oh well then I’d better pray.” I thought she meant to help us get pregnant, and I was amazed at how God works. I said something to my mom later when we were alone, and my mom proceeded to tell me how the conversation had gone after I left . She had told my mother that, in fact, she was praying that we WOULDN’T get pregnant because she is convinced (despite many protestations to the contrary from DH) that he is stressed out and the stress is due to me (sahm) and my two children. She cites his rosacia (which can be caused by stress as one of many causes). My mother argued with this reasoning, citing my older sister’s (also sahm) rosacia. In fact, his own father has rosacia. I was immediately angry, then hurt. I still am hurt but now I’m feeling sorry for her. What a profound misunderstanding of God, and just the entire situation, this woman has!
Later she and I were having a discussion about DH’s work situation. She wanted to know why he was doing work at home (hmm, could this be the cause of stress?). I explained that it seems that all he does in the office is attend meetings and therefore has little time to write the programs that he works on, so he does what he can on his laptop at home. She seemed upset about this and said he needed to have balance in his life. I agreed, thinking I might be getting somewhere with her. I went on to explain that he was looking for a new position within the company since his group was dissolved and he was back in a department that he worked so hard to get out of. “I hope for more money!” she interjected. Why, if she is concerned about his stress level, would she be eager for him to take a higher position which presumably comes with more responsibility and stress?
I have thought about this and come to the conclusion that this whole thing stems from her extreme materialism. She lives in a very expensive and huge home that she has no need for, since both of her children are grown (built after both left home). It is decorated by a designer and landscaped by a professional. (we, by contrast, live in what she considers a “starter home”, with secondhand furniture and in her words “too much junk”). DH says she has always been this way, that she was always out to impress the neighbors. When I told him that she was praying against us (we’ve been praying ever since the miscarriage) he scoffed and said “My mother doesn’t pray!” DH, BTW, was raised nominally Presbyterian before he converted to Catholicism, which was when we were engaged.
Obviously I have worked some of this out for myself, but I still have problems with this. I’m pretty sure that someone who is asking the Creator not to create doesn’t have a good idea who they’re talking to, but how much does this interfere with my own prayer which is in direct opposition to this? I know DH says she doesn’t pray, but I know that even people who have never prayed in their whole lives can start if they think circumstances are dire enough.
Also, one final note, which thoroughly confuses me, and maybe someone can shed some light on this. MIL had a complete hysterectomy not long after the birth of her second child. She often describes the first c-section (when DH was born) as a complete butchery and says she almost died, and FIL says they had to do major repair work on her after her daughter was born. Therefore, I assume that it was because of this and not some attempt to sterilize herself. She has said on a couple of different occasions that she wished she had been able to have more children. Why the contradiction? Why would someone who knows her own regret at being unable to have more than two wish infertility on her own child?