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about DH 40th birthday photo album in which I don't appear...?

(159 Posts)
Mothproof Tue 26-Feb-13 10:32:29

Regular, but have namechanged for my first AIBU, in case the Mn judgement is that I am being unbelievably petty. This is long, as I'm still a bit stunned, but to sum up, AIBU to be hurt and baffled by a 40th birthday photo album of my DH's life, in which I am almost entirely absent?

My DH turned 40 recently, and when his parents came to visit, his mother produced a big photo album she had had professionally made up (engraved leather cover, glossy paper etc) of montages of photos from my DH's life. (They've done similar for significant birthdays of all of the family.)

My MiL showed it to me first before giving it to DH, as he was at work - I thought it was a lovely idea, and said so. So there we were sitting on the sofa, leafing through the album, and I'm cooing over his baby photos and his cub scout award photos etc and as we got towards the student years - which is when DH and I got together, now over 20 years ago - I made a joky remark about being apprehensive about what I was going to look like when I started appearing in the photos, as I had this mad head of henna'ed hair as a student and some horrifying paisley shirts.

So I was mildly relieved not to see myself in the first few pages of student photos, but then thought it was odd I wasn't in any of the graduation photos, as we had been together two years by then, graduated in the same ceremony, and his family knew me well. It went out of my head fairly quickly, though, until I gradually realised I wasn't in any of the photos - not in our MA conferring (again, was in the same graduating ceremony), not at his 21st birthday, not at his PhD conferring, not at family weddings, PiLs wedding anniversary party, not in snaps from two holidays we took with PiL, not in ones from a ski holiday we took with friends, where the only photos are of him solo or with the other two.

It got totally surreal - I was honestly wondering whether I only imagined I had been there on all these occasions! I featured in five group shots - student class photos, a survivors' ball photo etc, and the third last page of the album consisted of three photos of us as a couple, all - oddly - from about eighteen or nineteen years ago.

But, as we had a baby last spring, our first, I thought I would surely feature there - no. There is a lovely photo of DH snuggling our newborn DS in hosiptal, four photos of DH and DS, and a couple of DS solo. End of album.

At this point, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry, and said something light-hearted like 'Oh, it looks as if DH had a baby by himself', but MiL clearly didn't get what I meant.

AIBU to be so hurt at appearing in 8 photos out of 400 plus, especially not in any of the baby photos? I thought I had a reasonably good relationship with MiL, assuming it was she who collected the photos (it's not my gentle, passive, FiL's kind of thing), and I have been her DS's partner, latterly wife, for 20 years, and am the mother of her youngest grandchild. Now I can't stop wondering whether this is malicious (I've always worked to maintain a cordial relationship, but we're very different people, and she has vocally disapproved of our decision to not have a big wedding and baptise our baby) or whether it simply didn't occur to her that I was an important figure in her DS's life, because I hadn't done what her other DiLs do, which is marry young and have a large family in their twenties.

I keep imagining her going through the hundreds of photos of family occasions and choosing the ones I'm not in. Again, how do you overlook a newborn baby's mother, even if the baby is the child of your adored youngest DS?

I'll never bring it up, but AIBU or being stupidly over-sensitive? Or can you think of any other explanation?

mum382013 Tue 26-Feb-13 10:34:46

Thats awful, what does your dh think?

ChaoticisasChaoticdoes Tue 26-Feb-13 10:35:48

YANBU I'd be hurt too. What does your DH say about it?

MannishBoy Tue 26-Feb-13 10:37:41

This sounds like my mum, she'd much rather my DW didn't exist. Unfortunately, it's back fired on her.

I'm afraid that she probably knows you won't bring it up and, if challenged by DH, will say that as you haven't complained then it's fine.

quoteunquote Tue 26-Feb-13 10:39:23

How mean.

SminkoPinko Tue 26-Feb-13 10:39:48

how awful for you. i would be sad too. is it possible she doesn't have very many photos of you? ( tries desperately to think of a good reason...) she should have asked around if so though.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Tue 26-Feb-13 10:40:31

I have never heard anything like this, YANBU. Okay you wouldn't feature on every page but so few shots out of 400 and not even with DS? confused Bit of a slap in the face!

Has MIL done this with SIL or BIL and their partners? If not I guess it's just you as spouse of adored youngest DS.

catgirl1976 Tue 26-Feb-13 10:40:54

Yowch sad


She sounds rather like my MIL, so you have my sympathies

What's your DHs view?

CajaDeLaMemoria Tue 26-Feb-13 10:41:46

That's horrible...

I'm always a bit hurt when I visit my inlaws and they have photos of everyone (including siblings' partners) but me. I'm completely absent...and it stings.

I can't imagine how much worse it would be to have all your adventures and great achievements listed, but without actually being present.

Would DH let you edit it to include some photos of you? Is that possible?

Osmiornica Tue 26-Feb-13 10:43:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ISeeSmallPeople Tue 26-Feb-13 10:43:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mum382013 Tue 26-Feb-13 10:47:41

horrid MIL
i'm hoping your DH will go nuts with his mum

GilmoursPillow Tue 26-Feb-13 10:49:59

I would bring it up rather than spend my life wondering. I would simply ask if there was a reason she excluded me from a book of her son's life.

HormonalHousewife Tue 26-Feb-13 10:51:38

What an absolute cow she is being to you.

I can understand you not wanting to bring it up but would your DH ? I am presuming he thinks its completely wierd behaviour.

Well, the gloves are off now. You both need to make sure she never gets a photo from you again without you being in it and an a place where it cant be snipped off. Never let her have a picture of your DS by himself, dont give in when he has his first school photo taken.

Infact its mothers day coming up soon, why not send her a lovely framed photo with just you and DS grin and add the comment 'seeing you dont have any of me' grin

Mothproof Tue 26-Feb-13 10:53:26

Osmiornica, there aren't actually any photographs of our wedding, ironically. grin. We never wanted to marry, and did it very quietly with security guards at the town hall as witnesses just before our baby came - we don't live in the same country as either set of parents, and there would have been huge pressure for a big, white, Catholic wedding we could neither afford nor want. A friend had almost died in childbirth a month before, so we just wanted the legalities sorted.

If I see the photo album as malicious, this is one of the 'reasons' I've thought of - that it's a kick in the teeth aimed at me, because MiL assumes it's me who influenced DH to marry so quietly. But I hate that thought.

DH's response is 'Oh, you know how mad she is' (the general family response to her being autocratic, though no one ever confronts her on anything). I didn't want to spoil his pleasure in the album, so said nothing to him until after PiLs had left, when he was sorry and said he would bring it up, but I told him not to. I'm not after a scene, and MiL, though I honour her good qualities, is not someone who has enough self-consciousness to analyse her own motives, and would never apologise for causing hurt. She would see it as me over-reacting.

OnlyWantsOne Tue 26-Feb-13 10:56:41


I would never be able to myself would ask her why she's excluded you?

weegiemum Tue 26-Feb-13 10:58:01

That's awful! My dad did similar for my 40th, and from the time I met now-dh (25 years now) he features in the pictures, with me, with my brothers, even on his 23 birthday, blowing out his candles. And I think all but 2 shots (taken at home before the service) on our wedding day. The pics of our dcs births are both of us.

I can't understand why they would do this?

squeaver Tue 26-Feb-13 11:01:30

The only explanation I can think of is that she doesn't actually have many photographs of you. Presumably she didn't ask you for any to include? So they would only be ones she's actually taken herself. Maybe she only took ones of your dh?

Which is weird enough in itself and, of couse, yanbu.

ISeeSmallPeople Tue 26-Feb-13 11:03:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

rodandtheemu Tue 26-Feb-13 11:04:48

Thats horrible..

You are a massive part in DH life as he is yours. What about your wedding day? I cant believe MIL that are like this ??

I bet DH has noticed but didnt want to bring it up.

What I would do is bring it up with DH and tell him how hurt you are by this (as its a biggy) and then sit down with a bottle of wine and look through old pics of you two, have a laugh and put some of those in too.

My MIL would do some thing like this. I would say be brave and bring it up your self when she next comes round and say ''oh we added to it, dont they look great!''

I would also orginise a family pic and leave her out!

Hidious old witch!

Nancy66 Tue 26-Feb-13 11:05:09

I'm going to go against the grain here and say that I can't see it as being that big a deal.

If you didn't feature in any photos you might have a point. But you're in 8 of them.

If she had excluded pictures of you at your wedding I'd say that was significatn - but you say yourself that no such pictures exist.

I think you're being a bit childish about it.

rodandtheemu Tue 26-Feb-13 11:07:38

soory OP didnt see your other post, took ages loading this one up !

gerbilsarefun Tue 26-Feb-13 11:07:59

Yanbu, I appear in my oh's 40th album. Not in loads but significant events from our meeting onwards. Why are some mothers in laws so spiteful?

Mothproof Tue 26-Feb-13 11:09:09

No, Donkeys - her other SiLs and DiLs clearly count as family in a way I don't, judging by photo coverage in their birthday montages! It may well be that, despite the fact I've been with DH from the age of 19, us not having married till recently meant I didn't 'count' in the same way. Also, all the others live close to PiLs in the town DH and I grew up in, and see one another all the time, whereas we live abroad, though we see them regularly.

And there are hundreds of photos with me in them from all these events, because I remember them being taken, so it's honestly not from a lack of material. Also, if more were needed, PiLs are on very good terms with my parents, who live close by, so they could have borrowed some of their back catalogue of the same events to scan.

I should probably have brought it up at the time, but to be honest I was a bit stunned - I'm always crap at responding off the cuff to something hurtful. I laugh it off and then cry later. In my defence, the PiLs arrived 36 hours after we'd moved house with a small baby, and I couldn't face a row in the circumstances.

DH would have brought it up, and said he was going to on a number of occasions until I begged him not to because I hadn't the energy for a scene. She would never answer honestly, and it's perfectly possible that it never occurred to her that she was excluding me.

dreamingbohemian Tue 26-Feb-13 11:09:29

Yes I was thinking same as squeaver, maybe she doesn't have a lot of photos of you? If you don't all live in the same country there won't be many 'everyday' photos, you didn't have a wedding so no photos there, you're just starting down the path of loads of grandchild photos...

I do think it's weird but maybe not totally malicious, just thoughtless. YANBU to be upset though.

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