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Harassment to have kids

(81 Posts)
JadeFeather Fri 08-Jan-16 09:47:48

My husbands cousin (similar age to me) is constantly harassing us about having kids. She started this as soon we got married. Told me I should give up work (which is what she did). Told us she knows people who have delayed and had issues conceiving. Asks me how work is then proceeds to tell me "well you won't be able to work when you have kids". I asked her at Christmas (as the host) whether she had a chance to eat yet (because I saw that she was feeding the kids) and her response was "just you wait until you have kids". My husband and I have both told her we will have a family when we are ready but she doesn't get it. Recently she has started to tell my MIL that she should be telling us to have kids!

She is a SAHM and her circumstances are very difficult. They live in a small one bedroom flat with 2 young kids and have a lot of financial difficulties. I feel sorry for her because of this and I remember that before I was with my husband and knew her she was very nice to me.

I don't understand why though anyone would feel the need to interfere with someone else's life choices? My husband thinks it's jealousy that I have freedoms she doesn't , I have a career, we travel a lot, go out, have almost brought our own house etc. I have friends who are doing much better then I am in different aspects and yes I may feel natural twinges of jealousy but I would never behave this way with them. I always make a conscious effort to try to avoid talking about these things with her and focus on asking about her kids because I don't want her to feel bad but inevitably stuff like work, holidays etc does somehow come up in conversations.

I'm confused by her behaviour. Her financial situation isn't great and she hasn't had the opportunity to enjoy the pre child carefree life we are enjoying now but she's blessed with two healthy children. I know it's really tough having kids but can it really make someone so bitter?

Lweji Fri 08-Jan-16 09:55:02

Maybe she's not bitter, but maybe in her mind children are so important that she can't conceive of anyone not wanting them.
In the same way that you think she is driven in her comments by jealousy over your material things and trips.

19lottie82 Fri 08-Jan-16 09:56:25

It definitely sounds like she's a bit jealous of your "freedom" so to speak. Just learn to ignore her, or nod and say "that's nice" any time she mentions it.

JadeFeather Fri 08-Jan-16 09:59:36

Lweji, I've considered that but we have never said we don't want kids. Our response has always been once we've had a few years to save up and enjoyed our time together as a couple we will have a family. Why is that so difficult for her to accept?

Lweji Fri 08-Jan-16 10:05:50

How long have you been married?

Maybe for her it's such a priority that she finds it odd that you don't want them at this time.
It's annoying, I agree, but I'd just let it go and not necessarily think it's jealousy.

What does your MIL say?

regenerationfez Fri 08-Jan-16 10:06:29

It does sound to me like she is jealous. It probably makes her question her own decision to struggle a sahm in a one bedroom flat when other people do things differently. My brother and sil probably won't have children through choice. I'd love a little niece or nephew and my mother is desperate! It's rude to keep mentioning it and especially getting your mil involved! I'd either ignore her or go on about your fabulous holidays!!--but I'm mean and probably actually wouldn't do that--

ComposHatComesBack Fri 08-Jan-16 10:09:24

I'm not sure if it is jealousy or a case of not being able to understand that people might make different choices to the ones she did. Some people have an incredibly blinkered view and tend to universalise their own experiences and may well be thinking 'I was desperate to get pregnant x months into my marriage, Jade that you don't want children yet, or other people might not want them at all may be beyond her comprehension.

Lweji Fri 08-Jan-16 10:09:44

Are there other young children in the family?

AnnaMarlowe Fri 08-Jan-16 10:10:40

Stop being so polite. Next time she does it, take her aside and firmly tell her that she needs to stop.

Don't get into an argument, just say that it isn't her business and she needs to stop discussing it.

applebody Fri 08-Jan-16 10:11:45

Oh god, I had a cousin like this, she used to drive us up the wall with her snide comments! We were able to avoid her most of the time and never made contact to socialise, but still saw her at some family events but just stuck to small talk when we had to. Eventually I hinted at not being able to have dc as I'd had some gynae issues, though they didn't actually cause infertility but I let her carry on believing it in the hope it would stop the harrassment, and it seemed to work.

lexlees Fri 08-Jan-16 10:13:41

I doubt it is jealousy. More than likely she pities you and thinks your life is empty of meaning and she genuinely thinks you life will be so much happier having kids. Perhaps she is genuinely loving being a SAHM and she just can't imagine anyone not wanting to have that experience.

So just take it as her still being nice but in a warped way. Perhaps she thinks it would give her more opportunity to be closer to you and give you something deeper in common and you might actually need her.

When I first had ds, I was in that state of mind that I could not understand why any woman in the right state of mind wouldn't want to have children and be a SAHM. I happily gave up a high powered legal career and couldn't understand anyone who wanted to go back to a career.

Even now, I always say to newly married couples to not wait too long because it is much easier being younger parents than older ones. But I don't harp on about it.

YANBU in being annoyed about it though. You have already told her. Just accept it as part of her personality and ignore it. Don't feel pressured. If you want to have kids (not everyone does) then ignore everyone and have one when you are good and ready.

JadeFeather Fri 08-Jan-16 10:19:22

Interesting stuff.
I've been married two years and with my husband a year before that so not that long.
MIL was pretty appalled at being told to lecture her DIL but because she's very polite just said to her it's not her place to tell me what to do.
Her older brother has kids around the same age as hers so I don't think it's that she's desperate for playmates.
It's possible that it's beyond her comprehension. I've never really thought about it like that. My mother always told me to wait a bit whereas in her family everyone has kids as soon as they can regardless of financial situation. It's seen as a religious duty to reproduce. I think enjoying your life is seen as selfish etc.

Lweji Fri 08-Jan-16 10:22:28

Two years may seem fine to you and me, but to her it could be way over the normal initial wedding period.
She may also be somewhat controlling and want everyone to do as she does.

Maybe you could just tell her that's in God's hands (or words to that effect) and it will happen when it happens.

ChazsBrilliantAttitude Fri 08-Jan-16 10:25:40

I don't think it's jealousy. I think she is justifying her own life choices to herself by suggesting that they are "normal" and anyone who doesn't follow that pattern needs to be nudged on to the "right path". I suspect she is seeing you making different choices and it is coming home to her that her family's approach may not be the only one or even the best one so she keeps pushing the idea that what she is doing is right and you are wrong. She doesn't want to accept that there are different options because that might make her have to question what has been drummed into her from a young age.

SpendSpendSpend Fri 08-Jan-16 10:26:25

I find people who are in crap situations like to feel they are not alone and its better for them to deal with if other people are in the same crap situation.

My auntie has a horrible life (imo) and is stuck in doors alot of the time due to someone she cares for. I dont want to go into any more detail but this person she cares for is the equivalent of having 10 toddlers to deal with 24 hours a day on your own.

Now i only have one child whos 3. Shes at nursery 3 days a week. Im a SAHM. I do help out with dh business sometimes which is equivalent to around 2 - 3 hours a week. I also have a cleaner.

My aunt hates my lifestyle. She makes snide comments everytime i see her which is why i now rarely see her. When i do see her she badgers me to have another child as i may as well as im not doing much else all day! (Her words)

I feel she wants me to be very restricted in life like she is. She doesnt like feeling she is the only one who cant just get up and do as they please.

I would change the subject whenever it is mentioned or make a comment back along the lines of...

"My own kids? Nah im enjoying my free time and our lifestyle too much for that to happen anytime soon"

It may seem nasty to say that but imo some people do need to be sniped back at for them to watch what they say in the future.

pinkdelight Fri 08-Jan-16 10:27:20

Maybe she's just a bit thick and doesn't have anything else in her head to say.

JadeFeather Fri 08-Jan-16 10:27:25

Leeless, I've tried to think of it like that too but when it's constant harassment and we have provided solid reasons for why we don't have kids yet it's hard to see it as well intentioned. And also the fact that the comments are always seems linked to my working or travelling seems to make me
think my husband is right eg "just wait until you have kids you won't be able to work then". And the conversation with my MIL started with asking MIL if we are happy and ok. MIL said yes doing great working hard and enjoying travelling and then she started going off on one at my MIL about telling us to have kids. I don't know. Maybe you are right and she isn't being nasty but I just find it hard to see it that way.

ComposHatComesBack Fri 08-Jan-16 10:29:46

If it is her family norm to have kids pretty much as soon as they're married and her entire social circle bar you do the same, it is possible that she expects children will materialise very soon indeed.

Not that it makes it okay to harass you like this, but it could be a genuine lack of understanding. In a way it makes it harder to address. You can't tackle that chronic lack of understanding as easily or directly as overt rudeness.

specialsubject Fri 08-Jan-16 10:32:31

see less of her. What a boring person!!

KatharinaRosalie Fri 08-Jan-16 10:34:47

Can you just tell her to stop. That 'Dear cousin, you keep telling us to have kids. While I appreciate your concern, it's none of your business and we will have them if and when we decide. Please stop."

JadeFeather Fri 08-Jan-16 10:35:11

Yes good point about trying to justify her own life choices. Didn't think of that. Interesting way of looking at it.

Unhappy people wanting others to feel the same is basically what my husband is getting at. I feel like it would really difficult to be happy in her situation ie never having experienced a pre child life with their partner, living in cramped conditions, hand to mouth existence etc but then when I think those things I always say to myself don't be so judgemental! Maybe it's not for you but it could be that she's happy despite that.

JadeFeather Fri 08-Jan-16 10:37:35

She's not a stupid person. She's a qualified teacher who taught for about six months then got married , left work and had a baby after a year.

goodnightdarthvader1 Fri 08-Jan-16 10:41:03

Yes good point about trying to justify her own life choices. Didn't think of that. Interesting way of looking at it.

Definitely think it's this. I've got this in reverse, since I got preg a friend is constantly banging on about "the pressure on women to have children" or about how much she hates kids. It's definitely more about justifying her own decisions and circumstances than it is about mine.

Lweji Fri 08-Jan-16 10:41:22

You sound like you don't understand her life choices as much as she doesn't understand yours. With the difference that you don't pester her to go back to work, for example.
Children can be just as enjoyable as travelling (done both) and she may possibly not even like travelling at all.
Asking your MIL if you are happy could mean just that. In her mind, you not having children together could mean that you are not happy and don't want to take that commitment step.

And it's clearly seen from MN that some women can't conceive of not dropping everything to be at home with their children (which is fine for them, btw), and vice versa, which explains the huge SAHM and WOOTHM fights that sometimes happen.

shinynewusername Fri 08-Jan-16 10:42:46

She is totally jealous! If she just wanted you to enjoy an experience she is loving then she would say that. The PA stuff about "Just wait till you are a mother!" gives her away. It's what my own DM used to say when we were kids and pissing her off smile

You just need to be really clear that it is none of her business and not up for discussion.

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