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To expect MIL to give info on DHs father.

(72 Posts)
MargotFenring Sat 27-Feb-16 10:44:29

My DH is recovering from cancer. He was lucky and the doctors caught it early - treated with surgery and got it all so no chemo etc needed. He is now recovering, and will be for some month's yet, from the major and brutal surgery he had. It is hard as don't want to give too much revealing info but basically the type of cancer he had, we have been told is very likely a genetic one. The doctors recommended he undergo genetic testing to establish this and then we can further establish the likelihood of our DS, currently aged 4, getting it. My DH is 33 years old.

His mom married a man 9 months after DH was born who raised him as his own but he is not DHs biological father. He left when DH was born. DH found out when he was 12, at that time MIL said she would help him contact biological father if he ever wished it. DH then said no.

Fast forward 21 years, the relationship with MIL and FIL has been pretty bad, we had not spoken for 3 years prior to his getting sick. MIL imo, is pretty terrible. Think of all the bad MIL tales that get told on here and I can relate to most of them. However when DH was admitted to hospital, the day he got sick, I could tell the drs were worried, so before they even confirmed anything, I called MIL because, as a mother myself, I would want to know my son was extremely ill in hospital, despite everything.

They came and have actually been pretty great. This was 4 months ago. They have built up a great relationship with our DS. Taken him for weekends, they want to give him horse riding lessons, buy him nice rings, spend time etc. We haven't talked about past issues - their words are: water under the bridge.

Anyway - sorry for rambling picture painting - After Dr tells us Wednesday that in order to sort this genetic testing, the specialist that does this, will need a genetic family tree. So DH phones his mum, explains everything. She said she would help him, so he asks for his bio fathers name, explains he just wants to try and find out if he is alive/dead, try and talk to him, just to establish if this cancer is on his side. There are lots of cancers on his mother's side. But MIL said no. She won't tell him. No explanation. Just no. Actually the only real life example I have seen of 'no' being a complete sentence.

DH did not argue with her. The call ended with a vague commitment to seeing her this weekend.

I am raging though. Giving us the name is no guarantee of answers, but not giving it is complicating things. They were 19 when she got pregnant. He ran off when the baby was born. They were not living together. I have asked other relatives before about him, they said he cheated on her and was a shit in that sense but no mention of abuse.

I don't know. AIBU in expecting her to provide this?

monkeysox Sat 27-Feb-16 10:47:51

Check his birth certificate?

MargotFenring Sat 27-Feb-16 10:48:50

He is not on the birth certificate. Just blank where is states fathers name.

CooPie10 Sat 27-Feb-16 10:54:51

I can't understand your frustration but you need to take your dh's lead on this. Maybe he just doesn't have the emotional energy to pursue this with his dm. Don't show him your 'rage' as you need to support him.

Muddlewitch Sat 27-Feb-16 10:57:25

I think maybe DH needs to sit down with his mum and explain that he needs to know for DS. Maybe it was just a shock for her just when she was feeling better about reestablishing contact with you all and when she has the opportunity to think/talk it all through she will be more helpful. How is his relationship with his step father? Could he be any help in talking to MIL?

Also, I would say that just because others don't know about any abuse, doesn't mean that none happened. No one other than me and the ex really know the extent of what he did. If my DS needed to find him I would absolutely help, but it would trigger a whole lot of things for me and that could be the case for her and she is trying to deal with it by shutting it out.

MargotFenring Sat 27-Feb-16 10:58:46

No, I haven't told him I feel. Of course this is about him. That's why I am venting on here. I just want to know the likelihood of our DS getting this bloody awful disease and if we need to watch out for signs and symptoms.

MargotFenring Sat 27-Feb-16 11:02:41

FIL always stands by MIL. Whay she says goes. So he won't say anything.

Maybe there was abuse. I did consider that as an explanation. They were together a short time - she was pregnant quite quickly apparently. It can't have been great for her. But still...

APlaceOnTheCouch Sat 27-Feb-16 11:28:59

flowers for you and your DH. You've had a horrendous time.

If other relatives have told you about the father being a shit, can you not ask them for his name? It's not ideal to take your MIL out of the situation but she's not giving you any choice.

And although I understand completely why her response upsets you, she's probably dealing with quite a lot of emotions atm too with re-establishing contact and your DH being so ill. She may even think she is protecting your DH from further upset if she suspects his DF is still a shit. Re-establishing links with a birth parent is always fraught and you've all been through so much already.

dontcallmecis Sat 27-Feb-16 11:30:55

I'd play to her emotions and say that her grandchild's life could depend on it.

problembottom Sat 27-Feb-16 11:32:27

How about trying the other relatives you mentioned?

MargotFenring Sat 27-Feb-16 11:34:12

Yeah I admit, it is hard to overcome my personal feelings towards her and consider how she may be coping with all this. She appears to be coping really well. But that could be a facade.

MargotFenring Sat 27-Feb-16 11:38:51

Well her sisters won't say anything, they would know though. Every one in his family is frightened of her. She us famous for her fall outs. Her cousin may do but we were trying not to get others involved though.

AlexPKeaton Sat 27-Feb-16 11:47:17

How important is the family tree really? Is it something where they can establish what they really need to know via blood tests and the family tree is extra information, or does it really directly impact the risk assessment for your DS? Also, what would it change to know your DS had, for example, a 40% chance instead of a 20% chance of getting this cancer? No matter what, you are going to monitor closely from now on.

It just sounds like your MIL is not going to tell, whatever her reasons, and it would be a shame to ruin the new relationships you are building if this information is not truly crucial to the process. Make sure you aren't trying to punish MIL for her past misdeeds by making her do something she doesn't want to do.

Also consider that it might be devastating for your DH to find out. What if it's another relative or someone he knows? What if he contacts the person and is totally rejected? What if he is the product of violent rape? No matter what, it's going to be more complicated than just calling someone up and getting their medical information. Again, if it wojkd change the course of your monitoring or treatment for your DH or DS, and if your DH feels equally strongly about it, then it's worth pushing back on MIL. But if it's not, this might be one to let lie in the interest of family harmony.

ThumbWitchesAbroad Sat 27-Feb-16 11:59:33

Your MIL is being a PITA about it, no doubt; but perhaps the genetic trait will come from her side of the family, in which case it will be less important to know about the father. Still useful though!

I would actually contact the wider family, as the might be asked to provide samples as well for a completer picture, especially if the cancer is sufficiently "interesting" to be a case study/ paper that the docs can write up (sorry to sound callous, I'm just trying to see a bigger picture and give you reasons to contact the other relatives) - and then maybe once you've opened up that dialogue , you can ask about your DH's bio father's family.

MargotFenring Sat 27-Feb-16 12:03:16

I am not pushing DH. He wants to know. Of course I am mindful of the impact this could be having on him. He is just getting over a cancer that could have killed him, having his parents back in our lives is a whole new issue to deal with and then to hear that his DS could get it too - it is too much for anyone to expect to deal with.

I don't fully understand at this stage how the testing works. They look at DHs DNA and couple that with a family health tree.

diddl Sat 27-Feb-16 12:13:06

I wondered that Alex, how much is necessary & how much for their own curiosity?

What if she gives the name to the hospital for example & he's not interested in cooperating?

Do they need enough samples to identify it?

I would have thought that there would be value in looking at his mum's side?

AugustaFinkNottle Sat 27-Feb-16 12:16:50

Could you not get the information out of the sisters without your MiL finding out

MargotFenring Sat 27-Feb-16 12:22:53

My DH has never wanted to know who his natural father is. Ever. He only wants to know now because of our DS.

This is not about curiosity. There is value at looking at his mum's side. Of course. Equally as much as his father's.

The type of cancer it is is slow to present symptoms and is often diagnosed as a result of looking for something else. Of course we will be checking DS all the time now but the extra information would help the drs in their analysis of the risk.

MIL was willing to give him the information and help him establish contact when he was 12. If he was a violent rapist then it would be unlikely she would do it then surely?

APlaceOnTheCouch Sat 27-Feb-16 12:32:27

Perhaps she's never been willing for him to be contacted but was wise enough to know that telling a 12-yr-old DS that he couldn't do something would push him towards doing that very thing iyswim.

Also something could have changed in that intervening period - an illness, a crime, a chance meeting. It's impossible to guess.

APlaceOnTheCouch Sat 27-Feb-16 12:33:14

Perhaps she's never been willing for him to be contacted but was wise enough to know that telling a 12-yr-old DS that he couldn't do something would push him towards doing that very thing iyswim.

Also something could have changed in that intervening period - an illness, a crime, a chance meeting. It's impossible to guess.

She may also just be dealing with her guilt and thinking if she had maintained a relationship with your DH's father then perhaps they would have known about the genetic risk to your DH.

APlaceOnTheCouch Sat 27-Feb-16 12:36:08

Perhaps she's never been willing for him to be contacted but was wise enough to know that telling a 12-yr-old DS that he couldn't do something would push him towards doing that very thing iyswim.

Also something could have changed in that intervening period - an illness, a crime, a chance meeting. It's impossible to guess.

She may also just be dealing with her guilt and thinking if she had maintained a relationship with your DH's father then perhaps they would have known about the genetic risk to your DH.

WhatWouldLeslieKnopeDo Sat 27-Feb-16 12:40:46

I had bowel cancer a few years ago and it turned out to be due to a genetic disorder. I was the first with the condition in my family. I agree with AlexPKeaton that the family tree may not be that important.

Has he seen a geneticist yet? I provided a full family tree, but there's no history of bowel cancer in my family so I'm not sure it was of any use. I had blood taken and my DNA was tested. They presumably have some conditions in mind so they can look at those specific genes.

I hope that your DH makes a good recovery and that your DS has not inherited any issues flowers

I agree that your MIL ought to provide some information, especially as she has offered to in the past. But the genetic testing will be more useful, as your DH may well be the first to develop the mutation.

APlaceOnTheCouch Sat 27-Feb-16 12:43:37

Sorry for the double post. MN keeps glitching for me today.

VelvetSpoon Sat 27-Feb-16 13:10:27

If there are lots of cancers on his mum's side isn't it more likely that the genetic component lies with her?

I doubt they need both parents to test, tbh. I suspect it is the usual presumption that you are brought up by 2 bio parents and they are both alive in your 30s.

After 33 years it would probably be difficult to trace this man. He may well be dead. Or indeed he may have no interest in helping out a complete stranger he's never met (sorry if that sounds harsh, but that's what your DH is to him). If still alive he will most likely have a family of his own who may know nothing of your DH. It could open a huge can of worms.

I think in your position I would have said to the Drs that DH has no contact with his bio father, and it's unlikely he can be traced, so can they not proceed with just his mum's details?

MeMySonAndl Sat 27-Feb-16 13:10:42

Your MIL may be trying to protect her family from something bigger than you think. If the genetic tree is not that important or there are tests available to check if it is genetic, I would try that first.

I will be checking this thread, as DS paternal GF died of the same disease, not sure if my ex have it, but knowing how bad he can be, I can understand your MIL: Every time I rang him to tell him DS was in hospital he ignored my calls or accussed me of pestering him. He has.never ever checked back on DS, ever. Last time DS begged me not to call him as he felt much worse when he didn't reply. Your MIL may not be interfering but trying to save you the heartache or abuse.

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