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To no longer tell MIL about DDs medical issue

(55 Posts)
flothatchicken Fri 15-Mar-19 10:18:36

DD is 2 and has a medical issue that we are hoping surgery will resolve in a couple of months time. But we don't know what the outcome of that will be and it could lead to much more surgical and non surgical intervention.

We live in a small town, a place where everyone knows everyone's business which is something I've always disliked about the area. MIL is a bit of a gossip in all honesty and will constantly be saying "don't tell them that I told you but blah blah blah". I've told her that I don't want to know if they've asked her to keep it to herself but she doesn't see a problem with it.

I've found out from bumping into someone that she has told them all about DDs medical issue after we've told her so many times to keep it to herself, it's not nice for DD to have everyone know her private business especially if we stay in the same town when she's a teen/adult etc. She obviously hasn't listened and this isn't the first time she's done this. We've asked her several times not to.

I've told DH that's it, she's made this issue herself and she's no longer to be told about anything to do with DDs medical info. Positive or negative. She can't be trusted and I want DD's private information to be respected.

He is in agreement but admitted it is an awkward situation, which I agree with. I'm worried I might be projecting because I was mercilessly bullied as a teen because of a medical issue that my mum told everyone she bloody met about. The issue was no longer present but bullies can be horrible and I was reminded of it constantly.


QueenoftheBiscuitTin Fri 15-Mar-19 11:28:05

Seeing as you've already told her multiple times not to tell other people, I wouldn't be giving her any more information. She should have more respect for your DD and your wishes.

ThumbWitchesAbroad Fri 15-Mar-19 11:29:16

I totally agree with you but it doesn't sound like your DH Is fully on board with this - as in, he's agreeing to your face but if his mother quizzes him on anything, he's going to fold like a house of cards and just tell her.

My DH does this - luckily for us we don't have a situation similar to your DD's, where it would actually matter, but when I fell pg the first time, of course DH knew and he was just about to go to visit his mother for a few weeks (different continent). I told him not to tell her please, as it was still VERY early days and I hadn't told my parents - but he bloody did, and my only surprise is that the news didn't make it back from the other side of the planet, the number of people SHE told it to. angry

She happily tells us all about her other family's medical problems, so I know she's tell them about ours too. It's not on, it really isn't.

I hope your DH can really work on his ability to deflect his mother and NOT tell her private stuff.

PregnantSea Fri 15-Mar-19 11:34:02

YANBU. However your husband is right about it being very awkward, and I don't think you could just not say anything at all, or change the subject of she asks. So I would say the best thing to do is be very direct and when she inevitably asks about Dd's condition just say "I'm sorry but I don't want to get into it. We've repeatedly asked you to keep it private and you haven't done so. It's bit fair to DD. We'll let you know if anything really serious happens".

PregnantSea Fri 15-Mar-19 11:35:40

*unfair! Not bit fair.

championquartz Fri 15-Mar-19 11:39:00

I'm very strongly with you.
Your MIL was privileged to be told of your DD's medical issue. She has abused that privilege => she should not be privilege to further info.

You need to protect your DD in this.

My way would be when she asks, is to brush it of with a shrug of 'it's fine. I'm not convinced she needs to know anymore than that, or why you're not going into details etc.

dragoning Fri 15-Mar-19 11:46:16

You are absolutely 100 percent right.

Just be bland and say 'she's fine thanks. We'll let you know if there are any problems' you could also say 'we're hoping to stay here as she grows up, so we've decided to keep her medical information private. You know how gossipy people can be'

ShanghaiDiva Fri 15-Mar-19 11:46:53

Agree with you 100%. My in laws are exactly the same - share private details with everyone and after they told everyone about one of my medical issues, I no longer tell them anything.
I understand that it can be awkward for your dh. Agree with pp that if she asks about anything you give a vague - it's all fine - response.

Senac32 Fri 15-Mar-19 11:51:42

You're definitely in the right, flothatchicken.
Rather than putting her off altogether (she's probably worried too) I would tell her that your doctors have said to keep it confidential until there's something definite to report.
Hoping your daughter's op. etc goes well, It all sounds very uncertain.

Nomorepies Fri 15-Mar-19 11:52:44

YANBU. That’s awful, she sounds insecure and uses gossip (even about her own family!) to look important and knowledgeable to others. Totally wrong to divulge private medical information, I would be absolutely fuming if I was you. You need to hammer this home to DH- he needs to be absolutely on the same page with this. Don’t give MIL any more info whatsoever. And if she asks, just say nothing, change the topic or just come out with it and say you no longer want to discuss it because she can’t keep it to herself.

Hope your daughter gets sorted flowers

Jux Fri 15-Mar-19 11:57:20

What Whereyouleftit said. Straight talking needed, not mealy-mouthed avoidance.

BettyDuMonde Fri 15-Mar-19 11:59:53

I’ve found it useful to have extended community support re: my daughter’s illness (both in practical terms and for my own mental health) but it’s absolutely a decision for you and your DH to make, not one for your MIL to take out of your hands.

Complete privacy would’ve been impossible for us because a)the treatment radically changed her appearance and b) we had to ask my DD’s school class for some special permissions - not relevant to you at this stage, of course!

Best wishes to your DD x

ClownpantsKate Fri 15-Mar-19 12:09:42

I think ignorance is bliss concerning some people.

The local gossip in my home town found out about some poor lad's undescended testicles and delighted in telling everyone.

Fifteenthnamechange Fri 15-Mar-19 12:11:19

I had the same with my DC. MIL is gob almighty. Particularly loves a health story & will tell u about people fannies after childbirth, their boob jobs etc.
So when DC needed surgery didn't tell her till the week before (after a year of medical interventions).
Keep it from her I say

AzureApps Fri 15-Mar-19 12:14:04

My MIL is the same, I haven’t told her about fertility issues or pregnancy losses due to her gossiping

flothatchicken Fri 15-Mar-19 12:20:50

Thanks everyone for your replies. It's good to know that I'm not being that UR. It's making me feel more angry to be honest!! I can't help but feel it's in bad taste to disclose anyone's medical info when they've opened up to you, but to be gossiping about a 2 year old is just crass.

The only other people we've told is my parents who have reassured us they haven't said a word. Plus DH confronted MIL and she said "I'm sorry, it won't happen again" so it was definitely her. However she's said those exact same words about 6 months ago so the trust is broken for me.

Thankfully it's not life threatening, it can be resolved with no further issues or it could really impact her life for a long time, it's too early to tell. I understand she's worried about her granddaughter but we haven't even shared with friends or siblings, only my parents as we've needed childcare help with dc2.

I feel bad for DH because it would have been nice for him to have the option of his parents support and as a result of her gossiping that's now not an option for him.

I think we're going to wait until she asks and then explain why. She won't stop keeping on otherwise and I'd rather nip it in the bud and tell her why.

Thanks again everyone.

HotpotLawyer Fri 15-Mar-19 12:21:18

I would tell her that if she ever breathes one more word about your Dds condition, treatment or anything, you will tell everyone that MIL has a condition that means she can't control what she says and she makes up stories so everyone needs to be very careful what they tell her and what they believe from her.

Well, I would think of doing that. But ore likely I would just stop telling her stuff.

NannyRed Fri 15-Mar-19 12:22:41

Stop telling mil anything. She can’t gossip if she has no facts.

Purplelion Fri 15-Mar-19 12:22:46

I’ve stopped telling my nan things that I don’t want people to know. I went to the doctors once when I was 18 for tonsillitis and when she asked where I’d been and I told her but didn’t tell her why she went crazy and asked if I had gone for an abortion l!

cstaff Fri 15-Mar-19 12:32:42

I used to work with a girl who loved to spread gossip around the office. I stopped telling her anything that was really private but if I wanted word to get around about something I would just tell "Anne" and make sure to say to her "now thats not to go any further" and you could be damn sure the whole office would know by the end of the day. So you can turn these things to your advantage but in your MIL's case you do need to stop telling her about your child's health issues and when she asks be straight with her. It might give her a kick up the ass but I wouldn't count on it.

FizzyGreenWater Fri 15-Mar-19 12:34:55

I think we're going to wait until she asks and then explain why. She won't stop keeping on otherwise and I'd rather nip it in the bud and tell her why.

Yes. Even if it causes a minor falling out it's the oonly way to go. You do need to nip it right now or - and this is what you need to hammer home with your DH - MIL is going to be the one to suffer because eventually you will fall out with her over it, when she does do it again and again.

Much better to be upfront right now and she won't like it but what can she say? I would also hint at exactly what I've said above. Bottom line, she can't be trusted, would she rather her son and DIL were upfront that it was an issue and change things, or get more and more upset WHEN it happens again and end up with a rift?

Useful lines:

'It was really upsetting to hear DD's and our private medical business gossiped back to us' (note: it was upsetting, not I was upset.)

'We would hate to end up falling out' (warning shot)

'It's made us realise that it's our responsibility as her parents to respect her privacy while she's so small and not put that responsibility on anyone else.' (what can she say to that!)

'Also as we're the only ones involved directly in her care there really is no need for us to discuss details with anyone in the wider family. We've realised that as her granny, all you will be wanting to know is that DD is happy and doing well and yes anything else is just gossip isn't it! So we are sure that if we just don't discuss this in future it will suit everyone. After all, why would anyone want all the details unles they were just being nosey? It makes no difference to the important thing, which is that DD is doing fine.' (this will finish her off. How can she ask for the ins and outs now without you saying 'We've talked about this though, we really don't like the idea of gossiping about the details do we?')

YetAnotherThing Fri 15-Mar-19 12:47:21

YANBU- Nobody has the right to know medical info about anyone’s health and as parents we’re custodians of that confidentiality until they are competent to deal with it themselves. Your MIL doesn’t grasp this. You need your DH to support this- Give your DH an example of a medical condition he might find embarrassing (bleeding piles or something) and how he’d feel if your DPs knew about it (let alone them telling the others) etc. See if he grasps the loss of control aspect?

SofaSurfer20 Fri 15-Mar-19 12:53:15

Dont tell her a bloody thing

ApproachWithWine Fri 15-Mar-19 13:19:54

My MIL is the same. She's a gossip. I tell her nothing, or all the random family members who haven't bothered with us for donkeys years, and her friends who we don't know, would know our private business.

You're right. Hope your DD is ok x

cakecakecheese Fri 15-Mar-19 13:21:48

Tell her something made up, wait for Gladys from down the road to ask you about your daughter's rickets, look confused and say 'not sure where MIL got that from' and do the glug glug mime. Done.

But really you are right to not tell her anything anymore, she's lost all rights to any information.

flothatchicken Mon 18-Mar-19 12:40:51


So DH had a proper chat with MIL at the weekend and to say it didn't go well is an understatement.

Apparently it's my issue for being so secretive. She now feels stressed about being around me because she doesn't know what to say anymore in fear of offending me because I'm so easily offended hmm

Christ! Maybe don't ask my kids to call you Mummy. Don't insult me when we invite you for dinner. Don't undermine me and tell my dc something is fine when I ask them to stop doing something.

Just be a nice, normal human being!!!

I'm just so tired. Too tired for this rubbish.

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