Author Topic: No, I'm not going to have children  (Read 19958 times)

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MiniLauren

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No, I'm not going to have children
« on: May 10, 2012, 10:12:05 AM »
This is my first post, so I apologize in advance if this is in the wrong area...it seemed the best suited for this inquiry.

A little bit of background: I am an only child, despite the fact that my mother wanted to have 12 kids.  Yes, 12.  I am firmly and completely decided upon the fact that I will never have children.  No offense to those that love kids, but I am not one of them.  The problem comes in that my mother feels that I should make up for the fact that she only had 1 child and need to have a lot of grandkids for her.

My boyfriend and I have been together for 2+ years and from day 1, my mother started bringing up grandkids.  At first, I just shrugged it off and didn't reply or made a funny comment about not having kids.  After about a year of it, I sat her down one day and flat out told her that I wasn't going to have kids and that she needed to accept that.  She seemed to take that well...until the last time I saw her.

She told me "I don't care if you don't want to hear it.  I want grandkids, I am going to keep hoping for grandkids and I'm going to keep telling you that you need to provide me with grandkids."

So, I guess my question is..."What now?"  I'm big into personal responsibility - if you can change something, do so; if not, learn to accept it and move on.  She's into the mindset of "If I want something and you are hindering my results, then you have to do what I say, so I can have what I want."

Our relationship has REALLY been affected by this, to the point that neither my boyfriend or I can stand spending time with her.  Pointed barbs, comments about kids and what not simply pepper conversations.  If it was a non-family member, I would simply cut them out of my life.  But this is my mother.  Has anyone ever experienced anything like this and remedied the situation?  Any suggestions would be wonderful...after more than 2 years, I'm tearing my hair out...

SleepyKitty

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Re: No, I'm not going to have children
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2012, 10:24:57 AM »
My suggestion won't calm the situation down necessarily, but if you're desperate you can try it. It's kind of a half-way direct cut - basically, the very first time she brings up grandkids, you leave. Every time. Warn her beforehand and follow through every time. So, for example in a phone calls:

You: Hi mom!
Mom: I want grandkids!
You: I'm not going to discuss this ever again with you, Mom. The conversation is over - I love you, and I'll call you tomorrow.

Then hang up. Same thing if you're visiting; as soon as she starts, collect your things and leave immediately. Do not discuss or debate your response with her, just go. It takes a lot of discipline, it's a huge PITA, and it might make the situation worse. But in the end, if she is harassing you so much you can't stand to be around her anyways, (and if she's harassing you so much that you would, if she was any other person, cut her out of your life altogether) I don't really see what you have to lose. But fair warning - the first time you fail to follow through, you're back at square one.

ShadesOfGrey

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Re: No, I'm not going to have children
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2012, 10:32:18 AM »
I'd reply with a nonchalant "Dont hold your breath." and then bean dip.

After 2-3 bean dips, I'd flat out say "I've tried very hard to avoid this topic and keep things pleasant between us. I'd appreciate it if you 'd do the same." flat out like that.

Then I'd do the hang up/get up and leave thing. (And yes, even if it took you hours to get there, you should get up and leave. At first, you can go for a walk, a coffee, whatever. If that doesnt work, then just go home. Nothing makes a point like being able to follow through on it. The fact that you're willing to immediately turn around and travel hours over this issue will really drive home (heh heh) how important the issue is for you.
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Redsoil

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Re: No, I'm not going to have children
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2012, 10:41:08 AM »
"What you want does not over-ride my wishes for my body and life.  If you still want a relationship with your DAUGHTER over mythical GRANDCHILDREN, you'll respect my wishes.  Otherwise, you can find someone else to adopt so you can have grandchildren.  I'm serious, and you're severely damaging our relationship.  The choice is now yours."

Truly, it's one of those times when your needs are not subject to her wants.  Be blunt, make it clear she is hurting you with her badgering, and if she wants so-called "grandchildren", she can foster children, or volunteer in an area of need.  You have my sympathies on dealing with this.  It's horrible when someone is that dismissive of your very valid choice.
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Lynn2000

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Re: No, I'm not going to have children
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2012, 10:51:11 AM »
I also recommend going the route of "this conversation ends NOW." It depends on your mom's personality type whether it's effective right away, or uncomfortable but at least it gets you away. You also do have to be very vigilant about it.

A couple other things you could try. You could try the Serious Conversation again. Sit her down alone over a cup of tea and tell her that her fixation on you having kids has negatively impacted your relationship with her, and as a result you have chosen to spend significantly less time with her. Don't let it become about whether or not you're having kids. The issue is that she's constantly bringing up a topic you told her was closed, and that needs to stop. It could be her going on about your job or your hair color or your house or anything--anything where you've told her the matter is closed and should not be discussed again, and she's disregarded your wishes.

You could try remarking casually, "Mom, perhaps you don't realize this, but you've brought up the issue of grandchildren in every conversation we've had this month." Maybe she really doesn't understand how often she's mentioning it and will stop if you point this out.

You could also try taking a sympathetic approach. Since you are the one in control of your reproductive habits, not her, you can afford to be magnanimous and perhaps chat with her about baby names she likes, or what trips she would take the kids on, or things like that--but all with the underlying tone of, "Well, that's a nice fantasy that's never going to happen." Maybe giving her some room to breathe on this subject will take the edge off her longing. You could also encourage her to spend time with other small children in the family, like your cousins' kids, or to volunteer somewhere in the community with children--T-ball, children's library, preschool, crisis nursery, etc..

Obviously these approaches depend on your and your mom's personality--for example, the sympathetic approach would be bad if you're sure it will only make her hope harder, or obnoxiously "talk up" kids to you in an unrealistic way. But, if you think she will take it rationally, it might help you both understand why she wants grandkids so much--does she want to see the family extend itself (in which case perhaps she could transfer her affection to cousins' kids or, more indirectly, get into genealogical research), does she want to cuddle babies (volunteer at crisis nursery/infant hospital), etc..
~Lynn2000

Jones

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Re: No, I'm not going to have children
« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2012, 11:09:26 AM »
My husband was his mother's only child (his father went through several marriages and had kids in almost all of them).

After we had our first daughter, his mother said "So I'm going to get a bunch of grandkids, right? I want a dozen."

DH: "Well mom, I guess that means you'd better get busy, 'cause Jones and I can't do that for you."

Funny thing was, she did...in a way. She married a man who had several grown children who already had children, so she inherited a bunch of step-grandkids.

Obviously, this won't work for everyone, but a light reply you don't mind repeating on occasion might be in order?

Editeer

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Re: No, I'm not going to have children
« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2012, 01:26:25 PM »
Depending on your relationship, of course--

I second Lynn's idea of the Serious Conversation about the way her fixation on the topic is causing problems in your relationship with her. If you haven't already done so, lay it out for her just what her constant comments and barbs are doing and how negative it is. As above, don't make it about kids--make it about the way she is treating you. Then tell her that if she keeps bringing up the topic of kids, you will not discuss it.

Thereafter, when (not if) she makes comments again, do "this conversation is over." 

By refusing to let her go on and on about kids, you will save *your* sanity. Hopefully, she will also get the clue that talking about kids = minimal contact with you, and she will start to adjust her behavior. It will take time and repetition.

Diane AKA Traska

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Re: No, I'm not going to have children
« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2012, 02:53:11 PM »
"Ma, it's my womb, not yours.  You need to respect that boundary."

Seriously... if she knew she wanted grandkids this badly, she should have ensured a relief pitcher in case the starter couldn't put one over the plate.  (That might include adoption... er, drafting a reliever... but hey, it's not your duty to procreate.)
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Outdoor Girl

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Re: No, I'm not going to have children
« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2012, 03:16:46 PM »
I'd give her one last warning:  'Mom, we have had this conversation a number of times.  I/we are never going to have children.  If you bring it up again, I/we will hang-up, leave, or ask you to leave.  Every time.'

And follow through.  Every time.  Don't even say anything.  Just hang-up or gather up your stuff and walk out the door.  Or if she is visiting you, gather up her stuff, hand it to her and hold the front door open.
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mharbourgirl

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Re: No, I'm not going to have children
« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2012, 06:36:31 AM »
Our relationship has REALLY been affected by this, to the point that neither my boyfriend or I can stand spending time with her.  Pointed barbs, comments about kids and what not simply pepper conversations.  If it was a non-family member, I would simply cut them out of my life.  But this is my mother.  Has anyone ever experienced anything like this and remedied the situation?  Any suggestions would be wonderful...after more than 2 years, I'm tearing my hair out...

Remedied? Unfortunately, no.  I moved across the country from my parents when I met DH.  For 15 years every single phone call never ended without at least one whine about 'giving her grandbabies'.  Not about whether I could afford them (couldn't), or wanted them (didn't), but about HER need for me to validate her choice to start having kids very young.  My brother has two kids - that wasn't good enough for her, even though she tried to raise them too before my SIL shut her down.  She wanted MY grandbabies.  Always about what she wanted.  It's been three years since my mother has called me or contacted me in any way.  Once she finally figured out (when I was closing on 40) that I wasn't going to have kids to make her happy, she lost any interest in me at all.  She won't call me, doesn't care.  My dad won't call me because he's a doormat and always goes along with whatever mom wants.

I know perfectly well that in the last 17 years they would have come to visit me if I'd announced I was pregnant.  But since I didn't have anything they wanted, they can't be bothered with me.  And that's THEIR problem now.  My life is hard enough without begging for my parents' approval and blessing, or even attention, and believe me, I'd have to beg for it. 

There may be no easy solution if your mother is that set on you reproducing for her obsessive desire for a do-over.  Like others have said, all you can do is shut down the conversation whenever she drags it into the murky waters of 'give me grandbabies!', and it may come to a point where you have to stop associating with her entirely.  She may not ever give up, I'm afraid.  All you can do is draw your line and shut her down whenever she crosses it.  I don't see her suddenly waking up and realizing how unfair she's being, because it's not a rational thing with her.  She wants what she wants and if you don't provide it there will be tantrums and whining.

I'm so sorry.

MellowedOne

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Re: No, I'm not going to have children
« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2012, 08:57:22 AM »
OP and mharbourgirl, I truly feel bad for your both.  What a terrible position to be forced into!

I do want to comment on something that stood out to me in both stories.  The actions of Mom are definitely NOT normal.  True, many Moms look forward to grandchildren, but to make go to such extremes is unusual to say the least.

My feeling is that these Moms' lives are emotionally starved in some manner.  Perhaps something is missing in their lives, and they feel a grandchild could give them happiness and meaning.  Someone they can pour out their love to and in return receive unconditional love.  This could drive them to extreme measures.  People do all kinds of crazy things in this world to find happiness.

mharbourgirl, it sounds like it's past the point of resolving--that door has definitely been closed and shut?  OP, perhaps it is not too late to have a serious heart-to-heart with your mom and find out WHY she has this overwhelming desire.  Don't settle for surface answers--get to the real core of the matter, and then perhaps you can go from there.

I am NOT a professional, I just wanted to comment.  So many times we see only the problem, and react, when it's the motive that needs to be addressed.  Motive always precedes action, and until the motive is addressed the problem will continue, and even surface in other ways.

MiniLauren

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Re: No, I'm not going to have children
« Reply #11 on: May 11, 2012, 09:58:59 AM »
OP here...so thanks to all of you SO much for your input and feedback.  I've given it some additional thought and if she brings it up again, I'm going to repeat that the topic is not open for discussion and tell her that in the present and future if she chooses to bring up the topic we'll leave.  Consistently.  And then I'll do it.  We're having dinner with her on Sunday for Mother's Day, which actually might bring out the crazy...but regardless...I'll see how it goes.

Regarding a couple of other comments that people made...allowing her to discuss it in a "what if" scenario is BAD.  In her mind, discussing it with me makes it real and means that I'm going to have a kid(s).  If we discuss something then that means it's going to happen.  Regarding the comment about marrying someone with kids...the irony of that is that my step-sister (her step-daughter) is pregnant.  But she doesn't care because it's not HER grandchild.  It has to be ME having the kid (???).

Also, regarding the obsession issue and talking to her about it, quite frankly I'm tired of doing it.  Everything is always someone else's problem and NOT HERS.  She doesn't have problems, other people do.  She's told me that she has to have grandkids because she has to show me how grandkids should be treated.  This issue stems from that fact that her mother treated me horribly as a child.  Told me all the time how bad I was, disapproved of everything I did and the entire time my mom just let her.  I grew up terrified of my grandmother.  I feel that that's irrelevant but to be honest, I'm not even sure I would want a kid of mine to have a relationship with her.

Okay, so that turned into something of a rant but I wanted to let you know how much I appreciate the feedback.  Everyone had some really good ideas.  I look forward to using them and seeing if I can get this on track.

MiniLauren

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Re: No, I'm not going to have children
« Reply #12 on: May 11, 2012, 10:54:43 AM »
I had a thought when I was "preparing" for my response the next time this comes up.

Do you think it would be worthwhile to tell her in advance via email that the topic isn't open for discussion or does that just open to the door to much whining and asking of "BUT WHYYYYYY?"  Should I prepare her ahead of time or tell her the next time it comes up and get ready to walk out if she doesn't get the point?

MrsJWine

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Re: No, I'm not going to have children
« Reply #13 on: May 11, 2012, 11:06:42 AM »
"Mom, let's say something crazy happens to my brain, and I DO have kids someday. By that point, we won't have a relationship at all anymore. Not if you keep harping on this. Every time you do, our relationship erodes a little bit more. I am your daughter, I am here, and you're still choosing grandkids that don't exist over me."


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Re: No, I'm not going to have children
« Reply #14 on: May 11, 2012, 11:44:32 AM »
Tell her you'll buy her an unhousebroken puppy.  >:D