I'm 17 weeks pregnant. From the very beginning, my MIL was convinced her first grandbaby was going to be a girl. Literally days after we announced I was expecting, she gave us two packs of pink onesies, started referring to my barely developed blob child as "Laura" (apparently the name she wanted for the daughter she never had). She even called my 94-year-old grandmother just to get her to confirm boys aren't common in my paternal family.
She's been pestering us about a gender reveal party since the start of my second trimester, and threw a small tantrum when we told her we weren't having one. She's been rude about every decision we made about the baby. She hated all our boy and girl names, criticized our nursery ideas and has been insistent on me having a natural birth (which I probably will anyway, but both her deliveries were c-sections, so I have no idea where that's coming from).
It became clear that she wholeheartedly thought I'd only gotten pregnant to make her a grandma. Anyway, neither me or DH (dear husband) cared about our baby's sex, but we spontaneously decided to find out during my latest ultrasound this week. It's a boy! We're over the moon. When we got home, I called my mom. She's excited! I called my dad. He's surprised! I called my sister. She's happy! Everyone's happy! DH called his mom.
Someone put that poor injured dolphin out of its misery, for the love of Christ. I swear, I could hear her banshee wailing from across the living room. The phone wasn't even on speaker. Toni Colette's character in Hereditary had less of a breakdown. DH let her cry and scream incoherently (I'm pretty sure she was saying "My Laura!" between her sobs) for about a minute before he told her to call him back when she's calmer and hung up on her. He was devastated.
I think that up until that point he hadn't registered how obsessed his mom was with us having a girl, he just thought she was excited to find out the sex. He was so excited to tell her. I managed to cheer him up, and we told a couple more people. We told his brother, who was very happy for us. Some of our friends didn't even know we were pregnant, so we included the sex in our announcement.
The next day, we were going over our boy names to figure out which worked best with our last names. That's when MIL called us back. We were both hoping she'd apologize for her tantrum. Instead, she immediately started going on about dozens of articles she'd read about how often ultrasounds were inaccurate and questioning my doctor's qualifications based on what university she'd gone to.
A screaming match started between her and DH. He was telling her off for reacting the way she did. She was trying to defend herself (and failing miserably) by claiming it was our fault, that we knew how much this meant to her and that we'd "ruined her day" by blindsiding her the way we did. My favorite part?
MIL: "And you had to tell me now? You couldn't wait until the gender reveal?" DH: "Mom, for the tenth time, WE WEREN'T DOING A GENDER REVEAL!" And after some back and forth, it turns out she thought we were going to throw a surprise gender reveal party. Just for her. Yeah, right. MIL eventually did apologize for upsetting us, but still made it very clear she was "disappointed".
We don't care. She lives half an hour away and hates driving to our place, so it's not like we'll see her much until the baby's here. We're still pissed, but we're used to that. Feeding the Kraken never helps. So in conclusion, we're having a son. And if we ever have a daughter, we're not naming her Laura.
OP provided an update:
I remember that early in our relationship, one of the first things he expressed insecurity about was his nose, specifically its width. He never wanted surgery but thinks his nose is "too big for his face." I never thought that was true, and for a long time, I wondered where he'd gotten that idea from.
Then I met his mother, and all my doubts went out the window. I don't hate her, but the woman complains about EVERYTHING. She seems particularly interested in criticizing her sons. Barely anything about my husband or his older brother is good enough for her, and if it is, she is quick to imply they don't deserve it.
According to my BIL, that behavior didn't start until FIL passed (about 8 years ago), so they don't usually hold it against her. But to me, it seems like she legitimately doesn't want her children to be happy.
Most times we talk to her, my husband ends up devastated. She constantly complains about me, his job, our apartment, and his appearance. She has, on more than one occasion, suggested he get a nose job. That tends to upset him, so I always try to shut that down as quickly as possible.
We got married in early May. The photos were ready about two months later, and we created a shared album on Google Photos for our friends and family, including MIL.
I got pregnant during our honeymoon (can't recommend Dubrovnik enough), and I'm now 24 weeks along. We've had problems with MIL concerning my pregnancy (we're having a boy, and she had a breakdown because she wanted a girl) that forced us to put her on an info diet.
That was two months ago, and she has since improved her behavior. Because of that, we said yes when she invited us to go to a mall near her place to shop for baby clothes last Saturday. My husband had an emergency at work and ended up not coming, but we still managed to have a good time.
When we were done, she invited me back to her place. I hadn't been there in a while, and I quickly saw that she'd gotten some of our wedding pictures up on the wall. I instantly noticed something was wrong with them, but I couldn't pinpoint what it was yet.
MIL saw what I was looking at and proudly announced that she'd gotten someone to "fix his nose." In other words, she gave her son a Photoshop nose job. On his wedding pictures.
I couldn't believe it. I never thought she'd stoop so low. It wasn't even a good nose job; it was so bad that my husband's face didn't look real. He looked like a Ken doll, and not in the hot Ryan Gosling way.
MIL must have seen how mad I got, because she instantly tried to defend herself. She tried to make the point that her son deserved to "look his best on his wedding day," and I should have convinced him to get the real nose job before our ceremony. I made up an excuse to leave, but I could tell she knew the real reason.
She's been calling and texting me almost every day since. I've been ignoring her, but she's always either apologizing, accusing me of overreacting, or begging me not to tell my husband.
I know it seems trivial, but I'm outraged. The more I think about it, the more disgusted I get. I could never imagine doing something like that to my child.
I haven't told my husband yet. Mostly because we've both been busy with work this week, but also because I have no idea how to. His mother was finally starting to be a better person around him and his brother, and I know it will break his heart to find out about this.
I don't know what to do. I have to tell him, but I can't figure out how. I know he loves his mother, and I don't want to damage whatever relationship they still have. MIL also mentioned she intended to send the "improved" pictures to some of her relatives, so I have to find a way to shut that down.
OP provided an update:
First of all, I want to clarify that not telling my husband what his mother did was never an option. She wouldn't remove the pictures from her house unless I either told him or threatened her. Had I done the latter, she could use that against me in the future or even imply I agreed with her. Plus, he was bound to find out at some point, and I knew it would be better if it came from me. I asked how to do it, not whether I should.
So I sat him down last Saturday and broke the news. I explained what the pictures were and MIL's excuses for them. I also showed him the texts she'd sent me since my visit.
The whole conversation, I was calm and straightforward, but made it very clear that not only did MIL's actions completely disgust me, but I never agreed with her about his appearance. He's the most gorgeous man I've ever met, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with his nose.
I also made sure to point out that the photoshopped nose made him look like front-facing Phineas from Phineas & Ferb, and MIL needs to get her eyes checked if she really thought it looked good.
I thought the news would hurt him, and I was right. He didn't cry or anything, but I could see it in his face. The odd but common combination of disappointment and acceptance. He knew his mother wouldn't change, but still had some hope. It was almost heartbreaking to watch.
But for the first time in a while, he seemed to believe me when I said his nose was normal. He told me that now that he knew just how ridiculous MIL was willing to be, her opinion meant a lot less to him. So even though he's hurt, he feels stronger than ever.
As many of you suggested, I told him that he was free to approach the situation however he pleased, but I don't want to be around his mother anymore. Most importantly, I don't want her around our son, or any other kids we might have. Not only because of the guilt-tripping tantrums that have become her standard behavior, but also because of the way she treats the people she's supposed to love.
I know she loves her family, but I doubt she knows how love works. If she's willing to treat her sons like this, I fully expect her to be even worse to her grandchildren.
In the end, my husband and I decided we're going very low contact (LC) with MIL until the holidays. Some of his relatives are throwing a party the week before Christmas, and she'll be there. We thought about skipping it, but he has cousins he hasn't seen in years coming for the party. He's been looking forward to seeing them for months, and it doesn't feel fair to let MIL ruin his excitement.
After the holidays, we'll decide how to proceed. Regardless, she won't be allowed to see our son at the hospital when he's born. And once we bring him home, she won't be left alone with the baby. It doesn't matter how much she tries to improve; that is not something we're willing to budge on.
In spite of everything, my husband doesn't want to cut ties with his mother, and I understand that. Even if he wanted to, he can't go fully no contact (NC) without cutting off the rest of his maternal family as well, which he is firmly against.
What works best for now is to treat her like Domino's Pizza: she exists and that's fine, but we're not getting involved until she actually improves.
I also decided to tell some of my own family about this, and everyone I've talked to agrees that MIL went over the line. My father is a narcissist who I'm mostly low contact (LC) with due to his entitled behavior (most recently, he tried to make me disinvite his ex from my wedding so he could bring his mistress), and even he was offended on my husband's behalf. And if even my mediocre, "respect your elders" father thinks your children are right about you being an a%#hole, you've probably gone too far.
We talked to my BIL, and he's the one who informed MIL of our decision. She didn't take the news well. She's now trying to call both me and my husband, and keeps texting apologies and promises to take the pictures down. We're ignoring her.
BIL visited her yesterday, and apparently the pictures are gone. She believed that was enough for us to forgive her, but he clarified that there is still a lot of work that needs to be done.
Before anyone calls us dramatic, this isn't just about the Photoshop. This is about the damage she's caused in both her sons' lives. I was abused in a similar fashion in my teens by dad's ex, and I refuse to allow my child to grow up believing he's anything less than beautiful. Same goes for my husband.
Here are some of the top comments:
Dominoes out here catching strays.
"Most importantly, I don't want her around our son, or any other kids we might have." Oh thank goodness. You just know she'd be a nightmare to any granddaughters and grandsons she had (in wildly different ways).
I'm betting she'd neglect the grandsons for not being girls, and with the first granddaughter she'd only call her Laura instead of her actual name.
What do you think? Should OP cut her MIL out of her life?