Tell Me About It: In-laws nag about having kids incessantly

Published May 13 2018

Q: Hello! Any suggestions for avoiding the ever-fun "When are you going to get pregnant?" questions? Husband and I are actually trying, haven’t been as successful as quickly as we’d like.

We’re at "that stage" when we "should" be having kids according to my in-laws; we have a house, have been married for a number of years, have steady jobs, etc. We told them once to stop asking because of the reasons listed above, but they insist they want to "be there" for us on this journey.

My mother-in-law talks about how much easier it would’ve been if we started trying years ago, how she got pregnant so quickly with her two sons because she started in her early 20s, etc. I’ve actually gotten up and walked away when she’s continued on despite my asking her to change the topic.

Problem is, with a holiday coming up, I’ll have her and all her family backing her up, and I’m pretty sure it’s rude to stand up and walk out on a big family dinner. Any suggestions on how to shut this down before it even starts?

Avoiding Pregnancy Questions

A: No, it’s not rude to stand up and walk out of any dinner in response to being grilled on a topic you’ve already asked people to drop. It’s completely appropriate.

When they "insist they want to ‘be there’ for us on this journey," it’s also perfectly within the bounds of good manners to respond: "The best way to ‘be there on this journey’ is to respect our request not to keep asking about it. When there is something to share, we will share it."

I hope your husband agrees to be the one to convey this message. To leave it to you to be the messenger will invite his mother to treat you as the "problem," which for obvious reasons is so unfair to you. Your mother-in-law is the problem right now; if your husband won’t draw a line with her to protect you, then he becomes part of the problem. I hope he sees that and intervenes accordingly.