DEAR ABBY: After one miscarriage and three years of infertility treatments, my husband and I are expecting twins. While I should be excited about this news, I'm not -- for two reasons.
I have a great relationship with my mother, who has agreed to come and help when the babies are born in September. My husband's sister and family, who live out of town, are also thinking about coming to visit at that time. While I love my sister-in-law dearly, I don't know that I will feel up to entertaining her family while trying to adjust to being not only a new mom but a new mom of twins. My husband has asked that I not alienate his family, but all I can think about is how tired and stressed I will be trying to adjust to the new lifestyle.
My second dilemma is my mother-in-law. She's a very pessimistic and paranoid woman whose family has allowed her to control every family situation. She never smiles, can't find the joy in living, and tries to tell others how they should live their lives. I've asked my husband why he and his sister allow her to act this way. He says they've tried talking to her, but all she does is cry.
Abby, my mother-in-law is already providing me with unsolicited advice on how to take care of myself. I can just imagine what kind of unsolicited child-rearing advice I'll get when the children are born.
I don't want to alienate my husband's family, but under the circumstances I find it hard not to. Any advice? -– DREADING SEPTEMBER
DEAR DREADING: Accept the fact that your mother-in-law is trying to show her love and concern for you, so smile, nod and tune her out. Once the twins arrive, assure her that they are under the care of an excellent pediatrician –- and you'll mention her suggestions to the doctor to be sure they don't conflict with the medical advice you are already receiving.
As for your sister-in-law, tell her sweetly that you would LOVE to see her –- perhaps during the holidays -– after you have regained your strength and you and the babies have a firmly established schedule. To do so is not "alienating her" –- it's asserting your right to recover from the delivery.