Mo and I had shared the news of our first pregnancy with both of our families as soon as we saw the heartbeat on ultrasound. Unfortunately, this meant that a few weeks later, we also had the share the terrible news when we lost the pregnancy. After the miscarriage and D&C, I telephoned my mother to tell her. She was sympathetic and tried to be comforting for a moment, but she quickly added that in "her day" those things happened "all the time" and women often "didn't even know" they were pregnant and just thought they had had a late period. Fair enough on the facts, I suppose (although frankly it's hard to imagine what women were thinking when they had morning sickness and no period for over two months). But my mother was really missing the human side of the truth - that her son and new daughter-in-law were experiencing a devastating loss.
My mother repeated a version of this line of reasoning following the next miscarriage. At this point, her inability to tolerate her own discomfort enough to acknowledge our loss really started to sting. Mo was terribly hurt by my mother's behavior. And I was left feeling conflicted. I felt strongly protective of Mo and resonated deeply with her upset. And my mother's words felt like a dismissal of my need to be comforted as her grieving son. But I also felt an inexorable pull to defend and rationalize my mother's disappointing behavior.
The third time around, Mo and I didn't tell my parents we were pregnant or, subsequently, that we had miscarried yet again. Not telling wasn't that hard for me. But not having the support of the two people who have always given me unconditional love was very difficult. It was also very lonely.
Back to this morning. After my parents left, I realized that I need to be completely open with letting my parents know my feelings in as much detail as I can. At the same time, I have to accept that they may be incapable of meeting my needs in certain arenas.
Mo and I will discuss and decide together exactly what infertility/pregnancy/loss news to share. (We are NOT sharing, for example, that we are currently doing IVF).
I'm also realizing that I need to take a deep look inward at my own insecurities with letting my emotions show (a tendency whose origins are becoming clearer and clearer - Thanks, Mom!). I am learning that I can strongly - and vocally - disagree with my parents' inability to reach out in a meaningful way and at the same time not be judgemental of them as the people I love.
The apple does not fall far from the tree. But this is no excuse for not stretching beyond my own comfort zones. The fact is that I long ago grew into my own tree. It is time for me to prune the branches and declare what is mine. To take the shape of the man I want to be in my life and in my marriage.