Monday, March 14, 2011

Subtlety

I have never regarded my father as a particularly subtle person.  In fact, he and I are a lot alike in personality--every trait I dislike in myself is one I inherited from him--and I have certainly never regarded subtlety as one of my strong suits.  I'm usually too plain-spoken to be subtle, often to my detriment.

I must say, though, that I was impressed by my father's approach to the topic of whether we want children during his visit this weekend.  I believe I have mentioned before that my father is on limited information status about our TTC efforts and IF.  (I wrote in detail here about the reasons for this.)  Although we have always had a close relationship, all I have ever told him is that we want children and that I have been off birth control since before our wedding in November 2008.

I suppose any father with a daughter who finally married at 37, is rapidly approaching her 40th birthday, and is still childless would be wondering whether his daughter ever intends to have a child of her own.  The subject must have been on his mind on Saturday afternoon during his recent visit.  MM was out ,and I was relaxing at home with Dad and his wife, when we began talking about the interesting dynamic in MM's nuclear family of all three members being only children.  (Yes, MM is an only child, and his parents are both only children as well.) 

During this discussion, Dad asked me whether MM's parents are anxious to have MM "carry on their line."  I told him that, while I think they would enjoy being grandparents, especially my MIL, I know that passing on their genes is not particularly important to them because the topic has been discussed.  (They were/are both on board with adoption as an alternative to ART, and my FIL clearly told MM "Don't feel like you have to have a child for our benefit; just do what you want to do.")

This exchange followed:

Dad:  So what about MM?  How does he feel about that?

Me:  What?  You mean passing on his genes?

Dad:  Well, yes, having children.  Do you want them or plan to have them?

Me:  We have been trying to have a child unsuccessfully the entire time we have been married.

Dad:  Oh.

Dad:  I suppose you've both been tested and everything.

Me:  Yes, we have.

Dad:  And did they find anything wrong?

Me:  No, they did not.

Dad:  Oh.

I was proud of myself for staying calm and matter-of-fact throughout this exchange, while also not giving up any details about our IF or our treatment plans.  (Several times over the weekend, I was tempted to fill Dad and Stepmom in on our plans, because they are much on mind. . . . but I reminded myself that my reasons for keeping them out of the loop were/are sound and have not changed.)

Not much more was said on the subject, aside from Stepmom's comment that we would be "great parents" and Dad's comments that "you never know what will happen" and that "you hear all the time about people having a baby after they adopt" (I did gently set him straight on that one).  After a few minutes, conversation moved on to other topics.

It's really not like me to hold back on talking about something which is such a HUGE thing in my life.  Maybe my reserved approach to this topic is what led to my father's uncharacteristic subtlety in approaching it.

8 comments:

  1. Good for your father. It sounds like he handled the conversation well. But how about you? Were you OK with how it went?

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  2. Sounds like a good comversation. Congrats on keeping things on your terms.

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  3. Your journey has been challenging and after reading your previous post of your father and this one you should be proud of staying so calm and collected. This is a challenging process and just remember that there are others like you that are here for support, at least virtually :)

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  4. ginger, yes, I was OK with the conversation. On some level, I wish I could just tell my dad everything. . . but knowing my stepmom's inability to keep things to herself, I just can't unless I want the whole world to know (and I don't). It's too bad, but it is what it is.

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  5. Sounds like your dad just needed to hear that you are indeed on top of the situation. Many hopes that the family will rejoice in expectant news very soon...

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  6. I can't imagine how your heart was pounding during those talks. Well done.

    Everyone will come around to understanding. It took a long time for us to digest, you know?

    Hang in there.

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  7. It sure is hard to tell family. The ones you love, but frankly the very last ones to really get it. You dad sure progressed pretty quickly.

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  8. Happy Birthday! I hope this year brings you peace and happiness.

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