My in-laws have gone no contact on us because my wife and I decided to go with a daycare center instead of them for a baby that isn’t even born yet.
Hello. Hope I am doing this right. I wrote about this on the relationships sub and over a ton of people recommended I post here. This is a similar post, but I am adding some more background details into the main post. Thanks in advance to anyone who wants to help.
Some quick info on us. I'm 31/m, my wife 28/f, my MIL 57/f, and FIL 62/m. I've been with my wife for over 9 years but married for 5 years. My in-laws have been married for about 11 years (FIL is my wife’s step father).
My in-laws loved me while my wife, Lara and I were dating. They both eagerly said "yes" when I asked for Lara's hand in marriage. Something changed a few years ago. My MIL is generally an emotionally unstable person, but it got worse once we got married. My MIL would pick fights with Lara over me over crazy things (like my Brother-in-Law was kicked out at our wedding reception by security because he got drunk and acted belligerent, but MIL was angry that I didn’t stop security from kicking the brother out, even though I wasn’t near that at the time. MIL didn’t talk to Lara or I for over two months until FIL told her to move on). The fights have been frequent (at least two a year since) and always have the same cycle as the fight mentioned above (MIL picks a dumb fight, refuses to talk to Lara for 1-3 months, and then reconciles). My wife went into therapy over 2 years ago to deal with the traumatic impact of having them treat her so poorly over the last 11 years (although her mom has treated her poorly for since she was a child).
A major fight broke out between us in September 2016 after my MIL attacked me on social media (called me “ignorant” and “preachy” when I put out a FB post asking people to be respectful to each other during the election. She didn’t get the irony). This fight also turned nasty when she was attacking Lara via text, and said to her “you’re never going to have children.” (We lost a pregnancy earlier in the summer). This was especially painful because we had just found out that week that we were 6 weeks pregnant. My point, she can be very cold. The fight lasted several months, with the FIL eventually pushing the MIL to reconcile two days before Thanksgiving (he really wanted us to be able to celebrate the pregnancy with them after all those months). It was a bullshit apology where she (like always) apologized to Lara and and half apologized to me (“sorry for a miscommunication…”) Things have been steady now, but not by much. Lara insists that her mom can’t lash out anymore and has been mostly better since then (but it’s only been 6 months). I actually went into therapy myself after this incident since I needed to learn more effective skills for dealing with people like this.
Two days ago, we were visiting my in-laws when the subject of childcare was brought up. We had previously said last December that we were glad we found an awesome person for our childcare, neither my FIL or MIL said much beyond acknowledging it. But Sunday, the MIL sorta flipped out. She kept saying, “I just assumed you wanted me to watch the baby.” To which we said that we told her that we already told them months ago that we found someone. Both said they didn’t remember, which is a typical excuse for them. We assured them that they’ll be able to baby sit and have alone time with the child, but MIL still seemed upset.
So a couple of days passed and we figured it was blowing over when my FIL messaged my wife telling her how extremely disappointed they are in our choice of childcare and that no matter who we got, “no one is more prepared than your mother to watch the baby.” This actually isn’t true. They only own one car, a two seater, and we said to them that it’s important to us that whoever watches the baby that they have a car with a carseat in it for emergencies. Our main reason though, which we didn’t tell them, is that we can’t have a daycare person who constantly gets into fights with us, where out of the blue, we would have no where to take our child and we both work full time.
So Lara responded to FIL with this message:
Thanks for letting me know your thoughts. I appreciate hearing what you have to say. I know we did talk a long time ago about my mom watching my future baby, but after discussing it, we decided against this for a couple of reasons. We did bring up our decision back in December, although it may have been forgotten. I am sorry that this is upsetting to you. I wish this would have been discussed earlier on, I don't want anyone upset this close to when the baby is due to arrive. I can understand why you are upset, but this is our decision and we hope everyone can respect it and move on. I am hoping that everyone is able to move on from this and focus on the joy of having a new baby in the family. I am very excited about this baby and I want this to be a celebration for everyone.
FIL responded with, “Then I guess we are done here” and after Lara asked what that meant, he said, “you made your decision. You don’t appreciate that your mother and I worked hard to put you through private high school and that I am paying a 50k student loan. So you got what you want and we’ll just leave it at that. I’ll get over it just fine, but your mother will probably have a harder time. Hope the baby is healthy and fine.”
And that’s it. Now I should say that he has a tendency to expect Lara to act EXACTLY as he wants. For instance, when Lara and I were dating for only one year while I was in the Army, she told them she was going to fly out to see me during a college break, to which he forbade her to fly on a plane and when she still did it, he cut off her phone service as punishment.
I’m sorry for rambling, I’m just not sure what to do here. My wife is devastated, but not entirely caught off guard. Our baby is due in 8 days, and she can’t wrap her mind around how her family won’t be there. Just to clarify my wife's thinking. Lara is pretty fed up with everything. She says she's done playing their games and plans to not contact them in the future unless they reach out and flat out apologize for their behavior — but this apology has to be after the baby is born and we feel ready to even be open to an apology.
Also, I wrote all the above this morning, but since then, my wife informed me that my MIL actually broke the NC briefly. She texted my wife only to tell her that she thinks she figured out the name of the baby (we were keeping it a secret but gave everyone in our family the first letter at Easter), and threatened to blast it all over FaceBook just to be cruel. I think it's unlikely to be true, Lara and I both agree MIL is just trying to upset her, but I think it cemented the fact that we have to go NC with them until well-after the baby is due. Fortunately they only share 18 "friends" and only 5 that are close friends, but the very fact that she threatened this is crazy and incredibly cruel. I'll post an update if anything else happens.
So my question is, what can I do to help? Should I say anything to the in-laws? I usually say nothing and let my wife and the in-laws hash it out — but I am tired of being silent. My MIL said nothing during all this exchange yesterday, and she’s been so excited for the baby that I can’t image she’s okay with this. What can I do to help my wife? She’s the sweetest, most kind person I know and I can’t stand seeing her so upset, especially when she’s so close to giving birth.
tl;dr: In-laws have gone no-contact after we reemphasized that we were going with a professional for childcare. FIL took it as a personal slight against them and has declared their relationship is over. How can I help my wife get through this? Should I contact my in-laws to either yell at or try and reconcile things?