The extremes one mother-in-law went to to learn her unborn grandchild's gender has mom ready to bar grandma from the house.
In fact, the mother-in-law's behavior is so egregious that some have urged the mom to sue.
In a letter to Dear Prudence at Slate, the mom-to-be writes that she's been married for six years and previously had a “cordial” relationship with her husband's mother. When mom became pregnant with the family's first grandchild, her mother-in-law became obsessed with learning the gender.
The mother-in-law's fixation was especially strange in light of the fact that mom and dad had decided to waited until the birth to find out. In her letter, the mom writes:
“My mother-in-law was livid with our decision, even though I tried to placate her by using the obstetrician she suggested and allowing her to attend some of my prenatal appointments. She continued to bring up gender at every opportunity.”
The mom-to-be made it clear to her doctor and staff that they didn't want to know the baby's sex, so she didn't think much of it when her mother-in-law seemed extra happy after one of her prenatal appointments. A message she received soon after explained her mother-in-law's air of satisfaction:
“A few days later I had messages from family members congratulating me on the baby girl I was having! My mother-in-law wheedled the information out of the ultrasound technician, who is a friend of hers, then announced it.”
Even worse, her mother-in-law was totally unrepentant.
“My mother-in-law is smug about her tactics and told me nastily that if I 'still had a mother,' I wouldn't be so selfish. (I was orphaned at age 14.)”
The outraged mom says she switched doctors and threatened the clinic with legal action for violating her privacy. Now, she says she plans to bar Grandma from the hospital during the birth and make it clear that she's not welcome to visit the baby.
Prudie responded by assuring the mom-to-be that her anger was justified and that she was wise to change doctors and take a hiatus from her mother-in-law. In response to the letter-writer's concerns that she was too vengeful, Prudie advised that she demand an apology and take time to restore trust.
For many of the commenters, however, Prudie's advice did not go far enough. Readers were outraged on the mom's behalf, and many felt that she should take legal action against both the doctor's office and her mother-in-law. One commenter writes:
“A tech who can be persuaded to give confidential medical information may do other things of this nature, such as reveal medical information to employers, or just gossip about people's medical conditions. Please take the time to report it. The tech can be disciplined, and will learn a hard, but well-deserved, lesson.”
Others suggested that she file a restraining order against her mother-in-law or sue her for the breach of privacy. One commenter warned that even an apology shouldn't persuade her to drop her guard:
“A woman that determined may well play apologetic long enough to gain access so I can't imagine a time where she would 'regain my trust'... it may seem extreme, but you will never 'manage' this woman— you will never 'coax' her to relent and be responsible. Personally I'd opt for a restraining order. That ought to make for an interesting early morning coffee chat with your husband.”
Even those who stopped short of advocating legal measures were quick to endorse a hard line on seeing the new grandchild. As one poster observes:
“I'm sorry it took a pregnancy to find out just how nasty of a person your monster in law is. I suggest you and your hubby move away, and save yourselves and your child from this horrible creature.”
Though many readers felt that the expectant mom should do everything necessary to protect her family from her outrageous mother-in-law, Prudie strongly advised against letting the issue cloud the happiness of her daughter's birth.