Tell Me About It: Their secret spilled by father-in-law

Posted: September 21, 2012

Question: When my husband and I learned I was pregnant, we couldn't wait to tell our parents. We told them together and asked that they not share the news until well after the first trimester. They agreed, but within five minutes of the conversation, my father-in-law had posted the news to Facebook - one action we had specifically asked they not do at all.

A month or so later we lost the pregnancy. I was devastated, but managed ... that is, until a family event when a number of well-meaning relatives wished us congratulations, peppered us with questions, and finally had to hear our sad news. They were visibly upset about it and we left the event because I was too shaken.

I'm trying to give my father-in-law leeway, because I understand he was excited and wanted to share good news. Unfortunately, he has little regard for other people's requests or feelings and this is a glaring example of it. It now makes me extremely worried that he won't adhere to our parenting requests when we finally do have a child.

Answer: First, I'm really sorry - that sounds awful on top of awful.

Second, it sounds as if you're being pretty charitable with your father-in-law, what with all the "he was excited" rationalizing, but it might make more practical sense for you not to be so charitable.

The relevant information about him is that "he has little regard for other people's requests or feelings," and you need to have that firmly in mind whenever you make a decision involving him. Never lose sight of who he is, because he won't keep your news secret and he won't adhere to your parenting requests.

Please talk to your husband about this before you reach another crossroads with your father-in-law, so you and your husband both agree on how to handle him.


E-mail Carolyn at tellme@washpost.com.

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