Friday, October 17, 2014


I have been blogging for three years. Over the years there have been a various sundry of topics that I choose not to blog about because they're too personal or just something I don't feel comfortable talking about for the whole world to see. 

One of these topics is my mother-in-law. 
I don't want to be that person. That person that just can't won't get along with her in-laws. 
I can't tell you how much I want a great relationship with my MIL. I want what my Mom had with her parents in-law. She might as well have been their daughter. She loved them, they loved her. They got along like my Mom had been in the family her whole life.

I've written countless posts about things that have disappointed me or frustrated me but I've always decided against publishing these posts. They were usually things that in that moment affected me in a big way, but in the grand scheme of things didn't matter. They were a discrepancy between my expectations of what she should do and what she actually does. Issues that in many ways an uncomfortable conversation would resolve but I usually decide against the conversation because I know, in the long run - it isn't worth it.

You see, I love my mother-in-law because she is my husbands mother and my daughters grandmother. I know she loves me. I know she loves my daughter. She doesn't mean to disappoint me or to frustrate me (or my husband, it's not just me with the issues).
That's just something that comes with the territory because my mother-in-law is bipolar. 

Before meeting John's Mother I had never had extensive contact with someone who struggles with mental illness. I'm still learning about it and learning the differences between what is an issue of her illness and what are difficulties we have in the differences between our personalities. I'm a firm believer that she is an adult and is still responsible for her actions. Her illness is not always an excuse for her actions. 

You ask why I'm writing about this now? I have a daughter and sometimes tough choices have to be made. Recently things have changed and it has become a big part of our lives and some of those tough decisions have been made and we're living with the consequences. 

Just because it was the right choice doesn't mean that it was easy and didn't hurt us. You see, my MIL chose to stop taking her medication. As a result we decided that she cannot see Cora while she is so unhealthy mentally. That medication and being stable is required to be involved in our child's life. This of course meant that we were saying she couldn't attend Cora's First Birthday Party next weekend.

As you can imagine, this didn't go over well and my poor husband is really the one dealing with the consequences. He's the one that had to tell such a hard thing to his Mom. We're both also dealing with the effects of the fact that things escalated and his mother has been admitted to an MHMR. There is a lot of unknown in her life, the life of her husband (who had a stroke years ago and is quite dependent on his now unavailable wife). In the mean time we're trying to pick up the pieces and help but not condone, we know she's sick but she also made the choice to stop taking the meds. Choices have consequences.

I am writing this because I know there are people out there who have to be in similar boats as me. There's no way that I'm the only one in the world that has a MIL with a mental illness. I can't possibly be the only one dealing with the problems associated with this, but I can't find anyone who really truly understands, who can relate. I'm writing this so that if this is you too, you know you're not alone!

I hope to continue occasionally writing about these struggles, I want to be honest and open about reality as the daughter-in-law. I also want to be respectful of my MIL and that's a hard line to walk sometimes. 

If you would, please pray for my family. This is a very trying time and as I said, there is a lot of unknown.
  • Specifically unknown is whether or not she will still have a job when she is released? 
  • Pray for her health and healing.
  • Pray for my husband. He stands by his/our choice on how to handle the situation and our daughters involvement but it's hard.
    He's also stretched very thin between work and deadlines/presentations, a kind of crazy time at home as we're still in between houses (aka camped out at my Dad's house) then dealing with all of this. 
  • Pray for our Marriage, we're not having problems... but it's challenging on a normal, regular basis coping with her illness and how it affects our relationship to her. Add in the camping out between houses, plus a stressful job, plus remodeling issues at the new house etc. As you can imagine things are certainly taking their toll.
  • Pray for me. About a year ago I realized I needed to stop praying that things with her will change and that I need to change. Pray that I have grace, patience and understanding. 

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