Couple can't end talk about starting a family

DEAR ANNIE:My husband, "Scott," and I have been married for three years, and our families keep asking when we're going to have children. It's all they talk about.

I just became a licensed physician's assistant, and Scott was accepted into an Ivy League doctoral program. No congratulations or kudos for either of us. Scott's friends held a small celebratory barbeque, and we invited his sisters and parents. All they did was talk about how we'll never have time for kids with such busy careers. At my sister's bridal shower, my aunt asked whether Scott and I were having fertility problems. I pointed out that I'm only 28, and she laughed and said, "Better hurry up!"

Scott and I have a lot of student debt. We spent a lot of time apart during our studies and are now finally able to make time for each other and start putting away for the future. I mentioned to my parents that we were going on a cruise this summer, and my mother got all excited, assuming we were planning to get pregnant. I was dumbfounded and didn't respond. She later told her friends that we were "trying," and several of them contacted me with congratulations.

I do not understand this fascination with my sex life. It's embarrassing and annoying. We have a big family reunion coming up for Scott's grandmother's 80th birthday, and his sisters have told me that if they don't see a bump, they'll lock us in the closet and not let us out until I'm pregnant. I no longer want to attend, and Scott feels trapped. I'm at the end of my politeness rope. What should I do? -- Leave Us Alone

DEAR LEAVE:You have to be more assertive and less nice to these amazingly rude, intrusive people. Tell them, "We're sorry if you are disappointed, but the topic of pregnancy is not under discussion. Scott and I will decide when to start a family. If you persist in bringing up the subject, we will be forced to leave." Then ignore all angry comments in response and leave if you need to. Every time.


DEAR ANNIE:My sister recently died, and her son and daughter both spoke at the funeral service. Her son said lovely things, but my niece was quite negative, making mean and nasty remarks about her mother in front of family and friends. This was upsetting and hurtful to me.

Is this appropriate? Do children take this opportunity to dump on their parents for things in the past? Because of this, I have decided not to have a memorial service. I've told my husband to have me cremated and my ashes dispersed at a beach where we played as children -- no family or friends. No parent is perfect, but my children were cared for properly, and we helped them even when they were grown. I don't think they would do this terrible thing, but I'm -- Not Taking Any Chances

DEAR NOT: It is cruel to trash a parent at a funeral service, when the deceased cannot defend herself. It also makes the guests terribly uncomfortable. Your niece obviously harbors a great deal of anger and pain. We hope she will see a therapist and work through this in a more productive manner.

DEAR ANNIE:I had a similar experience to "Want Duct Tape," whose father-in-law hummed during their drives. I drove my late mother-in-law to her doctor appointments, weekly Bingo games and the beautician. She read every single sign we passed -- street signs, gas station signs, grocery store weekly specials, whatever.

No one could have a conversation. She didn't want to talk to us, but she made sure we couldn't talk, either. I finally figured out that it was a passive-aggressive power play. We had to listen to her. The solution? Earplugs. -- Been There and Bought the T-Shirt

What To Read Next
Get Local