This is my first post. I need your advice as I am at total loss with what to expect/do. My mother-in-law is dying of bowel cancer & has also suffered a stroke on Jan 1. She needs constant care. There are several people caring for her, but mostly my husband, his sister who lives there, & brother who lives down the road. We live 2 hours away.
I am due to have our 3rd baby in about 8 weeks. My husband stays with his mother 4+ days a week & I have moved back home with the 2 kids (age 2 & 4). While I understand my husband's need to be with his mother at this time, I am having a lot of difficulty accepting that I will largely be on my own leading up to & following the birth of our baby.
The in-laws have many options to seek outside help but have chosen not to do so because they feel that this will upset their dying mother. My husband's sister & brother are neither married or have children, but are both working as my husband is. He's able to work from home & continues to juggle this at his mother's house whilst caring for her.
Can anyone please advise what I should expect, what is reasonable, & how to deal with this situation. I feel that our marriage is over & even if things may change after this all blows over, it will be too late for me to forgive & forget the pain that this is causing me to salvage our marriage.
Thanks to all in advance for your thoughts/advice.
It sounds like you are very upset and having a difficult time at the moment. It must be tough for you to be on your own with two young children, especially since you are pregnant.
It sounds like your husband is having a tough time too. It's very natural for him to want to be with his mother when she is dying. It's obviously a very tough choice for him, given that his wife is pregnant, but this is the last chance he will have to spend time with his mum. He may feel that he wants to care for her himself as a way of thanking and honouring her for all the care she gave him as he was growing up.
It's very common not to want to bring in outside help, even if it is offered. Perhaps he and his siblings could think about contacting Home Hospice (http://www.homehospice.com.au/). It's outside help in a way, but it's not professional nursing or palliative care or anything like that. They would send in a trained mentor to talk to your husband and his brother and sister about how they can best draw on their community networks to help them through this difficult time. They would still be looking after their mother themselves, but talking to the mentor may help.
Have you spoken to your husband about how you feel? When you say that you think your marriage is over, it sounds like you must have been upset for a while, maybe about other things? Do you feel afraid about something going wrong with the birth, or no-one being there to look after your other children while you are in hospital? Perhaps you have some friends that you could call on to help out - I'm sure they would understand, with your husband having to be away.
It's a really difficult situation and I don't really have any advice, except perhaps to say that it might not be the time to make any big decisions. This sounds like it is the biggest challenge that you and your husband have faced so far, and no doubt your husband really needs you now. It is always helpful to have friends and family with you when you are going through really tough times, so call on as many people as you need to and don't forget to look after yourself.
Sending you my best wishes.
Thank you for your reply. With mum getting worse by the day, I am also grieving for her impending loss. We have a great relationship, my MIL & I.
You are right to sense that I have been upset by other things. Mostly, it's from the friction that I have with my husband's siblings who live there. They have been fairly nasty to me in the past, to the point that I have avoided going there for about 8 months last year. My fear is that I know how much my husband wants to move there, even after mum is gone. He worries that his sister will be in the house on her own (even if their brother lives down the road). My SIL has been living with her mother for years (decades). I am afraid that our marriage will not have a chance if we move there.
Anyway, I have done some more research & thought about things in length. You are correct to advise that now is not a good time to make any big decisions. My husband really needs me now more than ever. I still love him as much as I did when we married. In my despair, I felt that the trust that I had lost in him to do what was right for me - by respecting my decision & need to return home without all the anger, threats, intimidation, etc. - had meant that our marriage was over. In the last couple of days, I have found hope that it's possible to learn to trust him again & forgive & forget this first major crisis that we are going through. Simply because I know we both still love each other & our children, & we want to be together.
Grief of this magnitude is something new to me. This is why I came here in hope that this community can open my mind & heart to understand the difficulties that you all endure. I have read some posts & am so humbled, sad but at the same time amazed at all your strength & courage. It makes my crisis seem rather small & self-centred. Please accept my apology if I came across as insensitive.
God bless & thank you for helping me with your thoughts.
Glad to hear from you again. To be honest I had had a look at your message a few times but just did not know how to reply to it. I cannot imagine how difficult it could be to be dealing with such strong feelings from different sides.
Here in the community we are all open to listen and I have myself learnt a lot from other members insights.
We are here to support each other and I hope you continue being part of it and find it helpful both to share your feelings and to talk to others in the community.
Cancer Council NSW would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work.We would also like to pay respect to elders past and present and extend that respect to all other Aboriginal people.