June 3, 2023


Innovation Leader

Internet Backs Wife Whose Mother-in-Law Called Her Fat, Asked for Gifts Back

A woman has shared her difficult situation with her mother-in-law online after she was requested to return her gifted dresses back due to putting on weight after pregnancy.

The dilemma was shared to popular forum Mumsnet, where it garnered responses, taking it to the “trending” page of the site.

According to the daughter-in-law, the dresses were previously owned by her mother-in-law and were given as a traditional gift for her wedding. Now, she’s requested them back, claiming she will never fit in them.

“Mother-in-law commented that as I’m so now (I’m size US 8) I should give her my really nice dresses as I will never fit into them again. She wants to give a few of them to my sister-in-law (sister-in-law is older and has more than enough money to buy herself a few dresses),” wrote the forum user.

“I politely told my mother-in-law that I will lose weight, it’s just I haven’t really tried. Her response was, ‘no you won’t, [your child] is nearly 2 years old now and you’re still fat’,” she added.

The woman added that gifting the dresses was not a gesture done out of kindness to begin with, but instead “as per tradition” and the “done thing.” According to the poster, the mother-in-law also told her she would be visiting the next week, to go through her wardrobe and take “what she fancies.”

For the poster, however, the reaction of her husband was the cherry on top of the frustrations too, claiming that his response was: “Well she’s right and [there’s] no point keeping clothes you can’t wear anymore.”

“My own mom thinks my mother-in-law is right and there’s no point in keeping clothes I will never get into again. The thing is, I haven’t even tried dieting. I’m two dress sizes from what I was before [my child]. I don’t know why they keep making me feel like I can never be what I was,” she added.

Strained relationships between wives and mothers-in-law are nothing new, as shown even by studies. In 2008, psychologist Dr Terri Apter completed her 20-year-long research into family dynamics and found that 60 percent of women said the relationship with their female in-law caused them long-term unhappiness and stress.

Despite 75 percent of couples reporting problems with an in-law, only 15 percent of mother-in-law and son-in-law relationships were described as tense. It’s unsurprising then that so many forum users related to the issue at hand, and sided with the original poster’s viewpoint.

“It never ceases to amaze me what people think they can comment on, how incredibly rude and bad mannered not to mention grabby. Horrible people,” wrote one user. “Think you need to be straight with them and point out how awful they are being and that you won’t tolerate their comments any longer.”

Another added: “I think they are all being horrible to you. They are your clothes and it’s up to you what to do with them. If I were you I would hide the clothes in a suitcase in the loft when no one else was around. If anyone asks where they are, say you donated them to charity. Your husband needs to take a long hard look at himself. You two are a team, he’s meant to support you.”

Some suggested that taking back the dresses could have a deeper meaning, as an attempt to “make a dig” at the daughter-in-law: “If they were gifted to her son’s bride as part of a wedding tradition is this her making a nasty dig towards you not measuring up to her or your [husband’s] standards or expectations as part of a wider campaign of bullying and abuse directed towards you by both of them?” asked one forum user.

“It seems to be about so much more than just dresses and being nasty about some very slight weight gain.”

Despite being a rarity, one user attempted to see it from the mother-in-law’s side, reasoning: “Is [she] from a more ‘straight talking’ culture? I gave all my pre-pregnancy dresses to charity as my body changed shape a lot.”

Woman and mather-in-law
Stock image of a woman and mother-in-law talking.
Getty Images

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