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#1 of 24 Old 11-28-2008, 02:46 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My husband's SIL freaked out during Thanksgiving dinner tonight when we told her we're pregnant. She grilled me about "Who's going to take care of the baby while you're in grad school?! Are you ready for this? Have you thought this through?"

Then she got quiet and started mumbling about "How long did it take to get pregnant?" and my hubby said, "We were surprised. We got it on the first try." and she started going on about how she and my BIL didn't use BC for 4 years (before they were married - you should have seen my MIL's face ) and still didn't get pregnant and all of this (previously unknown) stuff about fibroids and "It won't be easy when we decide to have kids. Not like you. You have it easy." I said that everyone has their own struggles and there aren't any guarantees in life and it didn't matter how you got pregnant, we all end up with a baby in the end. The conservation moved to my due date (thanks to her hubby) and then she whispered to her husband (DH's bro) and got up and went to th restroom and cried. I left her alone because I sensed I was the last person she wanted to see.

I got a "Congrats. I'm happy for you." at the end of the night. My BIL was thrilled. He gave me a big hug and said, "I can't wait to meet my niece or nephew! Keep us up to date!"

I'm just so confused. I didn't know anything about her "fertility issues." I suspect she just needs to adjust her expectations and do some research, but she shut me down when I suggested "Taking Charge of your Fetility" saying, "If I can't get pregnant in 4 years without BC, there's nothing I can learn from a book." How did our pregnancy become all about her? I feel really bad that our news hurt her.

Aurora , happy wife to C., mama to 3 : and , lost 12/08 & our 4/24/10
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#2 of 24 Old 11-28-2008, 02:55 AM
 
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Sounds like her issues, not yours. But that is pretty rude!

Happily married to my dh, mama to ds1 (01/2005), ds2 (07/2007)  and dd (07/2009).
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#3 of 24 Old 11-28-2008, 02:56 AM
 
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As someone with fertility issues, I can tell you that it would be awfully hard to take fertility advice from someone who got pregnant on the first try. 4 years is a very long time, with a lot of heartache I'm sure. I wouldn't see her reaction as a negative one. Maybe talk to her and say that you are sorry they have had a rough time trying to conceive. That you didn't know about it, or you would have taken more care in your announcement. Your pregnancy isn't all about her. She should have just excused herself and talked to you later about what was upsetting her.

It's true that everyone has their own struggles. But when you are infertile, it's very hard to say well we all end up with a baby in the end.

Danielle, fabric artist, mama to Eleanor 5/05 and Charlotte James 09-26-09
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#4 of 24 Old 11-28-2008, 03:01 AM
 
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I've been on your SIL's side of things myself and it is hard. So hard.

It's a tough spot, you have every right to be happy and celebrate your pregnancy. Her heart it breaking because she wants what you have and she can't have it.

Congratulations on your pregnancy!
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#5 of 24 Old 11-28-2008, 03:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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As someone with fertility issues, I can tell you that it would be awfully hard to take fertility advice from someone who got pregnant on the first try. 4 years is a very long time, with a lot of heartache I'm sure. I wouldn't see her reaction as a negative one. Maybe talk to her and say that you are sorry they have had a rough time trying to conceive. That you didn't know about it, or you would have taken more care in your announcement. Your pregnancy isn't all about her. She should have just excused herself and talked to you later about what was upsetting her.

It's true that everyone has their own struggles. But when you are infertile, it's very hard to say well we all end up with a baby in the end.
Well, I do feel terrible. Had I known, I would have told hubby to shut his trap about the first try stuff, but just "not using BC" isn't they same as trying to get pregnant. She forgot to take her pill for a few months (don't ask me) and then just threw caution to the wind. She told me (perhaps she lied) that she doesn't want a baby for a few more years. She never used OPK's, or temped, or even observed her cycles. I wasn't trying to be offensive about offering advice. I just said, "This was the resource I used, and I found it helpful. Maybe you'd like it."

Anyway, considering they haven't been "not-not trying" for 6 years (ie she is currently using oral contraceptives), I thought it was out of the blue that she'd take our pregnancy so personally, especially since she's the one that practically throws a party when everyone else gets pregnant.

After working with fertility patients for years, I've seen how devastating this sort of a situation can be. I guess I was more surprised about being grilled and repeatedly questioned about our reasoning for wanting a baby, followed by the bit about fertility. There wasn't even a smile.

Aurora , happy wife to C., mama to 3 : and , lost 12/08 & our 4/24/10
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#6 of 24 Old 11-28-2008, 05:20 AM
 
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Some people just don't like to see other people happy. I'm sorry that she made it about herself. I remember when a friend of mine did something similar. She had 2 children, then her younger sister got pregnant. She was so worried that her sister's kids would get more attention than her own. She was pretty pissed. But she didn't say all of that to her sister. Your SIL should have kept her interrogation to herself.

I didn't realize that they were on BC and not actually TTC. And I know you weren't trying to be insensitive to anyone's feelings. You were excited about your pregnancy! Congratulations!

Danielle, fabric artist, mama to Eleanor 5/05 and Charlotte James 09-26-09
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#7 of 24 Old 11-28-2008, 10:40 AM
 
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I think your sil is self-centered. Try not to let her get to you, chances are that she is like this regarding other aspects too and is probably either jealous or attn seeking. I get the feeling (since this is our 3rd) that we will have a few negative reactions as well. My brother and sil were officially told yesterday and they were like, "congrats," but did not really seem that thrilled. I know my brother would probably like to have a baby soon, but due to some circumstances, that won't be happening for at least another yr or two. My other brother and his wife really want to ttc as well, BUT my brother just passed his bar exam and hasn't gotten a job yet. So, I don't percieve their reaction to be too excited either, b/c it will remind them of their situation. My parents will worry about $. My mil will also probably worry about $. Come to think of it, other than my friends, I don't think any family members will be that excited for us.
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#8 of 24 Old 11-28-2008, 10:51 AM
 
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It became "all about her" as soon as she heard you only tried once. As another person who took a while to get pregnant, I can empathize with your sil (people not even trying to get pregnant where having more success than me with my first child!).

Fertility issues are not something people talk about openly, so how could you know. Don't blame yourself for that. She already felt like a failure and you giving her tips probably just made her feel worse. She is not ready to hear suggestions, she really just needs support. So the tough thing will be balancing what you need while being respectful of her feelings.


Good luck with your baby! Cheers to a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby!
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#9 of 24 Old 11-28-2008, 10:56 AM
 
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Wow! Such awful thing to say "have you thought it through?" Like you would say "Actually no, maybe we should terminate" Arghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

It is sad that she has to deal with infertility, but it does not justify such rude comments and nasty attitude! I have several friends who deal with this and they would NEVER this nasty. I myself have lost several babies (one loss was twins on the second trimester) and I could never bring myself to be so hurtful to another pregnant mommy. Regardless of how much hurt she is going through, I agree that she sounds very self cantered and immature.
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#10 of 24 Old 11-28-2008, 11:18 AM
 
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Experiencing any sort of infertility or loss is something that can't be understood unless you're gone through it. It is at times totally irrational and self-centered. Thanksgiving is already a stressful time for many people and it's likely that just too many nerves were hit for your SIL. To me it doesn't sound like she wanted to be mean. . it was just too much hurt for her to deal with.

Would it have been better had she been able to deal with it better? Of course. But I think it's almost better that she had allowed herself a bit of anger. Wouldn't it have been even more difficult to deal with if she had run from the room in tears?

Be, happy momma to Liberty (12-31-02), Henry (3-17-07) and Prudence (7-02-09)
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#11 of 24 Old 11-28-2008, 12:25 PM
 
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I am sorry, but her comments are simply waaaaaaay off line.
All the OP did was to announce she was pregnant, and then SIL dumped condescending and hurtful remarks on her.

I often see people being excused for their mean and nasty attitudes because of "what they have one through" but there is a limit you know - what about the victims of their tirades? It is not the OP's fault that SIL is going through infertility and the OP should not feel guilty that SIL went running to cry in the bathroom. I think SIL owes her some big apologies. If the OP feels it is her place to do it, then she could go ahead and also say "I am sorry for your pain"

You would not believe the insensitive things I heard from friends who were getting pregnant right after my twins were stillborn. Even even though I was suffering there is no way I could justify being mean back, or to belittle their pregnancy and joy.
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#12 of 24 Old 11-28-2008, 02:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Experiencing any sort of infertility or loss is something that can't be understood unless you're gone through it. It is at times totally irrational and self-centered. Thanksgiving is already a stressful time for many people and it's likely that just too many nerves were hit for your SIL. To me it doesn't sound like she wanted to be mean. . it was just too much hurt for her to deal with.

Would it have been better had she been able to deal with it better? Of course. But I think it's almost better that she had allowed herself a bit of anger. Wouldn't it have been even more difficult to deal with if she had run from the room in tears?
While I can certainly empathize with the huge about an hurt and pain women with fertility challenges face, it would have been different if she was in round 4 of IVF or injectables and still wasn't pregnant. She stopped using OCPs for 4 years and went back on them 6 years ago. Her doctor has removed a fibroid since (likely the cause of her infertility) and they are NOT interested in having a baby right now.

Irrational and self-centered is understandable when you're in the midst of treatment or recently experienced a loss (something I am still at risk for) but this is 6 years ago and has been completely untested since. She didn't chart or temp or use OPKs, she just had sex with her boyfriend without taking OCP's. I think most of us know that for anyone other than a 16 y/o, that isn't a guaranteed way to get pregnant.

In all honesty, I think a huge part of her reaction (in addition to any "fertility issues") is that there is tension between her and our MIL and she probably wanted to give birth to the first grandchild. She thought she could count me out of the baby game because I'm attending grad school and require intensive post-grad training.

Aurora , happy wife to C., mama to 3 : and , lost 12/08 & our 4/24/10
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#13 of 24 Old 11-28-2008, 02:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm going to call her today. Even though I was surprised and disappointed with her response I don't want family issues during this time. What do you ladies think about this?

"Hi _____, It was great seeing you last night. You seemed upset at one point and I wanted to make sure everything is okay and apologize if _____(hubby) or I said anything insensitive. We love you and _____(BIL) and wouldn't want to ever say something hurtful to you."

Aurora , happy wife to C., mama to 3 : and , lost 12/08 & our 4/24/10
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#14 of 24 Old 11-28-2008, 03:01 PM
 
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In all honesty, I think a huge part of her reaction (in addition to any "fertility issues") is that there is tension between her and our MIL and she probably wanted to give birth to the first grandchild. She thought she could count me out of the baby game because I'm attending grad school and require intensive post-grad training.
That would explain it

I have seen in several families that there is a sort of undeclared race to see who will give birth to the first grandchild

Edited to add: About the call, it is up to you to decide. It depends so much on what kind of relationship you have and what kind of person she is. Sometimes, it is better to just let such things be and not touch them anymore, because more damage can e done to bring it all up again, but other times it is the best idea. You are the best judge.
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#15 of 24 Old 11-28-2008, 03:22 PM
 
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I think the call is a nice idea!

Maybe she isn't on contraceptives right now and maybe just said it because she doesn't want anyone's pity?

(((HUGS))) I know that a negative response to a pregnancy announcement is HORRIBLE!!!! This time I choose the cowardice route and sent a poem to everyone to announce my pregnancy with our seventh child. I haven't heard ANYTHING back, yet! :-(
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#16 of 24 Old 11-28-2008, 03:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think the call is a nice idea!

Maybe she isn't on contraceptives right now and maybe just said it because she doesn't want anyone's pity?

(((HUGS))) I know that a negative response to a pregnancy announcement is HORRIBLE!!!! This time I choose the cowardice route and sent a poem to everyone to announce my pregnancy with our seventh child. I haven't heard ANYTHING back, yet! :-(
I'm pretty sure she is on contraceptives. They're planning a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Japan next year and she said she's waiting until after the trip to start trying.

Just gotta work up the nerve to call her, now

Aurora , happy wife to C., mama to 3 : and , lost 12/08 & our 4/24/10
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#17 of 24 Old 11-28-2008, 03:33 PM
 
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Good luck! Please keep us posted on how the call went!
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#18 of 24 Old 11-28-2008, 03:36 PM
 
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This time I choose the cowardice route and sent a poem to everyone to announce my pregnancy with our seventh child. I haven't heard ANYTHING back, yet! :-(
Man... I know what you mean!
I sent a sweet little note on Facebook to my DH's family. N.O.B.O.D.Y said a thing or acknowledged the news And yes, they have been going to FB often. They just don't think there is anything to celebrate apparently, since this is baby 6 and all... MIL said after 5 wa born that I should get "fixed" because "you can barely handle the ones you have"
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#19 of 24 Old 11-28-2008, 03:55 PM
 
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Not in your ddc but...I think calling her might be a good idea.

But I don't think you should apologize, not even conditionally. You said nothing hurtful. You simply announced a pregnancy. What you might tell your sil is that you were rather taken aback at her negative reaction to your happy news. You might also tell her that, now that you realize that she has fertility issues, her response is at least somewhat understandable. That *had you known* of these issues, you might have told her privately first (if that's true). That you wish her the best and that you hope she can be happy for you.

Frankly, from the story you tell, it sounds to me as if her response ("have you thought this through?") has more to do with how she perceives you than with her fertility issues. What she said was uncalled for and rude in any case.
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#20 of 24 Old 11-28-2008, 04:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Not in your ddc but...I think calling her might be a good idea.

But I don't think you should apologize, not even conditionally. You said nothing hurtful. You simply announced a pregnancy. What you might tell your sil is that you were rather taken aback at her negative reaction to your happy news. You might also tell her that, now that you realize that she has fertility issues, her response is at least somewhat understandable. That *had you known* of these issues, you might have told her privately first (if that's true). That you wish her the best and that you hope she can be happy for you.

Frankly, from the story you tell, it sounds to me as if her response ("have you thought this through?") has more to do with how she perceives you than with her fertility issues. What she said was uncalled for and rude in any case.
That's very good advice. I was talking to my husband about it and I think I'm going to send an email, so she can decide how to respond. She tends to respond poorly when confronted with anything (even something nice) and and email lets her decide if and how she wants to respond. Man, I hate that my baby is getting involved in all this existing family drama.

Aurora , happy wife to C., mama to 3 : and , lost 12/08 & our 4/24/10
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#21 of 24 Old 11-29-2008, 02:29 AM
 
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Family drama can be so darn frustrating! I can relate...to both sides of the issue actually. When my dh told his mother that we're expecting # 2, her first response was...Oh, how wonderful. Her second response was...Uh, was this one planned? Um.......knowing me and my anal-retentive list making, book scouring, and perpetual planning nad organizing, how could she think that this would NOT be planned? Oh, I know, because she thinks that the perfect spacing between chilrden is 4 years (her two boys are 4 years apart, after all), and anyone who does differently is odd.

On the other side, after conceiving our ds on the 2nd try, it took us 8 months to get here with #2. I know 8 months isn't that long to people who have been trying for years, but to me it was an eternity. The toughest months for me were #4 and #7. But I was *determined* to keep a positive attitude, and be happy for anyone I knew that got pregnant or had a baby. Since we started trying, I've known 8 people who have had babies, and I know somewho is due every single month from now until my due date (with 3 in February and 2 in may). And I'm a sahm (who works part time tutoring), so it's not like I know THAT many people. At times, it literally felt like everyone I knew was pregnant. Then, in month#7, right after I got AF and new that it didn't happen that month again, my bil calls, and annouces that they're pregnant and due in June. When my dh told me, my initital reaction was to cry. It wasn't that I wasn't happy for them, because I was. I was just sad. And I was bummed for an evening, and thankful that we were told over the phone.

But the next day, I had a talking with my self (I do that sometimes, it's usually just in my head) and told myself that THEIR fertlity has NOTHING to do with mine, and that I had to shake it off and TRULY be happy for them, because babies are great and deserve to be celebrated, even if it wasn't ours. 3 weeks later we were out to visit the in-laws and got to see them too, and I was able to congratulate them and mean it whole-heartedly. AND, a few days later, we found out we were pg too. Life has a funny way of working out sometimes.

Hopefully, your sil will have a talking with herself, and hopefully she'll come to celebrate the little one you're carrying. Hopefully.

Married to my favorite man, homeschoolin' mama to a question-asking bug hunter (6) ; a twirling, shy, silly girl (4); a hurricane of boy energy (2), and expecting #4 in April 2014.
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#22 of 24 Old 11-29-2008, 08:17 AM
 
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In all honesty, I think a huge part of her reaction (in addition to any "fertility issues") is that there is tension between her and our MIL and she probably wanted to give birth to the first grandchild. She thought she could count me out of the baby game because I'm attending grad school and require intensive post-grad training.
That a whole other issue entirely.

I'd say give her a little time and space so she can process everything a bit. She'll likely come around. Or she's just going to have to suck it up and deal.

Be, happy momma to Liberty (12-31-02), Henry (3-17-07) and Prudence (7-02-09)
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#23 of 24 Old 11-29-2008, 02:26 PM
 
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Hi, I'm ddc crashing too.

It took us 13 months, without any treatment to get pregnant. My SIL, due 11 days before me, got pregnant on her very first time trying. And I have to admit, it hurt a bit to find out that it was so easy for them, when it was so much harder for us.

I would think that even if they aren't actively trying now, just knowing she has issues (the fibroids) that could cause problems later would be difficult. And even without timing / charting etc, 4 years is a really long time to not get the timing right at least accidentally!

However, while your sil has every right to feel hurt, jealous etc. (by circumstances, not by you) that doesn't give her the right to lash out and ruin what should have been a joyful time for you. No matter how she was feeling she was totally out of line and you have every right to be annoyed with her. Her comments were hurtful and selfish, and if anyone should be apologizing it is her, not you.

I think the phone call or e-mail is a nice idea, and very gracious of you, but, as the pp said, I don't feel you have anything to apologize for.

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#24 of 24 Old 11-30-2008, 10:52 PM
 
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That's very good advice. I was talking to my husband about it and I think I'm going to send an email, so she can decide how to respond. She tends to respond poorly when confronted with anything (even something nice) and and email lets her decide if and how she wants to respond. Man, I hate that my baby is getting involved in all this existing family drama.
i was going to recommend sending an email instead of calling. it gives her more control over her response, which it seems like she might need.

sorry you're going through this. i bet she wishes she had responded more gracefully, and perhaps she'll warm up as time goes on.

~Serina~
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