Some advice, please(8 Posts)
I hope this doesn't offend and I wonder if any of you ladies might be able to provide me with a little bit of advice regarding the best way forward in the situation described. If I'm deliberately vague about certain things its because I'm hoping not to 'out' myself. I'm sorry it's LONG.
Basically my poor brother and sister in law have experienced 5 miscarriages over the past two years. My sister in law is, understandably, struggling to cope. Extremely unfortunately my DC1 was born around the time of the first of these and my DC2 was conceived at the same time as the pregnancy the she lost in her third miscarriage.
She is very very angry with me; in particularly she feels aggrieved that we didn't talk to her before trying for DC2. The rights and wrongs of this are not really worth getting into, but we're very sad that she feels this way. She refused to see me during the pregnancy and has been unable to hold / even look at our DC2. We are all hoping that she has her longed for child soon and we can all start to repair our relationship.
I'm trying to be as neutral as possible here, but various interventions on her part basically made me a blubbering wreck during my pregnancy with DC2. We've never 'tackled' these as we feel the only way to do so would be to explain that she would understand our behaviour better when she had her own child, which clearly comes across as unnecessarily cruel given the circumstances.
The situation currently is that she has just had the last of this series of miscarriages. She has now told me that she can't see my DC2 or me at social events but that my DC1 and husband are welcome to come along. I would understand this if it was entirely down to her feelings about my son being the same age as her baby would, but she is instead making very hurtful comments. My son has been quite poorly since birth. One piece of advice we were once given was to maybe switch him to a special formula (I breastfeed exclusively, he's 5mo). Our consultant disagreed with this and told me to keep feeding him if I can. My SIL has got it into her head that I was told to give up bfeeding and am ignoring advice. She has said she can't see me because she longs for a child and I'm deliberately harming mine with my obstinancy, so don't deserve him.
We have repeatedly explained to her husband (who has been passing this on) that she has not been at the 20 or so consultants appointments and misunderstands the facts provided, but she continues on this pathway. I am feeling very hurt, but am trying not to make this all about me.
I was thinking of trying to do something like handmake some chocolates and deliver them (she's on sick leave) just to get across that the door is still open. I'm finding it so hard to know what to do, and not to react to her comments.
Any helpful advice on how to move forward would be appreciated.
Oh lovely, thats such a difficult situation.
In all honesty, i really don't think anything you do will ever be enough for her. She's hurting so much and sounds like she's in a bad place, which is understandable.
BUT - just because she is hurting it doesn't mean she has the right to be deliberately nasty and hurtful towards you. She shouldn't begrudge you and your children.
I don't think at the moment i'd try to mend bridges - you'll only end up even more hurt than you are now. I think i'd ignore and just get on being your own family.
My sil was very much the same as this when i was pregnant and had dc4. Unfortunetly there isn't a lot you can do, as it is a baby she needs to heal her pain.
My advice would be, to be as civil as possible and be there for her when she comes to you iyswim.
In time, hopefully she will go on to have a full term pregnancy & a dc of her own. Once that happens i'm sure things will change between you as she'll have her dreams fulfilled.
My dc4 was born in the same month my sils baby would have been born. She was 12w when she mc, and i had the upmost sympathy for her & realised what hell she must have went through, the constant reminder her pregnancy failed, mine did not. Our due-dates were within days of eachother, and she couldn't face seeing me the entire time i was pregnant up until my dc4 turned one.
She had a baby a year after that & although it didn't heal the pain, her dream has been fulfilled and we got on ok after that, athough in all honest we don't see eachother anymore do to a family fued fuelled my my toxix pil.
I never quite understood her behaviour until i experienced a mc this year for the 1st time myself, now i completely see why at the time she behaved the way she did. It must have been completely heartbreaking having constant reminders of the stages of pregnancy stages & due date right in front of you
It's awful having a mc, all your hopes & dreams for your baby gone in a heartbeat & everywhere you look there are people pregnant, scan pics all over fb, pregnancy test advertisments, it doesn't take much to set you off
Just be there when she comes to you
I feel desperately sorry for her, and can identify with finding other people's babies, particularly those the same age as the babies I lost, difficult, but I think she is far beyond what is reasonable in terms of her expectations of your behaviour. I don't think suffering loss gives you carte blanche to hurt other people.
What does your brother say about it all? It sounds like you are bending over backwards to try to be sensitive to her feelings.
I think you sound lovely to be trying to see this from her point of view and keep channels open. Hopefully she'll get to a better place and you can repair the relationship, but I don't think the onus is all on you.
Sounds like you have plenty on your plate with DS2 anyway. My DS2 was milk and soya intolerant and I came under a lot of pressure to put him on hypoallergenic formula when he was failure to thrive at 5m old. Same thing, consultant supported me BF, went dairy and soya free and changed his meds and he turned a corner. It does make you feel got at when you have researched every angle and get a lot of unsolicited advice. I'm sure you are doing a fab job.
Your SIL can't help how she feels, I've had some pretty socially unacceptable feelings thrown up as a result of MCs, but she has a choice on how far she lets her feelings inform her actions. She is BU.
Agree with bakingtins. Your SIL's behaviour is unacceptable.
You need the support of your family and you and DH should present a united front. This could go on for ever with you and your ds2 excluded from the family, because sadly your SIL might not be able to have children of her own.
Although i do agree on the fact that her behaviour has gone beyond the realms in which it should as others have said.
do keep trying to maintain contact as best as you can though; it must've take a lot of courage to be able to attempt to comunicate her feelings to you as she did - even if she did make a bit of a mess of it and cause anguish.
fwiw I was treated like a total pariah by the pregnant/recently delivered after my late miscarriage in the summer and some relationships have been irrevocably damaged - my sister still hasn't mentioned my loss or phoned/been to see me and she and my best friend still have no idea that we have concieved again and due to deliver next month. The reason others gave was that they would've either felt guilty for having surviving babies or (worse imho) not want to be reminded that babies are lost and pos preg test does not necessarily equal live healthy baby.
I have had one mc and can totally identify with the way your SIL is reacting. I find being near/around babies or pregnant woman incredibly difficult and controlling my emotions is even more of a challenge. Logically in my mind I know something is not the best way to react to react to a situation but I have absolutely no control over it. It's almost like a defence mechanism that is self consciously engaged when I know a situation is going to be painful.
If your SIL is anything like me, she is trying to protect herself. Please don't be too hard on her. I realise that some of the things she has done or said are hurtful but it's probably the only way that she can cope with what she is experiencing. Sadly I think you will drift apart as she ttc - everytime she sees or speaks to you (or any of her pregnant friends/friends with babies already) it will be a reminder of everything she has lost.
I don't really know what my advice is, but I thought it might be useful to hear from someone who is experiencing what your SIL is going through. You sound like a lovely person and this must be really difficult for you. If you can find it in yourself to forgive her behaviour and be there for her when she hopefully does have a child of her own, then I think the relationship can be repaired in the future. Feeling so distraught like this can be a very lonely place. It must be very difficult for your brother too as he will be experiencing his own pain, as well as trying to support his DW and keep his relationship with you as his sister.
P.S. I hope your little boy is better soon.