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Sister in law ignoring pregnancy and being even more strange than normal!

(155 Posts)
creamcarpet Mon 07-Oct-13 10:37:19

My DP's sister has always been cold and emotionally vacant (not the closest family but generally like each other's company). We have been together many years but I don't feel any connection to SIL despite the time. She makes it very hard to get close to her. We have always made polite small talk, ie, work (hers not mine), a new car, holidays, home improvements etc but nothing more.

I was pregnant last year, to which she said 'that's nice'. I then had a miscarriage and was hospitalised, we didn't hear anything from her. It was another 3 months before she got in touch, still never mentioning me or asking how I was.

I am pregnant again now and when DP told her she again said 'that's nice', DP said it sounded like he'd told her we were getting a cat. I've since seen her for the weekend and she didn't asked how I was, when it's due, said congrats, nothing. She acted increasingly strange over the weekend, ie, sitting out in the garden alone while the rest of us sat indoors and chatted; and picking at food in the restaurant, looking at the ceiling and not saying a single word to any of us.

Since returning from the weekend, she has tried to make contact by emailing pictures of her new car (with no words in the email), which DP ignored for a couple of weeks because he was so fed up with her. Last week he replied by email and sent her a pic of our scan. She hasn't replied. Do you think she's playing a tit for tat game and waiting to reply for a couple of weeks, or does she just have a major behavioural problem? And is this the weirdest SIL you ever heard of?! I've searched previous threads but none of SIL problems seems to be like mine.

PS. She has no kids, no motherly instincts, and married to a man much older than her.

BranchingOut Mon 07-Oct-13 11:30:12

'past the age of childbearing' - do you really think that your pregnancy throws up no emotions for her? Really? hmm

I was pregnant when I was working in an environment where there were a number of single women without children, ranging in age from late twenties to 50+. It did make it difficult at times and, while people were polite, I received almost none of the excitement/cooing/attention that you might expect for someone expecting their first baby. It cheesed me off, but I had to recognise this and apply some basic human empathy to understand why that might be the case.

JustBecauseICan Mon 07-Oct-13 11:31:19

I am rarely thrilled with other people's pregnancies.

And I wouldn't have dreamed of imposing my scan pictures on anyone, not even my mother. I wasn't even that bothered about them myself tbh, a blob of what looks like mashed potato in a black bag. Gee whizz, stop the world, someone got pregnant.

As others have said, even if your pregnancies aren't upsetting for your SIL, it does rather sound as if you and your dh are baby bores.

JustBecauseICan Mon 07-Oct-13 11:32:08

PS It's not her with the behavioural problem btw.

Mollydoggerson Mon 07-Oct-13 11:33:04

I overhead some childless friends having a laugh about another friend who was either a parent/expecting. At any rate this other friend must have expected some sort of special treatment because of her position as a mother. The childless friends were joking that what did people expect, there words were something along the lines of 'yippee I've got a uterus, look at me'.

Just gravitate towards the people that are excited by the same things as you and be polite to everyone else.

DesperatelySeekingSedatives Mon 07-Oct-13 11:34:23

I don't understand how you can be so sure your SIL isn't feeling a certain way and is just "being weird" when she doesn't communicate with you much, especially recently hmm

At best she simply doesn't care about your pregnancy (other peoples' kids are really not that interesting, and I say that as a mother myself). At worst she's hurting because she for whatever reason, hasn't/wont have children of her own.

Best to just leave her be and not send her any more pics of your scans. My mum, sister and some of my friends loved seeing mine. Other friends and my MIL didn't give a shit about the scan pics (meh) and my SIL looked pained when I showed her (I didn't know at the time she'd just got told she had virtually zero chance of getting pregnant naturally).

Inthesunnygarden Mon 07-Oct-13 11:34:26

I wanted to add, don't worry about her and what she thinks. Just enjoy your pregnancy. Don't be put of talking about your pregnancy when you are with family. Its a lovely time, make the most of it.

creamcarpet Mon 07-Oct-13 11:34:49

As I said, there was zero mention of the subject the whole weekend. The only mention at all of pregnancy to her was an initial phone call (then scan pic a week back).

I personally think the jealousy is the last emotion she feels and I certainly do not want her to feel that. I think it's more about an inability to express emotion.

I find it sad for dp that he is having a baby (her niece/nephew) and she isn't happy for him/us. His is pretty hurt by it.

MadBusLady Mon 07-Oct-13 11:36:33

What this thread interestingly shows is that childfree women come under a hell of a lot of scrutiny in these situations; their responses or lack thereof always have to mean something, in a way that childfree men's responses never would.

That's probably enough by itself to make anyone rude and prickly, whether or not they're also concealing traumatic sorrow.

BurberryQ Mon 07-Oct-13 11:42:18

agree with justbecauseican - what makes you think your scan pictures are interesting for everyone, apart from you and your husband of course, but emailing them to everyone is a bit hmm tbh, as is expecting everyone to respond in the way that you think they should.
Possibly that is why she sent you a pic of her car.
It sounds as though you have never liked her and are using this to demonstrate to the rest of the family how 'nasty' she is.
Maybe you are nasty.

Orchidlady Mon 07-Oct-13 11:42:48

Really you sent a scan pic to someone who clearly has no interest in your pregnancy, for what ever reason. Its sounds like you are rubbing her nose in it. I am mother but I also find baby talk extremely dull. Sorry I think you sound very inconsiderate OP

creamcarpet Mon 07-Oct-13 11:43:27

But it's not just any old person having a child, this is her brother.

I am late to having children. Have never been bothered about it myself until now. I find other people's kids messy and boring. Am anything but a baby bore!

So I guess the conclusion is because my family is excited I expect his to be (or at least say congrats to your own brother).

BurberryQ Mon 07-Oct-13 11:45:22

so what if it is her brother - for all you know he treated her like crap while they were growing up?
my brother has three children i believe and i have no interest in any of them.

TheFabulousIdiot Mon 07-Oct-13 11:46:42

" I find other people's kids messy and boring"

maybe, so does she.

Mollydoggerson Mon 07-Oct-13 11:46:55

MadBusLady I totally agree,

Creamcarpet, your dh will just have to accept that is the way SIL is. Just accept her for who she is, don't pine for someone you want her to be. He is a pretty lucky guy to have you and a little baby on the way. Very few people get absolutely everything the way they want it to be.

My in-laws have 0 interest in babies. There are not that interested in our children (the only grandchildren) at all. MIL and SIL are pretty wrapped up in their own lives (selfish arseholes!). In some ways it is an ease as I can live my life without really thinking about them at all, I don't have to be invested in them, as they are clearly not invested in us.

MooncupGoddess Mon 07-Oct-13 11:48:06

She sounds socially quite odd anyway, so I'm not sure why you expected her to change just because you're pregnant...?

VenusDeWillendorf Mon 07-Oct-13 11:58:35

Easy Burberry, that's a bit out of order.....

Maybe SIL isn't a very empathising person - is she very high functioning? Maybe she's got Aspergers, and finds it difficult to show emotion, and just sticks to facts.
Sending you a pic of her car would make me think this too.

Sounds like she's made her choices in life, whether forced on her by circs and age etc, or that she's just concentrated on her work and relationship.

Whichever it is, you're pregnant and pleased with that, and she's pleased with her life.

Some people are emotionally involved with others, some are not. Your DC may be more like her than her brother, in which case you'll need to get some strategies together, but if not, you'll not have to do much with someone like her. Relax!

Focus on those who make you happy, and don't try and teach the pig to sing, it wastes your time, and annoys the pig, as they say in Zen Buddhism.

SaskiaRembrandtVampireHunter Mon 07-Oct-13 12:00:48

"I find other people's kids messy and boring"

So do most people, even those with children. And to be fair, even people who are baby orientated will find the pregnancy far less interesting than the parents-to-be.

I know you are excited and want other people to share in that, but your SIL isn't interested. It's disappointing but that's how she is.

Mollydoggerson Mon 07-Oct-13 12:01:50

Venus, you are accusing Burberry of being out of order, but then you compare SIL to a pig and the OP to some Zen Budhist! Hardly fair! lol.

creamcarpet Mon 07-Oct-13 12:04:52

I might be accused of drip feeding now, sorry. But dp and sil's younger half-brother has ADHD and Aspergers.

But I'm not nasty, I'm not a baby bore, and I'm not deliberately rubbing her nose in anything. I, or no-one else, has said a word to her about the whole thing. Previously I've only ever had a pleasant, polite relationship with her, albeit distant, and no-one treated anyone like crap while growing up.

Suppose I feel a bit sad for dp and worry about where this is going/if they'll become even more distant/if it's going to be even more strained when baby comes along.

BurberryQ Mon 07-Oct-13 12:06:00

god that line about Zen and the pig is pure nasty.
I have zero interest in my brother's children because he spent our childhoods physically and emotionally abusing me - maybe the SIL here is the same?
Needless to say he has denied all that since.....the social climbing twunt.

JustBecauseICan Mon 07-Oct-13 12:08:25

What's that got to do with it OP?

Ragwort Mon 07-Oct-13 12:09:08

But if she has always been cool and distant towards you, why on earth would you expect her to change?

I think it is massively intrusive to send a scan picture to anyone, who is really interested in a scan photo? I wasn't even interested in my own. grin.

Personally I think there is nothing worse than gushing and cooing all over a pregnant woman, I hated people referring to my pregnancy.

Yes, out of politieness it would be the social norm to say 'congratulations' but it doesn't sounds as though your SIL in bothered about social niceties.

Enjoy your pregnancy with your DH, don't let SIL worry you. smile.

JustBecauseICan Mon 07-Oct-13 12:09:29

I missed the bit about her sending you a pic of the car in response to your scan pic.

I like the cut of her jib. Is she a MNer? She sounds fab.

Lostinspace1 Mon 07-Oct-13 12:10:49

Oh jeeze....even my mother didn't respond to my scan photo when I emailed it to her. Initially I was a bit peeved, but then I got over it as she's made other positive comments and thats what I've focused on rather than getting annoyed. Your SIL has done the same in her own way by saying 'thats nice' which might be a big step for her, you never know. Give her a break and move on.

BurberryQ Mon 07-Oct-13 12:11:05

also your thread title makes it clear that you have never liked her, yet you expect her to be all excited and so on?

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