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to think my family are insensitive

(44 Posts)
labtest Tue 09-Nov-10 07:58:42

I have an almost 4 year old daughter and in July 2005 lost my first daughter, Laura, at almost 42 weeks pregnant. I also suffered a missed miscarriage, picked up at 10 weeks, the month prior to conceiving my living child. Now my sister in law is 9 weeks pregnant and convinced she is carrying a girl. I do find it hard to be around pregnant women even now but hide it well and always take an interest, though it's painful for me. However, my sil keeps commenting about how disappointed she is that she is having a girl cos she really wants a boy (this is her first child). She said it again the other day in front of my parents and brother who I thought may have gently reminded her that maybe it was not a very sensitive thing to say in front of me, but no, they smiled indulgently. I am livid. I wanted to say something but it would have been said in anger and then, knowing my family, they would have accused me of trying to spoil her pregnancy with my negativity (or similar bollocks). I am angery on two levels, a: that my daughters are being disrespected, and b: that she has the temerity to complain about not getting the gender she wants to me who has lost 2 babies. Oh and I may as well add c: no fucker in my family stuck up for me of my kids.

labtest Tue 09-Nov-10 08:01:02

I am angry not angery (sorry don't know if it's possible to edit)

kreecherlivesupstairs Tue 09-Nov-10 08:03:27

I don't think this section is a wise place for this question TBH.
I don't understand how your DD's are being disprespected. I do understand how hurtful this must all be for you.
I do also think that you should consider getting some counselling for your grief.
I do think your SIL should be able to voice a preference of gender. I really didn't want a boy and luckily got a girl. OTOH, I am sure I would have loved a boy equally.

gorionine Tue 09-Nov-10 08:03:30

level a : YANBU
Level b : YANBU
Level c : YANBU

I think you might be right though that they will think you are being Negative" if you voice anything.sad

I am very sorry for your losses.

LoveBeingAMummy Tue 09-Nov-10 08:04:30

Personally I don't know how you held it in but well done for remaining cool. Maybe your family didn't want to say anything for the same reason you didn't. Could you have a word with her dh and ask that he gently reminder her how lucky she is to have any child, how things can go wrong and she would feel terrible to have made such comments if the worst were to happen?

CwtchyBlueMama Tue 09-Nov-10 08:04:52

Sorry for your losses,that must be very hard.

Well as your sil is only 9 wks she doesnt know for sure what sex the baby is yet & she may well have a little girl.

Could you have a quiet word with your Mum & just say how hurtful you found it when your sil was talking all that bollocks about not wanting a girl.

My heart goes out to you op.

DuelingFanjo Tue 09-Nov-10 08:06:53

YANBU to feel hurt and grief stricken about your situation and the insensitivity of others. I really feel for you. Perhaps your SIL really hasn't thought about the impact of what she may see as flippant statements.

Do you have a husband or partner you can talk to about this? What do they feel about it?

Can you talk to your mum/brother privately about how it is making you feel, without getting SIL involved?

DegreesCelcius Tue 09-Nov-10 08:08:11

I really feel for you. This must be heartbreaking.
To be convinced she is having a girl as we all know is a lottery.
We all have a 50:50 chance in what we get and she could be lucky/unlucky if she has a girl.
Could you have a word with your brother and explain your feelings?

queenofthecapitalwasteland Tue 09-Nov-10 08:11:26

Do your family know how much pregnant women still bother you? It may be that they think now you have a DD, you've 'got over it', they may just not be aware of how much you are still hurting.
I agree with kreecher that you may need some councilling for your grief. You should probably have a gentle chat with your sister and remind her how lucky she is, girl or boy, children are a gift.
I think it sounds more like a simple case of your family not realising that you're still hurting more than not stinking up for you or your DDs.

RealityBomb Tue 09-Nov-10 08:15:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

labtest Tue 09-Nov-10 08:19:25

Kreecher- I don't care that she has a preference. I care that she is voicing disappointment in front of me. If she wants to talk about it with her friends fine, but surely knowing what can happen in pregnancy should have some effect on her priorities.

Jadey1 Tue 09-Nov-10 08:25:11

First I'm so sorry for your losses. I lost my 1DS at 22 weeks and it such a difficult thing to go thorough.

It is a life changing experience and think it puts things in to perspective. I too find it hard when people voice which gender they want their child to be. After losing a child you just feel people should apperciate whatever they are lucky enough to have.

I think you should have a quiet word with your mum as CwtchyBlueMama said to do.

BootyMum Tue 09-Nov-10 08:25:33

Agree with Kreecher... I think you are still grieving for your lost babies, very understandably. Counselling might be very helpful in dealing with the rage and other inevitable difficult feelings this brings up.
I wonder if it feels as if you should have gotten over the loss of your babies by now - hence your concern that your family will accuse you of negative thinking? However grieving does take time [sometimes a number of years] and is different for everyone. Counselling will help you to address this and will offer support whilst you are going through it. I know this from personal experience of counselling and it did really help me.

I think your SIL was perhaps a little thoughtless in her comments but probably did not realise how strongly they would affect you. Ditto for your parents and brother [although they may have said something to her later outside of your hearing?] SIL is probably just absorbed in her own experience of being pregnant [especially as is her first] and is voicing a preference for a boy, not unusual for women to say things like this ime... But in the context of your experience I appreciate that it felt very hurtful and perhaps attacking.

It might be worth having a word with your parents and brother in your own time when you feel calmer? Perhaps they need to know how difficult this is for you and then they might be able to have a word with SIL on your behalf? Or have you a good enough relationship with SIL where you could say something to her directly?

emptyshell Tue 09-Nov-10 08:28:59

They're being more than a touch insensitive - sadly, unless you're prepared to face any potential shitstorm (add hormones into the equation so it'll probably be a mega-shitstorm) - you're limited as to what you can do.

I feel for you - I'm currently avoiding contact with my SIL who's pregnant with a child due about 2-3 weeks before the due date for the last one I lost. I can't stand being in a room with a pregnant woman, I spend a lot of time intently examining the floor and then getting out of the situation and going to the loos to have a quick cry... it's utterly utterly normal so don't let people make you feel bad for feeling that way.

You're probably the one who knows your family and knows how they'll react best to be honest - I know there are some arguments and cans of worms it's best left untouched with my mother because it always snowballs into a hideously messy confrontation - you're the one best placed to know if this is one that's likely to have a similar effect on your family.

I guess I'm lucky in a way, when I initially got pregnant this time after previous MCs, I actually said to my MIL, "If this goes wrong like before - you do realize we're both going to find it very difficult to be around SIL"... thankfully they've accepted that (although I suspect it's going to be harder when miss perfect produces miss perfect grandchild).

I'm an arsey bugger though - I'm the sort who'd speak up, say something like "It's really upsetting me you talking like that when I've lost a little girl and would just be grateful for any baby - can we change the subject a little bit please?" But that's partly how I handle things - I won't hide away in shame from losses, other people deal with things differently.

The miscarriage forum (link down the bottom) isn't the most busy in here, but they're probably those who can understand how you're feeling - I'm just remembering one girl who posted in here and got flame roasted as being a selfish cow... some of the feelings that get thrown up when you lose babies can seem quite selfish and unpalatable to those who've never been unlucky enough to have to go down that road and they really just don't understand.

working9while5 Tue 09-Nov-10 08:42:47

To be honest, I don't believe you need counselling.

Counselling is a wonderful, wondrous thing but when it comes to grief, while it can help to talk, talking just doesn't eradicate the pain of loss, even years later. I feel this is probably even more true when the loss is one of a child.

I have a bit of a bugbear with it in some ways as it's so easy in our society now to say "oh, you need counselling" as though the very existence of professional caring negates the need for common decency and sensitivity.

It is screamingly selfish of someone to casually talk about "disappointment" about the gender of their unborn child with you when you have suffered such tremendous losses. She needs to be told this if it comes up again - with as much restraint and dignity as you can manage, but if you can't manage it, I would make no apologies.

I don't believe for one second that even if you had oodles and oodles of counselling that this wouldn't hurt. It is disrespectful in the extreme. YANBU.

emptyshell Tue 09-Nov-10 08:47:51

Yeah working9while5... it really really annoyed me when people said I needed counselling. I need some stuff (anti-depressants would probably help but my GP's a muppet), but I didn't need counselling, my feelings weren't "wrong" or "inappropriate" like I felt the counselling comments implied - they were normal and natural and part of grieving, which doesn't have a set timescale. If, ten years down the line, it sneaks up on you again and you suddenly get a "today, it really hurts" day - that's normal too.

I don't think you need counselling - I think you need time (a sensitive family would help as well but time's easier to get).

StewieGriffinsMom Tue 09-Nov-10 08:51:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

fluffles Tue 09-Nov-10 08:55:55

i honestly don't think she was disrespecting your daughters at all. her preference for a boy has nothing at all to do with your daughters or anybody elses.

but i DO think she has no idea how lucky she will be if everything goes well for her and she has a healthy girl baby at the end of this pregnancy.

i think that somebody (maybe not you if you're still very angry) needs to tell her to start being a bit more grateful for the pregnancy she does have.

Chil1234 Tue 09-Nov-10 08:56:08

@labtest. It's not unreasonable to feel the way you do and your SIL sounds like a very silly woman. But I think you can & should say something. Keeping quiet is making you angry and upset and therefore that's not a good strategy. Even if nothing whatsoever bad had happened to you you could legitimately say.... 'Count your blessings & think yourself lucky if you get a healthy baby, regardless of whether it's a boy or a girl'. People say it all the time.

HarlotOTara Tue 09-Nov-10 09:05:25

Labtest I think you are very entitled to be treated with care and sensitivity and I am very sorry for the loss of Laura and your miscarriage. The self-absorbtion of others is breathtaking sometimes.

working9while5 and emptyshell - I agree with you and I work as a counsellor. Life is sometimes agonisingly painful. I think the suggestion of counselling is sometimes a way of passing the buck and not acknowledging the pain and devastation of something like the loss of a child.

labtest Tue 09-Nov-10 09:07:33

Working I totally agree with you. I do not think counselling will change how I feel one iota. If I had been a fly on the wall observing the scene that played out at my parents house I would have felt it was disgraceful, regardless of whether I had lost or not. When I was pregnant with Laura I was very very careful around my friend who suffered multiple miscarriages, only mentioning the pregnancy if she specifically asked because I was aware it may be painful for her. I don't think it's too much to ask.

BootyMum Tue 09-Nov-10 09:10:40

Emptyshell - I suggested counselling precisely as I don't feel that labtests feelings are wrong or inappropriate in any way. In my experience I had difficulty seeing this and shut down emotionally as felt I would be criticised for being negative [as was experience in my family]. However I needed the safe space to grieve in my own way and that included sometimes needing to be really really angry and to feel that that was okay.
But I appreciate that counselling is perhaps not for everyone.

working9while5 Tue 09-Nov-10 09:15:43

I understand what you're saying here BootyMum, but I do feel there is too much onus on those who are suffering to "manage" their feelings and not enough on those who are insensitive and crass to practice basic social skills.

I know, in the end, you need to protect yourself and it's difficult to change the behaviour of others. However, when it comes to pregnancy/baby loss, I think there are a great many people in society who get away with being thoughtless about it because they are not pulled up on it.

It's not really labtest's job to do this either, btw. I am cross that no one in her family took the opportunity to change the subject or mention that this wasn't an appropriate topic of conversation.

I just wonder, sometimes, why more people don't have a tad more common decency.

emptyshell Tue 09-Nov-10 09:19:35

Pregnancy loss is really hard for people to deal with, because it's not tangible for them in many cases - they've not held your lost baby, to them, it probably doesn't seem real... it's hard because for early losses there's no grave to visit and similar, and lots of the hospital forms are pretty horrid when you think about what you're having to sign (I remember quite a detatched part of me thinking "how horrid it is to ask anyone to have to consent to this" when signing the form to cremate remains of my last miscarriage).

Then you add in the fact that it makes it painful to watch others experience what is a massively joyful occasion, and not even a quick occasion, but one that you're going to have to watch for 9 months - and it can make you seem (and feel) quite angry and bitter on the outside looking in... and sometimes people will even TELL you you're not being a nice person because you're finding it hard to cope with, that you're putting a dampner on the expectant mum's feelings, or spoiling her pregnancy - without understanding that there's part of you sat there inside sobbing and screaming "It should be me damn you - it should be me!"

And it clouds any subsequent pregnancy. If I get pregnant again, a large part of me is likely to be thinking "oh shitty fuck, how long will this one stay there" and months of pant paranoia.

It's a really hard thing for people to understand and it's a really hard loss for people to deal with. If it was a straightforward bereavement (sorry to use that phrase but I hope people get what I mean) then I think people would understand, and be sensitive much much more easily.

And yes, I do quite often want to shout and scream and yell in rage at women complaining at the idea of getting a specific gender baby - totally normal, and the cat's sick of hearing me venting about it when I get home and unglue the fixed smile from my face.

Life is desperately unfair at times - seems like some people get the equivalent of a winning lottery ticket time and time again, while others get a steaming dog turd.

happygilmore Tue 09-Nov-10 09:27:21

YANBU at all. People can be so bloody selfish and insensitive. Is your SIL normally like this?

I too think you should say something if it happens again.

Sorry for your losses.

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