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Advice re: pregnancy and family issues

(12 Posts)
KM99 Fri 28-Mar-14 14:35:25

Hi,
This is my first ever post to Mumsnet and I'd really appreciate some impartial advice.

After two miscarriages int the past year (both natural, around 5 weeks) I'm now currently 31 weeks pregnant and so far all seems to be healthy. This will be our first child so it's all a very new experience.

However we have a problem in the family as my sister in law (on husband's side) hasn't and can't (for reasons I explained below) acknowledge our pregnancy. Over the past two years she has had many miscarriages and is currently in very early pregnancy after undergoing egg donation treatment.

When we announced we were pregnant she instantly removed us a friends from Facebook and my husband's brother told us couldn't face seeing the baby related updates or spending time with us, which I can totally understand. We aren't particularly close but since them we've had minimal contact - exchanged the odd text about general things - christmas, birthday etc.

When the last miscarriage happened just before Christmas we emailed her to send our love and thoughts. She did reply to say how very broken she felt so we left the door open saying we were always there if they needed us. My husband's brother has sent us the odd email or text since then to see how things are but again we haven't see him either. I don't pretend to understand how they feel but I also know our journey hasn't been smooth either.

My MIL struggles a lot with this and doesn't talk to them at all about the pregnancy. She hides away all the knitting and stuff when they come around etc. I know she feels stuck between a rock and a hard place even though we've told her we totally understand she has to be sensitive to the situation.

So here is what I'm struggling with. All of what's happened makes sense to the rational side of my brain. I can't imagine her pain after such a rough journey and we're so hopeful that this egg donation works out for them. However the emotional, mother to be side of me feels some resentment and frustration that this pregnancy has become the "dirty little secret" on my husband's side of the family. I'd like to think if the situation were reversed I'd manage to summon up at least one "hope all is ok" email to my family. But then I feel bad for thinking this as I'm not in her shoes at all. I also start to feel some resentment that if they have a successful pregnancy (which I really hope they do) that this will be something everyone is allowed to shout about and celebrate, unlike ours. Again, I'm not proud of feeling like this.

My MIL feels all will be ok when our baby arrives in May as who could resent or feel jealous of an actual baby? I'm not so sure it's going to be that smooth. Unless their pregnancy from egg donation works out I can't see how this won't be a difficult situation for some time.

Anyway, I do feel selfish for feeling like this at times, but also know I've got hormones raging through me too. I guess I'm trying to find a way to fix something that isn't in my power to fix.

Any thoughts or advice would be much appreciated. I suspect I need to suck it up on my end and be a grown up at the end of day. In the grand scheme of things my feelings on this aren't really that important or constructive.

MyNameIsKenAdams Fri 28-Mar-14 14:41:25

Honestly? You can't fix this. Hopefully, one day, they will have the baby they so clearly yearn for, however that dream will be happening to you, very soon. And for them? Well, they are currently in the very scary early few weeks of yet another pregnancy, and their experience of pregnancy so far has been sadness.

Please try not to view your pregnancy as their families "dirty little secret" - it isnt. Its just that for you, their dream is about to come true, and once again, not to them but to someone around them.

Be patient. Be discreet. Be grateful that your pregnancy is progressing well. But please please be kind to them. Your MIL must be so so troubled by this - wanting to celebrate on one hand but needing to protect her dd on the other. And your SIL will be finding this heartbreaking.

I wish both of you the best in both of your pregnancies and sincerely hope that this time next year the pair of you are sat drinking a brew surrounded by two beautiful little children.

MrsSpencerReid Fri 28-Mar-14 14:42:16

It's not exactly the same but I had a mc this time last year, shortly after I found out my sil was not only pregnant but her due date was the same as mine. It's no understatement to say I was devastated. It was almost as bad as the actual mc itself, however, as time went on it got easier, I got preg again a few months later and once I got past 12w it got a lot easier, it was hard again round the due date and sometime I look at her baby and think what if... I know you have also had mc so sorry if none of that was helpful!! I would hope as her preg progresses things become easier for you both and I'm sorry this had cast a shadow over what should be such an exciting time for you and your family. Good luck with the rest of your pregnancy smile

Eatriskier Fri 28-Mar-14 14:49:18

This really isn't an easy one.

Firstly congratulations on your pregnancy, and I'm so sorry for your losses.

I can understand why your SIL and BIL wouldn't have been happy given their issues, but sadly the world doesn't stop when something awful happens to you. After all, you've obviously been trying and struggling too so I'd have thought they could muster some empathy however much it hurt.

When I was pregnant with DC1 it was like the world dropped off for my sister who had told us all she was unable to have children (but years later turned out to be a complete lie). She kicked off big style that I'd dared get pregnant, that my parents were happy about this. She generally made life very hard for my parents who were trapped like your MIL. DM had the same theory that when DC1 was here sister couldn't resent it, its a baby after all. Turns out that wasn't true. On the surface she poured love all over DC1, but to just me she said horrific and nastily spiteful things about her and how she wasn't worth anything as she was a child. Ultimately I've gone NC with her and this has meant she's had no outlet for the abuse. I was asked to forgive her by a friend seeing that she was obviously upset given she couldn't have kids (she was still claiming), but as she wouldn't admit what she had done I decided to keep things the way they were.

My parents thankfully dote on my DCs in spite of my sisters reaction, and won't pander to not having pictures etc around of them.

My only advice is that its a hard situation with a lot of emotion and tbh you need to try to be the bigger person and let the hurt go. Keep and eye on whether you think it affects the bond between your MIL and your DC because that will be more telling, but if it doesn't then try as hard as possible to ride the hurt and snubbing (unless they go psycho like my sister of course)

Finola1step Fri 28-Mar-14 14:50:42

I have very little experience here. I would say be aware and somewhat discreet. Be sensitive to their feelings but you can't hide this pregnancy. And you sure as anything won't be able to hide the baby once she or he arrives. Just don't expect anything from your BIL and SiL. That way you won't be disappointed.

Your baby is not "a dirty little secret". No one has said this, these are the words you have come up with. It's all v difficult for all involved but you can not control this.

Don't feel guilty for being happy. If your MIL hides the knitting etc for now, so be it.

Eatriskier Fri 28-Mar-14 14:56:04

Eek - having re-read my post it seems over harsh. What I was trying to say was having been in a similarish position I get how the dirty secret thing feels and how people can react badly when they are upset by things, and how that can make you feel when you are the brunt of it. I don't mean to minimise people's losses and pain they feel when obviously struggling to conceive (I was there myself to a lesser extent than the SILs so I do have sympathy towards them really).

ikeaismylocal Fri 28-Mar-14 15:47:44

It sounds like your sil ( and bil) have been through a horribly stressful and upsetting time. I can't imagine how painful multiple miscarriages must be. We struggled to get pregnant, although we did eventually conceive, I am ashamed of the jealousy I felt towards family and friends who became pregnant whilst we were ttc. I managed to hold it together enough to keep those feelings mostly to myself, I outwardly celebrated their pregnancies and births but on the inside I felt intense jealousy, shame that I felt jealous and inadequacy because I was unable to do the most natural thing in the world make a baby.

I don't think strong feelings are an excuse for behaving in an antisocial irrational way but I think it is better for your sil to shut herself off from the situation if it is going to hurt her too much to be involved even in a very peripheral way.

Try not yo think about what your missing out on, you have a healthy pregnancy, that is all your sil wants, try not to feel envious about the possibility of her pregnancy being more celebrated as it may not happen and even if it does it won't make any difference to you.

I felt no jealousy towards my friends and familiy once their babies had been born, I couldn't feel negative things towards a new baby and I wanted my own baby not theirs.

Good luck with the birth! I hope your sils pregnancy continues and you can all move on from this difficult time.

ChickenFromHell Fri 28-Mar-14 16:05:09

You sound like my SIL.

Exactly the same happened to us with DHs brother.

It broke my heart, and I did not acknowledge their pregnancy. The fact everytime I had to see them I felt like a fucking failure as a woman suffering multiple MC. I hated seeing their smug faces and smug bump.

I hated that she had a very easy pregnancy and birth. Making my torrid time with worry during pregnancies seem like I was exaggerating or looking for sympathy.

I hated the fact every time a baby was mentioned people would look at us as if to shush the conversation.

It fucking hurts seeing that in your own family, and knowing everyone is excited for the one thing you can't do.

Leave her and her DH be to manage their feelings as they see fit. You can not ever imagine her or her Hs pain, it overtook my world for periods of time.

Enjoy your pregnancy, be happy in yourselves and speaking to others about the next exciting part of your life.

Armadale Fri 28-Mar-14 16:08:46

Congratulations on your PG, KM99. It must be such a relief after 2 MC's.

I have lost five (4 MC's and one late loss) in the last 3 years and during that time my SIL has had two healthy children.

I think your SIL hasn't acknowledged your pregnancy, not because she resents your pregnancy or is jealous, but because it reminds her of what she doesn't have.

It sounds like your SIL is doing what she can to cope & keep sane in her present circumstances.

From what you have said I do not think anyone sees your baby as a dirty little secret, I would nip that sort of thinking in the bud right now when it starts. Your family will be delighted when your little one comes, as they will be when your SIL has her baby. Any sort of comparison about whose pregnancy is attended to by more excitement etc is unhelpful for everyone.

And I think you are right, it might still be hard for SIL when your baby is actually here. She might not be able to share in your joy. But out of your happiness I am sure you can find the generosity to let that go and understand that she is just trying to get through another day without running down the road screaming. It is hard to overstate just how desperate and distraught she might be feeling.

lylasmam2012 Fri 28-Mar-14 16:15:07

I don't post often but I had to post on this. My sister who has 4 healthy children had been trying for a baby with her new boyfriend in the year before I fell pregnant. She had 2 miscarriages. I became pregnant around our first wedding anniversary, 4 months after her 2nd miscarriage.

My sister never once acknowledged my pregnancy, never said congratulations. Would get up from the table if talk turned to my pregnancy etc. My own sister who I had sat up nights with when she was pregnant at 16 (I was 14) and talk all about her pregnancy. I helped raise her first child.

A few weeks before baby was due, out of nowhere she had a dream she was babysitting my baby and that she had dark hair. She text me this and we finally chatted. Once baby arrived she came up to visit regularly and delighted to finally be an Aunt. We aren't in touch now for other reasons. But I think when the baby is real and here it can and may change things.

KM99 Fri 28-Mar-14 16:17:09

Thanks to everyone for their advice. I really appreciate all the perspectives on here especially from those who have gone through similar situations as my SIL.

We've had our heart break with the MC's but we are luckier than a lot of people.

DoJo Fri 28-Mar-14 16:46:37

I think that your perception of your pregnancy being a 'dirty little secret' is probably making this seem a lot more negative than it is. I didn't tell anyone about my pregnancy until after the 12 week scan - it wasn't because it was a dirty little secret, just something that I didn't think was appropriate to share at the time.

This is the same - it's not that your in-laws think of your pregnancy in a negative way, they just want to protect their child from something hurtful. They can be happy for you and feel sad for their other son without diminishing that. It must be awful for them knowing that one of their children is going to have something that the other so desperately wants too, especially when (as you no doubt know) they will be surrounded by pregnancy the rest of the time just by leaving the house.

If they want to make their home a haven for one of their sons and his wife then that is a kindness that they can offer when they must feel pretty helpless. If you focus on how much they obviously care for their family instead of the fact that they are in such a difficult position, maybe that will quell your emotions somewhat.

And congratulations - I hope you have plenty of other people in your lief who are celebrating your impending addition!

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