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what to say to my SIL?

(13 Posts)
mogwai Mon 25-Apr-05 18:52:55

I'm 32 and approaching the birth of our first child after trying for some time to conceive, which was extremely distressing, as many of you know.

My BIL and SIL have been trying without success, though I know they haven't been trying for 12 months, possibly half that at most. We haven't seen much of them while I've been pg. The last time we saw them was when we cooked christmas lunch, I was 15 weeks at the time and started bleeding that morning, which was upsetting and frightening, but I tried not to show how I was feeling. My SIL was very moody with me all day, lying on the sofa and more or less saying she'd have preferred to go to her parents' house, sulking when she couldn't watch what she wanted on TV (she's 37). Of course, she didn't know there was a problem, but it did leave a nasty taste in my mouth.

The problem is, I don't know how best to deal with the fact I'll have a new baby while she is still trying to conceive. I know it must be very painful for her but hope they will come and see the baby, for the sake of my dh and his brother, who is going to be an uncle. My BIL has confided that, although she is pleased for us, she has told him "how do you think I am going to feel when we go to see the baby?". I can completely understand her feelings, but wish I didn't know she had said this, I'm going to feel awful when she comes to visit.

Do you think I should discuss it with her? I don't think she knows we also tried for some time (longer than they have been trying), I wonder whether she would welcome the chance to discuss it, or whether my sympathy wouldn't be welcome. I have no idea whether she knows that her husband has told us they are TTC - I'd have been livid if I'd have thought my dh had been sharing our woes with other people. I don't know whether I'm being selfish expecting her to be pleased for us, or rather, not to be so moody with me - it makes me feel guilty for being happy and takes the edge off the celebrations

Bella23 Mon 25-Apr-05 19:10:34

Mogwai

Firstly i am sorry that you are having to deal with this whilst you should be having nothing but happiness around!

I can relate to your SIL as I suffered a m/c whilst my best friend (who was pregnant at the same time has gone on to have a succesful pregnancy. Now its been really hard at times and I have had quite a few tearey times but i have always made sure that I kept in mind that I wanted her to be happy and to try not to show any of my negative feelings in front of her.

I guess what i am trying to say is that i think your SIL is behaving very selfishly and as much as i can sympathise as to what she is feeling I do think that her behaviour is unacceptable!

If it was me I wouldn't confront her, wait to see she says anything to you and in the mean time I would try to concentrate on your happiness. Sorry sounds a little harsh i know but i just think there are ways people can let you know how they feel but behaving very sulky is not one of them!

Hope this helps a little

mogwai Mon 25-Apr-05 19:22:45

thanks bella, useful advice.

The funny thing is, I have an old friend who has tried unsuccesfully for four years (she has PCOS). She had her first attempt at IVF last autumn, just as I found out I was pg. Although we didn't want to share our news at such an early stage, I made a point of telling her because I was worried that her IVF might fail and in the next breath I'd be telling her I was pg.

Turns out her IVF did fail so she's wating for a second go, her final attempt. Despite this, she has always seemed happy for us and been interested in how things are going. I thinks she's so brave and "big" about it. I could weep for her, wish I could make it happen for her too. I suppose people are all different, maybe the fact that everyone knows about my friend's problems means she's more honest about how she feels.

Goldfish Mon 25-Apr-05 19:26:07

Hi. My sister started to try for her first baby while I was 6 months pregnant with ds1 and we always said wouldn't it be great to have children near enough the same age. When ds1 was 6 months old I fell pregnant again and my sister still hadn't had any luck and was considering going for tests. I remember ringing her to tell her I was pregant again and I was shaking with nerves. She said she was really pleased for me but months later told me she cried. Ds2 was born and she still wasn't pregnant and I had both my dss christened together when ds2 was 6 months and ds1 22months. She was godmother and also going through her first treatment for IVF, which failed. Through all this she was never bitter and was always supportive. She now, years later has ds1 7 and ds2 age 1 which were convceived through IVF. She says that she did obviously feel envious when I was pregnant, but she never felt bitter or wanted to be treated with kid gloves. I think you should just concentrate on yourself. Enjoy your pregnancy as although I don't know your history, you say you have had a bad time. You must enjoy this special time and when the baby is born I would just treat your sil as you would anyone else. Please don't feel guilty as its not your fault your SIL is acting like she is.

sarzy Mon 25-Apr-05 20:22:20

It's difficult to know what to do for the best, I know I often feel quite resentful of pregnant women, and even with friends while I'm happy for them, I'm horribly sad for myself.

Perhaps you could ask if she's been to the see the doc or something? (At 37, if she hasn't she needs to go now.) Then mention how hard you found it when ttc, and tell her you're there for her if she needs a shoulder to cry on. I don't think you should be too hard on her if she isn't up to seeing the baby straight away, as disappointing as it might be for you, you're the one with the baby, not her. You're not the one who has to go home to an empty house afterwards. Apologies if that sounds harsh, but as much as she's being an arsey cow I do empathise with her - it's terribly lonely being infertile.

bubbly1973 Mon 25-Apr-05 21:02:07

mogwai, its a shame that you have to spend your time thinking about trying not to upset your sil

i wouldnt make it obvious but i would slip it in the conversation somewhere that you were ttc for a while...i bet that will make all the difference

i tried for 4 years but i can honestly say i never felt resentful..maybe sometimes sad that it hasnt happened to me, but never resentful...

i can only imagine that a woman who feels resent would soften if they know you 'didnt have it easy'

like i said, dont make a point of telling her this, she may not appreciate that...but slip it into the conversation, she may not talk about it but she will go away thinking about it, and possibly soften a little towards the birth of your first child

good luck

ionesmum Mon 25-Apr-05 21:29:54

mogwai, I too think this should be a happy time for you. I feel terribly sorry for your SIL but it's not your fault. I agree that if she knows how hard things have been for you it may help.

However, I also wonder how helpful your BIL is being in telling you things that she has obviously said to him in private. It has put you in a difficult position - I can understand his need to confide in someone about them ttc but maybe not about her comments about how she will feel once the baby comes? Perhaps you could ask your dh to have a word with him and ask that he doesn't tell you things that are clearly between him and your SIL.

bubbly1973 Mon 25-Apr-05 21:35:31

ionesmum i was thinking along those lines at first, but then i thought,...what if bil is telling mogwai all this because he knows how hard it will hit his wife, and by saying something to them he is almost hinting to tread on eggshells?



just a thought

mogwai Mon 25-Apr-05 21:38:38

I think that's probably part of what I feel so awful about. Like I said in my original post, I'm not sure she knows that my BIL has told us they are TTC and I'd have been livid if my dh had been discussing our difficulties. At the time, I just wasn't ready to have anyone ask me about it, though I did always discuss it with my friend who later had IVF.

I guess I feel awkward about knowing their business. Then again, at least I have an idea why she was so "off" with me at christmas, at least it puts it into context to some extent.

I think the suggestion about casually mentioning how it happened "at last" for us might be worth a shot. She can take me up on the subject if she likes, leave it if not.

ionesmum Mon 25-Apr-05 22:02:29

I do see your point bubbly, which is why I'd agree it's okay to mention the ttc, but maybe not the really personal stuff?

mrsflowerpot Mon 25-Apr-05 22:03:45

I agree your BIL sounds like he's been really tactless. Having been in the position of ttc for ages when friends were getting pg, I would have been mortified if I'd thought they knew their pregnancies made me even fleetingly sad, which I think is bound to happen in this circumstance. Getting your dh to have a quiet word might not be a bad idea.

But please don't let it take the edge of your happiness. If she's moody around you, it's because she's sad for herself more than resentful of you, I would imagine.

(btw, I am due in June too - saw you on the June thread but having been away for a few days it took me forever to catch up on that thread, hope to chat to you there too.)

Duranfan Tue 26-Apr-05 14:29:18

Hi

I agree with the majority, it does seem to me like she is being a bit selfish... I have been ttc for 8 years and have NEVER made anyone feel bad about their pregnancies... quite to the contrary, I've even put my feelings on hold and then cried and cried for hours in the comfort of my own space!! It has affected me because many of my friends and family have had 2-3 children and all started way after us.. You can't help but feel envious and unhappy that it's not you, but don't push that onto other people.

But, at the end of the day, she can't really help the way she feels and if she does want to distance herself a bit, I don't think there's much you can do.. she has to think of her own self-preservation too. I think what someone suggested is a good idea... if there's a time when you can bring up about your own experience.. something like "phew, never though we'd be this lucky, it took a while"... or something like that... then she might soften and even confide in you.

I don't like people treating me with kid gloves, BUT I do appreciate sensitivity to my situation (it works both ways) and if I haven't got that in the past, I have distanced myself TBH.

Such a difficult situation so close to home as well. I wish you luck and many congratulations.

teuch Tue 26-Apr-05 16:53:30

Firstly, congratulations on your pregnancy.

It's not easy and of course every situation depends entirely on the personalities involved.

It just occurred to me that by knowing some of their personal business, you have part of the story but perhaps not the whole story...


Maybe you just share with her some of your concerns about your best friend's experiences and your impending birth?

Tough one but at least your history helps you empathise to a point.

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