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How to handle being pg and a family member having had a m/c

(21 Posts)
Crazybit Tue 18-Oct-11 10:59:31

I am 22 wks preg. OHs Aunt has been trying to concieve for 3 years, since the birth of her last child. She would have been about 4 weeks behind me but a scan at @11 wks showed the baby had stopped growing at 7 weeks. She held a funeral for her lo and apparantly somehow knows the sex of the baby-whixh is the same as mine, which makes it even harder for her.

She is not coping well apparantly. I have tried to be respectful and not mention it on FB and have sent her messages expressing my condolences, although she does eventually reply to them it is usually to say things are hard.

OHs dsis mentioned me in front of her last week and she burst into tears.

MIL suggested she speak to me to prevent things getting worse as time goes on iyswim, she refused.

OHs family is very small, just his mum, brother (& partner), sister (aged 4), aunt (and partner/child) and grandad and usually all get together over christmas.

I don't know what to do. Should I email her or just keep away from her? I feel awful for her of course, but I feel as though I'm having to hide my pregnancy and baby and really just want to enjoy it. My family are asking why I don't put updates on etc. I don't live close to any of my family, so FB is the main form of frequent communication.

On the other hand, I could just hide all posts relating to pg from her, but this feels underhand.

I hope I'm not coming across as insensitive, I just wanted to get the facts down. I keep dreaming about her so it is definately playing on mind.

What should I do for the best?

ItsMeAndMyPumpkinNow Tue 18-Oct-11 11:16:28

You are very kind and thoughtful to be concerned.

No doubt it is hard for your OH's Aunt, and will continue to be hard for her until she has processed her grief. What you could do is show her that you understand, and tell her something like: "I'm so sorry for your loss and the pain you must be feeling now. I'll understand if it's too hard for you to see me for a while."

If you want to put FB updates (and it sounds like you want to), then go ahead: she can hide you if she needs to do so for herself.

Basically, don't change your own actions; let her choose what she feels comfortable doing or not doing, but show her that you care about her feelings and understand that your pregnancy is hard for her to take right now.

mynewpassion Tue 18-Oct-11 13:39:40

This is so difficult. It happened in my family but to my sisters. One just gave birth, another about 24 wks pregnant, when the other sister had a MC (her first pregnancy, too) at 12 wks. We were sensitive to her by not gushing over the baby or ask the other sister about the progress of her pregnancy in front of her and on FB for a few weeks. They understood because it was time to support and grieve along with the other sister, who for a few short weeks was ecstatic with happiness and then devastation.

We let her dictate our actions when in a family setting. We were more muted when we were all together because it was seen as a death in the family. After three months or so she bought gifts for new nephew and unborn niece to signal that she was ok.

That's how we dealt with a MC in a very close family this year.

Crazybit Tue 18-Oct-11 15:00:18

Thanks for the replies.

I do sometimes want to mention it on FB-just like I would mention my dds if they have done something funny etc.

I do understand how she is feeling as I have been through it too, however OHs family are not aware of this and I don't think it's appropriate to mention it now.

MIL thought she would be 'ok' with me as she has been to see her friends baby who was recently born, but it appears it's just me that she is struggling with, which MIL has said that she is stuggling with as she wants to talk about the new baby with her dad, but her sis is usually there, and so she doesn't, so as not to upset her.

I just feel like I should do something, but it probably is just a waiting game of letting her cope with it in her own way.

oldwomaninashoe Tue 18-Oct-11 15:22:46

When I had a miscarriage I developed an irrational resentment of all pregnant women that I saw. I really couldn't help it. I wonder if your Aunt has similar feelings?
I was okay around small babies though. When my hormones settled down after a couple of months the weird feelings went but I would say it took a little while before I felt okay about being around pregnant women.

Because of this, when I was next pregnant and my SIL had a miscarriage I just sent her flowers with a nice message and she too was fine when I eventually gave birth.

Just continue to be a bit sesnsitive around her for a while longer.

garlicScaresVampires Tue 18-Oct-11 15:33:51

I think it is appopriate to mention your previous mc to her, Crazybit. As you may remember, it's an awfully lonely feeling and the general air of silence around the topic makes it worse - you almost feel bad for feeling bad, iyswim! Nobody told me they'd also had them, when I was tearing up, but many were quick enough to imply that I may have caused it through my (very imperfect) behaviour. Considering how relieved I felt to hear of their mcs - years later - I'm sure I would really have welcomed their knowledge of the experience at the time.

I was living with a relative who had two babies at the time. She was good about telling me I could stay away them if I needed to. I appreciated that a lot! As it was, I chose to spend more time with them, so as to try and avoid resenting them & her, but her assurance was a big help in carrying through with that.

Typing very fast, sorry, hope it makes sense.

HerScaryness Tue 18-Oct-11 16:05:42

I think your MC is entirely appropriate too tbh.

I think you ought to call her (not text) and say to her how sorry you are, tell her you understand how she feels (she can be the first to know about your previous MC, tell her that no-one in DH family knows about it either)

Tell her that you want to do the right thing by her and that if she feels she can't be near you for a while, you will be sad, but understand. Tell her you don't want to be insensitive, and wouldn't ever want to do or say anything to upset her.

ASK her if she would like to be on reduced view on FB for a while, so that you don't inadvertently post anything that may make her feel sad?

nothaunted Tue 18-Oct-11 18:20:17

Why not write her a letter? Tell her about your mc and explain that if she ever needs to talk you are there and also that you perfectly understand if she needs some space. She will treasure the letter as it will be a permanent memento that her baby existed, died and is mourned. If she wants to talk then let her, the worse thing about grief is when people are too embarrassed to acknowledge it and it becomes the elephant in the room. Perhaps explain that you have blocked your pg updates on fb for her and say whenever she wants to see how you are doing again, just say - if that is how it works.

mathanxiety Tue 18-Oct-11 20:08:10

I've had a good few MCs and tbh, it would have been very hard for the extended family at the time to give me the kid glove treatment as so many of the SILs were getting pregnant left and right all the time (large extended family all in the prime childbearing years). I feel these things do get bigger and worse the longer you go without addressing them and everyone trying to get on with their lives. I felt miserable after each MC but why cast a cloud over someone else's happiness? They weren't pregnant just to spite me.

I also like the idea of the kind letter and I think you should let her decide what she wants to do about the FB. Unless the MC happened before you were a part for OH's family and it would be TMI, then you could mention it, but maybe just addressing her particular feelings and that your heart goes out to her, without seeming to say 'it happens to everyone' (which sometimes gets read as 'cheer up, you'll be fine') would hit the spot.

Crazybit Tue 18-Oct-11 20:29:30

Thank you for all the replies. I don't want to mention my mc as OH did not tell his family, and his aunt would probably tell his grandad and mum, they would feel hurt that he did not tell them and it would create a whole other problem.

I don't think she is the type that would appreciate a letter, she may well say that I am trying to hurt her more as she has repeated to her sis and her dad that she doesn't want to speak about it. Although she did post on FB that 'she feels as though she isn't doing as well as she tells those that bother to ask' so I just don't know. sad I don't want to send her a letter or message and make her sad if she is trying not to think about it..

Dozer Tue 18-Oct-11 20:30:46

Have been in the aunt's kind of situation and wouldn't write to her, it just makes it into a bigger deal. She probably feels bad for feeling the way she does, but it doesn't change the feelings. It sounds like your OH's family may be magnifying it by talking about it, how it affects them etc. That kind of stuff doesn't help ime.

There may be stuff you don't know about her situation, eg other miscarriages.

Just be normal and low key with her if /when you see her. She'll raise the topic if she wants to.

With respect to the gender of the baby, often after an erpc they can do tests to look at whether there were an chromosomal abnormalities, these tests also show the gender.

Dozer Tue 18-Oct-11 20:34:07

"I feel as though I'm having to hide my pregnancy and baby and really just want to enjoy it".

This kind of sentiment annoys me a bit tbh. Surely this situation isn't that big a deal in the great scheme of things? If you'd like your family to be kept in touch, then just update facebook (your oh's aunt can hide the posts if she wants to do that, it's her call) or send them info by email or whatever.

mathanxiety Tue 18-Oct-11 20:36:26

hmm 'post on FB that 'she feels as though she isn't doing as well as she tells those that bother to ask'

Well at the risk of being shot down in flames here, I think she is milking it.

Uglymush Tue 18-Oct-11 20:37:56

Different perspective for you. My mum and dad lost a son aged 6 weeks, my mum's cousin and wife were expecting their first 2 months later. Everyone avoided mum and the discussion of a new baby around her, even to the point my dad was godfather and my mum not invited to the christening. Mum was devastated to be isolated. I appreciate that your DH's aunt is grieving but don't shut her out.

Crazybit Tue 18-Oct-11 20:51:20

Thank you for your post Uglymush-Would never do that, how horrible for your poor mum sad

Mathanxiety-mil has indicated that she feels this also and that aunt is a bit of a drama queen, but how can such a thing be determined in this situation. I guess people handle things differently.

Dozer, thanks for the reply. She has definately not had another m/c although does struggle to conceive sad
I'm sorry that my feelings annoy you. This is definately going to be my last pregnancy, I had problems in the other two and I am now more or less in the postion where I can look forward to the birth of my last child. Surely I shouldn't have to feel guilty for something I have no control over.

HerScaryness Tue 18-Oct-11 21:02:27

math, I kind of am with you on that one...

<huddles under flame-proof blanket, whistling>

garlicScaresVampires Tue 18-Oct-11 23:15:10

I know that some others here, including OP, have miscarried before having a baby. When it happens, you don't have a perspective on it; you don't know you'll go on to carry full-term (some of us never do) and it's your only experience of pregnancy. I'm quite shocked at the recent judgements of 'milking it'. I don't often hear that about PND on Mumsnet; why is it considered so much less of a problem when the baby has died?

mathanxiety Tue 18-Oct-11 23:37:18

The aunt who has had the MC already has a child of 3 though, so it's not the only experience she has of pregnancy.

I'm all for kindness and spreading comfort, but a comment such as the one the OP described on FB smacks of preciousness and 'you're not paying enough attention to me' . She tells her dad and sister that she doesn't want to talk about it and then sniffs on FB that not enough people are asking her how she feels. 'she isn't doing as well as she tells those that bother to ask' -- ok, she is upset and some people express that by being grouchy, but there are those who will take 'I vant to be alone' at face value, and a comment like the FB one is a bit of a slap to anyone who was thinking of reaching out to her, as if it's too little, too late and she has dismissed them as fairweather friends.

She may have been hit by depression but no-one here can know that.

garlicScaresVampires Tue 18-Oct-11 23:40:22

Oh, I misread that, math, didn't realise she already had one. Thanks.

The whole family seems a bit keen on not-saying things, or only saying part of something to some people ... Best of luck anyway, OP. Hope all goes smoothly with your pg & birth smile

mathanxiety Wed 19-Oct-11 00:09:03

Yes indeed, there is a lot of circular indirect communication and mind-reading at play. Sometimes I think it's best to just out with it but maybe just letting time take care of it is the way of least harm.

Crazybit Wed 19-Oct-11 10:13:35

Yep, noone seems to want to talk about important things, or clear anything up, and as I am not classed as part of the family then I am advised to keep my opinions to myself. I hate all the skiting round things, and am so glad that I can be straight up with my family rather than pussy footing around!

Anyway, it's the aunts bday today so OH is going to give her a call and see how she's doing and wish her many happy returns, and maybe try and see how things are. The thing is, we moved a long way from both our families a few months ago so it's probably going to be easy to avoid us/me but surely that would make her feel lonelier/sadder. Will see how the phone call goes.

Thank you for everyones input smile

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