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Things getting worse with SIL.... what can I do?

(13 Posts)
MoominIsGoingToBeAMumWaitWHAT Mon 10-Feb-14 12:17:27

I've posted before about SIL-to-be (her brother is my fiance), struggling with fertility and TTC for quite a long time but struggling. Little bit of background; relationship has dissolved since I found out I was pregnant unexpectedly. I'm 10 years younger than her but we had a good friendship before, I was bridesmaid at her wedding etc... but now it seems like everything's fallen apart. She's very 'tell it like it is', and doesn't hold back.

I saw her last week and there were a couple of snide comments about the pregnancy and the controversy of us being young parents and people talking about it etc - subtle but enough to make me feel uncomfortable. Prior to this she's just blanked me completely at any events where we've been in the same place, but OH isn't getting any of this flak - he feels torn, he wants to support me but he knows his sister is struggling and he wants to be there for her too. It is making family things awkward as his parents are doing their best to make me feel like part of their family, but it seems like she's doing her best to try and push me out.

I'm trying to be sensitive - I have her as a friend on Facebook but I don't tend to post much about the pregnancy on FB, and I figured that if she didn't like reading it, she could hide my posts/unfriend me, but she hasn't done that. I never bring up the baby in conversations - OH and his other family members sometimes do, and then obviously I can't ignore them and pretend they haven't asked about the baby, and then I get nasty looks from her for talking about it.

I'm trying to cover up my bump as best as I can whenever she's around but it's getting difficult now. Her husband is lovely and told my OH that she is really struggling with it being an accidental pregnancy etc, he's still lovely and hasn't changed at all, but I just don't know how to fix this other than to stay out of her way. OH is convinced that once the baby is born she'll want to see it - but what if she wants to see the baby and my OH but not me? So far he's saying "If she wants to see the baby, she's got to see us all as a family" but whether he'll be able to maintain that when the baby's arrived is another question.

Basically I needed to vent, but also I'm wondering if anyone has any experience with this and what the outcome was, and also what I should do... do I just continue to stay out of her way and hope things improve? Am I being selfish and just can't see it? sad

sorry it's long.

Meerka Mon 10-Feb-14 12:28:35

You aren't being at all selfish no. It sounds like you're being very tactful and understanding.

I would give her time but not forever; not particularly bring up the pregnancy yourself but answer questions from others freely. If she keeps on making snide comments, either ignore them or else the time might have to come that you challenge them - or better, your husband. But until then carry on as you are or else in fact, stop avoiding her quite so much because you do have a right to be around too.

NollaigShona Mon 10-Feb-14 12:35:56

I remember, years ago, myself and a work colleague were pregnant at the same time. She was perhaps a couple of weeks further along than me. When she was about 18 weeks, she lost the baby. She was devastated, cried a lot and really really suffered through her loss. I was very unsure how to deal with the situation. I was already wearing maternity gear, and clueless as how I should act or what I should say. All of a sudden my pregnancy was like a dirty unmentionable secret in the office. About a week after she had returned to work she (loudly) called across the office to me and asked a couple of questions about my bump (can't remember what exactly, something like had I thought of names or had I got on ok at the Doctor's) all of a sudden my pregnancy became normal again and everyone acted like before. She later privately told me that it was my right to enjoy my pregnancy despite her loss and she was hoping I would safely deliver a beautiful baby. I was very grateful that she didn't let her pain impact on a very special time for me.

So, my point, can you have a discreet word with your SIL and say something like that you are sorry for her difficulties but hell, you are pregnant so she needs to deal with it. (You can of course be kinder than that). Life goes on. Many couples are childless, many horrible things happen in families. She should deal with her own issues (that have absolutely NOTHING to do with you) without causing distress or anxiety to a pregnant woman.

So, enjoy your pregnancy, don't rub it in her face, but she needs to deal with life.

And, I hope you too are safely delivered of a beautiful and healthy baby. Good luck.

Pigsmummy Mon 10-Feb-14 12:38:19

I think that you are doing everything that you can tbh, try not to rise to obvious digs (like the young parent dig) enjoy the company of your DP's family and enjoy your pregnancy, you haven't done anything wrong, I would give up trying to hide your baby bump.

I have a friend who had a MC and two failed rounds of IVF and around her I didn't talk about the pregnancy but did answer any questions that she asked, I also made her God Mother. I hope that your SIL she finds it easier in time.

As for the not wanting to see you once baby arrives I am with your partner, where baby goes you go.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Mon 10-Feb-14 12:54:23

Very awkward but in spite of SIL's feelings you are allowed to feel excited about the pregnancy, unplanned or not. By the sound of it you have been sensitive and considerate. I think that any further tiptoeing around her is futile. I don't mean, flaunt your bump and crow, but this is an exciting time, don't let her make this all about her. Is she forgetting her DB played his part too? Why should OH's parents dampen down anticipation and you feel like you are a third wheel?

Don't look too far ahead. She may be nicer when you have your DC. It has been a shock and she needs time to adjust. Stay calm and polite and OH may have a gentle word with her himself.

Pawprint Mon 10-Feb-14 16:16:24

I can comment from the other side. I struggled to have a baby (have a ds now) and it was very, very hard to see pregnant women. It almost became a phobia - I would feel panicky if I saw a pregnant woman, or a woman with a baby, in the street. In the worst of all this, five friends (in one week) announced their pregnancies and none of them were as sensitive as you.

All this, however, is very hard on you. It isn't fair of your SIL to rub your face in her misfortune. Whilst it is understandable that she wishes to avoid you a the moment, snide remarks and nasty looks are not acceptable.

I am afraid there isn't much you can do. Wanting a baby and not being able to is horrendous. It is very difficult to hear about accidental pregnancies and it is hard to hear that someone has conceived only a short time after ttc. However, these issues are a fact of life.

You may find your SIL is easier company when the baby is past the new born stage. She is probably dreading the birth announcement and will be angry and sad at all the attention the baby is receiving. However, the fuss will die down and she may be friendlier then.

Lambzig Mon 10-Feb-14 16:40:19

It sounds like you are being really sensitive and kind and you don't deserve snide comments.

I too have been on the other side. I was TTC for ten years, about six years in my much younger sister got pregnant with someone she had known for three weeks (now her husband). I had been fine with friends and more distant relatives getting pregnant when I couldn't, but when it was my sister, it floored me. Watching my parents super excited about a first grandchild when I thought it would be me was really hard. To be honest I struggled with it until I had my own child.

I hope I hid it, but I am sure Dsis knew. I did avoid the subject a bit, but did the first visit, christening and listening to grandparents joy with a smile on my face.

I don't think you can do much, you absolutely have the right to enjoy your pregnancy and talk about it. My heart breaks at you trying to cover up your bump. I think all you can do is give her time and don't worry about how she will react when your baby is here.

KatieScarlett2833 Mon 10-Feb-14 16:56:51

I had this exact situation with my wonderful SIL.
While I was 6 months PG she lost her baby at 12 weeks hmm
First children for both of us.
I just couldn't bear the thought of her hurt and my guilt. I asked her to come out for a walk with me and after a very honest conversation with lots of tears we sorted it out. It was so hard for her it almost broke my heart as It could so easily have been the other way around.
I checked in with her a lot. She was able to talk to me about her resentment and I did whatever she needed to keep her in my life.
It worked because when DD was born she was there for me and her niece and has been ever since.
We still remember the baby, talk about him, keep him alive in our thoughts and conversations.
She eventually went on to have my beloved DNeph but still, we never forget her first child who would have been 18 now.
I am so glad we worked through it because not having her in my life would have been terrible. I love her very much smile

MoominIsGoingToBeAMumWaitWHAT Mon 10-Feb-14 17:21:09

Thanks everyone for the replies and kind words; I'm sorry to hear others have struggled with TTC but I hope things have worked out for you all x

OH told me that she was struggling with being the oldest child but not giving their parents the first grandchild - and also the first great-grandchild for their great-grandparents. I'm the oldest sibling but my brother and sister are still children themselves, under 16 and nowhere near this stage (so there's no "I should've been first to give them a grandchild"), and I'm one of the youngest in my extended family so all my grandparents are already great-grandparents, so I guess that's why I can't really imagine how she must be feeling.

OH reckons that as soon as the baby's born she'll be one of the first visitors at the hospital, but I'm worried that she'll still find it difficult and may say something that will upset someone, normally I'm fairly thick-skinned but hormones really have turned me into a wimp and I'm panicking over every possibility sad

I feel like I've created a rift in their family, and it can be felt when I'm around them all with their parents trying to make me feel welcome, her saying things that make me feel uncomfortable and OH not really sure where to turn. He is still very much the little brother and does what she says, but he also stands up for me. I know OH played a part in it every bit as much as I did, but his sister doesn't seem to realise that and I think that's the bit that hurts the most - although I can't begin to imagine how she feels, it doesn't take a genius to figure out that it must hurt a hell of a lot, but I feel like it's being taken out on me exclusively.

Lambzig Mon 10-Feb-14 17:35:08

Yes, she really shouldn't take it out on you and there is no need for nasty remarks.

I think you need to prepare that she might keep her distance once the baby is born. Better that than unkind remarks. Please try not to stress about it, you need to focus on your health and your impending family.

You can't actually fix this (believe me I know the frustration, I hate stuff that I can't fix), the only thing you can do is continue to behave with grace and sensitivity and try not to react. Try not to make anything of it and try to refrain from discussing it with others (particularly her DH). Believe me your OH's parents and he will see who is behaving well. Oh and cross your fingers that she gets pregnant.

MoominIsGoingToBeAMumWaitWHAT Mon 10-Feb-14 17:50:48

Thanks Lambzig

Just realised it might look like we spoke to her DH about it; he approached my OH and explained why she'd been 'off' according to OH smile I've not discussed it with anyone but my mum because it has been stressful and I've needed a bit of support, but my mum and future SIL never see each other so it hopefully won't affect anything.

I really really do hope she gets pregnant soon; apparently they've been given the go-ahead to start IVF so I'm really really hopeful it works for them!

Cakesnbeer Mon 10-Feb-14 17:54:16

My sil never once mentioned my pregnancy, literally. She left the room when anyone else did too. Once delivered she was fine! Well fine for hersmile

Lambzig Mon 10-Feb-14 20:41:14

Sounds like you are doing all you can then, so please stop feeling you have to hide things. Just carry on what you are doing and try not to worry.

Sorry I had misunderstood about you discussing things, but honestly sometimes the only thing that kept the happy for you smile plastered to my face during my sisters first two pregnancies was the fear that the whole family was discussing 'poor me' behind my back.

Recently, we both got pregnant at roughly the same time and she had her third, me my second six weeks apart. It has made us so close.

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