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  1. #1
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    Default Sticky situation

    About 18 months ago, my SIL had a stillborn baby. It was really traumatic for her, and she is slowly getting over it. I have never experienced stillbirth or miscarriage so can't say I fully understand how she feels. But I do know that it's important to her to keep the memory of the baby alive. So for example, she had a commemorative candle burning at Christmas, she has a toy in all the family photos to represent the baby and at the one year anniversary, she had the whole extended family go away for the weekend to commemorate what would have been his first birthday.

    SO....this year, at Christmas time, there is a service that she wants to go to for parents of kids who have passed away. Like with the weekend away, she wants the whole extended family to go. I want to support her, but my DD is 4.5, and it's getting to the point where I'm uncomfortable getting her involved in an event which is all about death and sadness. She sort of understands death, but does get a bit anxious about it, and I do have to reassure her form time to time that mummy and daddy are not going to die any time soon. How can I support my SIL without worrying my 4 year old? Can I say no to this church service, or is that just too harsh? I'm in a bit or a quandry, and would love to know what others would do in this situation!
    Last edited by Cdro; 21-11-2015 at 15:17.

  2. #2
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    Is there any way you can have your daughter babysat and go with your SIL?

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    Thanks Rusty, yes I did think of that, but we have to go interstate for it and don't know anyone up there. DD is ok with a babysitter, but not someone she doesn't know. Normally I'd be able to ask MIL, but she will be at the service too...

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    I would tell your SIL that whilst you will always do birthday/christmas celebrations and will let your kids know about their cousin etc. that your daughter gets anxious when talking about death, so you think it will be too much for her. Perhaps just one person from your family can go...to show support, but so that your daughter can stay home with the other parent. Or you all go...but only one goes to the service.

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    In all honesty if I was in that position I wouldn't go. Going interstate, at Christmas time, and you're not comfortable taking your child. I don't think I'd do it this time.

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    I think you can decline this, as to me, it's beyond the realms of a reasonable request.
    You can send Christmas wishes / Holiday wishes with a card including Bub or whatever your family normally does, but you don't have to participate.
    I think it's ok to say "we won't be able to attend". Be firm but kind.

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    I would go and just try to be very upbeat and positive about it with your daughter, while still answering her questions. "We're going to help SIL to think nice things about your baby cousin (name) who is now in heaven (or whatever you believe). Aunty SIL wants us all to come so we don't forget cousin. Isn't that nice?"

    Honestly, I think if you say no it's almost like saying "my living child is more important than your dead one" - or at least you run the risk of it being taken like that. I'm not trying to be rude or harsh but it's obviously important to your SIL that her child gets remembered as part of the family and I think that's fair enough. I totally get that you want to look out for your daughter and these are heavy concepts for any of us, let alone a 4 year old, but if you make talking about the cousin 'normal' now it will be easier long term.

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    Thanks ladies, it is a bit of a relief to hear that I'm not the only one that would think about declining!

    I should explain a bit further though - it is a long way to go, but we will be there anyway. DH's family want to have Christmas celebrations early. (We alternate - one year Christmas with his family, next year with my family etc. This is the year that we are not having Christmas together, so they just organised one for a few weeks earlier. I will admit that I find their family requests a little tiresome.)

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    Default Sticky situation

    This is still obviously very raw for your SIL - if it were me I would be putting my thinking cap in and finding a way to make it work.

    Ask about the agenda for the service. Maybe there's a bit at the start or end that would be suitable for your dd to go to. Maybe it's pretty similar to a normal church service - there won't be a focus on death and the worst you will have to worry about is everyone being bored ****less and your kid playing up. Maybe your dd could bring a gift for her Aunty and uncle, give it to them at the start of the service then go outside with you to look at the trees and plants. Then halfway through your hubby could come and swap with you. That way everyone gets to be a part of commemorating bub and no one gets traumatized.

    That's just one idea. If this wouldn't work for whatever reason I'm sure there are other workable ideas out there.
    Last edited by VicPark; 21-11-2015 at 18:41.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cdro View Post
    I should explain a bit further though - it is a long way to go, but we will be there anyway.
    My first thought was that it was a bit much to expect extended family to travel interstate to attend and I would decline, however as you have now said you are going to be there anyway, I would go.

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