What exactly are you angry at SIL about?
What exactly are you angry at SIL about?
To be honest I'd forgive a lot from a person whose baby had died, including acting in ways that may appear ungrateful. Grief is a selfish ,angry , deeply sad thing and people behave in ways and expect things they wouldn't normally.
If your SIL questions you words or actions, ask her what she would like.
If it were me I would go and I would take my kids (5 and nearly 4) and they would know about their cousin who died.
My cousin was still born when I was a child and I messaged my Aunt on pregnancy loss day this year to let her know I remembered her son even though it was 30 years ago. I really feel these babies need to be remembered and acknowledged.
I've been reading along this thread and have wanted to comment but am not really sure how to convey my thoughts. Firstly can I ask OP is SIL your husbands sister?
I ask because I have a relationship similar to what you've described with my SIL. We are not what you would call friends. If something bad happened in my life I wouldn't really expect anything from her, she's made it clear that although we are technically related now she doesn't consider me to be family or her friend and I'm fine with that, you can't force someone to get along with you.
It sounds like you preferred the relationship the way it was before and now that this terrible loss has occurred you are struggling with the expectations of a new relationship balance - that you are now supposed to act like friends and be a source of support for someone that you don't feel particularly close to. It's natural to feel that way and be confused and a bit put out.
You've said that you find it odd that she has these expectations of you now. Can I suggest that perhaps it is your husbands support that she really desires but as you are married you come as part of the package? I really don't mean that to offend you. If I put myself in your situation, if I suffered the loss of my child I would really like to have my brothers support, he means a great deal to me. His wife, my SIL, as I've said I wouldn't expect anything from her but obviously If I invited him to share in an opportunity to remember and celebrate my child the invite would extend to his wife and children too. Does that even make sense?
I'm not sure if I'm getting my point across here or just rambling. I just think that at the moment SIL might be craving the comfort of her family which includes her siblings and you are invited along for the ride so to speak. If you can find it in your heart to be altruistic and support her that would be a very kind thing to do, and it's always good to try to be the bigger person, but it is easier said than done. If it's all getting a bit much for you and you don't feel like being the bigger person you can choose not to participate. I would think that as long as your husband supports his sister and you don't impede that you have met your obligation. Yes your SIL will probably be offended but it sounds like whatever you've done thus far has upset SIL anyway.
Can I add I really don't mean to offend any of the posters or readers who have experienced the loss of their child. I'm not advocating behaving heartlessly towards a woman who has had to endure such grief, it's just that we're all different and sometimes it's hard for people to be a source of support and love for someone that they're not that close to.
A few examples to give a clearer picture:
- Her wedding was a couple of months after I had DD1. She saw the dress I was going to wear and told me that she didn't like it and I would have to wear something else. I told her that my body wasn't quite back to normal after the birth, and she told me I would just have to wear one of her mother's dresses.
- Our little girl loves books. Really LOVES books. And I read to her constantly because she likes it. To the point where she can now read fluently at age 4. SIL shakes her head and says, "you've put so much pressure on her and it really shows".
- She was in Sydney at the time of our DD's birthday party, so came along. She perused my list of games and said, "hmmmm....." and proceeded to give me a list of alternatives.
- She doesn't vaccinate and tells me that if I knew what was in them, I wouldn't either. She assumes I have no idea about a lot of parenting stuff.
- When I was pregnant with DD2, we were going to have twins, but one didn't make it. After DD2 was born, we were casually talking and I commented that I wonder what it would have been like to have 2 of them. She got angry and said that I should be grateful to have one. (I understand this one because it was after the stillbirth, but isn't it ok to talk about our little twin as well?)
These sorts of things are fairly constant and I could give loads more, but you get the idea. She's never done anything so major that we would have a falling out, but when I'm with her, I'm sort of on edge, knowing that the next hurtful comment is coming.
Others have said that grieving people say and do odd things. But the comments started long before the stillbirth. I haven't really seen a change in her behaviour since the stillbirth.
BTW, thanks for asking.
I've just read back over my post and realised that she might not know I find her comments so offensive. Maybe she thinks we're friends and can't understand why I don't want to be....I remember feeling shocked when she asked me to be friends on Facebook, but maybe she really did think we're friends. Hmmm....
If she doesn't have any other kids she has no idea how annoying it is have these "experts" around who have never raised a child. God knows I look back onto some of the stuff I used to judge mums for and want to go back and hit me! Until you're doing it you will never understand, and unfortunately she hasn't had the chance to raise a child yet.
Thanks for adding those details, they make it easier to understand your POV. She sounds like a friend I used to have, her criticism of my parenting was one of several reasons I ended the friendship. I believe it came from a place of insecurity bc we parented so differently.
I still think you should make an effort to attend, even if it's just you or just your DH and the other stays with your child.
Firstly, I want to apologise sincerely to @Sally1981 - that my comment came across that I was comparing myself to the mother who had lost her child, this was not my intention in any way at all. There must be no other pain like this and I am not in any way trying to say that it is at all comparable to discomfort I might feel in attending an event of this nature.
What I am trying to say OP, and hopefully more clearly, is that I think there is a time when you are able to opt out of these things - it is different for everyone and respecting that it is different for everyone is the key. Support can look different for everyone too, so try to find a way you can show your support (lots of good suggestions here). For me it would be after the extended family weekend away, so this would be the one I would opt out of - regardless of all the things you've written above, they really don't matter in my opinion, you are allowed to opt out to do what you feel is best for your family.
Last edited by babyla; 23-11-2015 at 07:19.
Babyla, I probably quoted you a bit out of context too which made it seem more harsh than it was. Sorry about that.
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