I posted earlier, but here’s my assessment of what’s happening here.
I want to preface by saying that while I would not attempt to bring my own baby to an event like this because I think it would be uncomfortable for everyone, especially the baby, I don’t generally think that kid/baby free weddings are a good idea. People get offended, fighting ensues, and family relationships take damage. Not always, but often. In any case, I think there is more going on here and it’s all about your sil, because that’s how she operates.
I think she is fully intending on showing up with the baby and has just been stalling with the conversation run-around. Consider when your husband spoke to her directly, she said she would get her in-laws to watch the baby and agreed that she and her husband would attend without the baby. It wasn’t until weeks later that it came out that she had not spoken to them and didn’t intend to. She is turning this into a power struggle that she intends to win. It’s so unfortunate that this is the situation. It’s unfortunate that she’s like this as this a personality issue and will not be isolated to happening just regarding your wedding. People who feel the need to set up power plays so they can win them are deeply self obsessed, attention hungry people who are never going to interact with others in a straight forward way. She’ll turn everything into some kind of power/control or superiority dynamic. Hence bringing up the baby thing at Christmas dinner. She saved it up for Christmas dinner on purpose and played it exactly how she needed to in order to smugly make her statement while your husband was away from the table and in the process make you feel powerless.
I guess you can tell by this point that this is the behavior of a narcissist. It seems like there’s a lot of that discussed on this site, but it’s really not surprising. People usually come here with problems that are “treatment resistant,” or in other words, problems that don’t respond to ordinary attempts to reach a resolution. Narcissism is a beast to deal with and a non-narcissist will never really get the solution they want–which is a straight forward relationship that is mutually respectful and considerate, devoid of head games. Nope, sorry. Not with a narcissist. There will always be headgames and “considerate” is the last thing a narcissist wants to be, but they’ll dwell on that word endlessly, claiming that they are and you aren’t. To end the madness, people who don’t wish to submit to the constant head games and humiliation tactics, end up concluding that the only way to make it stop is to get away from the narcissist and that means either covert avoidance or overt termination of the relationship. I think this will be brought to a head and you will be facing this choice eventually–the choice of getting this narcissistic woman out of your life for your own sanity. She’ll be playing power games between holidays, during holidays, while you’re just trying to live your life. She’s like Samara, she won’t stop.
So, what does that have to do with this wedding and the baby thing? Well, expect the power game. Don’t be surprised when she lies and makes agreements that she doesn’t follow through on. You now know that speaking directly to her doesn’t do much because she’ll just pretend to agree, the whole time planning on doing what she wants.
You have to prepare yourself for the eventuality of her showing up to the wedding and luncheon with the baby and even adding a lie that they did try to get the in-laws to watch the baby but her mil wasn’t feeling well or something ridiculous. What are you going to do?
You have a few choices and none of them are what you want.
1) tell your in-laws that you turned in the headcount to the restaurant minus sil and husband since they said they won’t attend without the baby and you respect their decision. The fighting and accusations will be endless and will likely damage your relationship with your in-laws. (They’ll blame you more than they’ll blame their own son. I know. I have a narcissist bil). This will likely lead to step two as she’ll pretend to agree to leave baby at home. See step two.
2) have the whole conversation again to try to get her to agree to attend without the baby. This is the definition of insanity as you’ve tried that multiple times and you’ve learned already that she can’t be trusted to keep her word. This will likely result in her pretending to agree but then showing up with the baby anyway with a triumphant expression like the cat that swallowed the canary. She’s been planning this for months. She’ll give a half baked excuse that her mil was going to watch the baby but then she wasn’t feeling well at the last minute blah blah.
3) anticipate her bringing the baby and know that your family will be insulted. Try to prepare your family in advance by telling them about your rude sil. Good luck with that. It comes off gossipy and they’re still left hurt that they couldn’t bring your siblings.
4) cave and lift the baby ban as well as the kid ban.
Your sil wins no matter what. If she stays home with the baby, she’ll cry martyr. If she brings the baby she’ll be smug about, you’ll be furious instead of enjoying the moment (she’ll know that and love every second of it) and your family will be offended.
is unfortunate, but kid-free weddings are usually a source of family strife. But with a narcissist, there will always be some cause for family strife. Your sil will see to it. I think a future relationship with your sil is doomed, so I wouldn’t invest too much energy in trying to salvage that. Don’t waste much energy in apologies to her ever for anything. She’ll eat them up and spit them back out at you.
I’ll say in finality, I don’t know if your vision of a kid-free, baby-free wedding day is worth the net cost. It’s your right, of course, and I’ve been clear that I think your sil is out of line. It’s my impression that she’s a raging sabotaging narcissist. I couldn’t have been more clear about my disapproval, as well as concern, for her behavior. But what do you get at the end of all of this? There’s going to be fallout from this that may last a long time, not just with your fiance’s family but with your own. I’m sorry your sil is a pathological jerk but I think this was a recipe for trouble from the beginning. Especially since some of the family being turned away are your own siblings, had you posted early on about your plans, I know that nearly everyone here, myself included, would have recommended that you reshape your vision to accommodate your siblings and your sil’s baby to avoid all of this strife. Particularly your siblings…. they’re going to remember being left at home instead of being allowed to attend their sister’s wedding. I think you may end up regretting that badly down the road. It’s your right, but I think you’re going to regret this for many reasons.
But I hope things turn out ok. Maybe by some miracle, sil’s baby won’t show up. Best wishes.