Help me understand infertility

posted 3 months ago in Pregnancy
Post # 2
Member
514 posts
Busy bee

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sarahvans :  I am SO sorry she treated you poorly. Being emotional about her own infertility is absolutely no excuse for her behavior. I think you should confront her about it and tell her how much it hurt you. Hopefully, she will take the opportinity to apologize to you and you both can move forward. But as far as I am concerned, the ball is completely in your court about how YOU want to frame your relationship with her.

Post # 3
Member
3188 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

Infertility sucks. It sucks big time and unexplained infertility is the worst because there is nothing to ‘treat’. 

Tbh, you should have told them privately and in person not via your in laws, that was a misstep on your part. 

You recognise that her lashing out was because she was in pain and that’s true. While it’s no excuse for bad behaviour her pain was very real and very raw. Even the best of us get jealous around pregnancy when we can’t have and sometimes that is hard to hide. For our own sanity we have to distance ourselves from pregnancy. 

for me the pain was ‘why can’t my body do this’ it’s the most natural thing in the world but my body couldn’t do it. I saw people who were less healthy than me manage two babies in the time I was trying to get one.

all this said, her own pregnancy has taken away that pain. Now she can be happy for you and excited because her pain has gone.

please don’t hold her pass behaviour against her. Take her kindness and realise it was nothing personal

Post # 4
Member
1288 posts
Bumble bee

Infertility can make you kinda lose your mind, and the bitterness is real. However, that’s no excuse for the way she treated you, especially given it seems you went out of your way to be very sensitive toward her struggle (which is awesome of you!).

I’m not sure what the best path forward would be, but if it were me I’d be tempted to just have a candid discussion with her to clear the air. Maybe tell her that you feel hurt over some of the things she said to you and are feeling a bit disoriented now that she is acting normal again. Tell her you understand she was having a hard time due to infertility, and that you’re so happy she’s finally pregnant, but you’re just having trouble putting the past behind you without addressing it directly. Maybe she will surprise you with how she responds?

Post # 5
Member
8770 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

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sarahvans :  you need to have a heart to heart. We struggled with infertility so I know the pain, but that doesn’t excuse her behavior. If she can’t admit that she was jealous and acted poorly then you have to decide if you’re going to be able to be the bigger person and let it be water under the bridge. But you also need to apologize for being passive aggressive and acting poorly. Rather than treat her as you would have liked to be treated you threw her behavior back in her face and gave her a taste of her own medicine. 

Post # 6
Member
125 posts
Blushing bee

Infertlity just like any medical condition is absolutely no justification to be a bitch.. and in grand scheme of things two years isnt forever either when you come on these boards and see women who are on year 5 with multiple failed IVF cycles.

Ive had many friends have infertility issues and while some avoided baby showers or baby talk absolutely none of them treated their pregnant siblings friends or family with anything but kindness.

If I were in your shoes I would be civil.. certainly not behave like she did but until i received a full in person apology I would not be playing besties.

 

 

Post # 7
Member
8770 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

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supertrooper01 :  Infertlity just like any medical condition is absolutely no justification to be a bitch.. and in grand scheme of things two years isnt forever 

I’m guessing you didn’t struggle with infertility? In hindsight two years isn’t that long but when you are in it and living it then it’s an eternity. It still doesn’t excuse her behavior but let’s not belittle her feelings. Those two years were hard. And just because some women have it worse doesn’t make it less hard for her.

Post # 8
Member
4594 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

What she said was innapropriate and mean. However, I cannot even tell you realistically how much it hurts to watch someone else get pregnant easily when you have spent years putting yourself through hell and not succeeding. You cannot imagine the pain.

That doesn’t give her a pass to mistreat you. It does sound like maybe she was trying to convince herself that pregnancy isn’t something to desire so it hurt less. She was wrong, but if you can find it in you to be compassionate, I’d give her the benefit of the doubt and give her another chance. (Unless she’s treated you badly other times, as well.)

Tip for other bees who might lurk in here – If you know a friend or family member is struggling with infertility, it’s kindest to tell them your big news privately and from a little bit of a distance (e.g., phone call), so they have time to get over the immediate grief before they have to act all happy and smiley around others (e.g., parents, in-laws, etc.). 

 

Post # 9
Member
1545 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2018

I would be honest with her and tell her a lot of the things you told us. She may not even realize how awful she was being. Give her an opportunity to apologize and see if you guys can clear the air. 

Post # 10
Member
1952 posts
Buzzing bee

Editing to add: This is my personal view and experience on infertility. I hope someone else chimes in to share their point of view as well! 

It’s really hard to explain infertility to someone who has never even come close to experiencing. For all the responses that you get, I ask that you keep a very open mind and try your best to understand. This is going to be a long post, but it has to be in order to explain this to the best of my ability.

I experienced secondary infertility – I got pregnant easily, but I had recurrent miscarriages. I had 4 miscarriages in less than a year. This was the hardest thing I have ever had to go through and I hit complete rock bottom because of it. It was the darkest place I have ever been in my life, and even though I am pregnant now and it seems to be going well, I’m not over it. It’s basically like a form of PTSD, and I don’t want to throw that term around lightly.

This is a lighter analogy, but some of my friends understood better when I explained it this way. Think about how valentine’s day gets treated sometimes by people who are single and desperately want to be in a relationship. Of course I can’t speak for everyone, so forgive the generalization, but I’ve known many people who absolutely HATED valentine’s day while they were single. It reminded them of everything they wanted so desperately to have, and it was shoved in their face. As soon as they find a partner, suddenly valentine’s day is a fun day to celebrate and it’s a complete 180 in an instant.

Your SIL went through something that was completely draining on her. Every single day for YEARS she was quietly suffering. Even if she seemed open about it and willing to talk about it, I bet you she was completely shattered on the inside. When you’re in that kind of situation and someone close to you just magically gets what you want while you’re suffering beyond belief, it’s REALLY hard to just be cheerful and act normal.

My SIL (same as you, husband’s brother’s wife) had her first baby easily. The month after her baby was born we started trying to conceive and had miscarriage after miscarriage. When she told me a year later that they were going to try for baby #2 and I STILL wasn’t pregnant, that was when I hit rock bottom. I was thanking the heavens that they live two hours away and I wouldn’t have to see them. I WAS happy for her. I would never wish my trauma on ANYONE, but I feel into a VERY dark place. I’m going to get real here: I went to therapy after one day thinking to myself that part of me wanted her to experience a miscarriage so that she knew what it felt like. That was NOT me talking. Like I said, I would never wish that on anyone, but my depression about MY situation completely consumed me. My BIGGEST fear was that one day she would announce to me she was pregnant with baby #2 while I was still broken and baby-less.

Infertility is VERY lonely. I can’t even explain how hollow it makes you feel. People try to give you advice, and they try to fix it and they want to help and understand, but at the end of the day no one really does unless they’ve been there too. So you’re just left completely alone.

Your SIL seemed harsh to you, yes, but please try to recognize that it was completely in self defense. Even if you weren’t throwing your pregnancy in her face. You were very respectful about it, which I’m sure she appreciates, but it was still there. She still knew. It was one more person getting what she so desperately wanted, while she was still out in the cold and feeling SO alone. I’m positive she wasn’t mad at you, and she didn’t want to hurt you, but her own inner demons were just so strong and she needed to do whatever she could to preserve her sanity. 

Now that she is pregnant, she must still be feeling incredible anxiety, relief, fear. So many emotions come with being pregnant after infertility, and that baggage doesn’t just magically go away. But now that she IS pregnant it’s probably much easier for her to try to connect with you and she just wants to move past all of the hurt she went through.

While she hurt you with some rude comments, the pain that she went through going through infertility cannot compare. She needs your support now that she’s in a place where she’s ready to take it. She finally is ready to enjoy valentine’s day because now she can. 

You say you’ve seen a side of her you can’t unsee, but just try to remember – it wasn’t her making hurtful comments. You weren’t seeing who she really is and she was not herself. You were seeing her darkest demons and her years of pain coming out. She was being ruled by a truly awful fate that was completely out of her control.

I hope you can get past the hurtful comments she made to you so that you can support her and so that your children can be cousins that grow up together.

Post # 11
Member
4594 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

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LilliV :  Seconded. I am one of those 5+ years women 
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supertrooper01 : mentioned and the first two years were almost harder because you go into TTC and later, IF treatment, with so much hope and optimism. It takes time to learn to cope with disappointment after disappointment (plus your hormones are a mess).

Post # 12
Member
376 posts
Helper bee

i think you need to clear the air with her.  she’s your sister in law, not some random relationship that could fade away.  you’re going to be seeing her for the rest of your life.

i’d just say that while you are very excited for her, you were very hurt by the way she treated you when you announced your pregnancy.  hopefully she can acknowledge that her comments were made from bitterness and resentment and ask for your forgiveness, and move forward from there.

Post # 13
Member
1288 posts
Bumble bee

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hopfenn :  Thank you for sharing your story – this is really good insight. It is making me actually rethink my original advice (that OP should talk to SIL about her hurt feelings). I think if the relationship between the two was nothing but positive before all of this, then OP should actually try to take the high road and give SIL the benefit of the doubt here, and not dredge up the past.

Congrats on your pregnancy btw!!

Post # 14
Member
1129 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2017

I could have written this. We had the exact same scenario. When we decided to TTC my SIL had also been trying for 2 years with no luck and we knew that. I got pregnant on the first try too. However, she was actually happy for us. Our son is now 10 months old and SIL unfortunately still hasn’t gotten pregnant, even with two rounds of IVF. Other people in the family have gone on to have 2nd babies since she’s started trying. And guess who is always happy for them? SIL. Infertility is not an excuse to treat others poorly. She’s a grown woman who should know what is and is not appropriate. You have feelings too, not just her. 

 

Im not saying don’t forgive her. Just do it in your own time. And I’m sure it’s going to take time. You don’t owe her anything 

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