to feel jealous of sister-in-law's IVF success when I have my own dd's?

(145 Posts)
pheobepp Sat 10-Nov-12 21:30:20

I have two dd's. Both were conceived quickly and although pregnancy was hard, all is now good. Second dd is 5 weeks. Since before I became pregnant with first dd, my sister and her husband have been trying to become pregnant. Their first three rounds of IVF conicided with my pregnancies. They failed. I have just heard that their fourth attempt has been successful and sister is pregnant.

What I can't understand is my reaction. When I heard the news, I felt jealous and sad, even though I know that they will make wonderful parents and I have two beautiful dd's myself. The topic of their infertility has dominated all conversations for the past couple of years. My own Mum especially has talked about their struggle constantly. My sister hi-jacks conversations, unintentially, that I have with my parents and the topic of conversation always comes back to her - "when I have a child I will..." I admire her positive outlook because it has been a hard and gruelling couple of years but I feel that my own wonderful children have been overlooked because the focus has been on the negatives of their problems, rather than the positives of my experience. My Mum, even when she came to see my second dd for the first time, could only talk about sister's current round of IVF and did not stay for a long time as had to take sister to a medical appointment.

I am ashamed of my resonse. It is childish and petulant but I can not help feeling resentful. I feel that my own wonderful children have been overlooked and that sister's baby will be the "golden child." My parents funded their fourth round of IVF while my husband and I are struggling with decreased wages and high child care costs. I know that if the roles had been reversed, my mum would have done the same for me but I am dreading the next nine months as all I will ever, ever hear are pregnancy tales about my sister. I have heard it for years when I am with my Mum by herself, when we are all together as a family, and the only time I get respite from it is when I speak to my Dad because he is a typical man and doesn't pay attention to anything concerned with reproduction!!

Do you think I could still be suffering from baby blues from second dd's birth that is making me extra sensitive? I can't bear the thought of my sister's high maintenance pregnancy, but know she is just ecstatic to be pregnant. I am so, so pleased for her but when I think about the imediate future I feel sad and then I feel mad at myself for not truly sharing in their joy.

Jenny70 Sat 10-Nov-12 22:12:41

YABU You need to get a grip, even if it's because of baby hormones etc. You do not want to be where she is, having seen her own sister have 2 kids "easily" whilst having horrible medical intervention with nothing to show for it (previously).

The path to parenthood has been long and hard for your sister. She will be very anxious until the baby arrives (maybe even afterwards). Chances are it will be their only child.

Swallow the resentment, smile and be supportive. Save the baby stuff to pass to her. This will be your niece or nephew, and should bring the family closer.

Feelings are complicated, and not always rational, but when they aren't you need to toughen up and carry on in the best way possible.

Mylittlepuds Sat 10-Nov-12 22:17:19

Kilmuir - never had a thought you shouldn't? Calling OP horrid is horrid IMO.

MaMattoo Sat 10-Nov-12 22:18:51

It's the financial pressures, the emotional barriers, secretiveness and huge stresses that it places on relationships. The while shopping around dimension if it. IVF caused huge amounts of resentment, paranoia and physical pain for my friend and I guess she is just brave and persistent. It's not for everyone...

I don't think you are being 'horrid' - just human. Your post is very honest and reflects how complicated family relationships, motherhood and our emotional responses can be. You seem to totally 'get' how unreasonable you would be allow this to affect your behaviour towards your sister and so I think it's pretty healthy to acknowledge how you feel and think about why that might be.

galwaygirl Sat 10-Nov-12 22:24:28

As others have said yabu - think yourself lucky that you will never have to go through what your sister did and your only problem is jealousy.
Your sister will be so afraid to enjoy her pregnancy, terrified of something going wrong and the last thing she needs is to know that someone wishes it hadn't worked because that is effectively what you wanted by the sound of things.
Concentrate on how lucky you are to have had it so easy to get pregnant and have a family.

MistressIggi Sat 10-Nov-12 22:27:09

Maybe it is more how the mother is treating the OP's children that hurts. She needs to tread a line between celebrating with one daughter, whilst supporting the other to get pregnant. Maybe she hasn't done that too well.
I'm finding it odd the title says SIL, could OP clarify?

Sorry op but you know you're being unreasonable

pop over to the conception and infertility topics for a snapshot of the years of suffering and anguish your sister went through.

Why would your sister's pregnancy necessarily be 'high maintenance'? She might breeze through it. She might have a dreadful time physically and emotionally, adjusting to this new reality.

You're very hormonal and have been through massive upheaval yourself recently so I'm not being harsh with you. But you need to be more grateful for your beautiful, much loved, easily won daughters.

Viviennemary Sat 10-Nov-12 22:30:27

At first I thought hmm yes YABU. But could it be because you think her children will be more precious because they have tried so hard and waited so long for them. And all this has dominated the family interest. These feelings hopefully will go away. And I don't think you should mention them to your family. And let's face it feelings aren't always reasonable!

EugenesAxe Sat 10-Nov-12 22:34:15

I don't think you should have a hard time about your feelings to be honest. Sometimes you can think things that make you cringe but they keep coming, until you give yourself an internal slap round the face.

I would talk to your DM actually. It might present a different insight, such as how your sister really felt about your ease of conception. If you are honest - and I agree that baby blues are probably heavily influencing your reaction - and tell her your worries about how your children will be treated next to the 'miracle', or say that it's felt as if sometimes your children mean little in the face of your sister's troubles, you will probably be given a lot of love and reassurance. If you aren't then come back here and we can help you instead.

DontmindifIdo Sat 10-Nov-12 22:37:08

OP- i can kind of see where you are coming from, if you've felt that your sister's fertility problems have overshadowed your DDs, now she's pregnant, there'll be nothing overshadowing her DC's birth, so you will have felt you had to temper your excitment while now that she finally is pregnant, she'll be entitled to be as excited as any expectant mother/new mother should be with nothing to be 'thoughtful' about.

I think you aren't jealous of the baby or the pregnancy, but more her and the wider family's ability to enjoy it without thinking about someone else who's hurt by this news.

if you always felt that her fertility issue was the family focus when you were pregnant then you did miss out to a certain extent, I guess your parents weren't has happy as they otherwise would be (as your easy pregnancies would highlight even more to them their other DD's pain).

I would suggest you focus on your small family unit, if need be, pull away from your family a little and spend time with your ILs who don't have this other "new and more exciting" news and can focus just on the joy your new DD brings to their family. Hopefully that excitment will make up for it.

RubyrooUK Sat 10-Nov-12 22:42:45

I think you feel how you feel. You've only recently had a new baby and want your family to focus on her. Meanwhile they seem to be focusing on your sister's IVF and now successful pregnancy.

But as someone said, have a little wallow and get over it. It is natural for parents (ie your mum) to focus on sorting out problems for their children. Your mum probably feels that your sister has been through hell for the last few years and you are the lucky one.

That doesn't mean she loves you (or your babies) any less. It just means that your sister has needed more mental energy and support, both emotional and financial.

When I was trying to have DS1, for three long years, I was obsessed by it. It dominated my life. I wanted to kill myself when my best friends got pregnant. That is awful but true - infertility does this to you.

I felt like my life had stopped in its tracks. I would have found it very hard to deal with a sister having two children easily.

Added to this, my pregnancy with DS1 after fertility treatment was 100% different to this one, with DS2, miraculously naturally conceived. The drugs etc took a terrible toll on my moods, body and everything - this time, just being pregnant has been a pleasure. So fertility treatment itself feels pretty shitty even when you get a success.

Hopefully OP, this will let your sister open herself up and be a better aunt. And give your mum more time to focus on your family. Rather than being on her guard the whole time, she can feel more normal as the pregnancy goes on, chat to you about pregnancy and baby stuff as she has probably hoped to.

Don't feel bad about your reaction. Infertility is awful because it makes everyone feel guilty. You feel guilty for feeling it has made your sister favoured above you and your family. Your sister probably feels guilty about a million things. And your mum probably feels she can't express too much joy about your DDs in case she cuts your sister's heart out.

Be kind to yourself OP. And your sister and mum. Have a wallow because you are tired and fed up, then try to think of all the reasons this is a good thing. For you all.

FreePeaceSweet Sat 10-Nov-12 22:47:56

Yabu. However I admire your honesty. I'm sure you'll be a loving and supportive aunt. Don't be too hard on yourself and look after your sister. No one is in a better position to be there for her.

yousankmybattleship Sat 10-Nov-12 22:51:12

You may feel this way, but it is not nice and not fair on your poor SIL who has been through so much and you have to get over it. You are probably a bit hormonal and over tired. Hopefully you will look back on this and realise how selfish and immature you sound when you express these felings.

blackeyedsusan Sat 10-Nov-12 22:51:31

I feel really sorry for your sister and all the trouble she has gone through to get pregnant. it seems this trouble has also cast a long shaddow over your pregnancies. they have not been celebrated with unreserved joy... because it would be hard on your sister. you have lost out here too... an unnoticed consequence of your sisters difficulties so it is natural that it is all bitter sweet. if only she had conceived ages ago.. then your pregnancies could have been fully celebrated.. these feelings are natural, though not something you could share easily without risking misunderstanding.

i hope it works out for your sister, and thus makes it easier for all your family and you.

ticktockcroc Sat 10-Nov-12 22:57:01

I think the most helpful thing would be to concentrate on how to make you feel better about all this, rather than discussing the ins and outs of how you feel and whether that's right or not.

You feel how you feel, and if you don't like it try to have a think about how you can change it.

Could you try to throw yourself into the excitement of her new baby? It may feel forced at first but I think if you can feel a part of it you won't feel so left out in the cold, maybe? A kind of a 'if you can't beat em join em' thing? Maybe feel a bit of her excitement, chat to her about names, offer her maternity clothes. I think maybe if you fake the excitement at first some of it will come naturally. Because ultimately you love her and you know you are happy for her.

EugenesAxe Sat 10-Nov-12 22:58:16

Actually, I think your DSis will have a bit of an eye-opener once DN is here, about your life. I think I can see that to someone undergoing IVF, conception will for a time be the be-all-end-all hardship about being a parent. The child will be so desired, the parents may be blind to the many tough realities of being a parent that everyone goes through. She may have not noticed things you've had to bear because your conception experience was perfect.

It sounds a bit as though you had to suck up a lot of your troubles in the past, and now the conception barrier has lifted your DM will be free to give your DSis a lot of the support you would have appreciated during pregnancy/early days, and that is what's making you feel hard done by.

I think it will pass.

yousankmybattleship Sat 10-Nov-12 23:03:00

Eugene - as a parent to three IVF children I find your comments incredibly insulting. Yes, I struggled for many many years to conceive but I was always focussed on the children I wanted, not on the conception. I have never been shocked by the realities of having children. I assume you have not been though IVF, so please do not make assumptions about those of us who have.

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Sat 10-Nov-12 23:05:38

As others have said, you can't help how you feel, and it is likely that you are feeling more sensitive than you would if you didn't have two very small children.

You know it's not very kind of you to be feeling the way you do, and I think you need to understand why you are in this position. Your parents have focused on your sister because they have felt that she needed their limited attention more than you did at this particular time in your lives. I'm sure most parents would naturally feel they have to support the daughter that is gong through the stress and upset of IVF more than the one that is going through the difficulty but also happiness that goes along with having babies.

Spinaroo Sat 10-Nov-12 23:07:26

Yanbu to have these feelings. you are only five weeks post birth and you probably miss being pregnant a bit as there is all the build up and excitement and now you probably are feeling just the hard slog of it. so you may well just be jealous of that sense of anticipation everyone will have again. Recently my sil and someone I know form school became pregnant and although my first action was good god, no, I could never do that again, I occasionally get a wee pang of something when I remember the excitement of pregnancy and the joy of a wee bundle. Don't beat yourself up over it. You will soon forget it ever happened.

Iceaddict Sat 10-Nov-12 23:12:59

I'm sure you don't mean to feel like this and you're v brave for saying you do. You'll have to let it go though. Turn your attentions to your own Dcs and giving your sister the guidance and support she needs, after all you now having something else to share with each other. I'd have loved my dsis to have similar aged children to mine, so we could share similar experience. Focus on the good times to come

MistressIggi Sat 10-Nov-12 23:16:17

Yousank - I was shocked by the realities of having children, I don't think that's an insulting thing to say! When you have difficulty having a baby (I speak as a recurrent miscarrier) getting through conception to due date is the focus, and others concerns about sleepless nights or toddler tantrums etc seem both trivial and a luxury. Once you are dealing with the toddler tantrums, they take on a new importance to you! I still think the mother was wrong to not have a first visit with dgd that was focused entirely on her.

Musomathsci Sat 10-Nov-12 23:19:24

You feel how you feel, and it is very hard when added to your feelings of sadness, jealousy etc there is a layer of guilt and 'I shouldn't be feeling this way'. Unfortunately, tempting though it might be to share those feelings with your family, I think you risk doing terrible damage to your relationships, and may regret doing so in the future. It's natural enough for your sister's difficulties to have dominated your mother's mental horizon for a long time, and surely in time, this will right itself, once the baby is safely born, because the issues will no longer exist.
Are some of these feelings echoes of childhood resentments? I find my relationship with my sibling very easily drifts back into old patterns of behaviour when we are together with our parents..

CointreauVersial Sat 10-Nov-12 23:25:00

YABU, and you know it, but I understand how you feel.

I was in your shoes exactly. I love my DSis to death, but there is naturally a smidgin of competition between us. But I was the one popping out children with ease, while my DSis was having problems - hey, there was something I could do better than her, ha, ha......then she conceived twins through IVF. Suddenly my "special" place in the family as the celebrated provider of the next generation was in jeopardy, and I have to confess to a few twinges of jealousy......I was ashamed to feel that way, but it passed quickly, largely because my Dsis is so lovely, and it turned out to be so wonderful having new babies in the family, cousins for my DCs, and so on.

Once the excitement of pregnancy and childbirth dies away you know it will be lovely for her children and yours to grow up together, and any sense of "inferiority" will vanish, I promise you. Our children are equals within the family.

You are being honest in confronting your feelings, but it will pass.

B1ueberryMuffin Sat 10-Nov-12 23:29:56

I'm glad to see you haven't torn apart here. I know I had a weird feeling on hearing of a friend's pregnancy a few years back and it surprised me too. I thought, of course, you will be a mother too, as well as having the lovely husband, rewarding job, better half marathon time! I could go on....

Having a five week old baby is a tough time, and it's your second baby so you're probably running on empty. You know your reaction is wrong so there's no point telling you that. Maybe it's because you feel that your identity as the new young mother amongst the family will be taken now. Maybe if you are feeling low you've lost sight of your old identity, the real you, not just the mother-you and to now even that is going to be taken. You'll be the old hand, not the new mother.

B1ueberryMuffin Sat 10-Nov-12 23:33:57

Did you go through your pregnancies playing it all down? trying not to be too happy? constantly worrying that your words actions existence might upset your sister??

and now you know that your sister's pregnancy and the arrival of her child will be trumpeted with joy from the roof tops??

I think if that's why you are a little unsettled it's not unreasonable. You're jealous that her joy doesn't have to be tempered to spare your feelings.

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