At Arm's Length

Yesterday I realized that my SIL is due in a little over three months. And while I spent most of her pregnancy with Liam wallowing in self-pity and anger, this time around I’ve pretty much “ignored” the fact that she was once again pregnant. And I’m once again not.

Okay, so I haven’t completely ignored the fact that SIL is pregnant. Yes, we’ve talked a little about it, but mostly to see how her baby was doing. Because I know how difficult it was for her to go for so many tests, especially after she had found out that Liam would be born with some “imperfections.” So yeah … I’ve tried to be there if she needed me.

Thank God she hasn’t. Needed me, that is.

Yes I realize how incredibly odd that sounds. Probably a little cruel, if I’m being completely honest. But there really is reason behind it.

First of all, her baby is doing well. And thus far, there’s no need for concern over the possibility of any major health issues for her OR the baby. So “being there” as a shoulder to cry on or someone to vent to … as was necessary with her pregnancy with Liam … is not completely needed this time around.

And second of all, I’ve distanced myself purposefully for self-preservation. While I normally consider myself a kind person who is empathetic to most people’s individual situations, this time around I can’t be. Okay, so I do understand how scared my SIL probably is about this pregnancy, especially since it’s been just over a year since Liam was prematurely born. But I just can’t share those sentiments with her.

Because I’m not, nor will I ever be in the near future, pregnant.

Yes I could set aside that fact and just be 100% there for her. But as infertility is such a big huge ginormous part of who I am at this stage of my life, I simply just can’t let the sadness … the anxietythe anger of not being able to produce my own biological child go.

So keeping myself at arm’s length during my SIL’s pregnancy is the best thing I could do for her. Because I don’t want her to feel my sadness. And I don’t want her to feel my anger. Because, quite frankly, she doesn’t need to focus on any of those emotions except making sure she brings a healthy baby into this world. This time around.

And once her baby is here … just like her other children both past and present … I hope she knows that (s)he will be loved by me. Completely.

I just need to survive the pregnancy.

17 Replies to “At Arm's Length”

  1. Oh my gosh, I so understand where you are coming from. You can get through it, some days are going to be tougher than others. Know that you are cared about and hugs from me to you.
    – K

  2. I’m sure your SIL understands your position. I too have a SIL and will absolutely go into self pity mode when she announces a second pregnancy. Her daughter was conceived ‘accidently’ when we first started trying.

    And while I love my niece and will love any future nieces/nephews, it brings back painful feelings. Just hang in there.

    Best wishes

  3. I can completely relate to the way youre feeling right now. I find it very difficult to deal with others’ pregnancies. In fact, I’m ashamed to say that I have completely ignored the pregnancies of a few friends and family members. It’s just too much to deal with. And we do go into self-preservation mode for a reason.

    I know you will be a wonderful aunt. Just take care of yourself.

  4. I do the same thing. love the kids, can’t deal with the parents and the pregnancies, and all the baby events. it’s so hard.

  5. I admire your ability to be honest with your feelings about your SIL’s pregnancy. I can totally understand where you’re coming from. My youngest sister is pregnant with twins due mid August. I’m really happy and excited for her, but it does bring about feelings of “why not me?” Part of me is kind of relieved that I live 9 hours away because I would hate for her to see that this happy event is in some way making me feel a little sorry for myself. Anyway, I just wanted to say hang in there…

  6. You’ve written what is in my heart and mind. My SIL is pregnant with her 3rd child at the moment and though I wouldn’t want it any other way for her, I simply can’t share the joy or pain or worries she or my brother may have. I have had to distance myself too. Just really writing in solidarity.

  7. I think it’s perfectly reasonable and understandable. And really, your SIL needs to be able to find other people to support her.

    It’s ok to take the time. . ..

  8. Three months to go…you will make it! I think we all can completely understand what you’re going through. I don’t have any family members who are pregnant right now (thank God!), but many of my close friends are, and I feel the same way…hopefully once the pregnancy is over, I’ll be able to love on the kids without acting like a psycho infertile.

  9. Sometimes keeping that distance is all that keeps us sane. Some people say that we’re being “selfish” and only thinking of ourselves. Well, hell yeah, you’re thinking of yourself, but it isn’t selfish. It’s self-preservation, pure and simple.

    (Thank you for your kind words on my blog!)

  10. You’re going to be invaluable to the kid, but there’s nothing you could or should do about the pregnancy. So arm’s length sounds just about right to me.

    Good for you, for protecting and supporting yourself in this.

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