Friday, January 16, 2009

"My sister is pregnant.. HELP!"

Question: I am not sure where to start or what really to ask, except thank you for sharing your seems to mirror exactly what my sister and I are going through right now.

My husband and I are struggling with infertility. My sister and husband are due soon. We have been trying for 2 years and they got pg right off the pill. They struggle with finances and we are fine.

I try very hard to be sincerely happy for them, and I am, however I can't seem to ask any questions. They just had an ultrasound and I do not want to see the pictures. I can't really ask any questions regarding the baby. I just don't know how to support her in my "fertility depression". My sister has expressed to me how difficult it is to ask or not ask about me. But also what she should say or not say regarding the baby. How did you two get through it?

The other hard thing is...... I really struggle with the baby's arrival date. I really don't want to be there b/c it will remind me/us of the fact that we can't have a baby right now. How sad is that? I do ask for God's help. Did you two live close to each other?

My final question is... how did your parents handle the delicate situation?

This one’s just from Rachel:

First off I’m so sorry that you have to have a situation so close to home that makes you ache. It was hard to deal with friends getting pregnant, but having my sister, my very best friend be pregnant was the hardest. Mostly because I hated who infertility made me, and I hated that I couldn’t be the sister I wanted to be for her. And I feared what it would do to our relationship. (But praise God he only made it stronger in the end!)

As far as asking her questions about her pregnancy, I’ve written about this more in detail in the post below, but try to ask what you can when you can. I found the few times I could step out of my selfishness to ask about a person I loved about what they were going through, was very healing for me. But if you can’t ever, then just pray your sister won’t hold it against you and she’ll forgive you.

I do believe there are times you need to protect your heart and take care of yourself. But I also know that you going through this is much harder on your family than you probably even know. It feels like it only hurts us, the childless one, but that’s not always the case. So try to open up to them and include them when you can. Even if it’s hard.

Also, while I’m sure she would love to share this time with you, I would also guess she sees where you’re coming from.

If this is your first niece/nephew, you probably don’t know yet what it feels like to be an aunt. But when my sister first had a baby, I felt like I had a baby!! Her kids felt so much like mine I didn’t know how to leave them at night to go home! So that was one thing I could carry with me through her pregnancies, no matter how much seeing her pregnant hurt, I KNEW without a doubt I would love her baby like he was mine. And I have! Every single one of them!

So as the due date comes, and you’re still struggling, try to hold on to the hope that your love for this baby will help take some of that pain away. I obviously can’t promise that, but it’s what happened for me. And I’ll be praying the same will happen for you.

About the financial aspect. I feel it necessary to touch on this statement. For years and years I judged my sister and their financial decisions. I always felt my husband and I made better decisions and because of that we had more money. And because we had more money we deserved to be the ones procreating, not them!

But the truth is weather I was right or wrong (and I of course was wrong in my thinking) it’s NEVER our place to judge each other. End of story. I had to remind myself of that time and time again. So the very fact that you mentioned it, leads me to believe you’re struggling with it. But the truth is, unless they need your help to survive financially, it’s really none of your business and certainly not your place to judge. I don’t in any way mean that to sound harsh! I’m simply telling you the things I had to tell myself in order to move past being in that judgmental place towards them and their finances.

And the truth is my sister and her husband had A LOT of unfortunate things happen to them that caused them to be in a different place financially. And my husband and I seemed to be blessed over and over in that department. So while we had plenty of money (emphasize HAD, we no longer do!J), we were infertile, but they were lacking in money (also emphasize were, they’re no longer in the same position) they had plenty of kids. So we both struggled with each other in those areas.

About being at the hospital or not. If you simply can’t be there then don’t be there. HOWEVER just remember that you will most likely want your sister there for you in all aspects when you finally are able to have a baby of your own. And sometimes it’s more important to put aside our selfishness for other people and for the good of a relationship.

I’m not telling you what to do, and I can’t possibly know what’s best in your relationship, but I do know that as much as infertility feels like “it’s all about us”. It’s not. Life still goes on for other people (as much as this hurts us!), and this is a joyous time in your sister’s life. And if you two are close like my sister and I are, no matter how much pain I was in, I wasn’t willing to let infertility and my own hurts come between us.

(Also, to answer the question, my sister and I lived about 40 minutes apart and saw each other usually once a week, if not more and spoke usually 5-20 times a day! lol..)

Also as your sister’s due date is coming up, please remember being a new mom might not be perfect for her as it is in our “fairy tales”. Don’t get me wrong, it’s amazing, but it’s not always easy. For instance, she might struggle with PPD, or the baby blues, or just being overwhelmed. I encourage you to pray about having Grace for her through those things if she experiences them.

As someone who desperately wants to have a baby it’s easy to say and feel that others don’t have any right to complain, about anything, as long as they have a baby. But the truth is - being a new mom is hard and dealing with those hormones are yucky, and she might need you to be there for her, and if she does and you’re willing, you’ll need A LOT of Grace to be with her through that time.

As for the final question on how our families dealt with the situation, our mom has typed up something for you.

Your question is “how did we handle the delicate situation?” I’m not sure exactly what you are asking so I may not give you what you’re looking for but I will share as honestly as I can. You do sound like you are really trying to work through this and I hope your sister is too.

We truly believed God was in what was happening in Rachel and Joey’s life. That gave us hope that no matter what - it would be ok in the end. It wasn’t easy to watch and we had no idea how long they would have to wait but we also believed that no matter what they would have a child someday. No one was sick and no one was dying. We had a lot to be grateful for and we were.

It was however very difficult to watch Rachel’s struggle, affect her relationship with family members. Melissa had incredible unconditional love for her sister and without that I’m not sure where their relationship would be today. I know that love was a direct result from her going to God time and time again for the grace she needed to understand not so much what Rachel was going thru but how she was going through it.

We knew how Melissa felt and she accepted our support but Rachel didn’t seem to want that from us. She seemed to accept support from other “infertiles” as she would refer to other childless women and this hurt us. She was our child – the very thing she wanted in life – is what she was to us and yet she could not seem to accept our support. It was as if anyone going thru infertility automatically became her friend and we felt like we were on the outside. We did however have faith in Rachel and we believed she would allow God to work in her life to give her peace some day and she did.

I hope you continue to go to God with your hurts and fears and little by little trust that He will meet all your needs.



Kristin said...

Beautifully shared - both of you. Thanks so much!!

nellie said...

Oh my. My sister could have been the one to ask that question word for word. Thanks for sharing your answers... it helps me to understand a bit more where she is coming from since our communication on the topic has pretty much come to a hault.

Thank you.

maw82 said...

WOW! So amazing! My husband and I have been ttc for over 3 yrs now and well I have PCOS and so i am on alot of fertility meds! Well I got pregnant twice now and miscarried both! But my younger brother got his 18 yr old g/f pregnant and both are not saved, live with my parents well you get the point!! That so killed Blake and I. I just couldn't believe that this is happening to me!!! Its still hard now even tho the baby has nothing to do with their mistakes and for the longest time I couldn't even talk to them it hurt me so bad!!!! I am so glad you shared your wonderful story!!! Maybe you all can help me get thru this ruff road!!!

beth ewing said...

i'm pretty sure all of us going through infertility can relate in some way to this post. it might not be a sister in my case (as i don't have one) but i feel that way about all of my friends that pop up pregnant every day. so thanks for addressing this question.