Anger and grief caus­ing rift

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - YOUR DAILY BREAK - An­nie Lane

DEAR AN­NIE >> Since I was a lit­tle girl, I’ve al­ways known I wanted to be a mother. Now, as a woman in her late 20s, and af­ter four failed em­bryo trans­fers through IVF, that dream seems less and less a re­al­ity. My hus­band and I shared our news of in­fer­til­ity with his sis­ter and her hus­band af­ter they had spo­ken with us about their own in­abil­ity to con­ceive.

A few months later they shocked us all with the news that they were preg­nant af­ter they stopped all fer­til­ity treat­ments and “quit try­ing.” I felt like I had been punched in the gut but man­aged to qui­etly con­grat­u­late them, and left in a panic. I fell apart that day. Of course, every­one whis­pered and won­dered why we left in such a hurry (and I think they told peo­ple). I was ab­so­lutely in­con­solable in my grief.

Why would they shock me with this news, know­ing what I have gone through? In front of every­one! Why would they not al­low me the grace to han­dle their news in pri­vate? Why would they be so cruel?

Fast-for­ward to a year and a half later, and our re­la­tion­ship re­mains in tat­ters. I’ve seen them all maybe once, avoided get­to­geth­ers and hol­i­days com­pletely. I’m very hurt and an­gry with them still. I’m an­gry be­cause they have dis­closed our pri­vate mat­ters with oth­ers and be­cause they sprang their news on me with com­plete dis­re­gard to my feel­ings.

I have gone through all the phases of grief and am now heal­ing on my own terms, but I feel that my re­la­tion­ship with my sis­ter-in-law and brother-in-law is ir­repara­ble. Should I let them in on why I have avoided them?

I’m sure they al­ready know but just don’t care enough about our re­la­tion­ship to at­tempt to make amends. I haven’t di­rectly ad­dressed the is­sue in fear of the re­sult­ing fam­ily drama that may en­sue, which would only ex­ac­er­bate my pain. I don’t know how I should ap­proach this prob­lem or if I should just leave it be and keep avoid­ing them like I’ve been do­ing. I sup­pose the an­swer lies in the ques­tion of how much I val­ued their re­la­tion­ship to be­gin with. I need an out­sider’s opin­ion.

— Bit­ter

DEAR BIT­TER >> It is com­pletely un­der­stand­able that you feel hurt, grief­stricken and jeal­ous when any­one, let alone your sis­ter-in-law and broth­erin-law, con­ceive a healthy baby. Go­ing through four rounds of failed IVF can be trau­matic, and you have to be kind to your­self. The way to do that is to be hon­est and open with your grief to your hus­band and a good ther­a­pist.

Al­though it seems in­sen­si­tive that your in­laws an­nounced their happy news in front of you and other peo­ple, en­ter­tain for a mo­ment that they were not think­ing about you at all. In fact, they were think­ing about how happy they were and wanted to share it with you — some­one they care for. Try to for­give their in­sen­si­tiv­ity. They don’t un­der­stand the pain and depths of your grief. The com­ment about how they just “quit try­ing” clearly struck you. If it were that easy, then a lot more peo­ple in this world would not be strug­gling with in­fer­til­ity. How­ever, per­haps it was meant to be a spark of hope rather than a stab to the heart.

Try to for­give them and re­al­ize that they did not hurt you in­ten­tion­ally. The de­ci­sion to let them in or avoid them is up to you. You have a nephew or niece that could ben­e­fit from all the love you have to give. But first, fo­cus on lov­ing your­self and keep­ing faith alive that you will be a mother one day.

My guess is that once you do that, you will have a much eas­ier time let­ting your fam­ily in again. Best of luck to you and your fam­ily.

“Ask Me Any­thing: A Year of Ad­vice From Dear An­nie” is out now! An­nie Lane’s de­but book — fea­tur­ing fa­vorite col­umns on love, friend­ship, fam­ily and eti­quette — is avail­able as a pa­per­back and e-book. Visit http:// www.cre­ator­spub­lish­ing. com for more in­for­ma­tion. Send your ques­tions for An­nie Lane to dear­an­[email protected]­ators.com.

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