Pregnancy Tension Between Sisters-in-Law
My sister-in-law and I are great friends. We live near one another and spend a lot of time together, even when our husbands are not around. I just learned that she is pregnant and although her pregnancy isn't really a surprise, she doesn't know that I have been trying to get pregnant for more than a year. My husband and I have started working with a fertility clinic, but it’s not something I want to talk about yet. She wants to talk about everything, though, and it's making it hard to be around her. Yes, I am jealous, but I’m also sad and pretty irritated that she is so clueless. What can I do?
–Don’t Wanna Talk About It
Dear Don’t: I am so sorry you have to manage the stress of fertility treatments plus the very-human cocktail of jealousy and anger you describe. I’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating that there’s little point in pretending you don’t have these feelings. We don’t talk ourselves out of our feelings – we can talk ourselves out of acting on them, but the feelings get to stay.
The trouble with your letter is that you are suffering a deep disappointment, but also expecting Sister-in-Law to read your mind. She’s not “clueless,” she’s being kept in the dark. You get to have all the information and she gets judged for not being more sensitive. That’s not fair. If you are the great friends you say you are, I would hope that you could trust her enough to bring her in on all you are facing. There is a middle space between fawning over her good news and acknowledging your own pain – that’s where real friendships are born.
But if the time still is not right to disclose your information, then you will have to decide how to manage your frustrations on your own. That could mean avoiding her altogether, risking long-term damage to your relationship, or putting on a happy face when you are together, which could be seen as fake and confusing to others. In any event, lay off the name-calling before you actually give her the chance to show up and be the support you really might need.