Yesterday got off to a very bad start thanks to my youngest sibling -- my sister. She really knows how to blow a hole in someone's day, and hurt their heart forever.
Before I begin my story of yesterday, I have to recap the story from nearly three years ago, when she announced her first pregnancy. She shared with me in person at the the time that she was expecting her first. I wasn't expecting the news, so I guess I wasn't reacting as she thought I should. Then she shared that the baby would be due around March 7. Before I could zip my lip, the thought escaped as words from my mouth: "Well, I hope it isn't born on March 7." That day is sacred to me, as it's the boys' angelversary. Her face crumpled, and I knew I shouldn't have said it. She snapped off a reply to me that indicated her displeasure with the statement. We fumbled through conversation after that.
In the months following, things got worse. She was thoroughly po'd at me me because I hadn't done cartwheels over her pregnancy. She said some horribly nasty things to me when I called her one evening to give her some perspective and insight about why I wasn't reacting the way she thought I would. That didn't go well. The distance between us widened. Then my mom stuck her nose in -- essentially berating me for not being supportive, etc., etc.
Then my sister found out she was having a boy. Double knife to the heart for me. She texted to tell me this. I said congratulations. To minimize friction, I faded into the background.
Then at 34 weeks, she went into full labor. My mom called to tell me -- saying "she's 34 weeks. Everything is completely fine." Umm, no it's not. 34 weeks is not fine. I was nervous for her and the baby. Somehow, his due date was miscalculated. Although early, he was far bigger than they thought, and although he was a bit jaundiced, he was fine. She and that baby were very lucky.
I didn't go see her at the hospital. My mom and my sister beat me up over that. Thankfully, my brother had the good sense to stay out of it.
I had a hard time being around her baby when he was born. The air in the room would leave, and I couldn't stand to watch everyone fawning over him, loving on him -- the one thing I had yanked away from me. A baby boy.
The baby began growing up -- and I relaxed. I became (and am) the doting aunt. I love that that little boy -- who will is nearly 2 1/2. My family didn't seem to understand that it would take me time to warm up to him. And I have. He's fun and lovable -- and for some reason, seems quite fond of me. Maybe there's a reason for that.
So that history brings me to yesterday. My sister TEXTED me to tell me she is pregnant again. But that wasn't all. Here is the full conversation. M is for me; S is for sister.
S: Feel like I should probably tell you that C and I are expecting again. I'm 14 weeks. Feel like this is the best way for me to tell u. Don't know when I will see you and may be showing. Main reason being, though, given your past reaction with H, I can't handle that again. I'm happy and don't want anyone to make me feel like I shouldn't be.
M: Well, congratulations to all three of you. H will be a great big bro. The rest of what you said was unnecessary and again hurtful. Hope the pregnancy progresses well for you.
S: Thank you. But seriously Erin! Think back to how you made me feel through all that and how you reacted. You acted like and looked like you were completely devastated when I told you before. YOU HURT ME bc u never acted even a little bit happy for me. I'm being honest and that's just how it is. I haven't gotten over that and it's hard for me to even share bc I'm afraid of your reaction. This is about me and I'm doing what I need to do to shield myself. Don't shoot me for being honest with you. Your own admitted feelings before were pregnancy just freaks you out so put yourself in my shoes.
M: I'm not going to do this over text. But I will say this to you. I hope that you never experience a loss because it has forever changed me in ways you will never understand. I have never gotten over the downright hurtful things you said to me, so perhaps it is best if I just stay to myself as I did before. I am a disappointment to you as a big sister, and I am sorry.
S: Whatever Erin, I'm done. I appreciate that you have lost but so tired of it always being about you. This is my experience not yours. Keep to yourself if that's what you want. I can't f'in believe you are bringing hurtful things I said to you! You never take credit for how you made me feel. Tired of walking on eggshells with you so do what you need to do.
Re-reading and typing it out still gets me. This is my baby sister! I'm still in shock that she completely went off the rails like this. I tried so hard to take the high road, and I think it's kind of obvious in my texts back to her. In hindsight, I probably should have just said "if you want to talk, then pick up the phone."
I am amazed at how immature she still is at 31. And my plan was, at some point, to truly bury those hurt feelings by talking through them. And for her to tell me how dare I bring up the things she said? Well -- when she tells me that I should have been over my loss already (of my kids!!); that when dad died, she had to make a decision to stop being sad and I should do the same; that she knew plenty of folks who had lost babies, and none of them reacted as I did; etc, etc. My blood boils thinking about it.
What irks me, besides the immaturity of the texts, is that she misconstrues the "Erin making it about Erin." I attempted, three years ago, to share with her some insight and perspective to help her understand, on some level, why I reacted/didn't react/said/didn't say things. I never made it about me, but that's what she thinks. She is set on her position, and there is no changing it.
I am very hurt that she approached things like this. At the very least -- if she didn't want to tell me in person -- then BE AN ADULT AND PICK UP THE PHONE! But no, the announcement of another child was along the lines of "by the way, I'm headed out of town for the weekend." Instead, she jumped to conclusion about what my reaction would be this time around -- and now she has dredged up old feelings and started something only she can fix. And to be honest -- I don't see her being willing to fix it. And guess who will be the bad guy again? That's right -- me.
So sick of this crap. I'm reliving 2014 -- when it didn't have to be this way. Makes me thankful I live 1 1/2 hours away from her so I don't have to deal with it. Problem is -- it puts my mom in the middle, and she's the one to suffer because of the war my sister just reignited.
I already feel like an outsider when I'm around my siblings. They are close. I'm on the outside looking in. And now here I am, drawn into something that should have never happened.
Oh Erin, I am sending you huge hugs right now!!! I think you might remember that I am living a very similar scenario with my own sister. Urgh. I support you no matter what has been said or written. She should have called you and told you the news. I am not big on texting. She should not have assumed your reaction either. You have forced yourself to be in so many situations for the good of the family. That takes a lot of guts! It is like she does not acknowledge the effort you have made to keep a relationship going. I am glad that you have made a connection with your nephew. If only they could stand in our shoes for a minute, they would see and feel things so differently . . .
I am in a similar boat, but I am staying afloat! Mine is not expecting or at least I do not think she is having anymore. I actually would not know because I have not seen nor spoken to her in 8.5 years and counting. I know that she gets her "real news" from "Keeping Up With the Kardashians." Her daughter is at-risk for developing alcoholism on not one, but two sides of the family. I was slightly delighted to learn that her chosen name was also the name of a fat feline in a popular movie last summer. I am beyond tired of making things "okay" for everyone else, suppressing my anger at ignorant comments, and putting up with the BS. Too many other important people and things on my fist-sized plate to focus on. Bring out your garlic-y sarcasm and keep the energy vampires away!
Hugs to you, your girls, your angels, and Dan!
Oh Erin. I'm so sorry. I hope for you and your family that time can help makes the relationship with your sister better.
Big hugs to you!
I'm so sorry Erin. Being a loss mother has forever changed us in ways we hope those that we love or anybody else for that matter have to endure. But unfortunately they do and until someone has been in our shoes only then they will "get it". Hoping your sister's pregnancy goes smoothly and you're both able to put aside those hurt feelings one day. Sending you many hugs.
Ugh Erin I am SO sorry!! You know my story is very different, but I've had so many similar conversations with family members. Ugh Last year when Tucker was ten it was the worst, maybe because the anniversary of him being ten was a big deal I don't know. But we had lots of conversations like this, and the basic consensus with both families was that DH and I blow everything out of proportion and everyone else walks around us with eggshells. We were just like you, floored. And shocked. None of my sisters have had babies, so I haven't dealt with this exact situation. I love that you are so close to your nephew, even though it's hard.
Have you seen a counselor at all? Because this is a lot to manage. We saw one last year for a bit, and it reinforced that really it was not us. And that our reactions and emotions were ok for what we had been through. I don't want you to ever blame yourself for your family's odd reactions.
Yes, living away must help.
I'm sorry! Huge hugs!!
I am so sorry you are dealing with this! For some people, everything will always be about them. Its their world and we just happen to live in it. Some people can just "decide not to be sad anymore" while for others that is simply not an option. Loss changes everything. I smile and tell all of my friends and family I am happy for them, but in the back of my mind there is the fear and the worry. I can't imagine if I thought someone would have a child on one of Josies dates and take the day from her. I would also never want to attend a birthday party for a family member or friend that close to Josies dates. I applaud your effort at making amends and your ability to stay civil. I hope its gets better.
Love and Hugs
I really wish I could give you a hug right now...and sharing tears with you. Our drama is starting again with my inlaws. They too think everything is about us and why we always have to bring up that horrible thing that happened to us like we should be over it by now...do what is be is best for you and know there are those of us who "get it" I know it's easier to say and do I watch my husband go through the same thing. We were actually told in an email that they are all tired of walking on eggshells around him...funny how they are the only ones who need to the other people in our life don't. Something that really helped my husband was he started seeing a counselor again to learn ho to deal with his family, how to communicate more effectively and set boundaries. It really helped him a lot. Hugs to you, Nicki
Ah Erin - I'm so sorry. Sending you so many hugs. Hoping in time, she will at least try to understand the walk in your shoes, and that you can all work out your relationships.
Hugs n love -
I am so so sorry you have to go through this. It is really so hard for anyone to understand what a loss is like until they go through it. No one in my family has ever experienced any type of child loss, even an early miscarriage so when I had my first one, they were not very supportive. I lost my twins at 15.5 weeks a few weeks ago. Devastation and a broken heart are the understatement of the century. I am lucky to have an amazing family but had they not been there, see them delivered (had no idea I was actually in pre-term labor), I don't think they would be half as supportive or understanding as they have been. Its excruciating, its unfair and I wouldn't wish the pain on my worst enemy.
I am praying for you and hope that you and your sister can one day reconcile. I hope that it gets better for the both of you and she can come to some sort of understanding as to why you feel they way you do. And you are completely justified in doing so.
Love and prayers for you.
My heart hurts for you. It seems like you are in an incredibly difficult "damned if you do and damned if you don't" situation. I'm so glad that you have a connection with your nephew and get some joy from that relationship. And I'm so sorry that your sister isn't willing to take a step back and try to see things from a different perspective. xo
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