Friday, February 26, 2016

Things to not say to your infertile sister

As most who have read this blog for any length of time knows, I have three sisters.  I'm the oldest and have a no bullshit type of personality.  I've been described as mature beyond my years and as an "old soul" and I think that both of these descriptors are accurate.  The next sister is 356 days younger than I am (no fertility problems for my parents!).  This is the sister that had the baby a few weeks ago.  She's very sentimental, feels things very deeply (but only from her perspective), and generally sees the world through rose colored glasses.  I call her my big middle sister.  The next sister is four years younger than I am.  This is the sister that had the baby in February 2015.  This sister is dramatic and wears her feelings on her sleeve.  I call her my little middle sister.  My youngest sister is just over nine years younger than me.  She's the one who had the baby in June 2015.  This sister I'd classify as a follower (possibly leading to some of her questionable life choices) and has one of the funniest, most sarcastic personalities of anyone that you'll ever meet. 

For the little middle sister, pregnancy was a time to shine.  A time to be the center of attention.  Both she and asshole brother-in-law were both pretty unbearable during her pregnancy.  Her unbearableness may also be attributed to the fact that she found out she was pregnant less than three months after we received my devastating infertility diagnosis and I avoided her like the plague for the vast majority of her pregnancy.  But when she gave birth she was so understanding of my need to keep my distance for a bit, even though I never explicitly told her that it's what I was going to do or why I was going to do it.  My youngest turns into a mean bitch when she is pregnant.  It happened with all three of her (unplanned) pregnancies.  She also seemed to intuitively understand my absence and was not offended by it.  My big middle sister was amazing during her pregnancy.  She very rarely mentioned it and when she did, it was very thoughtful and within the natural flow of conversations.  She started to get a bit annoying towards the end, but nothing close to the other two.  I expected her to transition into parenthood much in the same way that she handled her pregnancy.  Boy was I wrong!

My two youngest sisters, even though they knew the least about my infertility journey, seemed to intuitively understand that I could be simultaneously elated for them and devastated for myself.  The words were never spoken, but there was an unspoken understanding that I would come to visit whenever I was ready and able and that my delay in visiting and meeting the baby was due to nothing but the fact that I needed to take care of myself.  With the birth of my nephew, I think that my sister lost any capacity to see things from another's perspective that she may have possessed. 

So without further ado, I present to you some of the gems that have come out of my big middle sister's mouth in the past few weeks.

When are you coming to visit?/I want you to come visit!/The baby misses you.
What I said: I'm really busy right now.  We'll make a trip in a few weeks.
What I wanted to say: When I get damn good and ready to./You don't always get what you want./He's like six days old and he hasn't met me so he can't possibly miss me.

You don't even understand how hard breastfeeding is!
What I said: You know damn well that I don't and I'm not a good person to complain to about this topic.
What I wanted to say: No fucking shit Sherlock.  But you can bet that I would have given just about anything to have the ability to try to breastfeed my own baby.

Detailed complaining about her lady parts hurting
What I said: Maybe you should talk to your doctor and not me about this......
What I wanted to say: Do you find this surprising?  You just pushed a human being out of your crotch.  It seems unreasonable to expect that this region of your body would snap back to normal after three days. 

I never got to have maternity pictures taken.
What I said: I'm really sorry to hear that.
What I wanted to say: It's not like the end of your pregnancy was a surprise.  You've had a due date for, oh, approximately eight months.  Had you bothered to plan ahead a little bit you could have prevented this problem.

I'm not sure about the safety of vaccines.
What I said: Are you fucking kidding me?  How many people around your age do you know that had Polio?  Smallpox?  Mumps?  Diphtheria?  Rubella? That's right.  None.  Because vaccines.  Go take a walk through an old cemetery and look at all of tiny grave markers for children.  If they'd been born a century later they probably wouldn't have died.  Because vaccines work and they are safe.  If you chose not to vaccinate your child you are a threat to public health and should be ashamed of yourself.
What I wanted to say: See above.

I don't want any pictures of my son on social media.
What I said: Ok......
What I wanted to say: Good luck with that.

There are a few others, I'm sure, but this is all that I can think of at the moment.  The part that I'm impressed with is that, with the exception of the breastfeeding one, none of these statements hurt me, and the breastfeeding one was just a little zinger.  Had any of these statements been made a year ago it would have been really hard for me.  But I was able to brush these comments off, laugh about them (because, really, who in their right mind would say these things to her sister that she knows can't have children), and go on with my day.  Time does heal.


  1. I am very glad that at least at the vaccines theme you could say what you thought.
    I have heard the same theme too many times from too-inteligent moms. My reply is the same.

    Indeed. Time heals.

  2. I don't know your sister, but I think it's possible she'll get her sanity back. Hormones are tricky buggers. I think you handled those situations well!

  3. With Sarah. It is possible, but if this behavior continues you may want to suggest that she consult her physician. It's likely she's struggling.

    In the meantime, keep protecting yourself.

  4. I'm very impressed with your restraint. You exercised it when it was appropriate, and you stood up for your nephew when it wasn't (eg vaccines). The breastfeeding thing was bound to hurt - breastfeeding for me has always been a sore spot.

    I'm glad you could laugh. I really do think laughing helps!

  5. I don’t know that I would have had that much self-control. Loved your acerbic inner thoughts, and happy for you that you can laugh about it.

  6. I loved the "What I said" and "What I wanted to say" comparison, and I applaud your ability to let those comments sail right over you. The breastfeeding one was sting-y, but I think your "What I said" was curt enough and blunt enough that hopefully you won't get more comments like that. Does she have other friends she can talk to about these issues? Maybe she is struggling, but I agree with're not the best person to go to with these kinds of complaints. I am inspired by your ability to handle everything with slightly-sarcastic grace! :)

  7. Sometimes it's better to just think of some people, including your sister, as just a little "not right in the head". Works for me.

  8. As always, thanks for your support everyone!

  9. I've noticed, like you have experienced with your sisters, that some people are just able to "intuitively understand" better than others. I covet those people and know how important it is to have them around me. For the other side of things, I totally am down with deathstar's perspective!

    I really liked this post and was so glad to see in featured on SQ.

    It's important to respect people's wounds, and since your sister seems currently absent in this department, I love that you can laugh at the absurdity. It is pretty funny.

  10. Late to the party, but I agree with Mali -- I think you picked your battles very well. :) Great post! :)

  11. I was diagnosed with poor ovarian reserve and very bad prognosis of having a baby with my own eggs. I was even given the option to consider donor eggs. That was around july 2014. I was absolutely devastated with the news and I arranged an IVF for November 2014 and it failed also, given that I had nothing to lose, I contacted Dr.Agbazara i meet online and he send me his herbal product,. Believe it or not... I am already pregnant within few after his help. contact him today with any kind of problem and be happy like me on ( )