My sister, 5+ years older and married two years longer than us, has been trying with her husband for about three years with no success. From what I hear, specialty doctors suggest there’s practically no chance she can bear a child and probably needs either a surrogate (unlikely) or adoption (likely in a few more years once they qualify for the type of child they’d like to adopt). She’s done a great job showing excitement for all of her friends and extended family who have had children in the past few years, but I know it’s killing her on the inside.
I feel like I need to warn her before we start trying so that she can sincerely start coping with the fact that she might not have the first grandchild and her baby sister is beating her to it (she seemed to rush a bit to make sure she was married before I was).
Do I give her a heads up before or when we start trying? Do I wait until we are pregnant to tell her? Do I suggest to my mother that she give my sister a heads up? Any other better ideas? I want to make it as easy for her as possible assuming I am able to bear a child relatively easily.
I think a semi-casual mentioning from me in conversation is a lot better than something more formal (a note, etc). Maybe with her husband around or our other sister who doesn’t want kids herself but is good support and closer in age to the older sister? Maybe I tell my mom to have a heart-to-heart with her although she’s not a great shoulder to lean on? Maybe I get my husband to tell her husband who can share with my sister? I don’t know if I trust both of the guys to be sensitive enough for that one. — Pregnancy Hopeful
It’s really compassionate and thoughtful of you to be concerned about your sister as you begin planning the exciting steps toward having a baby. It probably won’t be easy for your sister to cope with her younger sister “beating” her to parenthood when she’s been trying so long to have a baby herself, but hopefully, your compassion will make it an easier pill to swallow. That said, I wouldn’t involve anyone else in “breaking the news” to her. This is really about your relationship and her feelings and the fewer other people involved, the better.
The truth is, since you got married, your sister has probably already started thinking about if and when you might have a baby and whether you would reach that milestone before her. It’s not going to be a huge shock hearing that a married woman of child-bearing age is thinking about having a baby. So, yes, a little warning might be a nice thing, but it’s probably not quite as necessary as you think it is. If I were you, I’d mention it very casually and in vague terms. “We’re hoping to be pregnant by the end of the year,” could mean you’ve already started trying… or it could mean you’re going to start trying at the end of the year and hope it happens right away. This is better than giving a specific time when you’re going to start trying because it won’t sting as much if you happen to be lucky and get pregnant right away.
I hope you ARE lucky and do get pregnant when you want to get pregnant. But if/when that happens, continue being compassionate with your sister and understand that the enthusiasm she’s been able to muster for friends and extended family may not be as easy for her to muster for you. It won’t mean she doesn’t love you or isn’t thrilled for you. It may just mean that until she is able to reach her dream of motherhood, your excitement might be better shared on an more intimate level with your mom and other sister and close friends. (And your husband, of course). Good luck to you!
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