Before Mumsnet user “Littlejayx” fell pregnant, she and her sister-in-law were close. Now that the 21-year-old just gave birth to her first baby — after a surprise pregnancy — Littlejayx’s friendship with the 36-year-old relative has started to crack.
As Littlejayx told the parenting forum, the relationship with her brother’s wife started to change when she first got pregnant. Littlejayx knows it has something to do with the fact her brother and his wife had been trying to start a family for four years, whereas she easily conceived her baby, who is now 4 months old.
But now, she’s not sure how to confront the situation.
Littlejayx’s brother tried to explain his wife’s behavior, saying it was difficult for her to see the younger woman’s baby as his wife was struggling to get pregnant:
I am very close with my brother and is very much a people pleaser. His wife ignored me over many family events, to which my brother told me it was hard for her (which I understand).
According to Littlejayx, her brother adores her baby, visiting often, but the sister-in-law never accompanies him. Now, the silent disdain for Littlejayx has extended to her baby, as ahead of her brother’s upcoming fortieth birthday party his wife invited everyone in the family to attend — except for Littlejayx’s baby.
Littlejayx wondered if she were being unreasonable for taking the sister-in-law’s slight personally:
But now is basically “birthday season” in my family many having land mark birthdays (sic). My brother will be turning 40 and having a weekend full of celebrating. It’s a big family thing where all the children from her side have been invited including her nieces and nephews ( ages from one month old to 7 years ) My partner and I have been invited but not my daughter as it’s too hard for her to see her.
Littlejayx explained the difficult position the invite put her in; she either had to bring her baby because she was still nursing or she would be forced to miss her brother’s birthday.
It’s very hard to be singled out because obviously I won’t be going anywhere without her [my baby].
The advice offered to the new mom was mixed. Some users found the sister-in-law’s exclusion of the baby unacceptable and just plain “mean”: “I wouldn’t go,” wrote one commenter. “I appreciate that infertility is hard, I’ve been there, but she has a f*****g cheek excluding your brother’s own niece from his birthday whilst inviting her own.”
Another commenter added: “Why are the children from her side invited, but not your daughter? I would, like you, be very hurt. The ‘it’s hard for her’ explanation doesn’t stack up if she’s fine with kids from her side of the family. I would decline the invitation and make it clear to your brother why — perhaps he can talk to her and help resolve things.”
Littlejayx clarified the birthday party was a surprise, therefore, she wouldn’t be able to talk to her brother about the issue:
The big part of this weekend will be his surprise birthday so it’s unfortunate I cannot mention this to him until afterwards.
We were very very good friends before this, we used to go out for meal and drinks just us before I fell pregnant. I feel sorry for my daughter as she really smiles and giggles away at my brother. She does look rather like him as we look very alike outselves which must be hard.
They are the only family that live within a 3 hour drive from us and used to be around all the time.
My brother doesn’t really understand emotions well. He has often just blanked out at times that are hard.
Littlejayx wrote she had hoped for the opportunity to speak to her sister-in-law but knew she wouldn’t be afforded the opportunity because of how much their relationship had unraveled:
My other brother is now saying he doesn’t want to go because it’s not fair just to exclude one of us.
I would love the chance to speak to her about the whole thing, but the last time we spoke (at my uncles funeral) she blatantly said she doesn’t want to talk to me while I’m pregnant but this may change when the baby was born.
Many commenters agreed the sister-in-law’s actions were “unreasonable” and encouraged the mom to go to the party anyway with baby in tow: “Just go and take the baby with you, She’s being b*****t crazy and it’s not about her, it’s your brother’s birthday.”
Others thought bringing the baby along was a terrible idea: “And as for suggestions to just take the baby, that would be horrendous and make the night true key miserable for her. Either make alternative arrangements with a baby sitter and express or don’t go.”
One commenter told Littlejayx to reevaluate the purpose behind taking offense to the exclusion of her baby:
I guess the thing is, reasonable or not, what would be personally offended achieve? Do you want her to feel bad? I can see why that would be satisfying, but it’s not going to help you forge a closer relationship, is it? I think you have to work out what the best outcome under the circumstances is — and that might be never seeing her again. But if that’s not it then accusing her of having a personal animus towards your child isn’t going to be productive.
Ultimately, Littlejayx decided she would heed the advice of many commenters and stop by the party to say hello but explain her partner and baby were in the car and couldn’t stay:
I am going to do as many of you have said and pop in for half a hour or so and explain to my brother that the baby is in the car with my partner and we have to get going. I don’t want to cause any drama because that isn’t fair on anybody.
Littlejayx may have had the best laid plans to diffuse the awkward invite, but in a recent update she shared her attendance at the party (unintentionally) caused “all hell to break loose.” She wrote:
Wanted to do a update! I don’t know if anyone still cares haha.
So we got there before the whole ‘surprise’ bit and intentionally cut it fine so we could just wave hi and take a seat. Lovely brother seemed so happy to have a room full of his friends and family.
Then it got awkward, SIL’s [sister-in-law’s] family kept asking why we haven’t been to see them. My other half then piped up saying we didn’t know they wanted to. SIL went into panic / defensive mode and lied and said we have been really busy and haven’t been around. DP [dear partner] said “that’s a lie’ (light hearted but he’s not very tactful) she then quickly exited to outside. Baby littlejay had a dance with her uncle (smiles all round) then hell broke loose outside.
I was accused of ‘stealing her limelight’ at the party and ‘being intentionally rude.’
My family got involved and hers both told her she was being silly and making a show.
We were there for about two hours when we said we had to get baby home anyway, I did find her on the way out. I feel bad for saying anything actually. It was along the lines of
“I’m sorry that this is hard for you, I have no idea how your feeling but I imagine it’s heartbreaking. But the limelight isn’t yours to steal, it’s DB’s [dear brother’s] birthday and the only thing people will remember is this.”
I feel bad but I know so many of you told me to stand up for myself.
My brother sent me a message apologizing for her behavior and he’s shocked she had the capacity to act like that.
Littlejayx concluded the sister-in-law saga, sort of, with: “To be continued I’m afraid ?”