Q: I have been battling infertility for over a year now and recently had a miscarriage. My sister is having a baby shower next month. Do I have to attend? While I am really happy for her and her husband, it might be too much for me to bear right now.
Give yourself a much needed break. Your fertility journey right now is shaping and changing your limitations and boundaries. While going to a shower and having a big part in your sister’s joy in the past was much desired, now, it may be the very experience that conjures up a complicated grief response – sadness, anger, and resentment. You can share happiness in your sister’s pregnancy and at the same time, harbor anger and resentment at your sister’s pregnancy. Talk about confusing, right?
Well, part of navigating the difficult emotional experience in this time is learning how to honor yourself, your boundaries and limitations. As you figure out this gentle dance, you can in turn be more true to others, which will actually reduce stress in the long run. Try communicating with your sister about both emotional realities right now – that you care/share in her happiness, yet at the same time, you’re experiencing so much of your own disappointment, loss and grief that it’s too painful to join.
The strongest of healthy relationships invite and welcome honesty. Chances are, your sister isn’t going anywhere and will just love you more.