(Just a note to say, I ramble here before I come to my loss, but it is important to set the scene).
My brother-in-law and his 'wife' (I use inverted commas because they're not legally married, but they had a wedding... more on this to follow) are both quite greedy individuals and this manifests itself regularly in the form of copying; if they see someone with something they'll have to have it.
Individually, these incidences could easily be just coincidence, but there is a whole catalogue that definitely looks suspect when considered as a whole.
Most of the time this occurs in the form of objects/gifts. For example, I was bought an art deco watch as a present from my husband (at the time my boyfriend) and soon after his brother bought his 'wife' (at the time his girlfriend) an art deco watch as a gift. Similarly, I was bought an emerald ring for my birthday, then he bought her an emerald ring too. A diamond necklace and earring set: again, first me then her.
This doesn't just happen with us either; she insisted he buy her a fur coat after he had bought his mother one. She buys the same earrings as my sister-in-law and insists she had them first. They buy their daughter things that my other niece has asked for, and then let her parade them in front of my other niece. These are just a few of the many instances in which they’ve copied us or others.
This, on its own, is nothing more than an annoyance and perhaps something to laugh at. But they've also based big life choices on their 'I-want-because-they-have' mentality. A year and a half-ago me and my husband sent out our save-the-date cards for our wedding. His brother and the 'wife' had been 'engaged' far longer than we had, but there'd been no talk of a wedding in the entire time I'd known them, and they were one of those couples that were just 'eternally-engaged-never-to-be-married.' She had regularly shown contempt for the institution of marriage and endorsed the conspiracist idea that if you get wed the government will know too much about you and control your freedoms, etc. But a week after our save-the-dates went out, they announced they were getting married a month before us. Talk about thunder-stealing.
This didn't frustrate me as much as it frustrated my husband, but he got over it and we managed to laugh at how ridiculous the whole thing was. They only started planning two weeks before their actual wedding date, and she'd thrown him out a number of times throughout the year, so really we were all fairly unsure of whether or not there was even going to be a wedding. But there was and it was a lovely day (it's amazing what you can throw together in a couple of weeks). Nevertheless, we felt certain that they’d not have married had we not set a date. We also felt a sense of pointlessness in the event, since they had a ‘wedding’ and exchanged rings, yet did not actually get married. In the eyes of the law (and in fact the local authority) they are both single and she lives alone as a single mum. Again, this is a reflection of their greed, since she probably claims help with her rent, etc.
As frustrating as this is, it is nothing in comparison to what’s just happened, and I’m sure you can guess by now where this is going.
My brother-in-law has wanted another child for a long time (they have one already), but his ‘wife’ has put it off because of her work commitments and the fact that my BIL is an alcoholic and drug-abuser and regularly disappears for days, getting off his face. They are both also very selfish and will drop their 8 year-old off to my sister-in-law’s any chance they can get and leave her there until they have been sufficiently bombarded with phone-calls asking about their whereabouts and what time they are planning to collect their daughter. My mother-in-law felt certain that the ‘wife’ would never have another child.
And yet, you’ve guessed it, after we announced our pregnancy to a select few (including those two), she congratulated me, and quickly steered the subject to how she was ready to have another baby too. I cried that night, thinking about how difficult it would be if something goes wrong with us and they have a baby that would be due around the same time and would only have been conceived because of our conception.
And then I miscarried a couple of weeks later.
Now I’ve just found out that they are actually expecting.
I am not mean or stupid. I do not for one second expect that people around us put their family planning on hold because we are sad. I have been very happy for my colleague who has just had a baby. I can compartmentalise and rationalise my pain. Pregnancies and birth around me do not make my pain worse, they just remind me of it. I can feel happy for other people’s joy and I have not been bitter or resentful about the other pregnancies around me.
But this is different. This is intricately linked with my loss. They are ONLY having a baby because we were. And their pregnancy is like a punch in the face. It is mean and cruel. And I don’t know how I can spend Christmas with them. And I don’t know how I can welcome a new niece or nephew whilst hating the fact that they were conceived. And my poor husband.
Both my friend and my husband have told me that, ‘at least we’re happier than they are’, ‘at least we’ve got a good relationship and are better people.’ My friend was trying to encourage me to see it from the ‘wife’s’ perspective – ‘it’s sad for you, but look at how messed up she must be.’ But this hasn’t helped. I don’t want to compare ourselves to them. That’s what they do. I don’t want to do the same. I just want them to stop comparing themselves to us. I want to feel like I can share things with my in-laws without the worry that they will jump on our bandwagon. There is no room on this wagon at the moment. It’s full of sadness. And they’re hitching a ride at the expense of that.
I don’t really know what I am achieving posting this, other than letting off steam. Perhaps, if you’ve been patient enough to read this far, you can tell me if I’m being irrational, or reading too much into things. Perhaps if you do I will be angry at you! Haha. Perhaps some empathy (if it’s deserved) will help. I don’t know. Thanks for being a virtual ear and shoulder though.