Late Term and Child Loss


I wrote my intro awhile ago about losing my son, Gavin... and have just been here reading since. I'm not sure if any of you have dealt with this, but I'm not sure where else to ask! Gavin was in the NICU for the 12 days he was alive, and they bent the rules A LOT for us once they figured out his diagnosis as far as visitors go and stuff- we could kind of do whatever we wanted. Anyways, my husband's parents only came once. We had a big family day to meet Gav and most of his family came that day- including his parents- but they sat in the waiting room, and his mom invited her best friend and they hung out in the coffee shop. Doesn't really matter I guess, but whatever. Point is, that was the ONLY day of Gavin's life that they showed up. And he hasn't been talked about since. One of his aunt's lives 2 blocks from the church and is retired and didn't even come to the funeral and hasn't talked to us since. I am so hurt by his family and am harboring a lot of resentment towards them. I feel like they didn't and don't care about my son or about us, and I don't know how to move forward with them. I feel like if anything is said to them, then it won't be genuine if they do talk about him. He was their first grandchild, and I feel like if you can't be there during the hard times you don't deserve to be there during the good ones. Can anybody else relate? Am I totally overreacting? Any advice? Thanks
"It always rains hardest on the people who deserve the sun"

Re: Resentment.

  • I can definitely relate as I am experiencing similar feelings with my parents actually. They have not once said Ethan's name in any of our conversations and they were the only family member not to send a card or note expressing any emotions about our loss.  They live out of town and visited us a month after our loss and did not mention it at all that weekend. Besides the weekend right after our loss, it was one of the worst weekends of my life when they visited.  And to top it all off, they think because I have withdrawn & had not spoken to them 2 weeks before their visit in July (and have not spoken to them since), that I am the one treating them poorly.  

    I do not think you are over-reacting at all. How does your DH feel?  Does he feel the same way?  I unfortunately do not have any great advice as I am going through similar and have not figured it out yet (the reason why I have not talked to my parents in over 5 weeks.)  I wish I did.  I am sorry! 

    I am interested to hear any advice from others.  

    Thinking of you and sending (((hugs))). 


  • I am sorry so for the loss of your sweet Gavin. I don't think you are overreacting at all.  My family and friends have avoided me like I have the plaque and if I do see them they avoid talking about my daughter Isabella. Even if I talk about my daughter they change the subject. It is very hurtful and makes me feel very alone.

     I did call a few of them out on avoiding me. The responses I got were basically they didn't know what to say and feel uncomortable. I did tell them that it was hurtful and that I like to talk about Isabella even though its hard.

    Maybe you could talk to your IL's about why they didn't see your son. They may have an explanation that will help you understand why. I don't really think that there is any excuse for them not to have meet their grandson but knowing why might help you. If you can't ask maybe your DH could talk to them.


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  • DH says he doesn't want to waste time worrying about it, his parents haven't really been a good support system for him for a long time (but they pretend that we are really close and stick their noses in everything) so he says it doesn't bother him, and that it was probably just really hard for them... which kind of annoys me more, because that would be incredibly selfish of them! It was hard for us too, but there wasn't a day I wasn't with my baby! I would LOVE if they lived farther away so I didn't have to deal with them all the time, but unfortunately pa-in-law is our neighbor. I'm sure they've noticed I'm not outwardly friendly towards them, but nothing has been said. Ugh. It's exhausting! 
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  • imagekscharmer5:
    DH says he doesn't want to waste time worrying about it, his parents haven't really been a good support system for him for a long time

    I think you really need to go with this and just take a step back from them. It sounds like your H has realistic expectations about their ability to be supportive. Unfortunately having a loss like this can be a sort of "cleaning of house" in the relationships dept. You are absolutely right- if they can't be there for you in the worst of times, they aren't worth having in your life. People really show their true colors in a tragedy like this and it sounds like they are showing you theirs.

    My IL's have said NOTHING to me about our loss. Not a single word. None of DH's brothers or sister even called afterwards. No cards, nothing. I have lost respect for these people. How could I not? Sure, I still interact with them (when I'm forced) because they live close by and MIL watches DD a few days every week, but I don't hold any stock whatsoever in these relationships. They are 100% superficial as evidenced by their behavior. And you know what? It's almost liberating. I don't put any effort into these relationships anymore because I don't get anything out of them- but I don't expect to anymore. Nothing has changed except the disappointment is now gone.

    I wish you the best of luck. This is unfortunately a very common situation that many of us find ourselves in.

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  • Ah, resentment.  Been harboring a lot of that lately.  Our situation was a bit different than yours but my family still made me mad all the same.  My parents live 3 hours away and were supposed to come down to visit the weekend of Thanksgiving.  I figured giving the long weekend, they'd come down and stay a few days.  Instead, my mom called and said they'd only come down for one night because she wanted to put her Christmas decorations up (granted we didn't know what was going to happen on 12/3 but still) and my brother came to the hospital when Corbin was born but every time my parents came down after, he didn't (he lives with them and doesn't have a job or anything).  Even the day I called and told them what happened, my parents came down a few hours later and my brother didn't come with them.  My mom said it was just too hard for him.  Too hard for him?  Really?  I keep trying not to dwell on it but I can't stop thinking about it.  I want to sit down and talk to my parents and brother about how bad it hurt me but since my parents just let us borrow a sizeable sum of money to buy a new house, it just hasn't been the time.

    I don't think you're overreacting at all.  You have the right to feel hurt.  I would be too.  I'm thankful that my family still mentions his name and talks about him but so many people don't and it hurts.  Good for you for calling some people out on their behavior.  {{HUGS}}


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  • I am so sorry your in-laws have not been very supportive. Were you close with them before Gavin?  Like the other posters said, you really do learn who is going to be there no matter what, and who will shy away.  Some people just don't know what to do unless we tell them.  But, we don't even really know what we want them to do. 

    I have been feeling some resentment with my in-laws too.  Some of the things that bother me were that they came to the hospital when I was delivering, but never came in to see me or the baby.  The first time my husband and I went to see them after the loss, they were all smiles saying it was good to see us and I was in tears and felt like they should have been sad too.  It made me feel like their granddaughter didn't matter to them, and that they thought I should be "normal" again or something.  

    Well yesterday my mother-in-law called (we hadn't talked in a long time) and we talked for a while, and she brought up that she wanted to see me in the hospital but my husband wouldn't let her!  That really made me feel better.  She talked about my daughter for the first time.  We both  cried.  She told me she didn't know what to do, nobody knows what to do, but she wants to get together and work on healing.  It really changed my feelings towards her.

    I don't know if it's worth it to you guys, but maybe that first step needs to be taken to get things out in the open?  But, if your husband knows they aren't very supportive and have never been, it might not make a difference.  I just hope you can get past this.  I know it sucks.   

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  • I think a lot of the pp have said what I would say but I will mention that a lack of communication and assumptions can lead to misunderstandings that can end relationships. If your ILs are important to you and you want to keep them in your life without any tension or resentment, then you need to speak with them about your feelings or at least try/ Otherwise you'll never know their reasons why the only visited once.

    My ILs are good people but when they came to town for my daughter's memorial, even though they attended the memorial, and my FIL spoke at the memorial, my MIL never said anything to me about the loss. It was as if she was just visiting like normal. At first DH and I were hurt but DH spoke with his sister who helped put it in perspective for us. My ILs experienced a similar loss when they were young and back in those days you didn't talk about those things and my ILs didn't want to make me uncomfortable or more upset. I can understand that, I don't necessarily agree with not saying anything but I can understand it and accept that they thought they were doing what was best for me. 

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  • I agree with pp about maybe talking to them about your feelings if their relationship is an important one in yours and H's lives. They may not know how to handle something like this.

    My parents have been fantastic through all of this, but my mom pulled away from me for the first 24 hours after I broke the news. She was so overwhelmed that she just didn't know what to say or how to handle it. We had a long talk and cry after she came to the hospital and we spent some time with Devon, and things have been much better since. I'm learning that these types of situations can make or break relationships because people just don't know what to say or do for you. I hope it all works out for you guys. 


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  • I can very much relate, and no, you are not over reacting. My daughter Genevieve was in the NICU for 10 days. MH and I live in TX while the rest of our families live in either Maine or NJ. My mom came down first(dad had to stay with my younger sister who was graduating from high school that week, he came later) and MH's parents came. His parents chose to remain in the waiting area most of the time, and constantly talked about booking flights back home (Maine). They were not in the least supportive of their son. MFL actually said to me, after he walked into the room while I held my dead baby in my arms "I prayed I wouldn't be here when it happened." I have HATE for this man now. I have come to the conclusion however, that they are only my family through marriage, and I do not have to like them. I only need to tolerate them, and I feel I can do that. My heart hurts for MH, because in his words "He has been there for me my whle life, but when I really needed him he let me down." I encouraged him to talk it out with his dad, but his dad is a selfish prick and doesn't see that he did anything wrong. Come Christmas of last year, mind you only 6 months since her death, NO ONE mentioned my baby. His grandmother asked me if I still missed my baby as I watched everyone else's kids play. It was heartwrenching. I may be able to avoid seeing any of them this year, which would be a gift in and of itself.

    FWIW, I think you need to decide what, if anything, could make you feel better- an apology, an acknowledgement that they were wrong, cutting them completely out of your life- and if that is realistic. If it is realistic, then go after it. If  not, talking/writing it out has helped me deal with the situation better.

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  • Thank you ladies for your stories and advice! It all makes sense. I'm not sure how important they are or how I can be the one to go out of my way to fix it- I'm pretty stubborn sometimes, I don't like it, but I don't know how to kick that part of me! 

    I don't know how important they are because they're his parents- they should be important! But they're so darn self-absorbed and don't show concern for anybody else. I believe if we lived farther away, there would probably be no relationship. ugh.

    I have a relationship with his mother that is based on work- we're both in emergency medicine. If we didn't have that, I don't know what we would talk about. That being said, I do believe that her background with that probably affects her thoughts of our son's death, as she probably looks at the medical side of it and not so much the emotional side...  but his dad and his aunt/godmother I just can't figure out. 

    I'm not sure what role they can play in the future, as far as other grandkids or whatever.. (that one will be awhile!) But how can I trust them to love and take care of my possible future children when they couldn't be there for the one that needed it the most? My brain needs a break, I drive myself nuts thinking about that kind of crap. Anyways, sorry this is a page long, I kind of blabber on and on about this topic!  

    "It always rains hardest on the people who deserve the sun"
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