Fertility issues can be devastating and if you’re going through that, nothing can hurt more than seeing your nearest and dearest growing their own families.
One woman has shared how she’s found herself in a very “upsetting” position as her sister-in-law is preparing to welcome her fifth child, while she is struggling to have one of her own.
The unnamed woman took to Mumsnet to share a “controversial” issue she’s been experiencing with her husband’s family and asked for some advice.
In her post, she asks if it would be unreasonable to stop giving gifts to their nieces and nephews.
She explains how she’s found the whole thing very upsetting as it reminds her of her lack of children, as such her husband is in charge of present-buying for the youngsters, but he’s finding it very stressful.
She writes: “Very controversial issue but I’d appreciate some advice.
“SIL has four kids and is expecting her 5th. For the last decade, she has had a baby every couple of years like clockwork. It feels like the gift-giving parade never ceases; it’s always someone’s birthday or it’s Christmas. They’re very well spread out!
“I used to pitch in with sorting cards and gifts but had to step away as we have been struggling to conceive for years and it’s all just very upsetting for me.
“Partner is disorganised. He’s like a headless chicken with these presents and cards. He doesn’t want to give the eldest ones cash in a card because he wants to make an effort. Which is one of the things I love about him, but he always leaves things to the last minute and it’s usually fine – but his luck has run out.”
She adds that they stopped giving presents to the adults in their family a few years ago as it was just token gifts, so now she’s wondering if they can stop giving gifts to kids as well.
“The children never go without, BIL and SIL spoil them rotten at every opportunity and of course the grandparents do too.
“I’m probably being unreasonable, but just wanted to run this past the Mumsnet panel before broaching the issue with my partner. I’m so sick of the stress and the aggro.”
More than 100 people responded to the post and many were divided, with some thinking it would be cruel to stop giving presents to the kids.
One person replied: “So you just wouldn’t acknowledge their birthdays? Or you would just send a card? Seems a bit mean spirited, I can’t understand why you would do that. Because they had more children.”
Another said: “In the kindest way, you and your husband are their uncle and aunt and, assuming that money isn’t an issue, it is surely not too hard between your husband and yourself to get them something small to mark their birthdays and Christmas. I understand that it is difficult to see other people with children when you are trying to conceive – it took us more than 10 years to have our daughter – but you are risking your current and future relationship with your nephews and nieces.
“You come across as resenting your SIL for her children and maybe even begrudging her family but your problems trying to conceive are not SIL’s fault or her children’s. Why not try to take some joy in having these children in your family instead of resenting them? Sending you un-Mumsnetty hugs though, because I know how hard it is.”
A third was on the mum’s side though, posting: “Even if you weren’t struggling to conceive, you are totally reasonable. Your SIL needs to realise that if she wants a big family then fine, but expecting you to shell out for more and more of them is taking the p***.”
While someone else added: “Yes I think it’s awful. The older children have had gifts for years and you want to pull the plug because their uncle, an adult, cannot keep track of dates and their aunt, an adult, finds other people’s children upsetting. That’s not really on is it? If the situation was reversed would you honestly be chill with it?”