New Mom Backed Online After Sister-in-Law Steals Thunder With Own Baby News

Whether it's falling out over baby showers or non-stop fertility talk, pregnancy can be a sensitive topic for even the closest families. This was proven once again when a woman took to Mumsnet to share her annoyance after her sister-in-law "stole her thunder" with her own pregnancy news.

Posting on the "Am I being unreasonable?" (AIBU) forum, user DWofMN explained she'd recently given birth to her first child after a high-risk pregnancy. Despite the complications, the poster has been unable to talk about her pregnancy with her family "in order to be sensitive" to her brother and sister-in-law's fertility struggles.

She wrote: "When I first told [my sister] that I'm pregnant, she replied 'Oh no! Have you told [brother] and [sister-in-law]?

"The rest of the conversation was about how I had to tell them and be sensitive, etc. As a result, I struggled a lot with not feeling like I had any family support."

The day after the baby's arrival, the new mom and her husband took their child to meet the family.

"We arranged to meet at my mum's house (even though that's a two hour drive from where I live and from the hospital)," she said.

"[Brother] and SIL live abroad so we agreed to video call them as soon as we arrived. They flashed up an ultrasound picture to announce that they're expecting a baby - this was all within five minutes of us arriving and my family meeting [my daughter] for the first time.

"It then emerges that [sister], [brother-in-law], [my brother] and [his girlfriend] have all known for weeks and all decided this was the perfect time to announce the pregnancy to [my mother].

"So, I was told that I'm not allowed to talk about my pregnancy at all in order to be sensitive to people who are also pregnant."

Sister-in-Law Steals Thunder With Baby News
A depressed looking new mom with struggling baby on her lap. Mumsnet users accused her siblings and sister-in-law of conspiring to steal the new mom's thunder. nicoletaionescu/iStock/Getty Images Plus

For the remainder of their visit, attention was focused on her brother and sister-in-law and their pregnancy, rather than the new mom and her baby.

She continued: "I fully understand that they were [trying to conceive] for a long time and how hard that is.

"[My husband] and I were trying to grow our family for over 18 months before we got pregnant (during which time [my nephew] was conceived and born, but there was no ban on pregnancy talk for my sister).

"AIBU to think that the highlight of my family meeting [daughter] for the first time should have actually been them meeting [my daughter]?"

A 2020 study explored family systems and the different roles assigned to members, whether consciously or unconsciously. Researchers studied dysfunctional families to discover how these various roles were assigned, including the "scapegoat"—a target of rage, shame and blame. Scapegoats are often excluded by other family members, with many scapegoats born to narcissistic parents or families.

In families where neglect or abuse are common, negative roles were more likely to be assumed, leading to issues such as alcoholism and mental illness later in life. Scapegoats in particular were prone to depressive symptoms in adulthood, as well as "lost children"—children who try to protect themselves from family dysfunction by retreating, and often have issues forming relationships as an adult.

Mumsnet users were disgusted by the brother and sister-in-law's actions, as well as her family for supporting such behavior, and suggested distancing herself from them.

"I would take a massive step back from your family!" advised CoraPirBlight. "They seem to not care about you at all!"

Softplayhooray agreed, writing: "People who come from a family like this know what it's like.

"They're toxic and I really think you should go [low contact] and try to disconnect emotionally, because they treat you like you're second rate and always will."

Snowpatrolling said: "You had baby yesterday and drove 2 hours today? Your family are a*******. They should have come to you."

While WhineyWino commented: "You're clearly way down the pecking order here, in that your feelings just aren't as important as others.

"Absolutely disgusting behaviour on their part. Focus on your baby. You don't need them."

If you have a similar family dilemma, let us know via life@newsweek.com. We can ask experts for advice, and your story could be featured on Newsweek.