Both Sides of the Pregnancy Announcement
-By Melissa Campbell & Melanie Smoot
Melissa’s Side of this story
How do you react when someone tells you their good news? They’re pregnant! Are you instantly excited for them and want to know every detail so you can live through them? Do you get emotional and start to cry? Do you get angry? I have felt all of these emotions. Most of the time I don’t get upset and I am really happy for them, but when it comes to my little sister, Melanie, I don’t handle it very well.
I think it was the end of December 2006 that Melanie and Adam told the family their wonderful news: they were pregnant with their first child. Melanie had gone off birth control December 3rd or so and found out she was pregnant on December 14th! Holy cow!! How does that even happen? I was blown away and completely jealous. I remember thinking if I had gotten pregnant when I told her we were going to start trying, we would be having babies at the same time! I thought I had told her far enough away that I would for sure be pregnant by then.
It turns out Melanie and Adam are really good at having kids. Kale was born in September, then Lincoln came about two years later. Then about a year later, I got an awkward call from Melanie. She was then living in Texas, and she called to tell me she was 20 weeks along with number 3. I was thinking, What the crap? Why haven’t you told me?? I am supposed to be notified after my close friends or family take a pregnancy test (or ovulate, or start their period…that’s just how I roll.) “You’re halfway done! Does everyone know but me? Do you know what you are having?”
“Yes!” She was having a boy, and the only people in Utah who knew were my parents. Then she said this one was an “accident” and that’s why it took so long to tell me because she was waiting for it to feel real and to get excited. Really? I can’t have one on purpose! And you’re not excited?!? I felt like she couldn’t trust me. (Because I couldn’t get pregnant.) I was mad. After we hung up, she called me right back to say she felt like our conversation didn’t go well, and she was really worried about me.
Of course I lied and said I was just fine. I held back the tears and told her how excited I was for her. I felt un-trusted, upset that she could get pregnant, and mad at myself for letting it get to me. I felt like I should be ok, so I had to make her feel like I was. I had a really hard time listening to her say how hard her pregnancy was. It was so frustrating watching everyone wait on her hand and foot.
Two months later I found out I was pregnant, and everything changed. I started throwing up, peeing my pants, even pooping my pants. Nothing was working right! I mean my baby was growing perfectly, but I think my body was throwing a fit. I threw up from 8 weeks on, even during the delivery. But then I finally had my sweet baby girl! I felt so bad for all the mean thoughts I had and the way I treated my little sister. I felt guilty that I made her good news weird for both of us.
My sister and I grew a lot closer after my pregnancy. About two years after her third little boy, she had a sweet baby girl Molly. We were all happy and things were great. And then I started trying again and we had the when-do-you-think-you-will-
Five kids, really??? How can she have five kids and I only get to have one? I had been trying a year longer than them. It hit me how long I had been trying and things weren’t working. I bawled and bawled and cried some more. But not because of Melanie. None of this is her fault. Every time I got hurt or upset it was my problem. MINE! It was because I wished things were different for myself. It was because I was jealous and sad that it wasn’t happening for me.
The crazy thing is not every pregnancy announcement affected me so deeply and I think it is because she is my sister. We are 15 months apart, have the same parents, lived in the same house, and even shared friends. But when it boils down to it, we are as different as they come. Our bodies have always been different. We have different health issues. We have different interests and talents. She is really talented at making babies, and I am not. And that is ok. haha
Now that she is done having kids, we have had some hard talks. I never knew how much my infertility affected her. I’d like to think we have grown to understand each other a little better. I didn’t feel right telling her I was hurt when it wasn’t her fault. I should have been happy for her. I always got there, eventually. When I got to hold her sweet babies!
Melanie’s Side of the story
I am a mother of 5! I have an 8, 6, 4, 2 and 6 month old. I got pregnant with my first 2 weeks after quitting birth control. To say that getting pregnant came easy for us is an understatement. We generally planned exactly the month and day our baby would be due and they would come on or near that day. We even had that “surprise” baby that came much sooner than we had PLANNED to have our next one. Sounds great right?
No complications, no miscarriages, not one month wondering if I would or would not get pregnant. As wonderful and miraculous as that was, it wasn’t always peachy.
Knowing, over and over, that my sister was trying so desperately to have children and that I was doing exactly what she wanted, over and over, was HARD and heartbreaking. We felt so led by the Spirit as to when to have our kids that I felt so torn when I would feel such fierce guilt when I would get pregnant.
The thought of telling her that I was, yet again, expecting caused me such great anxiety that I waited until the day before I flew to see her, to tell anyone, even my mom. I was 17 weeks pregnant…..with my “surprise.” I remember it like it was yesterday. It was my third child. I found out on April Fool’s Day that we were expecting and I was NOT happy to be pregnant. I was livid, AND I was physically and emotionally terrified of letting Melissa know.
When I was about 12 weeks along I emailed one of her friends that had also struggled with infertility and asked her how to tell my sister. I cried over it over and over again. I couldn’t tell anyone else because I didn’t want her to find out unless it was from me. So there I was, 17 weeks pregnant, already knowing it was another boy, and I was flying to see her the next day. I HAD to call and tell her.
Telling your sister your pregnant
I picked up the phone and called her. Completely anxiety ridden everything came out wrong! We hung up and I started to bawl. I DID NOT want her to be sad or mad at me! I didn’t want to feel guilty for having babies anymore! I wanted so desperately to have my sister celebrate with me and be excited with me, and talk about every step with me. I immediately called her back. I was in tears, she was in tears and I told her exactly what I was feeling. I told her that everything came out wrong but that I didn’t want her to be sad or feel bad but that it was ok if she was. I told her I love her and that all I wanted was for her to be happy for me.
I felt SO MUCH BETTER talking with her about it! Being honest. The second conversation was such a relief. I had said it. I felt the guilt and the anxiety and the sadness melt away. We actually talked about it.
Both of us held it in for SO LONG! Now that we live 5 minutes from each other and talk about it all the time, it makes it SO much easier to enjoy the sister I always have had. There was so much tension between us for so long, and it melted away by simply TALKING ABOUT IT! Our relationship has been so much easier the last 5 years, since that conversation, than it has been in a long time.