In theory, congratulating someone is a simple act. But there are times when a congratulations is shrouded in complex emotional context, and saying those words doesn't feel genuine or natural.
In a popular post on the AITA subreddit, a woman asked if she was wrong for not congratulating her SIL on her pregnancy. She wrote:
My (30w) SIL (33w) just announced her first pregnancy. Me and my Husband (her brother) already have a 2 year old and her twin sister already got a few kids, so she was the last of us childless. Here comes the "twist", we lost our second born in July on their birth, in an absolutely unpredictable way.
We personally don't wait until a certain week to announce a pregnancy because life is unpredictable and you have no guarantees anyway. So we announced this pregnancy way before week 12 and her exact words were "you're pretty brave to announce the pregnancy that early."
The birth of said child was also the reason we weren't able to attend her wedding which just happened on the same day a 4-hour drive away (we didn't spread the news about our son's death on that day though). She announced her pregnancy at a little get-together that originally took place to celebrate her and her twin sister's birthday.
Apparently, she wasn't pregnant with one child but twins, but lost the child early into pregnancy. And she was openly happy about it. She started listing all the reasons she was glad that she didn't have to buy everything twice and didn't have to do twice the work etc.
I was sitting across the table and I didn't even know how to react, first of all of course her pregnancy announcement triggered some feelings of jealousy and I would have wished for her to tell us beforehand and not in a room full of people. But I'm not mad about that or anything although I find it a bit insensitive.
On the other hand, her happiness about losing a child left me speechless, I mean I guess I kinda get her train of thoughts but I think some thoughts are inside thoughts and I must admit I felt offended about being confronted with her reaction to child loss in that kinda way.
Anyway neither me nor my husband got up to hug her or congratulate her and she later on texted my husband that she wasn't happy about the way we acted.
NAH- we all react to trauma differently. Your shock in that moment was 100% valid; I'm sure anyone would struggle be congratulatory when another person is actively celebrating something that caused them immense trauma. On the other hand, your SIL is dealing with a very similar kind of loss, and if talking herself into being happy about only having one child is her way of coping, that's valid too.
Ultimately you're two women— family members— who have had to deal with the same/similar very difficult situation. I hope you can explain your reaction (calmly); after suffering a loss herself, I'm sure she'll be able to understand, at least a little. And while it sounds like she's in the denial phase of grief, I hope you'll be able to be there for her as she deals with her own loss, too.
NAH but you are kind of in the wrong. She lost a baby too. And she’s dealing with as best she can. She doesn’t owe you anything and she doesn’t have to tell you separately. It’s her news to share as she sees fit. You didn’t have to hug her but a simple “yay” “or I'm happy for you” would have be sufficient.
NAH it’s all a very difficult. I’m so sorry for your loss and of course, you’re still grieving and comments hurt and that’s okay. You’re allowed to feel that way and also a little jealous.
Your SIL is also allowed to feel the way she does and honestly sounds like she may be putting on a brave face and making joking comments (as many of us do) as a way of dealing with her own grief. Maybe instead of growing apart, and being bitter reach out and be each others support for you both have lost and are grieving.
NAH. You're allowed to be uncomfortable and upset and process that in your own way. She's allowed to be excited and announce her pregnancy in her way. Not everyone considers a fetus to be a person (I don't) so losing one, especially very early on, and still being pregnant may legitimately be a relief to her (it would be to me, 2 babies at one time is no joke).
You don't have to agree or approve, but the fact that you don't agree doesn't make her wrong. I think for most women, losing an early pregnancy is very different from losing a child during birth, and it's unrealistic to compare the 2 as equal tragedies. BUT, given how recently you lost your child, I can fully understand why her relief would seem offensive to you.
NAH. You have every right to have been stunned by the announcement. She has every right to be stunned by your lack of reaction. You all seem to be ignoring the feelings of the other due to the individual things you each are going through. Did your husband explain why the two of you reacted the way you did?
I'm guessing if he does that your SIL is going to be horribly sad that she hurt you, and I'd be willing to bet that this (or just time) will leave you sad that you didn't respond to her announcement better. I get that you're hurting, but she likely is too. She dealt with her pain in a way that helped (or she thought was helping) her to get over it.
You dealt with your pain differently. You don't understand her action and she doesn't understand your lack of reaction.
This is clearly a NAH situation, both OP and her SIL are in pain and cope differently.