When this woman feels like she can't do thanksgiving after a traumatic event, she asks Reddit:
For context, my sister (28f) & I (27f) grew up very close & have remained so into adulthood. We were each others maid of honor at our weddings & our husbands are close friends now too. We have regularly gone out for double dates (even triple dates w/ our brother & his fiancée) for years.
My sister & I both got pregnant around the same time - this wasn’t planned, tho some family members don’t believe us. We got even closer through our pregnancies if that was at all possible. I was due in early Nov, she in early Dec.
Sadly, 3 weeks ago, at 39 weeks - I stopped feeling any movement from my baby. After my husband rushed me to the hospital, we found out our baby had passed away.
We’re still not sure why - my pregnancy was pretty normal & all scans were developmentally appropriate - we are paying for an autopsy though have still not received the full report back. We have an appointment w/ our OBGYN to explain the results the week after Thanksgiving & we’ll have a memorial service for him after the holidays.
My sister gave birth a few weeks early about 10 days ago - we knew she was high risk of early labor. She now has a beautiful healthy baby girl & while I am filled with so much joy for her, I am also still so heartbroken because we should’ve both been holding our babies this holiday season.
In an effort to still be supportive, my husband & I prepaid for a 1yr diaper service - we both talked about wanting to do cloth diapering (she had cloth diapers on her registry) & I thought this would take a huge load off her in the first year. I also sent a bouquet of flowers & my husband dropped off a load of diapers at their house before they got home from the hospital.
I’m trying to be supportive as best I can but I still cry every day after holding my still child in my arms just a few short weeks ago. Despite everything, my parents, sister, BIL, brother, & fiancée still expect my husband & I to attend thanksgiving.
Though I’ve explained my reasoning, my family keeps trying to cajole us into joining - citing things like needing to be around family, getting support from each other, we’re all grieving my son but should all be able to celebrate my niece, maybe it would make me feel better, etc.
My mom, for some reason, is the one being most insistent, that she was so looking forward to having all of us this holiday with the new generation - I’m not sure she realizes that to husband and I, “all of us” wouldn’t be there because “all of us” would’ve included our son.
I‘ve tried to explain that I know I’m not ready to be around a baby without launching into hysterics - which would undoubtedly ruin the holiday mood. I have started working on my grief with my therapist but I don’t get an appointment this week due to the holiday & I just haven’t made that much progress yet.
My explanations seem to fall on deaf ears. Are we assholes for not wanting to attend thanksgiving?
NAH/NTA -- they aren't AHs for inviting you, but refusing to let you say no is AH territory. I don't blame you for not being up to it! Your niece is too young to notice your absence; your sister and BIL have family support. It's possible they're pressuring you out of misguided optimism, rather than any AHish intent? I'm sorry for your loss.
NTA but instead of telling them that you can't be there because of your niece just tell them you are still ill and in pain medically and you are unable to attend. Just wait until the day of so they can't browbeat you into attending.
NTA. OP, I’m surprised no one has pointed out that in addition to recovering from major surgery, you are also postpartum. You gave birth to a full-term baby. You are coping with the flood of hormones and emotions and the physical symptoms from them.
They didn’t magically disappear. If there was ever someone at risk of postpartum depression or illness it’s you. You must take time to cope with all this. Families don’t take this seriously enough. I’m so sorry you’re going through this. My heart is with you.