Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Family and Children => Topic started by: lolane on March 25, 2013, 04:53:31 PM

Title: No, Really, I'm Happy For Them
Post by: lolane on March 25, 2013, 04:53:31 PM
Background: I am 4 months pregnant. I just learned that my cousin is 3 months pregnant. I am over the moon with excitement over this. This cousin was born one month after me and we had a lot of fun together as kids, and now our children are due to be born one month apart.

My problem is that everyone in my family seems to think I'm going to be upset over this news. People have made comments about her "stealing my thunder" and have approached me cautiously thinking I'm going to fly into a rage at the mere mention of someone else's pregnancy. One person even said, "she stole your spotlight once when you were born, and now she's doing it again!"

I've laughed off their concerns and just said, "I'm really happy for them and really excited that I have someone else to share this experience with at the same time," but it doesn't seem to be getting through. Also, I am slightly offended that people really believe I'm so selfish that I'd actually be angry about my cousin's happiness. Is there anything else e-hell approved that I can say that makes it very clear that I'm done having this conversation and that I find it offensive that it keeps being brought up?
Title: Re: No, Really, I'm Happy For Them
Post by: TootsNYC on March 25, 2013, 04:59:10 PM
I might say, puzzled, "You're not serious, right?"

And then, "you know, people have been making that joke all my life--frankly it's annoying. I'd like to ask you to never make it again, yourself, and to do what you can to influence other people to stop.
  "Even if you think you're joking, it makes me look like a petty, small-hearted person. And that's really unfair to me.
    "Also, I would hope my cousin knows that it's YOUR joke and not mine, but if she hears it, she may feel really awkward around me.
    "Please, can you help me get people to stop? If they think they need to say something, they can say, 'How neat that you two have so much in common!' "

The reason I vote going for the longer explanation is that these are people who are around awhile, and a longer explanation is worth the investment.

Title: Re: No, Really, I'm Happy For Them
Post by: TootsNYC on March 25, 2013, 04:59:55 PM
Or put something like that up on Facebook (edit the settings for that specific post so it can be seen only by family members and not friends--they don't need to get the message).
Title: Re: No, Really, I'm Happy For Them
Post by: rose red on March 25, 2013, 05:12:00 PM
"I'm hurt/offended that you think that of my character."
Title: Re: No, Really, I'm Happy For Them
Post by: kherbert05 on March 25, 2013, 05:56:34 PM
I would just go on about how you loved having a cousin so close in age and you hope your kids are as close as the two of you are. If the want to start drama people keep pushing it then go with the "Why do you have such a low oppinion of me?" type line.


My cousin got married about a month after sis. Some people tried to start his type of drama with them. Sis did the "did you realize you just grew a second head" stare followed with "Why are you trying to cause trouble between cousin and I?" In this case they were "friends" not family and trying to stir up trouble because they are bored boring people who must stir trouble and sling mud. Funny thing these people were NOT invited to either wedding.
Title: Re: No, Really, I'm Happy For Them
Post by: ti_ax on March 25, 2013, 06:50:14 PM
My two DDs are planning weddings for this summer, three weeks apart. With DW's birthday in the middle.  :D
Title: Re: No, Really, I'm Happy For Them
Post by: Fragglerocker on March 25, 2013, 07:44:51 PM
All you can do is continue to show your genuine happiness for them, and maybe add in a comment about how excited you are to have someone close to you to go throw this journey with, and that your new child will get a built-in friend & playmate.   Saying comments to try to defend your character probably won't have much an impact on the people who are guessing you'll be upset about the thunder-stealing. 
Title: Re: No, Really, I'm Happy For Them
Post by: SPuck on March 25, 2013, 08:15:03 PM
I'm curious about the people who are making the comments. Are they certain family members or a generation?
Title: Re: No, Really, I'm Happy For Them
Post by: #borecore on March 25, 2013, 09:30:58 PM
I'm on a board where people DO get really upset about this sort of thing, and it seems like the sort of thing reality TV is built on -- status-symbols, spotlights, attention and who's best/coolest/first. It boggles the mind, but it is at least superficially quite prevalent.

So I think they're just responding to the idea that that warped sense of "me! me! me!" is the norm, not that YOU have personally been an attention-grubber or that you're not enthusiastic enough about your cousin's pregnancy.

I'd just keep saying, "What? No! I'm so thrilled for Cousin! It was so fun growing up with a cousin so close in age to me. Our kids are going to love it." Or "What's so bad about having cousins close in age? It worked out great for us!" Or just repeat the title of this post.
Title: Re: No, Really, I'm Happy For Them
Post by: Magnet on March 26, 2013, 09:15:23 AM
This may be a situation where actions speak louder than words.  Go shopping with cousin, talk to her frequently about pregnancy issues, and enjoy her company.  Eventually, these pot stirrers will understand that you are truly happy for cousin.
Title: Re: No, Really, I'm Happy For Them
Post by: Calistoga on March 26, 2013, 10:01:35 AM
"Stealing my thunder? Heck no, we're just going to gang up on the rest of you guys and make one heck of a storm!"

If jokes don't shut them up, cut to the chase "Look, I'm genuinely happy for Cousin. Please stop trying to cause drama where there is none."

Also possible "Oh...would you be upset in my position? I'm not." Most people would have a hard time saying "Yes, I'd be real mad if someone had the gall to conceive so soon after me."
Title: Re: No, Really, I'm Happy For Them
Post by: BeagleMommy on March 26, 2013, 10:45:53 AM
I would probably go with something like "Are you serious?!" or the one eyebrow arch followed by the Spock-like "Fascinating.".
Title: Re: No, Really, I'm Happy For Them
Post by: MariaE on March 26, 2013, 12:46:42 PM
My oldest cousin is exactly 1.5 months younger than me. Growing up, he was one of my best friends.

I'd LOVE it if one of my sisters got pregnant at the same time as I did, so I could offer my child the same experience.
Title: Re: No, Really, I'm Happy For Them
Post by: LadyClaire on March 26, 2013, 12:49:50 PM
Assuming you all weren't sharing your plans to try for a baby, the pregnancies being so close together kind of makes it hard for your cousin to have deliberately stolen your thunder. She would've gotten pregnant around the time you all were just finding out, right?

I'd just laugh and say "No, I love that our children will be so close in age. I have really great memories of growing up with Cousin".

My sister really badly wanted me to be pregnant around the same time as her, because she wants our kids to grow up close. Her son will be a year old soon, and she's thinking of trying for a second one soon, and keeps asking if I'll be trying soon as well.
Title: Re: No, Really, I'm Happy For Them
Post by: Deetee on March 26, 2013, 12:51:42 PM
I think some preemptive enthusiasm would work well. When anyone brings it up go with" I know! Isn't it great? it will be so much fun having a cousin so close in age. Christmas will be so much fun." If they still bring up the thunder thing go with looking at them like they have two heads.
Title: Re: No, Really, I'm Happy For Them
Post by: It's good to be Queen on March 26, 2013, 06:05:53 PM
I think if they perist you should just say something like "Seriously, I hope you don't think I'm that petty!"  Then they are in the position of  not being able to musch else but "of course not".
Title: Re: No, Really, I'm Happy For Them
Post by: kckgirl on March 26, 2013, 06:12:01 PM
I have three cousins born the same year, two in June, one in October, and my birthday is in November. We always thought it was cool that we were all so close in age. Our children are all similar in age, but don't know each other well because we all eventually settled in different parts of the country.
Title: Re: No, Really, I'm Happy For Them
Post by: scotcat60 on March 27, 2013, 06:42:04 AM
One person even said, "she stole your spotlight once when you were born, and now she's doing it again!"

As if your cousin deliberately chose to be born when she was. She had noc ontrol over that.
Just say, "Did she? I wasn't aware of it."
And you will have someone who will really understand what you are going through when it comes to the less fun aspects of pregnancy, and maybe you can help each other out.
Title: Re: No, Really, I'm Happy For Them
Post by: lolane on March 27, 2013, 01:13:05 PM
Thank you all for your replies. I apologize for not jumping back on here sooner. In response to the question about who is making these sorts of comments - it seems to mostly be family members of my parent's generation. Which is interesting, because I have heard of mothers-to-be and brides having this type of attitude (of being mad if they aren't the center of attention), but I thought it was a relatively new thing.

I think going forward I'll just continue to show enthusiasm, and if people press, use something along the lines of, "I'm surprised you have such a low opinion of me."

Title: Re: No, Really, I'm Happy For Them
Post by: laceandbits on March 28, 2013, 08:45:57 AM
I have one cousin exactly nine months older than me, and another exactly nine months younger.  They are the children of my father's two sisters.  It gave me great innocent pleasure once I nearly understood the birds and the bees to think that my paprents had celebrated the birth of my older cousin, and that my other aunt and uncle had celebrated my birth.
Title: Re: No, Really, I'm Happy For Them
Post by: CakeEater on March 28, 2013, 05:24:47 PM
One person even said, "she stole your spotlight once when you were born, and now she's doing it again!"

As if your cousin deliberately chose to be born when she was. She had noc ontrol over that.
Just say, "Did she? I wasn't aware of it."
And you will have someone who will really understand what you are going through when it comes to the less fun aspects of pregnancy, and maybe you can help each other out.

Yes! What a bizarre suggestion that she stole your thunder by being born!
Title: Re: No, Really, I'm Happy For Them
Post by: ClaireC79 on March 30, 2013, 04:52:53 AM
Have you ever suggested something along those lines before? (ie you didn't throw a strop when you were 4 that 'cousin got to share my Barbie cake and i's NOT FAAAIIIIIIRRRR) obviously even if you did they should have grown up.

I know when my SIL was pregnant and due 3 weeks after me I did make some sort of comment after her scan about it not being fair that she leap frogged me and went to being due 3 weeks before me, but it wasn't serious (and no one took it as serious) - In our case things didn't work out but it would have been lovely having 'twin cousins' (almost) growing up together
Title: Re: No, Really, I'm Happy For Them
Post by: citadelle on March 30, 2013, 07:59:47 AM
Thank you all for your replies. I apologize for not jumping back on here sooner. In response to the question about who is making these sorts of comments - it seems to mostly be family members of my parent's generation. Which is interesting, because I have heard of mothers-to-be and brides having this type of attitude (of being mad if they aren't the center of attention), but I thought it was a relatively new thing.

I think going forward I'll just continue to show enthusiasm, and if people press, use something along the lines of, "I'm surprised you have such a low opinion of me."

I thought that this must be a more recent phenomenon as well. To be blunt, I really can't relate to thinking of pregnancy as a time to be the center of attention. Is validation from others such an important part of pregnancy? Did mothers in colonial times expect that they would have "thunder" that could be "stolen"? Is there someone here who feels this way willing to explain?

I've been pregnant twice and always grateful for good wishes. But if my cousin were having a baby around the same time? Wouldn't have shown up on my radar as a problem.

Keep it up, OP. Maybe these people have noticed the trend toward feeling proprietary and are expecting that you will feel the same. Hopefully, they will be pleasantly surprised when realizing that you don't.