My sister-in-law disapproves of me for expecting a daughter

By Thuy Linh   May 29, 2024 | 02:55 pm PT
Despite having a daughter herself, my husband’s sister has openly expressed her disapproval of me expecting a girl.

My husband and I got married earlier this year, and I am now halfway through my pregnancy. My sister-in-law married three years earlier, and her daughter is now three. My husband dearly loves his niece, and he frequently called her every couple of days as well as regularly provided financial support for diapers and milk.

Once we began our family, my husband informed his siblings that he would stop the monthly financial support as we needed to save for our mortgage and our upcoming child’s needs, indicating that they should be self-sufficient as adults. He occasionally humorously remarked that everyone should look after their own children and lessened the frequency of his calls.

Nevertheless, I continue to send gifts or money to my niece for her birthday, the Mid-Autumn Festival, and Children’s Day. I never thought this was inappropriate until I became pregnant, which is when my sister-in-law started to show jealousy and openly criticized me.

My sister-in-law resides with my in-laws in a rural area in Northern Vietnam, while my husband and I are based in Ho Chi Minh City. Whenever I video call my mother-in-law, my sister-in-law frequently interrupts, which is very irritating.

For instance, during our latest call, my mother-in-law and I were discussing my husband’s brief return to his hometown for business. He booked a flight back to Ho Chi Minh City right after his work was done, so my mother-in-law called to inform me of his departure even though everyone had suggested he stay a few more days. He explained that he felt uneasy leaving me alone and needed to be with me for a prenatal checkup.

During this conversation, my sister-in-law cut in saying: "Oh please, can’t she go to the doctor by herself? So annoying. His early departure made my baby cry so much."

She implied that my husband’s prompt return upset her baby and suggested it was my fault. I was hurt by this. My mother-in-law reprimanded her, causing her to sheepishly stand up and walk away.

There was another time when we announced to my in-laws that we were expecting a daughter, and my sister-in-law once again voiced her displeasure, despite her child also being a girl. My husband had to firmly tell her: "Stop babbling, our daughter will be precious to us."

She then questioned whether our child would look like us and stated that everyone claims her daughter resembles my husband the most and adores him the most. She lamented that she hadn’t recently received any money from us for snacks or milk. My husband replied: "Everyone should take care of their own, and it’s normal for your daughter to love her uncle."

My sister-in-law also frequently makes derogatory remarks or comparisons about her child’s behavior and agility. Whenever my husband and I mention to his parents that we are going out to celebrate something, she would interrupt, questioning if it is related to our daughter. Regardless of how often my husband and my mother-in-law dismiss her comments, she persists in her behavior.

I know I should ignore her remarks, but every time I call my in-laws, she begins to speak, and it really bothers me, even though I can’t just silence her. Being pregnant, her constant comparisons of her child to mine are so aggravating that they make me want to cry. My husband reassures me, advising me to just ignore her and not worry about it, but I struggle with this advice.

How should I handle such an insensitive sister-in-law?

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