HARA ESTROFF MARANO
I'm pregnant with my first child and very excited, especially about sharing the experience with family and friends. My older sister has six children—and a lot of wisdom I'm open to hearing. Unfortunately, she seems offended by the fact that I'm also reading books and researching things on my own—she says I'm demonstrating that I don't care about what she has to say and I'm trying to make her look stupid. My sister apparently thinks that she knows better than the entire medical and scientific community. Unless I take her advice without question and without referencing other sources, she refuses to talk to me. How do I get through to her?
It's your pregnancy, so you get to choose how you want to handle it and what information you want to gather to address your questions and concerns—just as your sister undoubtedly did with all of hers. Of course, it's not your information-seeking that's problematic, but why you feel the need to report to her everything you are reading and researching, since you know that it rankles her. Perhaps her extreme sensitivity to being thought stupid has deeper roots in your relationship that may be fueled by education or achievement differences. It's not your job to repair your sister's sense of inferiority, but if you are serious about sharing the experience of pregnancy with her in exchange for her wisdom, then you might at least be sensitive to it. Pregnancy and preparation for childbirth offer so much more to talk about than Google searches.