Nobody wants to admit the worst in themselves, which is why this post has been very hard for me to write. Really hard. The only reason I feel that it’s so important for it to exist is because I know I must not be the only one that feels this way. You see, I’m jealous. It feels as though almost every female in our lives within child-bearing age limits has gotten knocked up recently. Friends, siblings, co-workers, EVERYONE on Facebook. (Okay, so maybe that’s an exaggeration…it’s the jealousy talking). It started while we were in our own planning stages for TTC and has grown considerably each month. It’s even worse when I know it’s people who weren’t even trying or people who may not be in a good situation to bring a child into the world at their current stage in life.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I am incapable of being happy for my loved ones; but the feelings of “Why not us instead?” and incompetence can seriously affect my mental state some days. It’s one of the factors of this process that I think hasn’t gotten easier with time. It’s gotten worse. By nature I’m also a very competitive person, so that does not bode well. I also find that it’s harder for me when my straight friends get pregnant. It’s already hard feeling like they have such an unfair advantage to the whole conception process. I have to keep reminding myself that this is not a race and that our baby will come along when he or she is good and ready…but that I should seriously consider staying off Facebook in the meantime.
Recently a long-time and dear friend of mine called me to announce her pregnancy. She was 14 weeks along and they had started to make the announcement. I foolishly thought that I would be one of the first people to know but realized the longer we talked that I was probably one of the last. I was just shy of the “finding out on facebook” crowd, and that felt like salt in a wound. I don’t doubt that she was probably scared to tell me. She knew about our own attempts, and since I know this was not unplanned on her part, I felt slighted that she didn’t share what she was going through when she was TTC. It hit me like a ton of bricks at just how very emotional this process can be and how much strain it can put on your relationships. All types of relationships.
It wasn’t possible for me to hide how upset I was from my wife when I found out that news, and it took me about a week before I could bring myself to talk to my friend again. The space was definitely good for both of us. I spent some time venting and feeling sorry for us. Then I tried to move on. Two weeks later I went out to lunch with a group of girlfriends to celebrate her news and even managed to make it through shopping for maternity clothes afterward with them. The only awkward time was during lunch when another friend asked me how our attempts were going thus far. In that moment, I wished I’d too kept that a secret, just like my now-pregnant friend had chosen to.
I think it’s very important that I went through that instead of bailing on lunch and shopping that day. I hope those friends can be happy for me when I get pregnant even if they are in the same boat I am currently in. I talked myself up a lot and felt that I was a little stronger just for making it through. After all, we haven’t failed. We just haven’t succeeded yet. There’s a very big difference. Challenging myself to look at the opportunity in this situation made me realize that it’s not a bad thing to have more friends make the leap ahead of you. It’s more advice, more to learn from, and more hand-me-downs to look forward to. Most of all, it’s more support when I get there and friends to bond with over motherhood.
At some point, these jealous responses are a natural reaction, but they are still so hard for me to handle. I like being a positive happy person! My point is that this whole process is so emotional, and you never know when it will throw you a curve ball. If you can, build in time for therapy or those you can talk to who can consistently support you. Sometimes I think this can be a lot to lay on a partner, and I know that there were times when I felt I was exhausting mine with my jealous negativity. It’s important to have someone who knows you well that can lend an ear. Regular exercise, meditation, and yoga has helped a lot to clear my head, too. The best way to defeat the green-eyed monster is to step out of the situation and keep your perspective focused on your own journey.
Emily and her wife blog about TTC, life, family and more at the blog, 2 Mommies 2 Love.