What Causes Envy? How Can You Cope?
Ideas that feed into pregnancy envy:
Envy is a normal emotion. You’re not a bad person, friend, or relative for feeling pangs of jealousy. Understanding the underlying thoughts that feed into jealous feelings may help you understand yourself better and even reduce these uncomfortable feelings.
Common Jealousy Rational #1: “I would be a much better parent, but Ms. Terrible-Mother gets pregnant yet again.”
Why do women get pregnant who were “not even trying”? Why does your co-worker become “accidentally pregnant” when you can’t purposefully get pregnant for months or years now? Why is your neighbor, who you believe to be a terrible mother, able to pop out kids with ease, but you, who you believe would be an awesome mother, can’t conceive no matter how hard you try?
The truth is that pregnancy doesn’t discriminate. Becoming pregnant is not dependent on how “hard you try”, nor on whether you’d make a good parent or a bad one.
Common Jealousy Rational #2: “How dare she complain! She has no idea how lucky she is.”
Nothing stirs up jealousy and anger more than when a lucky friend starts complaining about morning sickness, or having to wake up with the baby in the middle of the night. How dare she complain when you would give everything to have a baby?
Well, here’s the thing to keep in mind: When you’re pregnant, you’ll also probably want to complain. And if you force yourself to keep a happy appearance on the outside throughout pregnancy and the postpartum period, you may set yourself up for feeling depressed. (Because let’s face it, pregnancy and early parenthood isn’t easy, and keeping your struggles a secret isn’t good for your mental health.) In fact, having experienced infertility puts you at a higher risk for developing postpartum depression.
When you hear your friend complaining, remember that whining about pregnancy and the newborn period is also part of the experience. It’s not that they don’t appreciate what they have – they do. They just also love to talk-it-up.
Also, remember that pregnancy and new motherhood are a both a blessing and a difficult experience to go through. Complaining isn’t a sign they don’t appreciate it – it’s part of the reality of pregnancy and parenting.
Common Jealousy Rational #3: “Why her and not me?”
There are two rationales behind this one. One is a kind of silly notion we have that pregnancies are in short supply. Almost like if all your friends get pregnant, there won’t be enough “pregnant” to go around for you, which isn’t true of course.
The other rational behind this one is more accurately, “Why not me?” It’s the sadness peaking out from behind the jealousy.
Envy Is Anger And Grief In Disguise
In many ways, it is easier to feel envy and direct your difficult feelings outward than to look inward and acknowledge our sadness.
Jealousy is less about our friend or family member’s pregnancy, and more about our own grief over infertility.
Infertility is a frustrating, difficult disease to face. Feeling sadness, anger, grief, and fear is common and normal. Anger especially is an emotion that likes a target, and if you’re feeling angry about infertility, directing that anger at a co-worker who gets pregnant may feel easier than directing it at the universe for not dealing you the pregnancy cards you hoped for.
Protecting Yourself From Pregnancy Overwhelm
When you’re in the thick of pregnancy jealousy, sometimes you need to take steps to lessen your exposure to the triggers. Some things you can do include:
Hide all status messages from your pregnant friend or family member: They’ll never know you hid their updates, and you can always go to their page every so often and scan for important updates. Plus, if something really important happens, they or someone else will tell you.
Decline the baby shower invite: You really don’t have to go. Honest.
Ask them not to talk about pregnancy all the time: If hearing them talk about the pregnancy is painful, either find a way to switch the subject, or be honest and tell them you don’t want to talk about the pregnancy and why. “I am happy for you, but hearing you talk about your pregnancy makes me feel extremely sad because I can’t get pregnant myself. So can we talk about the things we spoke about before you got pregnant?”
p.s. If you would like to continue the full month of the 30 Days Of Mindful Fertility program NOW, click HERE.
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