5 Tips on Managing your Jealousy toward Other Pregnant Women in your Life
Managing my feelings of intense jealousy towards pregnant women was one of the biggest challenges I faced during my fertility journey.
Since babies were on my mind 24/7, I saw pregnant woman everywhere and I couldn't exactly "unsee" them or avoid them. Of course, I didn’t know those women, but for that split second they were in front of me, resting their hands on their bellies or waddling around the grocery store, I exuded jealously, feelings of sadness, and anger that it wasn't ME in those stretchy paneled maternity pants and cute top that showed of my bump. Sure, it was easy enough to forgot about them because I didn't actually know them, but what about when your own friends or family begin announcing their pregnancies to you? How do you allow yourself to share in their joy and happiness, and not let it deeply affect you? Below are a few tips I found helpful for myself.
1) Whether or not your friend knows you are struggling with infertility, she will eventually share her baby news with you. If your friend is aware, I have found, the best thing to do in this situation is to be open and honest (I often found doing so by writing an email was the best for me). Start by letting her know that you are of course happy for her (which deep down you are even if it doesn’t feel that way). Let her know that you have good days and bad days and that there will be times when you want to be included in all the pregnancy and baby talk and times when you may act distant or need some space. This will hopefully put the both of you at ease when you are around each other.
2) Though it is difficult to watch others around you easily achieve what you deeply long for, try to remember that life is not always fair. Everyone struggles and has hardships (many of which we never share with our friends and family), and you don’t have to let this situation define you. It’s okay to let yourself feel sad or emotional for a bit, but know that things will be different tomorrow.
3) Use these moments as mini challenges to help make you a better person. Often times we may feel like we are acting happy, but why not actually BE happy. When you are in a good place, meet up with your friend and ask her all about her pregnancy, how she plans to decorate the nursery, etc. Be engaged and present in the moment. She will really value and likely admire that you were able to do that for her and so will you.
4) Don’t take anything she says about her pregnancy personally. She may openly complain that her pregnancy has been difficult, or uncomfortable, or that her face is breaking out and she feels disgusting and fat. Naturally, you may think: “I would give ANYTHING to have those things.” It’s best to remember that people are inherently selfish and need to talk about themselves. Her comments are not meant to make you feel bad about your own situation.
5) Talk to a therapist or fertility coach. Sometimes you need a chance to vent and just talk about yourself without feeling like you are burdening the other person or have to ask he or she how they are. Your pregnant friend (even if she is your best friend or sister) may not be able to provide you with all of the support you need right now and that's ok, so instead of feeling abandoned by that person, look for it elsewhere.