Written by: Cally Worden
There is a line that countless women cross every day – the one that sees them shift from ‘Simply Female’ to ‘Prospective Mum’. The decision to try for a baby is thrilling. It’s life changing. And for the majority of women the new status of ‘Prospective Mum’ shifts to ‘Happily Pregnant’ relatively quickly. But for a significant minority of women the process stalls at the prospective stage, as the months pass they dread the arrival of their period each month. A deep and bitter resentment of all newly pregnant friends begins to simmer.
The Happy Face
To the woman whose dreams of pregnancy are regularly thwarted it can seem as if the stork is deliberately missing her house, diverting instead to flap its wings vigorously in spite over those homes of her friends and colleagues. A baby-bump obsession kicks-in, suddenly they seem to be everywhere – everywhere except where you want that bump to be. My second child took just 4 months to conceive, after only 3 months I could already feel myself falling into a mild fixation with all things ‘bump’. You can’t help yourself.
And yet the non-pregnant woman slaps on a happy face and smiles. She asks interested questions when friend‚Äôs share their happy news, before going home and crying into her pillow. It’s almost as if she dare not show any envy for fear, for this will affect her chances of conception. Ironically the stress of this act may contribute in small part to the non-conception status. For some unfortunate women desperate to have a child, their dreams never come true. There are a host of reasons from infertility and partner incompatibility to other medical complications that limit the chances of a successful conception.
Coping with the Wait and Hope
Many women live with the hope of conception right up until their menopause. This can be debilitating and emotionally exhausting. If you find yourself among this group of women, then nothing anyone can say (least of all a parent) will really help. But there are a few things that may help you to cope, as shared by women who have found themselves in this position and collated here:
- It’s okay to be angry and sad – more than that, it’s a natural response. You don’t have to wear that happy face all the time. Allow yourself the freedom to feel both emotions and express them when you need to
- Acknowledge that you are grieving – grief is an intensely powerful emotion. The desire to have a child and the inability to satisfy that desire represents a kind of loss. Grief shows its face in many ways. Don’t be surprised to find yourself responding with unexpected emotions, or even becoming depressed
- Mixed emotions are normal – you may wonder how you can simultaneously feel happy at the news a friend is pregnant, while also hating her for it. Well, this is simply a sign that you are a normal, caring human being, capable of complex emotional expressions. It also demonstrates very clearly that having bad feelings towards pregnant women does not make you a bad person. You’re just human
- Avoid baby showers – why put yourself through the agony? Any true friends will understand this and respect your decision not to participate
- Protect yourself from ‘helpful’ advice and comments – most people will simply want to offer encouragement and help, this can come across as patronising and insensitive. Look after yourself by choosing not to be in social situations where baby-talk is the norm, work on imagining an energy field around yourself that deflects unwelcome comments.