Written by: Shani Fowler
Living a country with free contraception makes it very easy for us to plan when we want bless the world with our offspring – or so we think! Many of us spend a lot of our lives avoiding getting pregnant until we feel the time is right – and then it’s all systems go! How deflating it then becomes when month after month of trying – no baby appears. Months can turn into years for many people where they either cannot conceive or they miscarry. I can speak from a very personal level here, that it can become an all-consuming depressing situation when you try and try and there is none or limited success. Dealing with pregnancy jealousy is hard, here are some tips on understanding how you feel and ways to cope.
Keeping up appearances
These years are not only filled with endless misery, but it’s nicely rounded off with everyone around you (your friends, family members and work colleagues) becoming pregnant, with seemingly great ease. You are challenged with looking at their ever growing bumps and you have to appear so happy for them when all you want to do is scream at the injustice of it all. It’s hard to plaster a smile on your face and congratulate someone on becoming pregnant with their fourth child. How come they get four and you can’t have one? That smile simply cannot reach your heart. In fact it feels like your heart might break. Just hearing of another pregnancy can really take your breath away.
Is it the green eyed monster – are you jealous? Do you have pregnancy jealously? Yes you’re jealous – but that doesn’t cover it, it only scratches the surface. It’s not even that you are not happy for someone else really, it’s that someone else’s joyous pregnancy news just slaps you in the face as a reminder your own failing situation. It becomes more of a resentment of yourself, an inward grief and sadness rather than a simple jealousy of others.
How best to deal with the jealousy
Jealousy is a normal emotion especially in these testing situations, but it can become damaging. So when you are suddenly faced with someone’s “great baby news” test your negative thoughts, remind yourself that it isn’t someone else’s fault that you are struggling and recognize that if they could change it for you they would. They probably feel awkward telling you if they know you are having problems. Let them know you are pleased for them (because deep down you are), try to keep positive and think that your time will come.
Find others in the same boat
Remember – Infertility isn’t discriminative, remind yourself that it isn’t out to get you – and you alone. There are actually many others out there who are in the exact same boat. As with most situations talking to family and friends can help and talking to people who are in the same position can help immensely, maybe seek out forums and groups where you can air how you feel and know that someone totally understands what it is like.
Although it’s not prudent (or even possible) to cut yourself off from everyone in the world who is pregnant, some times can be more challenging than others. At the hardest times you can limit the level with which you have to immerse yourself. You can buy a baby gift for someone but don’t necessarily feel you have to go to a baby shower or a christening. Be honest with people and tell that whilst you are happy for them, you feel sad about the fact that you are struggling and just don’t want to attend baby events or talk about baby related topics at this time. But don’t totally cut yourself off from people; you could miss out on involvement that you may actually enjoy such as being a doting God parent, or Auntie or Uncle (it’s not just the ladies who desire children!)
Ways to cope
Try Counselling or alternative methods such as reflexology, hypnosis, or spiritual healing. These therapies can assist with your general well-being and your feelings towards others, as well as being a possible route to pregnancy. I really believe in spiritual healing, and after having spiritual healing, I finally had a baby after suffering four miscarriages and subfertility over a six year period. I believe it relaxed me and put me in a better place both mentally and physically. It’s not for everyone and I know it may have its sceptics, but there is no harm in trying what seems to work for some people, even if it just relieves you of the self-resentment and sadness.
Many of the above can help with dealing with pregnancy jealousy, which is really sadness and grief in disguise; and though jealousy is normal to a degree, it can be destructive and counterproductive. Positivity seems to attract positivity so try to be positive and happy.
Try not to let “becoming pregnant” define you as a person. There is so much more to you than this. Trying to become pregnant can take over your life and leave you in “limbo land” where you never know what will really happen. Take some “time out.” So frequently we hear of people becoming pregnant after years of trying when they begin not to let it become the focus of their life. They take their eye off the ball (and maybe shed their jealousy and sadness) and suddenly bingo!