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4 Ways to Fight Infertility Jealousy

Even before I was diagnosed with PCOS, I had a major problem with jealousy. I knew it would be difficult for me to get pregnant, and being a mom was the ultimate goal for me. So any time someone else would get pregnant easily and/or accidentally, I would completely lose my mind and spend days in a jealous rage. It wasn’t pretty. While I still have jealous thoughts from time to time, I have learned to identify it and move past it. The following post contains a few things that I’ve found to be helpful in dealing with jealousy.

1. Realize that there are more emotions hiding under the jealousy.

I get it. You’re scrolling through Facebook when you are jolted by the sight of yet another pregnancy announcement. Maybe it’s someone on their third or fourth child. Or someone who always expressed their dislike for kids and never wanted their own. It could be your good friend or distant relative, but it all feels the same. Unfair. My first thoughts in these situations were usually along the lines of, “Of course they’re pregnant. Only people who aren’t trying/don’t want kids can get pregnant. Of course I would see this stupid announcement the day I get my period.” I cringe at knowing that I’ve uttered those words and much worse, but that’s who I was–a bitter, angry, selfish person. I justified my feelings in many ways, but the reality is that babies are a blessing and deserve to be celebrated–no matter the circumstances surrounding their arrival or how you feel about it.

After putting myself through these exhausting fits again and again, I started to wonder why I was such a terrible person. What kind of a person is so angry and jealous over another woman who is growing a precious, innocent life? Every time I made a snide remark about another woman getting pregnant and “she didn’t even want kinds”, it was like I was watching myself from someone else’s body. My brain was telling my mouth to just STOP, but I couldn’t. My poor husband and best friends who had to put up with me at my worst never knew how to respond. They knew as well as I did how ridiculous I sounded, but nothing they said could make me less angry.

Finally I realized that I wasn’t jealous and angry because I was necessarily a horrible person, but because I was hurting so deeply. Infertility is grief. The emotions that come with this broken body are never-ending. They wash over you when you least expect it, and when you least want it. Once I recognized the sadness behind my bitter anger, I was able to let myself feel it. And slowly the catty remarks and bitter thoughts became fewer and fewer. So if you catch yourself glaring at a pregnant belly, don’t be so hard on yourself. Rather, pay attention to the more complex emotions that are probably just beneath your jealous exterior.

2. Let yourself wallow.

If you need to cry, cry. If you need to vent about your difficult situation and how unfair life is, vent to a trusted (understanding) source. Buy a pint of your favorite ice cream (Graeter’s Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip, please!) and dig in. Watch a sappy movie. Sleep in. Do whatever you want for at least 24 hours. You deserve it. It definitely won’t fix everything, but letting yourself feel sad will help you to move past it. Avoiding your emotions or pretending that you aren’t bothered that someone else seems to easily get everything that you can’t have no matter how hard you try will eventually make you even more miserable. So just take some time to process your feelings. You can be optimistic tomorrow.

3. Find an outlet.

For me, it’s journaling. I really dedicate several hours into it when I’m trying to overcome sadness. After you let yourself wallow for a bit, it’s time to keep going. Find an activity that relaxes you and inspires you. Something that will take your mind off of what other people have, and focus it on what you are working towards. Maybe you like to paint or run or build things. Whatever it is, do it. Now is the time to take some extra time to exercise self-care. You deserve it and you need it.

4. Be a blessing.

This is probably the most important thing that I’ve done to cope with my jealousy. When my good friend announced that she and her husband were trying to conceive, I had a hard time being supportive. I was miserable for months. Angry. Bitter. Hateful. My days were poisoned with thoughts that I felt I had no control over. Things that never would have crossed my mind if I weren’t so consumed with jealousy.

So I decided that I didn’t want to be that way anymore. I didn’t want to feel this way towards one of my dearest friends. Yet, I didn’t know how to fight it. Finally, I decided to do something that would totally change my attitude.

I began to pray for my friend. I prayed that she and her husband would conceive easily and quickly. That they would be healthy and that their marriage would grow stronger. I wrote down scriptures to share with her as an encouragement. It wasn’t easy at first, but eventually I was able to lay aside my feelings, and truly desire blessings for them.

When they became pregnant a few months later, I continued to pray for them. Around this time, I felt that I should take it a step further–to not just pray that they would be blessed, but to actually be a blessing to them. Whether it’s a congratulatory gift, an encouraging word, helping plan the shower, etc., I am constantly looking for ways to bless them with my time, my actions, and my words.

To my surprise, this way of thinking has extended to other women who would have once been a target of my jealousy. And while pregnancy announcements can still hurt and cause me to wallow in sadness for a few days, my thoughts are now more along the lines of “I need to make time to pray for her. I can’t wait to buy a gift for the baby shower. Her family must be so thrilled.

I’m not going to pretend that I’m not tempted to make sarcastic, hateful remarks from time to time, but the important thing is that I am actively working to not be so bitter. And I know that I will be stronger (and kinder) for it in the end.