Saturday, January 7, 2012

Pregnancy Envy

It seems to be everywhere. Women today are just having more trouble getting pregnant than our mothers. My friend Megan found an article, (http://www.conceiveonline.com/articles/pregnancy-envy) on pregnancy envy, and how to cope. She posted the article on Facebook with a positive note. Her friends were full of helpful comments about how it took them a few years to get pregnant, and then, wham! They have five kids. And then there are a few like me. I said, "And sometimes it just never happens." 13 comments on the article.

The main points of the article were respectable. First, feeling envy is normal, and a perfectly acceptable emotion. True. Next, find your triggers. For example, if you can't handle baby showers-don't go. Third, remember your spouse (I would change this to partner). He or she may be having a hard time, too, and sometimes it can be helpful to lean on each other. Finally, find a way to cope that works for you-keep a journal, blog, or connect with family and friends. (I would add that no one understands like a woman who has never been pregnant, and that was something that was helpful to me)

So, it's no secret that I had trouble conceiving for various reasons, and soon after my husband and I married, we chose to adopt, and through twists and turns made an informed decision about which method to go, and now we have two little babies, and we couldn't be happier (noted in previous blog post).

Now the opinions come out. First of all, excuse me, Lady-who-got-pregnant-in-2-months-but-still-felt-envy-until-then-I don't feel sorry for you.

The article was pretty good, but I would also add don't take it out on people you care about. Friends get pregnant, that's what they do. Complain to someone else about it, you don't want to lose a good friend in the meantime. (Especially if you are going to love your little "nieces" and "nephews" like no other!)

It's just my opinion on the article, I think they should add that. Skip the baby shower, yes, but don't lose a friend in the meantime.

Another thing is to live your life as though you are not going to get pregnant any minute. Take jobs that could lead to careers. Stay in school, or go back to school. If and when it happens, these plans are easily changed. After you find out, you still have about 8 months before the baby comes, plenty of time to finish the next semester, or give your job 2 weeks notice if need be. Don't put your life on hold waiting for that baby. Because, guess what? Five years later you don't have your degree OR your baby (me). I finally gave up, bought a truck instead of a family car, got a great job and finished my degree. I also started looking into single parenthood. Then life changed, but now I had some years of career experience, a degree, and my plans were easily changed into coupledom and parenthood.

I'll tell you what, though. For me, acceptance was the biggest relief. Accepting that I probably wasn't ever going to get pregnant, it was like, okay, on to the next step, but it's so hard to get a clear answer on that, almost impossible. It took me ten years to accept it, and decide that there was another option for me. I quit trying, and now I'm on BC pills until the voluntary hysterectomy, so it's over, but there's still a part of me that thinks, What if a miracle happened? 

Please don't take this as advice. You should do whatever you feel is right if and when you start feeling some envy. I feel it, even with my little babies asleep soundly and safely in their beds. I can't blame a friend for sharing what she shares about her pregnancy. I gloat about my little ones, and about my awesome husband, and I'm sure that's hard for some people, too. But I feel like, they don't know all the pain that came with getting here. And that I still experience. So pregnant women should be able to be excited and "complain" about, ugh, the nausea. And I should be able to not comment, block her, and say to myself, Oh, boo hoo. I'd kill to have morning sickness. 

There are a lot of people who are having a hard time these days. But those people are so often optimistic. "It took me 4 years, but it happened." Or "God has a plan," etc. Those people are very different from those of us who NEVER got pregnant and NEVER will. We're pessimistic, and realistic. We know it doesn't happen for everyone. We know that two of our own husbands may have gotten their respective other wives pregnant, but it just didn't happen for us. We know that you can try everything, and all it brings is disappointment. I want it to happen for my friends. I love my boys so much, I know they were meant to be mine, and adoption is a whole other kind of amazing, one that I wouldn't want to miss, but I still think, why couldn't you have just come out of me to get here? Why couldn't I have that experience that so many people (including their bio mom) take for granted? So many of my friends are struggling with it right now, and I want them to be able to experience pregnancy. At the same time, I know it will be hard for me, even though it's all said and done in that chapter of my life. 

I don't want to give advice, but it's here if someone chooses to take it. My main complaints are the following: I don't need pregnancy advice, hope, or inspiration. I don't want to be grateful for this trial that will make me stronger and take me down a different life path. I want to be sad, and I don't want to come to your baby shower. I also don't want to lose you as a friend, and you deserve to be happy and excited about your pregnancy. I don't want to take that away from you or make you feel awkward.

And at this stage in my life, some of that is not true anymore. I don't need pregnancy advice because soon I will not have a uterus, and it's off the table. I am a little grateful because by adopting I found my little soul babies, and I couldn't be happier, and I didn't contribute to the population. I do want to come to your baby shower, because I'm excited for you, and want to love your new baby.

But fot the past ten years? What helped was limiting my contact with pregnant women (don't visit a young married ward at BYU), letting myself feel what I was feeling, going to bed when the disappointments were acute, enjoying my relationships baby-free, and talking to adoptive moms and moms who had a hard time getting pregnant, or never carried a baby full term-but it has to be someone who's sensitive to your situation-sometimes moms don't understand that just because she got pregnant after years of trying, it doesn't mean I will.

I love babies. For me, once my friends had pushed that baby out, the envy was over for me, hand over that baby. I have a great life, and now I have babies of my own that my friends and family love and spoil. I know that's not the case for everyone. I wish all my friends luck in having whatever baby experience is in the cards for them, and that, in the meantime, they can utilize this time wisely, unlike me. In hindsight, that made it a little easier-but not much.

3 comments:

@dollgina said...

Excellent post, Andrea!

TOJJ said...

I finally read this post; can you believe it took me this long? As it's been much longer since my last comment on childbearing, I agree with all you have said. We are totally foster-adopting.

TOJJ said...

It's been 4 months since I last read this blog post, and I think I will need to read it much more often, perhaps daily. Having over a dozen Facebook friends conceive around the same time has compounded my infertility depression, and now I am trying to limit contact with a few close friends of that Facebook fertility group because I just can't take it anymore. I think anyone in my situation would do the same, though the opinions of others don't matter because I know it's what I need to do. Just from past experience, I know that when I limit my Facebook activity, I healthily limit my comparisons to others.