Monday, March 1, 2010

Why I'm not envious of pregnant women and women with newborns

It took me awhile to figure this out. At first I thought it was because I already have a living daughter, and so I am vastly luckier than so many women. But gradually I have realized that there is a lot more to it.

I didn't go into either of my pregnancies with that carefree, decorate the nursery the minute you get a BFP, happy-go-lucky newly pregnant hopefulness. I knew how horribly wrong things could go. My sister-in-law had lost both her twins to twin-to-twin transfusion at 8 months. A friend from college had lost a son withing a few days of birth. My best friend's sister lost her little girl to medical incompetence at 8 days old. A good friend lost her beautiful 2 year old to tainted spinach. I was not supremely confidant that those things would not happen to me. I never had the sense that because it happened to someone I knew, that it couldn't happen to me.

Of course, I had no idea that this particular horribleness could happen to me, but I guess I can't say I was shocked. So when I see a pregnant woman or a mother with a new baby, it makes me sad, but it doesn't make me envious.

After Aiden was dead and before I was induced, I had to interact with people. I was kind of numb so it wasn't hard to pretend to be normal. I can't help but think that the woman in the grocery store could be carrying her dead twin, like the very brave Eve, or the woman with the new baby could be thanking God every day that she got to take one home this time. I also think, they may lose that at any time, and I hope that they don't.

I really, really don't mean this as a judgement for people that can't stand the sight of pregnant women and babies. I totally understand that thought process. When I was struggling to get pregnant I experienced a little of the envy. But I know that envy is like hate - it only really hurts the person feeling it. I kind of hoped my perspective might help someone that is being too hard on themselves. And, since this is my blog, I am writing to clarify my thoughts.

Today was surprisingly easy, one month was harder. At times I'm sad that I'm not more sad - as neurotic as that is. I'm scared to move on, and I'm eager to move on. I think I should just resign myself to complex, contradictory emotions from now on.


  1. Hi Jen, this was a great post for me. I totally understand your mixed emotions, and it sounds like you are dealing really well. I only lost really early fetuses, so I can't imagine how much harder it must be to lose one later in pregnancy. Still, for me it was also really awful, awful grief. BUT, I feel fine now about those losses. I can't say the same would be true when you lose one further along, one with a name, but time definitely heals.

    I was pleased to get your input on envy. I suffer from it really really badly. Not stupid, shallow envy. I don't want to be HER or to have HER baby, but I just get really really sad when I see a cute baby or a pregnant woman. I feel it most poignantly when someone I know gets pregnant. I know it only hurts me, but I don't know what to do about it.

  2. I don't think you have the bad kind of envy. It's hard to define that feeling with just one word. When I see a pregnant woman, I think "how I wish that was me," instead of "that woman doesn't deserve to be pregnant, she has no idea how lucky she is."

    The first is perfectly healthy "envy" for lack of a better work. The second is the kind of envy that will eat you from the inside. I feel lucky that I've escaped the second kind, I know many woman that haven't.

    From what you said, Leslie, you have the first kind and I don't know if it's necessarily something you need to change. We all have a tendency to be too hard on ourselves.

    I wish I had some wise and profound things to say. I guess we will just have to muddle along as best we can until the pain is not so raw.