The feelings of frustration, anger, and jealousy you experience when you see someone who is pregnant can be a confusing, painful and emotional rollercoaster. This is especially true when you feel like they have not had to undergo the struggles you have undergone and yet easily became pregnant. Scrutinizing every stranger on the street with a baby can make you feel like a crazy person, and thoughts like “Why them and not me”, or “Don’t I deserve it more after all I’ve been through?”, or “I eat way healthier and am more fit than her, so why was she able to get pregnant so easily?” can make you feel guilty, bitter and depressed, especially when you want to feel happy for someone.
We hope our following suggestions about how to deal with these negative thoughts will help you face them whenever you encounter them throughout the day. We know its no fun to deal with these emotions, but facing them head on will give you more control and help you understand why you feel the way you feel.
1. Be Honest About Your Feelings
It’s perfectly normal to be angry and sad about your infertility. In fact, doctors have found that the level of depression and anxiety in the infertility population is the same as in cancer, heart disease, and HIV-positive patients. So its not surprising that you find yourself plagued by bitter, negative thoughts towards others. In many ways, it is easier to feel jealousy and project these negative feelings outward than to look inward and acknowledge our sadness. It’s OK to be angry and sad, and jealousy is part of the package. These feelings do not make you a bad person. Accept that it is ok to feel this way, and work on recognizing the reasons for your emotions. That way you can move away from blaming yourself for feeling the way you do and instead accept your jealousy for what it is–the natural product of anger, fear, and sadness.
2. Pick Your Social Situations
Be honest with yourself about what situations you can handle. If you know a certain event is going to be emotionally draining and negatively impact you, it is perfectly ok to avoid it. Don’t feel obligated to attend every baby shower you’re invited to. Instead, only attend the showers of your closest friends and family members. Hide all status messages from your pregnant friend or family members on social networks so you are not inundated daily with their pregnancy related updates. Recognize that there is no shame in owning up to the fact that you are just not up to dealing with something at the moment.
3. Take Care of Yourself
Infertility takes a heavy physical and emotional toll, so it is an important time to look inward and take the time to connect with yourself. If you don’t face the inner sadness, you’ll have a harder time letting go of jealousy. Some additional ways to let go of jealousy and negativity include writing out your emotions in a fertility blog or in a private journal. Another option is to write a letter that you may or may not send to your pregnant friend or family member that expresses how you want to be happy for her but the sadness of your own situation makes that difficult. My favorite strategy it to send a blessing or prayer whenever you feel jealousy rising inside when you see a pregnant women. Pay attention to that feeling, take two deep breaths. Then, close your eyes and send a simple blessing, vibes, or prayer. Then send a blessing to yourself, fertility related or not, and think of a blessing you already have in your life, even if all you can think of is one small, specific good and happy moment. Soon those negative feelings of jealousy will melt away to feelings of sadness – the emotion hiding behind the jealousy – but also to feelings of gratitude and renewal.
We would love to hear your thoughts on how to cope with jealousy and negative thoughts towards others, what you do to feel better, and how you are able feel more in control over these emotions… share with us by posting a comment below.