Jealousy. It’s such a horrible word. It evokes visions of mean-spirited, negative, and unkind people. No one wants the label, and we often will do anything not to get it. But what if, for just a moment, we were honest? What if we put perceptions aside and just admitted that we were jealous? It’s ugly, but it’s human. We are human, and sometimes we need to accept that we will have these thoughts.
So I’m going to start. My name is Catherine, and sometimes I get jealous. I look around me every day, and all I see is pregnant women and babies. Everywhere. They seem to be everywhere. Everyone around me seems to have what I so desperately long for and sometimes it feels like torture.
Related: Envy of Other People’s Pregnancies
On my good days, I can deal with it. I can look at a blissfully happy pregnant woman and smile. Her innocence and joy can sometimes even feel infectious, like I, too, could be that happy again someday. I feel thankful that she is safe and that her baby is safe, too. Above all else, I hope that she gets to bring her baby home and doesn’t ever have to know the pain of leaving the hospital with empty arms. Basically, I hope that she never has to be me.
And then there are the bad days. These days aren’t pretty. A usually generous and kind mind flips to the dark side where jealousy and spite seem to thrive. I look at the same blissfully happy pregnant woman and my heart sinks with self-pity. Why must everything be so hard for me? I pick her apart. I obsess over every detail, comparing my seemingly “perfect” self to her inevitable inadequacies. In my mind I am fitter, I am healthier, I am younger. But yet I have no baby in my arms or in my belly and mothering a child here on earth seems more elusive than ever. No matter what, it always comes back to the same question… Why her and not me?
I cringe even writing this. These jealous thoughts are not healthy. They go against my nature. They are dark, negative and destructive, everything I hate. I don’t share them with people mainly because I feel ashamed for having them. I don’t know this woman or what she has been through or what she might go through in the future. For all I know, she might be a loss mum, too, or she might have also fought through years of infertility. Either way, she deserves her baby regardless of whether I have mine.
Related: How To Not Be A Bitter Bridesmaid
It’s hard not to judge myself for these jealous thoughts. I mean what type of person thinks like this? And that’s when it hit me—most people. Most people in my situation would have thoughts like these. And that’s why I’m sharing, that is why I am airing my dirty laundry in public. I want other women to know that they are not alone. I want them to know that these thoughts are not crazy; in fact, they are quite normal. Our minds can bring us to bad places, but it doesn’t make us bad people.
What if instead of chastising ourselves in private we shared this very dark, ugly side of grief together? What if we accepted these thoughts and instead of shame, we acknowledged that they are valid? By doing this, we could free ourselves from the shackles of their negativity. Jealousy might no longer be a dirty little secret but, instead, empower us to discuss the very hardest aspects of our grief together.