I’ve never been a jealous woman. I subscribe to mantras like, “A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle” and “Don’t get jealous, get motivated” and so on.
I’ve always wanted everything good for everyone I meet. I honestly will say, “have a good life!” (in a positive way) when I am saying goodbye to people.
I go out of my way to be sure others happiness is achieved, even if it’s at my expense:
that was until I lost my son.
Then a shift in me happened, a longing for a life without loss, a life with my son, a life full of wishing:
I wish I knew what it feels like to never have heard the words, “I’m sorry; there is no heartbeat.”
To live in a world where I never had to know the deafening silence of the operating room as my son was delivered into this world. I wish I knew what it feels like to live having never known the feeling of holding my still son’s frame in my arms.
I wish I knew what it was to live not missing a piece of me always. I wish above all else that my son had lived.
Instead, I live with jealousy after loss.
Since my son’s death, I have struggled, really and truly.
I fight to always have a positive spin on things, to see the good and know that it outweighs the bad, to feel the sun when it shines instead of hiding in the shadows.
Sometimes, though, strong emotions like jealousy seep out. I felt my first wave of jealousy wash over me when my ex-sister in law gave birth to a beautiful baby girl.
At first, there was happiness; I was so happy that her baby made it safely into this world because I knew all too well that sometimes they don’t.
Then I heard the news that changed everything; her baby was addicted to drugs.
My heart broke for the little girl.
Anger rose within me at God for giving a baby to a woman who knowingly hurt her child, while mine was taken.
I felt jealousy towards my ex-sister in law that she held her little girl while my arms were empty.
For my emotional health, I cut ties with my ex-sister in law and tried to understand the swell of jealousy. Little did I know, it was just the beginning.
Jealousy seemed to follow me; it felt like an uncontrollable, hard to explain the feeling of desire to have a life that I would never attain; a life without loss.
I heard uncomplicated pregnancy and birth stories and felt the deep need to explain away the fact that my first feeling was not joy, but longing.
I ached for my child and resented others for their perceived easily achieved happiness.
I hated feeling these new emotions on what should have been happy occasions, but I also knew that fighting against the pull to feel them did not resolve the issue.
There is no easy way to say I still struggle with jealous feelings. I still long for a life in which my son lived.
Since we only have one life to live though, I try with all my heart to allow feelings of joy, love, and empathy to win out instead of jealousy.
I try to see happiness in others and not need to compare their lives to mine. I try to be thankful for the children I do have and thankful for the time I was granted with my son.
I’ve learned though, that you can feel all of these things and you can feel them all at once.
That is life after loss.
Morgan McLaverty, a world traveler that has taken roots in southern New Jersey where her husband Sean was born and raised. Now, a stay at home mother, she cares for her three living boys; Gavin Cole(5), Rowan Grey(3) and Holden Nash (1). She also is a mother to Lennon Rhys. Lennon was born still at thirty one weeks and five days. His loss spurred on a need in Morgan to write her feelings, share her grief and help others in the process. She hopes her words will help shed the silence and taboo nature of discussing pregnancy and child loss.