It’s natural to feel envious when so many people have what you want and it seems to come so easy. I can’t think of a time I’ve ever felt jealous of anyone as I generally counted myself lucky in life. But this journey of heartache and disappointment can really change you and make you feel things you never thought were possible. Unlike a lot of my friends going through Infertility, I found it comforting to be near children and babies and it didn’t bother me (at first). I’m a teacher and during the most difficult 3 years of this journey, I worked with children who had Special needs and some of whom had terminal illnesses. Although this was emotionally draining at times, I think it actually gave me a good perspective and each day I walked away feeling lucky that I didn’t have to deal with the heartache that many parents had. So I think I generally had a good attitude about the whole thing and when I heard about friends getting pregnant, although it initially stung as it was a reminder of our own grief, I continued to meet up with them and brought their babies gifts.
After my first miscarriage, however, I felt bombarded with prams and bumps everywhere I turned. Of course, then I began to feel the resentment and the unfairness of it all. Not only had we lost the long awaited baby, but had climbed a mountain to get pregnant in the first place. For someone who had never known herself to be bitter, angry or jealous, I didn’t recognise myself. I tried to find a counsellor but was put to the back of a waiting list. I did try one counsellor for one session and she was very young, inexperienced and uneducated about IVF so it was not helpful. I found talking to family, friends and focusing on art work to be more helpful and cathartic than my limited experience of counselling. I also found it helpful having so many nieces and nephews and comforting to visit them.
I have friends that I’ve met on this journey, who have been through 9 and more miscarriages (after spending upwards of 40 thousand pounds on Fertility treatment) and have still not one living child.
(All my positive pregnancy tests which I kept to give me hope.)
We have had 3 early miscarriages, 3-4 chemical pregnancies and 2 negative results over 9 cycles – but cannot begin to imagine having so many miscarriages, especially those that involved surgery afterwards. They have every right to be angry and I’m in awe of their strength.
Luckily for me, the angry feelings didn’t last too long and I soon realised they were a waste of time and energy.
I thought about it like this:
You might look at someone’s seemingly perfect life on social media and feel sick with jealousy. But you don’t know what’s really going on. You don’t know if that person who has two perfect children has a marriage that’s falling apart and is on the verge of a breakdown, you don’t know if they are about to be diagnosed with cancer. You don’t know if they’ve had 15 rounds of IVF and will be in debt for the next 30 years, you don’t know if that glowing woman with the beautiful bump will go on to have a still birth and may never get pregnant again. Of course it’s natural to feel resentment when it looks like people have it easy. But how much do you really know? I know a woman who is torn up with resentment towards another couple who have just had a beautiful baby. She knows that they had to use donor sperm after many rounds of IVF and operations – yet using donor sperm or egg is something she would not contemplate doing. Somebody else I know feels jealous of a couple who adopted but would not consider adopting herself – this doesn’t make sense to me.
Of course when you know that someone has had it very easy and you are going through a difficult time, it can be sickening and hard to watch. I would say either leave social media or hide these people for the sake of your mental health. I did this for a short time – and then it stopped bothering me when I remembered that we don’t know what’s around the corner – comparing our lives to others is a definite route to unhappiness so I no longer do it.