Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Some notes about jealousy

Yesterday I found out that someone I know is very unexpectedly and unhappily pregnant. She says she's keeping the baby but she's really not sure if it's really the right thing or not.

I think she'll make a good mom if she chooses to be one, but I know she's in a tough spot.

Other than the fact that she's the last person on earth I'd have expected to be pregnant, it was news-worthy because I didn't cry.

You see, for about six months, the moment someone announces they're pregnant, I cry. It literally feels like I've been kicked in the gut. I'm usually very still for a moment and then the tears well up. I take a deep breath and try to shake it off but inevitably, the tears flow. I'm eaten up with jealousy and sadness. "Damn you," I think, "it's not your fucking turn. It's MY turn and YOU just STOLE it."
Anger. Yes. I feel anger. Anger at the pregnant person. Then I think "This is stupid, Trish. Just because you can't conceive, the rest of the planet has to put their lives on hold cause it's your turn? Yeah. You're SO rational." Then I commence feeling like a piece of shit. Sometimes I have to go to the bathroom and cry a while. Sometimes I just feel sick for a while.

God forbid I go home and tell my husband that ________ is pregnant and don't do a dance of joy for them. He tells me I'm awful. That I shouldn't be jealous. Once I made the mistake of telling him about a post on a message board written by a woman who had just had a miscarriage and asked her friend to let her know via email when she gets pregnant because she knew she'd be emotional when she got the news. And how people had told her she was a horrible person for it. His response? "I don't blame them." Apparently it's not okay to be jealous or sad because you see the world going on w/o you but it's perfectly fine to publicly berate someone who recently lost a child.

I truly believe my husband has never felt an ounce of jealousy in his life. I swear a man could come up and kiss me on the mouth and he'd laugh. It just isn't his nature. And while I love his positive attitude and his sense of self, being told I'm a terrible person really doesn't help.

About a month ago, though, I decided that I was sick of all of it. I was sick of being sad and sick of being jealous and sick of worrying. My stomach was in knots the whole time. The entire time I was pregnant I was sick with worry. I laid in bed at night and prayed and cried. And all of my worry, praying and crying did nothing to keep my baby from dying.

I've never been one to pray for things. I've always asked for my loved ones to know they are loved, to be kept safe and for all of us to lead good Christian lives. And while I was still praying for my baby to be kept safe, the intention of the prayer was really not so altruistic. I was praying for God to give me something- A baby.

Though the course of my miscarriage and immediately following I realized how incredibly arrogant I was being. I thought I could worry myself into motherhood. If only I read enough, learned enough, took enough vitamins, I could control this. When, in reality, I never had control of it. God did. And I wasn't REALLY trusting him to take care of it. I could pray for him to keep my baby safe, but I wasn't REALLY handing it to him. And so I started praying more. Only this time I was praying for God to take away the jealousy. To take away the anger. I prayed for him to handle it.

There is a hymn that I love called "I surrender all." Faith Hill sang it for Oprah on an episode of "After the Show" once. I saved it on my TiVo and listened to it 100 times. I've searched the web, wishing I could find a recording of it. There are some other artists with versions of it, but none of them strike me the way Faith did. But I think of the song often when I'm feeling anxious or angry. I surrender all.

And after some time.. a funny thing started to happen. I didn't feel angry. Or jealous. I am still sad. But I'm not eaten up with it. When a friend tells me she's pregnant now I think "Oh. Wish I could be pregnant with you." and then I congratulate them. And I actually MEAN IT. I'm ACTUALLY happy for them.

Yesterday, when my friend broke the news (after I picked my jaw up) I thought "wow.. I hope she's okay." I wasn't really thinking about myself at all. I was just concerned for my friend. After I checked on her, there was a moment or two where I thought "man.. this just isn't fair.. if only we could switch spots." but it wasn't that jealousy of "DAMN HER" it was just "Hmm.. if we could switch places, we'd both be happy."

And it felt good. It really did.

I'm not saying my green eyes are cured. Someone else may tell me they're pregnant and I might cry. But for now, I'm celebrating a small victory.


YKW said...

that's a very important victory.
thanks for sharing your journey; it's step by step. keep the faith.

Amanda said...

Trish, I mean this when I say it -- you are truly a beautiful person.

I'm still holding out hope for you. Kids deserve a mother like you.