Once the holiday craziness subsided, I hopped on Facebook to catch up on all the creeping I had missed out on. I logged into my account thinking, “I wonder how many of my friends got engaged over Christmas THIS time?”
I could see it all now. So-and-so is engaged to Whoever and 87 people like it and oh, shucks, there’s only 112 pictures of the engagement ring from every shining angle.
After several minutes of scanning and studying the cyber lives of my “friends” I was shocked to find not a single engagement announcement.
Instead, to my surprise, I discovered four “We’re expecting!” announcements.
Pregnant!? PREGNANT?! FOUR pregnant friends!? AT ONCE?!
I was not ready for this. I had just gotten to the point where I expected marriage announcements to clutter my social life, not babies. It’s not like these four women were the first of my friends to get pregnant, certainly not. Yet I couldn’t help but realize that I am undoubtedly entering an unwelcome phase of womanhood: “Everyone is pregnant except me.”
I am starting to show symptoms of what I call, “baby fever.” Meaning, thoughts of procreating are starting to overwhelm my senses.
For many, having a child is a happy “surprise” and getting pregnant seems as easy turning on a light switch. For many others, getting pregnant can take years of trying, fertility treatments, artificial inseminations, hormone therapy, and so on.
As a lesbian, I will not be able to enjoy a happy “surprise” with my partner. Pregnancy for us will take planning, money, and white paper gowns. But knowing my future children will not be conceived in the “conventional” way doesn’t stop my friends from getting pregnant and sharing their joyous news.
If a woman is having a difficult time conceiving a child, it can be emotionally draining to be around pregnant friends and family. How do you cope when everyone around you is pregnant? Here are five tips to help combat the jealousy you may feel towards your friends’ pregnancies:
#5 Go To Your Close Friend’s Baby Showers, But Not Your Coworker’s
If you want nothing more than to be pregnant, being at a baby shower can be like putting a starving person in a room full of food and telling them they can’t eat. The games, the tiny clothes, the light pinks and light blues, the “Ohs” and “Ahs”, can cause intense feelings of jealousy and emotional pain.
As hard as it may be to be around your pregnant friends, you probably still want to show your love and support to the people who are closest to you. To help reduce your exposure to the pain associated with baby showers, attend your closest friend’s baby shower, but skip your coworker’s, or the baby showers of people you don’t know as well. If it seems like every month there is another baby shower in your work office, save yourself from having to endure the emotional tug-of-war.
#4 Give The Gift Of Baby Books
When gifting for all those baby showers, buy baby books. Buying baby books keeps you out of the baby section, and keeps you from looking through all the baby clothes and toys you wish you were buying for your own family.
#3 Laugh About It
I’m one of those people who often relies on humor during an emotionally hard time. I still process my emotions, but it helps me to be able to laugh, or make a joke to get myself through a situation. For me, laughing means thinking about ugly babies. I imagine my pregnant friend, her partner, and what would happen if the kid had her forehead, his ears, her poor coordination, and his awkward laugh.
#2 Hide Them On Facebook
The “hide” feature on Facebook is a headache saver. I hide people who post nothing but run-on sentences, people who insist they have a migraine everyday (but can still post on Facebook?), people who give minute-by-minute accounts of their day, and people who continuously post about being pregnant, their doctor’s appointments, pictures, name ideas, etc. etc.
Hiding a friend on Facebook removes their updates from your Newsfeed, which means you don’t have to be reminded, yet again, that she’s pregnant and you’re not. If you’re not on Facebook, maybe you’re on a pregnant friend’s or family member’s email blast and you get constant pregnancy updates. You could ask to be moved from the list, or delete them immediately.
#1 Be Honest About Your Feelings
You don’t have to force yourself to be happy for your pregnant friends while trying to cope with your infertility journey. You don’t have to practice your, “I’m so happy for you!” reaction in the mirror any longer. You’re allowed to be angry, sad, and envious, and don’t have to suppress those feelings to give yourself an illusion of happiness. If you are trying to manage depression, or persistent sadness and anxiety, it may be time to seek counseling services to help you process your feelings.