About a month ago it happened. Within a span of two weeks I found out four people (three I know and one I feel like I know from social media) were unexpectedly pregnant. Like, they hadn’t been trying and then all of a sudden--surprise! They had a baby on board.
FOUR DIFFERENT PEOPLE.
And I’m still sitting here wondering if I’ll ever be able to even try to get pregnant.
One of these women is among my best friends, and two of the others are family members. The woman from social media had always said she had no desire to have children, but upon finding out she was pregnant realized being a mom is exactly what she wanted. Okay, cool. Obviously, yes, of course I am happy for each of them. No, I’m actually thrilled for each of them.
So, then why did each of their announcements make me feel so shitty?
I spent plenty of time beating myself up for this. I mean, how could I be so selfish? These women all deserved to be pregnant. They deserved to have this happiness. How could I be anything but excited for them? Because this wasn’t about me. It was about them. And I had no right to take away from any of their bliss.
And yet, all I wanted to do was cry.
How was it possible that four different women I know could get pregnant without even trying while we sit here waiting. The ease with which it seemed to have happened for them made me angry and frustrated. I have spent the last year fighting my way through the medical system to get Marc and me to the point of finally being able to actually discuss our options. That means we haven’t even been able to even begin to try for a baby and have no idea if we ever will.
And all the while everyone around me seems to be getting knocked up.
It all brought to mind the feelings I had when my little brother got engaged and married. I was 31, completely single, with zero relationship experience whatsoever. Not only did I not have anyone to bring to my brother’s wedding, I wasn’t sure I’d ever have anyone to bring to any wedding. So, don’t get me started on how it made me feel about the prospects of my own wedding.
Seeing my brother first get engaged and then married was hard. Same with when he and his wife had their first child a few years later and I remained painfully aware of my singleness.
But I was also so excited for him. And for my sister in law. They were so in love (still are) and deserved every happiness that came their way. I truly believed this and for them I wanted nothing but the best.
What I began to realize then and have had to remind myself of now, is that my happiness for my brother and his wife and my sadness for me are two completely different things. They are a product of the same situation but other than that they have absolutely nothing to do with one another. They’re two completely different narratives. And you're allowed to experience and feel both. Often at the exact same time.
The same goes for how I feel about my pregnant friends now. It is possible for me to have so much joy for their growing families while also feeling pain for the status of mine.
It is okay to be incredibly happy for other people’s good fortune while also being scared, angry, and frustrated by the lack of your own. Your feelings for yourself take nothing away from your feelings for the other person.
And that’s an important distinction.
I can be happy for you and sad for me. I can be supportive of what’s going on in your life while needing support in my own. And I can wish you the best while also wishing it was me in your situation.
These contradicting thoughts and feelings are not only okay, they’re also perfectly normal. As much as we strive to be selfless, a good person and a good friend and family member, we are also only human. Very rarely is any situation or experience black and white.
For that reason we deserve to show ourselves and those around us a little kindness.
I'm happy for you and sad for me.
Even if a fifth unexpected pregnancy introduces itself in the near future.
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