When trying for a baby and yet another close friend announces their pregnancy, it is very difficult not to feel a little jealous. Pregnancy envy is a very difficult topic to discuss, often recognized, but not necessarily acknowledged for the very real emotion it is.
Why does this happen?
The time is right, your relationship is ready for the next step, the spare room is empty, finances are in place and the decision to have a baby has been made. Filled with excitement and optimism you embark on your journey. For many, when nature’s response is slower than anticipated, enthusiasm starts to fade, especially when it seems many around you are falling pregnant. There is no escaping the word ‘pregnancy’, it’s on TV, it’s in the national media, and then you switch on Facebook to see yet another friend sharing their three month scan picture. Until now you have been able to keep a lid on your emotions, eaten the right foods, given up alcohol, increased your exercise regime, in fact you have done everything by the book but still no positive blue line.
Hearing about another woman achieving her goal when you can’t get past the first hurdle is an overwhelming emotion, and typically this news can be the last straw, the breaking point. This is when feelings like jealously and envy surface along with sadness, isolation and the fear of failure can take control.
Rest assured this is a very normal phase of trying for a baby. Your emotions are real, tangible and at times push you to feeling ‘out of control’. It is important not to dwell but acknowledge that these emotions are natural reactions in response to your desperate desire to become pregnant.
Why am I finding it difficult?
So let’s explore this further; we live in a world with high expectations whereby material items are easily accessible, information is readily available and with the use of credit cards, life is becoming so much more instant. The decision to start a family has been made, the Pill has been disregarded and you are ready to get pregnant. Continuing with your normal project management style, everything has been meticulously researched and implemented, boxes ticked yet nothing has happened. Days, weeks and months pass by with increased emotional strain and keeping your green-eyed monster under wraps is starting to prove very stressful.
What Can I do to help?
It is important to acknowledge that you are not alone and many women are feeling the same way. Some women prefer not to share their true feelings with those closest to them, some do. Whether shared or not, these feelings are real and if left will strengthen the belief in ‘it’s never going to happen.’
So take a step back, let’s make some simple changes to help you cope better, feel more in control and adopt a positive mind-set to support your emotional well-being.
First step, let’s use food to instantly improve your mood swings. Ditch the trip to the chocolate machine, in favour of a pre prepared selection of nuts, seeds, carrot sticks, dried and fresh fruit to regulate your hormone and blood sugar levels. Plan to introduce the snacks ideally around 11am and 4pm when the energy levels dip and feelings of lethargy and grumpiness can take over!
Secondly, think about all the aspects of your life that you can control e.g. diet, water intake, exercise regime, how you manage stress, social diary – the list is endless. To manage our daily lives effectively in this complex and busy world, we need to create structure and routines to stay in control, but when it comes to your feelings it’s important to only try and control those you can, and not those you can’t. The pregnancy envy feeling in itself is an emotion you cannot control, it is the notion that you want something that someone else has. So let’s change this, and from this moment on think about ‘what you can do’ rather than ‘what you can’t do’ a subtle mind-set change that will force you to start thinking differently.
Breaking it down further, if you simply control what you can, you will feel less anxious, and if you feel less anxious you will feel less stressed, if you feel less stressed you will feel less envious, if you feel less envious you will feel happier, if you are happier you feel calmer, if you feel calmer you will feel positive, if you feel positive you will feel confident.
Be patient! – some final advice: nature doesn’t always respond instantly, so remember to be realistic and to adopt a positive outlook. It is quite natural to feel disappointed but it is important not to get disheartened or to lose hope. Making some lifestyle changes and adopting a healthy mind-set will be very beneficial and will certainly help you on your way.