When infertility meets the green-eyed monster [AKA: Jealousy]
Remember when you were a kid and someone in your class brought their hot, new toy in for show-and-tell and you got that feeling in the pit of your stomach––that not-so-good feeling––because you wanted what they have?
Or maybe a classmate came to school wearing a really cool pair of shoes––the same pair you've been doing extra chores around the house and saving your allowance for for months––and you got that sinking feeling in your gut?
Or perhaps a co-worker got the promotion you worked your butt off for or your sister went on a really awesome vacation without you or your best friend is spending more time with your other best friend and less time with you.
Ope. There it is again. Rearing its ugly little head at you.
The green-eyed monster.
Most of my friends have kids.
This is not an earth-shattering fact. You get married and then you have kids. That's been ingrained in our generation––it's what our parents did before us and what their parents did before them.
And if it were up to Brian and me, we'd have kids too.
I'm going to be really real here. This is tough––but nothing about infertility is easy.
When everyone around you is raising toddlers, expecting baby #2, going to kids' activities, changing poopy diapers, giving baths, reading books before bed, posting adorable family pics, helping with 1st grade homework, up every hour of the night, rocking babies to sleep, baby-proofing the house....
How do you feel?
Well, I'll tell you what. I feel like that kid with the not-so-good feeling in the pit of their stomach because a classmate brought the toy they wanted to show-and-tell.
Fun Fact/Worst Nightmare:
I recently received 2 baby shower invitations in the SAME DAY.
First of all, what are the odds of that? (Well, I guess they're kind of high since we're in this stage of our life.) But the gut-punch was indescribable. If you've ever experienced it, you know what I'm talking about.
Why do THEY get to have a baby? Why not US? When will it be OUR turn?
Now, I want to make something REALLY clear.
I'm not NOT happy for our friends and family who are having babies or have already completed their family.
In fact, I am ecstatic for them.
I'm just sad for us.
I don't want THEIR child (obvi), but I want one of my own. I'm envious of their ability to have kids––something that has come easy to them and so freaking hard for us. I'm jealous of their growing family when we can't even get ours started.
1 Corinthians 13:4 says "Love is patient, love is kind. It DOES NOT ENVY, it does not boast, it is not proud."
You typically hear this verse at weddings. But let's take these four words and look at them from a different angle. Hang with me here.
Love does not envy.
I love my friends. I love their kiddos. I love watching their children grow. I love that their kids call me Auntie Teri. I love that they're not experiencing the same pain we are.
Am I envious that they have what I so desperately want? Of course.
But love is stronger than envy.
Love conquers jealousy.
Love defeats that green-eyed monster.
Here is a perfect example of love > envy in action:
A few months ago, one of my best, BEST friends said,
"Ter, I need to ask you a serious question: Does it bother you when I talk about my kids?"
OK. Let's break this down. First, I was sad that she felt she even needed to ask me this.
Then, I was absolutely grateful for her consideration––I could tell she put a lot of thought into this question. She's never experienced what I'm going through, but she recognized something that could be triggering to me and truly thought about my feelings. That's love.
Here's what I told her:
"Sometimes it makes me sad, yes. But it would make me MORE sad if you DIDN'T. It would make me MORE sad if I didn't get to hear about your son reading his first book or your daughter's questionable toddler attire and stubborn attitude. It would make me MORE sad if your children didn't have a relationship with me and call me Auntie Teri."
So while those baby shower invitations sting, it would make me MORE sad if you didn't invite me at all. And while some days it's hard to see pictures and videos of your kids, it would make me MORE sad if they weren't a part of my life.
While I'm sure this isn't the last I've seen of the jealousy monster, I find comfort in knowing that love conquers envy and God has special plans for Brian and me to become the parents we dream of being one day.