Pregnancy is a beautiful time for women, but it’s also a trying time with weird body-altering consequences. It’s an emotional rollercoaster filled with literal ups and bumps.
Envy is a normal emotion and having bouts of envy doesn’t mean that the person is bad. However, pregnancy jealousy has a destructive power as it can rob a person of sleep and worst. Jealousy can also encourage anger and hatred among women, which leads to a long term sense of resentment that is likely unrepairable.
When we women get pregnant, we have a surge of happy cells in us and we tend to talk about our journey all the time. This is on top of the BabyCenter/WhatToExpect forum surfing and endless readings on your weird pickles craving and tracking fetal kicks.
Your life is BABY! Baby is life! All hail Baby! (Husbands know what I mean.)
But other people aren’t your husbands, and they will thus be stirred by jealousy. This is common especially from our friends, coworkers, and even families! It gets much more uncomfortable when we’re the one on the receiving end of passive-aggressive emotions like jealousy.
This is a sensitive time for women who have been through pregnancy. Overcoming other peoples’ negative emotions can be difficult but it is doable.
Spoiler, you would have to play the bigger person because none of this is your fault.
Let’s look at some of the reasons why our friends or families get jealous of our pregnancy. Understanding the underlying reasons for their envy will make it easier for you to just get their uncomfortable feelings out of your system.
Why Others Would Feel Jealous Of Your Pregnancy
1. “I can’t have kids myself. / I have lost my child.”
The most painful and understanding reason why another woman would feel the bitter pinch of your pregnancy is this ugly, cruel fact of life. Many, many women have suffered loss in the saddest ways possible – often without much of an explanation.
This loss is a massive emotional suitcase for any woman to hold. This is where you should keep an extra open mind to another woman’s loss. It is extremely painful. SO keep your humanity with you. You have to understand the pain these women who have lost are dealing with every day amidst your pregnant bundle of joy. There is so much self-blame – these women are not themselves. They are not evil people. You have to let it go, be sensitive, and let them heal.
2. “I’d be a much better parent if I was the one pregnant.”
Your friend, family, or co-worker may have been trying to have a baby for a long time. They are emotionally and mentally prepared for the responsibilities that come with being parents and have started learning the ropes.
Whether your pregnancy is a surprise or planned, people who have spent years waiting tend to become envious. This doesn’t mean that they hate you as a person, rather, they might be envious of the circumstances.
3. “When you’re complaining of this and that.”
Pregnancy is a wonderful time in a woman’s life but every few weeks is a new experience. Some days are better, while others are straight exhausting. You can’t help but spill some of your frustrations to your friend or family member.
In the first trimester, I had mild nausea whenever I became hungry. This meant waking up at 2 AM to feed on anything that I wanted to stomach (which was basically everything cardboard pizza-y and chicken nugget-y. I was eating like a junk food-loving 4th grader.) I would then text my friends at 2 AM to complain about this crazy biological change happening in real-time.
There’s nothing wrong in complaining a little, after all, all the physical and emotional rollercoaster of pregnancy are 100% valid. But for your friends who want to get pregnant but can’t, your concerns may sound like complaining to them and lack of gratefulness (especially for numerous women who have lost or miscarried along their journey.)
4. “You have your Prince Charming, where is mine?”
Most women dread turning over that milestone when they realize all the babies on their Facebook timeline were planned. I mean, they can be doing great career-wise, but their romantic life could be missing a certain level of testosterone. For these women, the ticking of their biological clock isn’t made any better amidst your wonderful news.
Part of this pressure is simply society. The fright of turning 3-0 or something culturally bound to our corner of the world. It’s important to understand envy is very human, which leads us to how to deal with jealousy…
7 Tips To Combat Pregnancy Envy From Others
1. “It’s not you, it’s them.”
Point blank, that’s just the truth. Most times, the feeling of jealousy or envy is a mask of grief. Your friend’s or family’s feeling of envy isn’t about you getting pregnant. It’s their defense mechanism of channeling their grief of not being able to get pregnant or not being able to find the right person to share a life with.
If it’s their frustrations toward infertility that prompt them to act the way they do then you need to understand that sadness, anger, grief, and fear are normal. Be the bigger person. Imagine their situation and try to remain patient, positive, and supportive. It will make you feel like the bigger person, which is something you will be proud of later.
2. “It’s not you, it’s human.”
You are pregnant and you’re in such a miraculous stage in your life right now. While you bask in joy, your friends fail to be that supportive anchor they’re supposed to be. There’s that pang of hurt because of a strained relationship. But it doesn’t have to be like that. When you understand where they’re coming from, you’ll be able to let go of the resentment that’s brewing inside of you in response to their envy.
For your friends and family, tell them that pregnancy envy is as common as pregnancy itself and it’s normal.
3. “Talk to them…”
Reassuring your friends is also suggested. Our friends may just be envious of the possibility that maybe you won’t have time for them anymore once you’re baby comes out. They may resent the thought of the impending strained relationship due to your difference in schedules after you’ve given birth.
If infertility or miscarriage is the suspected issue then let them know that although envy is understood, there is no logic to it.
Help your friends and reassure them. Tell them not to worry because your baby won’t take away the friendship you’ve built for a long time. A few warm words may prevent from jealousy to take root. Be considerate of your friends’ feelings and avoid arousing jealousy.
“There is a time for everything and it will happen to you when it’s supposed to.”
Tell them that right now if you want to talk to them about their behavior. You can also commend your family or friends and encourage them to keep their heads up. There are no limits on the number of babies in the universe up for grabs – your pregnancy doesn’t take anything away from them personally. It isn’t the time for them, that’s it.
Don’t let your friends isolate themselves, talk to them and work out some ways to maintain your friendship. Getting the time to talk to each other honestly about your feelings may help to make you both understand each others’ needs.
4. “…Or move on.”
There must be a time that these negative emotions should be left behind. You’re going to spend time dwelling on it and that’s normal – but don’t do it forever.
If the relationship isn’t worth salvaging then you should move on. Their primary job is not to embrace this experience which is purely YOURS. So don’t focus on it like it’s their job to support you, just focus on the things that are making you happy!
If you can, try not to flaunt your pregnancy experience no matter hyped this makes you feel. Consider the effects of your words and actions in order to control this negative feeling of jealousy and to preserve good relationships among your friends and families.
5. “Examine the friendship“
When you’ve done your fair share of showing empathy but you still get that cold treatment and sugar-coated (hurtful) jokes. Maybe it’s time to take a step back and examine the friendship altogether. The saddest part is moving on in this sense may mean ending the entire relationship.
Someone’s negative emotions can impact your own and may affect the well-being of the baby growing inside you. Don’t let that happen! Your baby needs a good environment to grow and that includes all those people that surround you.
If your friend or family member cannot overcome their struggle and make you feel wronged because of your pregnancy, it’s a good time for you to take a breather and examine if the relationship is helping you grow or changing you for the worse.
Walking away from a toxic relationship isn’t easy, it takes immense courage and determination. At the end of the day, if walking away is the best for both of you, then it’s always worth a try. Remember that you can continue to love them, and let them go while keeping the doors open on your own terms. You aren’t ending the relationship for good, you are merely giving them the dice and wait until they are ready to treat you with respect, love, and kindness.
6. “Find extra support elsewhere.”
When you feel like wanting to talk to someone, you can ask your husband for his listening ear. You can also join groups in your community specific for pregnant women or parents-to-be. Local groups are a good way to start new friendships.
You get to share the same experiences and they may be able to give you advice pertaining to your mommy journey. You can ask your OB or midwife for local groups they know. There are also online forums and communities that you can search on. You can connect with them and chat with them to talk about similar interests.
These local groups and online forums are helpful and a good source of support network while you’re pregnant and even after pregnancy.
You can also start writing a baby diary or start a YouTube vlog. Document your motherhood journey and share this with your child when she/he grows up. Did you know that after 22 weeks, your baby can hear your voice and will recognize it as your voice? So making and starting a vlog isn’t a bad idea at all!
7. “Finding a distraction.”
A new hobby is another great idea. Gift yourself with a new hobby to reduce the feeling of lonely blues during pregnancy. Planning your baby shower and your little one’s room help in easing your way into motherhood as well.
When you’re a woman who’s in the most precious stage of her life, you are getting the joy and happiness of the people around you. Every pregnancy milestone is a new experience, write them all down and read them when you’re feeling down.
In The End…
It’s such a tender subject for almost every single woman out there. We all have mothers, and many of us are mothers. Sometimes, you get others’ pain along with all the amazing joy. If you can understand their pain and even console them, you can feel for them and accept them or you can let them go.
Whatever decision you make, do remember that their jealousy isn’t about you but their way of overcoming their grief. Try to be more understanding and walk the extra mile if you can. You can save the friendship if you allow love to foster instead of letting jealousy take root.