being a mom

I’m Done Having Kids But I’m Jealous Of Your Pregnancy

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jealous of pregnant womenEven though my baby making days are done, I get jealous when I see or hear about someone getting pregnant. I didn’t understand what my green eyed monster was feeding off of, since I’m perfectly content with my two boys. But the feelings keep coming, every time I see an ultrasound picture on Facebook or glance at the cover of a magazine in the checkout line. And finally it hit me- I’m not resentful that these woman were having babies, I am envious of their actual pregnancies.

 

I’ve written before about my use of advanced reproductive technology (ART) to conceive twins. After fighting so hard to get pregnant in the first place, I thought karma would decide I deserved a smooth pregnancy. And I had one, until I randomly started to dilate at 27 weeks. I was also diagnosed with a rare liver complication that meant the longer the babies stayed inside me, the higher the chances were that they would be stillborn. I spent the next seven weeks in and out of the hospital on strict bedrest, clenching my thighs tightly together as though that and sheer force of will would hold my cervix closed while obsessively prodding my belly to make sure the babies were still moving. I also spent those seven weeks mad as hell.

 

It wasn’t about missing out on the attention, while being offered a seat and snacks are great, having strangers touch your belly is not. I felt like I failed as a female, since this is something my body was designed to do. I consider myself to be more spiritual than religious, but still I wondered if I deserved what was happening because I had “cheated” by using every available scientific method possible to conceive in the first place and now this was some higher power saying “I told you so.”

I was pissed that I was denied the excitement of the final trimester I had envisioned- packing my hospital bag, indulging in some fancy meals and watching R rated movies. In reality I spent almost two months not only in bed, but in constant fear, that each contraction would be THE contraction, that standing to the bathroom would start a chain reaction. All the movies, magazines and websites had made me think this was supposed to be the fun part, the time when I would float around in a stylish maternity outfit with my basketball belly, enjoying the anticipation of my baby while savoring my last few months alone with my partner. Instead, at time when other preggos are dithering over the coordination of the crib sheets and wall color, I was marooned on my side clutching my belly, willing the babies to move so I knew they were still alive.

 

I am fully aware that I sound like a sulky, privileged brat. I want to grab myself by the shoulders and shake until I can see how lucky I am that I was able to conceive in the first place, how fortunate it is that my boys, while born prematurely, are healthy with no complications. I know many woman want to get pregnant and never do. I know some woman have truly tragic experiences that result in miscarriage. I loathe myself for being so self-absorbed. But I still can’t seem to move past these feelings.

I get that the third trimester is not all foot massages and ice cream sundaes. I’m lucky enough to have friends I can be brutally honest with who are honest with me in return. My closest girlfriend is due in a few weeks, and she feeds my curiosity about the final weeks of pregnancy by telling me all about the insomnia, the swelling and other more ghastly symptoms that I won’t mention because I want her to stay friends with me. Hearing stories from others about how  pregnancy and labor was harder and different than they imagined- an unexpected tear or episiotomy with countless stitches, having to use suction or forceps to deliver the baby- helps me see that for many moms the realities of bringing a baby into the world does not live up to expectations.

 

I am slowly starting to realize that no pregnancy is perfect, that everyone has things they wish had gone differently. It’s difficult with the media portrayal of the seamless transition between blissful pregnant lady and joyful mom but I’m learning that I can be dissatisfied with my pregnancy and still be ecstatic about my children, that I can unbundle the two as separate experiences with different emotions attached to each. Being honest with myself about having these feelings and opening up to friends and family seems to have taken away some of the resentment.  And it’s getting easier for me to read those Mila Kunis and Scarlett Johansson headlines without wanting to throw my Ipad against the wall. But I still can’t help but get a little wistful when I see a melon bellied momma to be waddle by.

(Image:  Elena Ray/shutterstock)