Friday, May 13, 2016

Aha moment! "Jealousy" makes "you(not me)" feel better

It's not jealousy.

While I would never retract words that I write to reflect my emotional state while I am writing them, I see now that to describe the feelings swirling through me as I wrote that last post as jealousy is simply wrong.  And I appreciate having readers who help me see where I need to stop.  And think.  And be the change - for good. For empathy.

I feel a lot of rage when my husband suggests I cry at the sight of pregnant friends because I am jealous of them. I blow up at him at even suggesting this. And oh yes, he's done this on more than one occasion, and oh yes, I have ripped him a new asshole for suggesting as much every time.

So what the hell am I doing attributing my grief and sadness and anger to a word that doesn't belong in the same sentence?  I just saw that over a hundred people have read that post, and my god, what a terrible message to spread. 

So I am going to do something right here and right now.  From here on in, I refuse to describe the tangled mess of my feelings of grief and anger resulting from the loss of my babies as stemming from jealousy of a pregnant woman.  As my wise reader noted, people are jealous of someone's designer handbag.  They can feel jealousy around your car, or your house.   We can covet these things and feel jealousy towards people who have these things.

I see now that the whole jealousy framework is another attempt on the part of the person viewing your shitty circumstance to feel better about themselves:

When people say that you are jealous of a mother for her ability to mother, aren't they are really saying this because it is much much easier to wrap their brains around the concept of your supposed jealousy than your actual grief?   Jealousy is simple, right?  We've all felt it.  And when you think more deeply about it, jealousy also suggests an underlying ability by the actor -the person being jealous -  to change their own behavior.

"Oh wow, I will stop coveting my friend's adorable Mini Cooper - I will accept my early model Pontiac Vibe which literally vibrates on the highway.  I am not helpless. I can be the change."

I see now, I fell into the trap.  Ahhhhh, I'm onto it now. 

In our self-help oriented culture, we like to suggest that the secret to happiness is for people to change their outlook.  That's the gist of  "The Secret" right?  When my husband tells me to stop being jealous of my pregnant friends, the core underlying message is that I have some kind of power.  "I can do ___, and actively consider the things I have." Well, guess what, infertility and pregnancy loss teaches us that the ultimate act of insanity is thinking we can exert control over our circumstances. We can't do shit.

So my message is that I will feel what I'm gonna feel.  Sometimes it will be ragey.  Sometimes it will make me want to cry.  All of those feelings are legitimate.  And no one is ever going to try to steal my right to feel them by throwing the word "jealousy" in my face.

Jealousy is hereby retired.



  1. I was going to comment on your last post, but you've just said it all. (And much more eloquently than I would be capable of). Absolutely it is grief and not jealousy. And calling it jealousy in all likelihood stems from and other people's (and perhaps also our own) misguided view that we should be 'over it' by now. But as we all know in this community, surpressing feelings such as grief is never a good idea in the long run.

  2. This makes me so happy! That is precisely what I meant...people say I'm jealous, like it's something I could control if I'd stop being so selfish. My baby died! Fuck you!

  3. And thank you...I really needed to feel like I had a meaningful connection today.