When Everyone’s Pregnant ... Except You
How to survive jealousy, frustration, and mixed feelings
Be Honest About Your Feelings
“Here we go again,” I thought as I watched the steady stream of female co-workers slip into my colleague’s office, giggling and whispering behind their lattes. They erupted into squeals, followed by a few minutes of excited chatter before everyone went back to their desks. Suddenly serious, my colleague headed toward me, and I steeled myself for the inevitable awkward confession, “Hey, Deb. I guess you’ve probably figured it out … I’m pregnant!“
“Wow, that’s great,” I lied, and went on to ask all the appropriate questions before slipping away to the bathroom to inject a syringe full of hormones into my stomach in hopes of some day joining the club that had thus far managed to deny my repeated membership application.
If this scenario sounds familiar, you are not alone. There does come a time in a woman’s life when a large number of her college friends, neighbors, and co-workers start having children. And if she’s one of the unlucky ones that the stork ignores month after month, she will feel like the only childless person in a world full of big bellied, glowing pregnant women.
While no amount of sympathizing or advice will resolve the pain and longing that accompanies infertility, the ideas outlined here might at least get you through the arrival of the next birth announcement.
While your public exclamations of, “Oh, I’m so happy for you!” may be Oscar worthy, take a line from Shakespeare and to thine own self be true. It’s perfectly normal to be angry about your infertility, as well as intensely sad. Dr. Madeline Licker Feingold, PhD, a reproductive medicine psychologist and fertility counselor based in Berkeley, California, says, “The level of depression and anxiety in the infertility population is the same as in cancer, heart disease, and HIV-positive patients.”
Jen Brandon of Orange County, California, has struggled for nearly four years to have a second child. She’s suffered multiple early miscarriages, taken three rounds of Clomid, undergone five cycles of artificial insemination, and weathered two surgeries. All she has to show for it is a huge hole in her bank account. “I try not to be bitter,” she says, “but sometimes when I see a pregnant woman, I think, ‘I hate pregnant women!’”
Dr. Feingold says, “It’s a normal, natural, negative thought. It’s the pain and grief speaking.”
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