Does everyone get pregnant at the same time? That’s the way it seems. It’s like the saying “Good things come in threes.” Well, pregnancy announcements seem to come in nines and tens. It feels like they’re everywhere and to be honest, I don’t cope with that very well.
Why, you ask, is it so difficult to see one beautiful announcement of impending joy after another?
Because I’m jealous. And not just a little bit. Even though it’s been three years since my daughter was stillborn and over four years since my first miscarriage, I still get really jealous when people announce that they’re expecting a baby.
When my own pregnancies kept resulting in losses, this made sense to me. Everyone was announcing something I couldn’t seem to attain. It seemed appropriate to feel jealous when my social media feeds filled with ultrasound photos and clever “We’re expecting!” posts.
But, time has passed. I have since had my own living child. I’ve experienced the joy and the excitement of bringing home a baby. I have achieved what I once thought was only possible for others.
So, why am I still so jealous of pregnancy announcements?
Recently, I’ve had a chance to reflect on this when a couple of my close friends shared that they were newly pregnant. When I read their texts, I was happy for them. But, I also felt those familiar pangs of jealousy.
Immediately, I felt angry with myself. Why couldn’t I just be excited for them? Why was I still dealing with these feelings of envy? I am so lucky to have had a living baby. My dreams of motherhood came true–so why do I still feel like I’m missing out?
It’s because these announcements signify something that I never had with my own pregnancies. When I read these announcements or see these posts, they read as so exciting. So hopeful. So innocent. I never had that.
It was only two days after my first positive pregnancy test that I started miscarrying my first baby. I barely had time to take it all in before things went wrong. I felt so cheated by that experience. By the time I shared with people that I had been pregnant, it was to share that I had already miscarried. It was over and my experience with any future pregnancy was already affected. No matter how much hope and joy I tried to let in, I would never again know what it was like to be pregnant before a loss.
Every pregnancy after that, and there were three, could only be regarded with the most cautious optimism. It was impossible to see another pregnancy test as an affirmative–they all felt like question marks. All of my pregnancy announcements came with an asterisk. There were no guarantees, only conditions.
When I see others share their pregnancy news punctuated by an exclamation point, I am reminded of what I missed out on.
Seeing others announce their pregnancy makes me question my own decision to be done having children. It is a decision I’m sure about, but I always wonder what it would be like to try again.
Would I be able to push all my anxieties of loss aside and just bask in the glow of being pregnant? Could another pregnancy be my opportunity to just think about decorating the nursery and celebrating at baby showers? After all I’ve been through, maybe this would be my chance to reward myself after experiencing so much anxiety and strife.
If I could do it again, knowing that I’m capable of having a living baby–would I be able to announce my pregnancy with an exclamation point instead of an asterisk?
The truth is–probably not. After having experienced so much loss and knowing all that I know, no pregnancy of mine could be carefree. There would be the same over analyzing of symptoms, the same constant worry every time I went to the bathroom. My mind would not be able to focus on nurseries and baby showers. It would be consumed with kick counts and upcoming ultrasounds.
I am jealous of the carefree pregnancies. I actually have an easier time handling pregnancy news if I know the person has dealt with infertility and loss. It’s easier for me to connect with their experiences. I struggle to connect with those who do not share experiences like mine.
I understand that pregnancy is never really carefree. There are always worries to be had, but I don’t really know what it’s like to have the typical pregnancy worries. I don’t know what it’s like to just be pregnant.
I have only really known what it’s like to be pregnant after a loss and I’m still bitter about that.
That’s where the jealousy comes from. Because after all this time, a pregnancy announcement still signifies something I will never get to have.