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304th Friday Blog Roundup

I have a friend who always comes at the right time.

She lives in Atlanta where she works to ensure that — around the world — women don’t die in childbirth.  Doesn’t she already sound like an amazing person, just based on that small sliver of information?  She protects women’s lives.

She is physically very beautiful, but she also has this gorgeous and quiet personality.  She is very smart — both in the grand sense of the word, and in self-knowledge.  She is funny and self-effacing and has this tiny Southern lilt in her voice.  And she has this habit of always coming at the right time.

This trip to D.C. was for a wedding and a birthday party and a general vacation, coming off a trip to Nepal, where she was … you know … just saving women’s lives.  And during the week that is emotionally tumultuous, where I feel like I’m made out of plastic on the outside and glass on the inside, she was the perfect person to meet for lunch and tea (oh! and I get to reorganize her computer this weekend.  There is nothing that gets me wetter than the idea of creating new online filing systems!)

It doesn’t matter how much time has passed since we’ve last seen each other — we can jump right back to where we were before.  So we unpacked our lives, and from my end, it was all of the obvious things you’d think I’d cover from this week, and then also, we paused on the topic of jealousy.

A pair of old friends gave birth this week and I am so jealous of their new son.  It’s not even my normal jealousy where they can easily have a child (they were only married a few months when they conceived), but simply the fact that they have all this time in front of them.  They are at the start of the path, and I am deep on the path — in the tall grasses that are difficult to navigate.  And I want to be back at the start of the path again with the twins.  It’s not even wanting another baby.  It’s simply being jealous of other people’s time.  I am thrilled for them — they should only have happiness and warm cuddles — but I am so jealous of the time that’s on their side right now.

I revisited an old post I wrote about jealousy many years ago (for the love, is this blog really that old?):

Anyway, the paragraph in Lamott’s essay that helped me tonight falls close to the end when Anne is setting out the pieces of the puzzle that helped her rein in her jealousy when a fellow writer was calling her daily to tell her about her literary success while Anne seethed on the other end of the phone.

…My friend Judy said that the problem was trying to stop the jealousy and competitiveness, and that the main thing was not to let it fuel my self-loathing. She said it was nuts for me to try to be happy for this other writer. I cannot tell you how much this helped. I was raised in a culture that promotes this competitiveness, this insatiability, this fantasy of needing hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, and then, in the next breath, shames you for any feelings of longing or envy or fear that it will always be someone else’s turn. I was only doing what I had been groomed to do.

I think that first line–the idea of stopping the jealousy–spoke to me. I’m not a fan of this idea that we need to be happy 100% of the time. We were given this enormous palette of emotions for a reason. I don’t think it’s our job to always try to realign towards happiness. I think it’s okay to remain for a while in sadness and explore it as long as we don’t allow ourselves to inadvertently board up all the exits out of the emotion.

There is a part of me that recognizes that these are all emotions I just have to feel.  To tell myself not to feel them is only to push myself deeper into self-loathing because I feel so small being jealous of something that is outside of their control.  They are probably jealous that I’m farther along and actually know my childrens’ personalities rather than holding a lump of warm baby.  Don’t we all want what other people have?

And then there is a part of me that still feels as if I need to admit this to my friend, to spill out to her that I am so hopelessly jealous of that time.  That needs to admit this to you in order to absolve myself of this jealousy.

Damn … this really wasn’t where I saw this opening going.  I just wanted to virtually introduce you to my friend.  Who is really this lovely, wonderful person.  Did I mention that she saves women’s lives?


Rather Than a Weekly What If: When was the last time you felt jealous and what was it about?


And now, the blogs …

Serenity Now has a post about how hard she is on herself and how she is learning to let go.  She admits, “I put so much fucking pressure on myself. To be a better person, a better friend, a better parent. To manage this life I’ve got; to make sure the dishes are done, the house is clean, O is fed and bathed and happy. To run a half marathon in under 2 hours. To please my boss and do an amazing job at work.” It’s a beautiful post about finding peace with the idea of not reaching goals.  And yes, I think it’s a damn important read.

Finding a Family has a post about being with her family.  She writes, “being with family always reminds us how important it is to build a family of our own.” I love this post because — unlike me — she is able to find that place where she can set aside her jealousy and simply feel enormous happiness for another person.  And I want to learn that.

Reproductive Jeans has a new project called Thoughtful Tuesdays.  She says, “Each Tuesday, I’m going to tell you about something I am either: a) thankful for, b) something I witnessed that was an act of kindness, or c) something I did to ‘pay it forward‘.”  I expect nothing less from the lady who brought the world the Braces Bunch.

Lastly, Getting There has a post about the public’s reaction to a government minister’s public admittance of their infertility.  When the public sputters, “too much information!” in regards to discussion on miscarriage, Getting There responds that this is exactly the type of information that people need to hear; that we need more people giving too much information.  She says, “And I’d love to think that we could stop people thinking that they are alone; that there are many, many people out there who have been through what they are going through.”

The roundup to the Roundup: I am a jealous person, but my friend is lovely.  When was the last time you felt jealous and why?  And lots of great posts to read.


1 loribeth { 09.03.10 at 8:31 am }

I think the last time I felt really jealous was a few weekends ago. We went to a family gathering hosted by one of dh’s cousins. We’d never been to their house before. It is a couple of years new, huge (at least 3500 square feet), on 1.5 acres out in the country, & beautifully decorated, with all the bells & whistles. I tried to keep reminding myself that I would not want their mortgage (definitely), nor all that house to clean or lawn to keep up (nor septic tank system to worry about…!), or the (even longer than what we already have) commute into work, that a house that big would be ridiculous for just me & dh to live in, etc. etc. etc.

But damn. Those cherrywood kitchen cabinets with the granite countertops & stainless steel appliances were nice.

2 Heather { 09.03.10 at 8:36 am }

I’m a jealous person too.

Let’s just leave it at that! 😉 I suffer daily.

3 Ellen K. { 09.03.10 at 9:04 am }

Actually, Mel, yesterday I felt jealous of you! I had another naptime struggle with I. and thought with envy of twin parents who have gotten through the nap stage.

4 Rose's Daughter { 09.03.10 at 9:40 am }

In the midst of having no “me” time, I was jealous of YOU when you sent your kids off to kindergarten!

5 a { 09.03.10 at 9:57 am }

I don’t know if I feel jealousy any more – I feel something like it, but not quite it. For instance, it felt like jealousy when my SIL was having a normal, healthy pregnancy and lovely new baby boy…but I have no such feelings for my friend who was already pregnant when she told me that she and her husband were going to start trying. I can’t quite label it jealousy, because if it’s about me, I should be feeling the same about anyone who has what I want. No, it’s more about my judgement of who is deserving of a trauma-free life, and I don’t know what that emotion is, exactly.

6 Bean { 09.03.10 at 10:06 am }

What Heather said — “I suffer daily.” I hate it. I’m constantly trying to appreciate what I have, but I do find myself afflicted far too often with feelings of jealousy. You might even find this odd given how you’ve been feeling about sending your kids off this week, but as I’ve read your posts I’ve been jealous of the relationship you have with your kids and of all the time you’ve been able to spend with them. I’m jealous of all the great adventures you’ve had and even of the afterschool time that you’ll be having with them. I’m tired of sitting in my office just looking at pictures of my kids all day. And am also jealous of the fact that you have twins — always wanted twins and though I wasn’t happy about having to go the route of IVF to have another kid, I really hoped I’d end up with 2. I could go on and on. This post really hit home for me right now. I’m in a bit of a funk about summer coming to an end. It’s a combination of not believing that my baby is going into THIRD grade and feeling like summer is over and I missed out on all the fun and a whole bunch of other junk too.

7 serenity { 09.03.10 at 10:35 am }

I find that lately I am supremely jealous the kids that have just gone off to college for the first time. And it’s for the same reason as you. They have all that TIME in front of them, and their life path is wide open. They could be ANYTHING.

17 years after since my first day of college, I’m seeing my options as being so narrow… and I’d give anything to go back and savor that feeling of endless opportunity again.

8 Nicole { 09.03.10 at 10:50 am }

I have a similar situation with my favorite cousin. She’ s petit, blonde, athletic, toned, beautiful…and had her Doctorate’s degree before she turned 28 years old. She works in medical research, trying to find cures/vaacines for infectious epidemics. She goes to Africa to help with Ebola outbreaks and such. She does missionary work. Her husband is GEORGEOUS…I love her…and I’m incredably envious of her!

9 Geochick { 09.03.10 at 10:54 am }

I’ll go with Heather and Bean on the “I suffer daily”. It comes with the low self-esteem territory for me I think. I’m jealous of the “friend” who yesterday mentioned how hard it is to pay for 2 kids’ daycare in the context of me asking her if they were going to the CU-CSU football game this weekend. What the hell does kids’ daycare have to do with a fucking football game?!

10 Kristin { 09.03.10 at 11:09 am }

I had an attack of jealousy when I was in Tar-jay yesterday. I saw all the cute little girl clothes and was desperately jealous of all the people who had a chance to buy that stuff for their own little girl. I think this moment was easier to deal with than some in the past because it was a generalized jealousy rather than being directed at a specific person.

11 myinfertilitywoes { 09.03.10 at 11:40 am }

I had it this week on vacation with other families when my friend’s toddler ran up to her and hugged her legs and said “mommmmmmmmy” in the most amazing, cute way. I went out to the beach and cried on my walk. When is someone going to run over to me in such excitement and call me ‘mommmmmmy’?

12 mrs spock { 09.03.10 at 11:52 am }

I was walking through Babies R Us this week, stocking up on formula, since I do not even get the option of trying to nurse this time, and I saw a woman with one kid in her cart and one in a sling, tall, and athletic and hugely pregnant, and I immediately felt jealous.

Why the hell should I feel jealous? I am pregnant with #2 and they are still alive, despite my body, and the fact that I get two is far more than many get. But I couldn’t help but remember that vision of myself many years ago, who wanted to be this Earth Mother who conceived easily, plopped out baby after baby, nursed them all, and stayed home and kept them busy with a whirlwind of activities, a house full of loud children’s voices and laughter.

Who knows who that woman was- maybe she hates her life- but I suddenly felt my reality- a short, chubby woman who needs help to get pregnant, a committee to of specialists to follow her through pregnancy, surgical birth, a can of formula to feed her child, who sends her kid to day care because the healthy people who work there can provide more activity on a daily basis, and who can’t take her kid to the zoo without help because her legs tend to randomly stop working.

13 flying monkeys { 09.03.10 at 12:14 pm }

While the wheel is spinning noisily, I can hear a tiny voice telling me they are missing something too and it really isn’t about who I am or what I’m not. The voice is usually drowned out by the squeaky wheel but it’s still there. I wish I knew how to not take “it” personally.

14 Jendeis { 09.03.10 at 12:53 pm }

I’ve been dealing with a lot of jealousy lately for moms who can stay/work at home. It’s not an option for us financially, and I don’t even know that I should/could stay home on an emotional basis, but I hate that the choice isn’t even there. It’s jealousy, it’s guilt, it’s grief — all rolled into one depressive mess.

15 suburbancaroline { 09.03.10 at 1:42 pm }

It’s taken me 3 and a half years to get pregnant – after a laparoscopy for ovarian cysts, 3 IVF cycles and god knows how many IUIs, a miscarriage and an ectopic pregnancy. I’m at 12 weeks and don’t feel like I’m out of the woods yet. Meanwhile, I have a very good friend who got pregnant 2 weeks ahead of me on her first month trying. Her husband earns scads of money working for a high-tech company, and she has stopped working and will be a stay-at-home mom. Me? Definitely need to keep working, as I earn more than my husband.

I am happy for her, but it’s so hard not to be jealous, too.

16 Quiet Dreams { 09.03.10 at 1:46 pm }

I have been feeling a lot of jealousy, also. For happy couples who give birth to bouncing babies…as much or more for the happy couple part as the baby part. I am jealous of others who have been through divorce but are now moving on–I’m jealous that I’m not ready to start dating and posting my profile on match.com.

I really like this post because it gets at the root of the destructiveness of jealousy–the self-loathing, which is the route I always go but am trying to learn not to.

17 Rebecca { 09.03.10 at 2:01 pm }

I’ve been jealous today. My lovely friend’s sister in law just had her second “miracle” baby – while on the pill, while suffering from PCOS. SECOND like this. ARGH.

18 HereWeGoAJen { 09.03.10 at 2:56 pm }

I seethe with jealousy every time I click on two certain friends’ Facebook pages. So much that my chest hurts. I can’t even properly explain why, but I am jealous of their babies. Even though I have my own baby and I even got her first. There are lots of other babies I am not jealous of.

19 queenie { 09.03.10 at 8:55 pm }

I am jealous of people who seem to be at peace and content with their lives. No matter what I do, my life always seems so messy in comparison. Of course, I’m sure it all looks better on the outside, but still.

20 Ashley { 09.04.10 at 12:46 am }

Based on the happiness for your friends who have the new babies, I don’t think you are jealous. Usually a jealous person will put down the person he or she is jealous of or try to convince his or herself that the experience they are jealous about isn’t really such a big deal. You are more mature and warm than that.

Anyway, you seem to feel guilty for having these feelings to your friends. I don’t think you should be. I imagine it’s natural to be nostalgic for such a special time.

21 Kristen { 09.05.10 at 7:28 pm }

My husband’s counsin stayed with us this weekend and has just started her freshman year of college. She was lit up, so excited about all her new friends and classes and experiences. It took me back to that time of my life, when the world just felt so full of possiblities. Like you, I envied all the “time” she has as she starts exploring the woman she will become. My life is pretty wonderful, but sometimes it seems so “settled”. I miss the adventure of days gone by.

22 Amy { 09.05.10 at 8:38 pm }

Confession time, and this is really embarrassing. I’m jealous of my best friend who just left her husband. She kicked him out a few months ago and it has been almost perfect: he has completely changed, quit drinking, goes to AA and counseling, is exercising, and is being a perfect husband and father. I am crying daily about my shitty husband, feeling trapped and alone and incapable of making a change (I’m 31wks into a high-risk pregnancy). How freaking sick is it to be jealous of someone who had to kick their husband out? But I’m so jealous that she COULD, and that it worked. And of her courage and strength. Ugh.

23 JJ { 09.06.10 at 11:44 am }

I have a really hard time with jealousy. Even when I am not in the state of mind where I want what someone has…just the fact that they can have it….and I cant.

24 Lacie { 09.06.10 at 7:46 pm }

This goes without saying, as we are all in the IF community, but I am jealous of all of the baby bumps around me. I am jealous that my next door neighbors were setting up their crib this weekend. I am jealous of my brother and SIL who were just discussing potential baby names at the labor day picnic, their bundle of joy is due in December. Speaking of December, one if my best friends is due in December, oh wait….my cousin is too. My cigarette smoking, six months along, “Oops, I’m pregnant” cousin, yeah, that’s the one. I hate this part of me.

25 Barb { 09.07.10 at 1:55 pm }

Thanks for this post Mel. I needed it right now.

26 Cece { 09.09.10 at 10:44 am }

I want to thank you for this post. I’ve been having a rough week, and your comments on emotions has helped me! I keep thinking about how it’s OK not to be happy 100% of the time – we have emotions for a reason.

27 Bea { 09.09.10 at 5:55 pm }

Still wise words, all these years (it hasn’t been, like, fifty, though, has it?) later. There is definitely a trick to just accepting the feelings then moving on. As if your jealousy is a compliment to the other person rather than an ugly fact about yourself.


28 Ana { 09.10.10 at 6:58 am }

“I suffer daily” seems to average about right—some days, none, other days, constant. Usually for people to whom things (everything!) comes so easily—the marriage, the pregnancy, the raising of kids, the money, academic success, boss’s praise, weight loss—it is easier for me to “feel happy for” someone’s success when I know they’ve earned it. Which is stupid, and judgmental—who I am to decide who “deserves” something? But I can’t help it. I have been trying to do as you said—acknowledge it so it loses its power & disappears before it starts to eat me up inside. It works, amazingly! Its allowing me to give pregnancy advice to the skinny 20-something year old, double degree student, who got pregnant the minute they decide to “try” and is now going on and on (and on) about how she wants a girl.

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