A very, very particular jealousy.
As the husband and I try to bring forth our demon love child, I find that I have to remind myself of several things:
- This is a process. And we are not that far into it;
- The universe isn’t conspiring to make every woman around me pregnant;
- My body does not hate me, it’s just doing what it does;
- Every baby I see is not a reminder of my inherent worthlessness as a woman; and
- It’s life. It sucks. The best we can do for now is to keep on screwing.
(I know how to end a list on a romantic note, don’t I?)
For the most part, this works. Number 1 is probably the hardest for me because I am impatient; I also tend to conflate TTC failure with career failure when they have nothing to do with one another. It seems like nothing is ever going to go right, so I despair. Oh, do I despair. When will I get pregnant? When will I find a new job? Why aren’t they happening, damn it? But I’m doing better, especially since I abandoned the ways of Fertility Friend’s filthy technology, dumped my thermometer and refuse to let up on the job apps. My husband is certainly happier for it, particularly with the TTC info. He’s a data guru, but this was some data he really wasn’t that interested in. This is a case where the less you know is better.
There are certain instances, though, when someone’s pregnancy hits my heart and triggers the sadness that Numbers 2 through 4 are notorious for. The instances are very specific: my cousin, who is currently pregnant with her third, doesn’t disturb my green-eyed monster. She’s in a vastly different place in her life. The only thing I side-eye about her pregnancy is a photo from her maternity shoot, featuring her bare stomach with a toy trailer truck on it. (And I just cracked myself up with the idea of the truck turning into Optimus Prime.)
No, the circumstances have be close to mine for me to feel that sharp, sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach that takes away my breath, for me to give way to the petulant 10-year-old who asks, “Why not me?”
The first instance: Take the part-time editor who I supposedly supervise (hah, I so don’t). She’s in her mid-30s, due in December with her first, has put up with this hellacious company for two years. I envy her because 1) it was an accidental but very wished-for pregnancy (I’ve never had even the hint of an oops, which makes me worry about other things) and 2) she has an escape route. Come December, she gets to leave this place (maybe forever, she hasn’t decided) and I will be stuck with her work and mine since my boss has already decided he’s not hiring a second editor to help me cover the workload. My co-editor says this is ridiculous and plans to put up a strong argument as to why a second editor is needed, but … mix all of this together and not only am I fearing that this company will drive me insane come winter, but I’m sad that I don’t have something to look forward to in the shape of a kid. Putting up boundaries and insisting on a second editor would be so much easier if I could say, “Look, this is for the health of my kid. Yes, I’m pregnant. Surprise, fuckers! (And no, I’m not coming back.)”
I see her two days a week, and each time I do, I feel sad. I would love to be pregnant, a few months behind her, sharing that light at the end of the tunnel (in the form of a cute baby and relief from this dysfunctional environment).
The second instance: My kick-ass wedding photographer is pregnant with her first. She’s my age, has a new job she’s delighted with (she’s also a writer/editor) and is also due in December. I love her to pieces—we have similar senses of humor, she’s wicked smart and I admire that she goes after things with intelligence and gusto. She knows how to call people on their bullshit and doesn’t hesitate to do so. And she talks about her pregnancy. A lot. I can’t deny those jealous twinges when there’s a new photo, a new story about her kid. I think I’m envious because I wonder why my path can’t be as simple as hers in terms of baby and career—though that’s a premise balanced on a fallacy, as I have no idea how long she and her husband were trying, nor do I know why she also felt the need to leave her last job after two years. I can infer on the baby side (they were married last fall), but I can’t assume I’m right.
But c’mon, I want to say. My mom got pregnant with my little brother at 35. My grandmother had my mom in her 40s. What the hell is wrong with me!?!? Am I not a Latina!?
(Hello, ethnic stereotype! Am I not fucking ridiculous? Are you not entertained!?)
I know that, chances are, probably nothing is wrong. We just haven’t been lucky yet. And if we’re not lucky before January 1, we’ve already agreed to start testing given my age. But worry sometimes sets in, as does a bit of jealousy. I can see babies and pregnant women all day long on the bike trail, on the bus, on the sidewalk and not bat an eyelash (I may go “Awww!”, but that’s neither here nor there). But when people who are close to me and share some of my life circumstances get that golden ticket, I feel sad.
Oh, and in reading this over … I really need to separate TTC and career. They really tie together in my mind, don’t they?