Monday, January 14, 2013

I've Probably Been Judging You.

I've said it before, but one of the most difficult things about infertility is hearing and reading about pregnancy announcements.  Every time I would hear about another one, it would throw me for a loop.  If I read about it on Facebook or a blog, I was lucky, because I could just let the feelings out and cry right then and there.  And then feel like a horrible person for reacting that way.  If I found out in person, then I had to try to show some excitement, and hold back my tears until I was alone later.

Even as I type it, it still sounds so terrible.  I wish I had totally risen above it, and could have been happy for the dozens and dozens of pregnancy announcements I received in the past 2.5 years.  But that just didn't happen.  Instead, I started comparing my situation to theirs, and thinking things like, "But we've been married for so much longer," "...trying for so much longer," "they're not even married!" "They don't even want kids!" "They already have a baby/babies," "They've had 2 babies during the time we've been waiting for our first!" all just didn't seem fair. And then the worries would start nagging in the back of my mind, "Maybe God is punishing me for something," and the worst one of all, "Maybe he doesn't love me as much."  OF COURSE I knew in my head that those last two were not true.  But that didn't stop Satan from trying to convince me of those facts for almost 30 months straight.

Needless to say, it was a strange phenomenon of trying to feel happy for the person, always failing and focusing on my own sorrow instead, and then feeling totally guilty for reacing that way.  Luckily, I know from talking with other women who are going through fertility problems that these feelings are all pretty normal.  No, God does not honor jealousy and envy and wants us to move past those things, but I also think He mourns every tear we cry over these situations, and feels every ounce of our pain.  We are His children, after all.

The thing is, when we plant the seed of envy, it puts down roots in our heart, grows, and produces fruit of its own.  

For me, the fruit was judgment.  And I never even realized that until I became pregnant myself.  So I apologize right now for judging so many people!

If I heard a pregnant person complain about anything short of a medical emergency, I would secretly turn up my nose and roll my eyes.  If they knew how hard infertility was, and how some of us would KILL to feel a little morning sickness, they might think twice about complaining about a little nausea. 
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But the truth is?  It turns out pregnancy is not easy for some people, and I did my fair share of complaining to my family members too.  Even though I swore I would never do that.  No, the first trimester was nowhere NEAR as hard or painful of those years of waiting, but it certainly wasn't easy, either!  What I didn't realize before was that it involves so much more than the nausea.  The nausea and vomiting was by far the worst part, but on top of that I felt so tired all I could do was lie down on the couch for about 80% of each day.  For weeks I had an aversion to literally every food.  And over time, the few comfort foods that seemed to help, became associated in my brain with the nausea, and eventually just the sight of them would make me gag.  And finally, I spent a lot of time feeling very sad and crying.  This symptom surprised me a lot, because I thought from the moment I found out I was pregnant forward, I would be so blissfully happy for the entire pregnancy.  But when your body is trying to manage such a massive amount of hormones, there is just no telling what is going to happen with your emotions.

I am not saying all of this to complain.  I thank God so much for every one of those symptoms!  But I'm just making the point that I was wrong before.  Pregnancy is not always easy, and I feel bad for being so hard on so many women.  That said, I do wish pregnant people would be careful who they complain to and what they complain about, in the same way that I think people who are married and in relationships should be careful of the same thing.  But that is a whole other post altogether.

Unfortunately, my judgment of pregnant women didn't end there.  I would be around pregnant people who drank caffeine or ate things they weren't supposed to eat and the judgment would rear it's ugly head.  No, I wouldn't say anything to them about it, but in my mind I was judging the crap out of them!  And now that I'm pregnant have I eaten healthily?  Definitely not all the time...for six weeks I ate anything that sounded like it might stay down.  And now I have an aversion to plain water (weird, I know, but it makes me gag) and have been drinking a lot more iced tea with caffeine than I care to admit.  

When I was going through infertility, I pictured myself doing everything just right during the pregnancy.  But in reality, I'm doing all those things I judged others for doing.  

I could go on and on, but I think you get the idea.

If nothing else, being on the other side, and seeing the err of my ways has taught me a valuable lesson.  I do not know the situations or struggles that others are going through.  And clearly, I need to stop being so judgmental, especially if I have never been in their place before.  I'm glad my eyes have been opened to this, because I think it will help once the baby comes too.  I have no interest in participating in the "mommy wars" and being judgmental of other mothers.  So I hope I can remember how I had to put my foot in my mouth so much with this pregnancy since I'm doing so many things I didn't think I'd do! I'm so glad I have a forgiving God in times like these!  And I hope you all will forgive me as well, if I have been judging you.


  1. This is a good point, Jessica, and sometimes I still fall into "judging" other moms in the same way - but I've realized that everyone experiences pregnancy/motherhood differently, and I can't really judge others until I've walked in their shoes - and I can't exactly, so I just shouldn't judge. :-) Good post!

  2. I have found that it depends on the person announcing the pregnancy. If it is a person that has been married all of 15 minutes (really, a few months), it is really really hard for me to swallow. They weren't trying. They're 22 years old (I'm almost 35 now), they weren't ready. That is hard.

    I have had closer friends get pregnant who had only been trying for a month or two. For some reason them being pregnant is easier on me than those i don't know super well but see their announcements on FB. I think b/c these are friends who have prayed for me to get pregnant & who really really want to see me as a mommy!

    I have also had a 2 friends go through infertility much longer & harder than i have gone through. They are pregnant - and it has been NOTHING but JOY from me. JOY and HOPE. Not an ounce of jealousy. The only problem with it is that the friend who was my infertility buddy - has now moved out of the infertility club. Which makes it a little more lonely. But hopefully i will be joining the mommy club one day soon! :)

    I don't get jealous of you. I know you struggled. And i hate jealousy. But of course it has reared its ugly head. Thankful for a Father who knows our hurts & understands. He is GOOD!


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