Tips for Dealing with Fertility Envy

Eloise Edington  |   21 Oct 2021

Feeling envy or resentment towards someone who is pregnant, as a person who has experienced either baby loss or a fertility struggle and treatments such as IVF, is a completely normal response. Having feelings does not make you a bad person. It is valid to experience those emotions.

But of course, those feelings can be really difficult to deal with. It may bring up a lot of pain for you or negative thoughts. Learning how to address those emotions as they come can help you to feel less stress, anger, pain and envy in your day to day. The most important thing here is to make sure you know how to manage the situation so that it doesn’t become overwhelming for you.

Read on for Fertility Help Hub’s advice on how to accept, acknowledge and address your fertility envy.

Addressing and accepting how you feel

It’s easy to fall down a rabbit hole of overwhelming emotions when these tough events come up. The worst thing you could do at this moment is beat yourself up about how you are feeling. Let yourself be. It is completely okay to feel angry, resentful or jealous. Don’t punish yourself for having emotions.

Acknowledge your feelings and address them as they arrive. Say to yourself, ‘I feel like this right now and that is completely valid.’ Then, to tackle those feelings after you’ve had time to process and grieve, get them out of your body using all of your go-to techniques to de-stress.

Go to the gym and use the punching bags or attend a dance class if moving is your way of releasing emotion. Maybe you’re a deep breather who finds taking a few minutes to breathe in silence is the way to go. Or, if you’re more of a bath and candles kind of person, then try that too. Experiment and find ways that help you to overcome tough emotions.

Duality exists

You can be happy for a friend and sad at the same time. Duality is a thing and it can be very confusing at times. You may doubt your happiness for them simply because you have additional feelings of anger and resentment when actually each feeling is just as true and valid as the other.

If you don’t want to attend a baby shower (or even a birth if you have been asked to be there) it is completely okay to say, “No”.  Does this mean you are unsupportive or not happy for the person? Absolutely not. You are setting a boundary for yourself. If you find that attending these events or situations would be too challenging and upsetting for you, you are completely valid in not attending.

A friend who understands your situation and sympathises with you will understand. Be open about why this is difficult for you and reassure them that, while you are happy for them, you cannot attend for your own wellbeing and mental health.

Learning how to approach feelings and manage them

The infertility community

Talking to someone who has been there or is still there can help you release some of those emotions. They will have felt angry and envious of others too. Talking with someone who has had the same emotions can be really affirming that you’re not alone and that you are completely normal for feeling the way you do. It can also really help if they are past those feelings and can tell you how they coped with it to give you some inspiration.

Those conversations can be really cathartic and you might find that after having that talk you feel a lot lighter.

Yoga for fertility and meditation

There are plenty of fertility yoga practices out there which actually base a lesson or a series of lessons around fertility envy. This is a very normal and common feeling for those within the infertility community and there are resources that can help.

But why this specific type of fertility yoga? Yoga is a guided practice, full of mantras and meditation. Meditation is great for finding peace but mantras and discussions really need to be focused on the topic at hand to feel helpful. If your instructor is tailoring their language to fit the purpose of dealing with fertility envy, their advice and mantras can feel more validating.

Finding happiness

Don’t lose sight of the things that make you happy. It’s easy to get consumed by the drive to have a baby when, for whatever reason, it is being a long and tough time for you. You can get wrapped up in treatment, injections, checking and waiting and starting all over again. Try to remind yourself of the things that make you happy that are unrelated to fertility.

This could be a hobby of yours like art, writing, dancing, pottery etc. Or perhaps you are a movie buff and with the pandemic, you haven’t been to the pictures in forever. You might really love going to a park and watching the sunrise early in the morning or spending time with your friends. Now is the time to try those things again and make them a routine part of your life.

It’s easy to get lost and caught up in your fertility and think that all you are is your fertility and diagnosis. Remember that you are so much more than your fertility; first and foremost you are a person and you have not failed by going through this difficult struggle. You’re a fertility warrior.

Hopefully this article has helped to validate your feelings and give you some ideas on how to address your fertility envy.

If you would like to have someone to talk to who understands what you are going through, but you don’t currently know anyone in your personal life, or if you would just like to expand your infertility friendship group, you can always download our Fertility Squad app to talk to more fertility warriors like yourself.

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