Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Everyone is Pregnant but Me

I both love and hate social media at the same time. It's a great way to stay in touch with friends and family and to feel connected to them even when you're miles apart...but it's also a breeding ground for jealousy. Women often struggle with comparing themselves to others, and it's very difficult not to do so when we're constantly seeing the highlight reels in each others' lives.

It's especially hard when you're struggling with infertility and it seems like everyone on social media is posting pregnancy announcements, baby bump shots, and newborn photos. As Kristen Dalton Wolfe said, "social media doesn't make staying pure-hearted easy." 

I watched several of my friends suffer from infertility before I even thought about having kids myself. I could feel their sadness when they saw everyone around them getting pregnant. I know that social media contributed to this. In February of this year, no less than 6 of my friends announced their pregnancies, including one of my best friends (her first) and my sister-in-law (her 4th). I realized at this time how easy it would be for me to feel jealous and horrible about myself...but I think that the years of watching my friends in pain have prepared my heart in some ways.

It is so easy to look at someone else's happiness in life and summon up feelings of envy, rivalry, and malice...but I have found that if you look at this person's life and evoke genuine feelings of joy and gladness, that you in turn recognize the blessings and grace within your own life. This is what brings forth true feelings of contentedness, fulfillment, and ultimately, satisfaction.

This doesn't mean that you shouldn't ever feel sad, upset, or envious. We are human after all, and infertility is not a pleasant thing! However, there are things we can do and precautions we can take to protect our hearts and souls. If Facebook or Instagram are making you sad, do something about it. Take a hiatus from social media, or temporarily unfollow the friends whose lives are evoking these negative feelings. Find comfort and solace in a safe place--maybe your husband, mom, best friend, or a network of other women who are going through the same thing. Do something that makes you feel good--get a pedicure, take your dogs for a walk, work out, read your Bible--this is a chance to do something good (and healthy!) for yourself while also giving your mind a break. Last but not least, it's okay to cry. It's okay to stay in bed sometimes, to cry and scream into your pillow, to have a glass of wine...we can't be put-together, strong, and perfect all the time. And hey, your pregnant friends can't have that glass of wine! ;)

Every time I'm on social media and I start feeling myself get that tinge of jealousy or start summoning up feelings of resentment, I try to do something to better myself. I go to the gym and have a really good workout, or I think about something positive in my life that makes me feel good about myself. Soon those negative feelings start to dissipate, and eventually I even find them turning into true feelings of happiness and gladness for others.

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