Baby Envy: What It Is, and How to Handle It

Dealing with Other People's Pregnancies When You're Struggling with Infertility

Struggling to get pregnant comes with a wide range of emotions—sadness, anxiety, frustration, and hopelessness, just to name a few. To say it’s difficult would be an understatement. But just when you think it can’t get any harder, you get a text from your friend: she’s pregnant. 

As humans, we experience different feelings simultaneously, and when those feelings contradict one another, things can get confusing. Take, for instance, the situation we’ve outlined above. On one end of the spectrum, you’re happy for her. She’s always wanted to be a mom, and she finally gets to make that happen. But on the other end of the spectrum, there’s that little green monster inside of you screaming—you’re jealous and maybe even a little angry at her. This is what’s called baby envy. 

In this article, we’ll give you a guide to baby envy and how to deal with it. Keep reading for: 

  • More about baby envy
  • Tips for coping with it 

You’re Not a Bad Person for Feeling This Way 

We live in an age where technology is more advanced, not to mention more prominent, than ever before. With social media like Facebook and Instagram, we’re able to stay up-to-date on each other’s lives, for better or for worse. For instance, Facebook is great for staying in touch or wishing happy birthday to an old friend. But it’s not so great when you’re undergoing treatment for infertility and every other post on your feed is a pregnancy announcement or pictures of someone’s newborn. 

Constantly scrolling through social media can be bad for your mental health
Try taking a break from social media if it gets to be too much. If logging on is making you upset, stay offline and use the time to do something you enjoy. 

It’s perfectly normal to feel envious of a friend (or a mere acquaintance) when they announce they’re expecting. In a way, this reaction is simply indicative of how much you want a baby yourself. 

Depending on where you are in your life, you might be experiencing baby mania in your social circle. It’s important to remember that while it’s okay to feel conflicted about your friends’ good news, you shouldn’t let negative emotions get the best of you. If you can’t bring yourself to feel happy for them, still try to pass on positive wishes. 

Positive affirmations can help remind you that you will get through this!
If you’re dreading girls’ night or weekend meet-ups, it might be a good time to stop and take inventory of your social life. A good friend will understand if you want a little distance.

Tips for Coping with Baby Envy 

Unfortunately, there’s no magic word or straight-forward answer to make baby envy go away. But don’t forget that this a common experience, and you will get through it. 

What's more relaxing than yoga on the beach?
Finding a new hobby could help you keep yourself busy and avoid ruminating on the negative. Plus, you might even have a little fun while you’re at it! 

Here’s a few tips for dealing with baby envy

  • Turn down the invite: Give yourself permission to say no. You shouldn’t feel guilty about not attending a friend’s baby shower or skipping lunch with your pregnant co-worker. If it’s an office party to welcome someone back from maternity or paternity leave, sign your name on the card and pitch in for the gift, but skip the actual party. Try to schedule a lunch outside the office or claim to have a business call during the time of the party. 
  • Politely decline unsolicited advice: Most people mean well when they offer up advice, but that doesn’t mean you have to take it—or even listen to them, for that matter. If you have a friend or family member who’s regularly giving you advice you don’t want, don’t be afraid to tell them you’ve had enough. These are some effective ways to shut down unwanted words of “wisdom.”  
  1. “I appreciate your concern, but I’m not really looking for advice right now.”
  2. “Thanks, but I’m just going to talk to my doctor about it.” 
  3. “Would you mind if I just vent? I’m looking for someone to listen, not talk.” 
  • Talk to someone: The worst thing you can do is keep everything bottled up inside. Talk to your partner or maybe a friend who’s in a similar situation about what you're feeling. If you don’t feel comfortable doing that, try joining a support group or seeing a therapist. Even though you have every right to be feeling the way you’re feeling, you might have some trouble admitting it aloud. If that’s the case, give journaling a shot. Writing everything down is a cathartic means of processing your emotions, and you don’t have to worry about feeling judged. 

Allow Yourself to Be Human 

At the end of the day, it’s important to remind yourself that being human means having emotions—which can feel like a burden sometimes. Feeling baby envy doesn’t mean you aren’t a good friend, and it definitely doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. 

Infertility comes with many, many trials, both physical and emotional. Make sure to put your own well-being above everything else, even if that means taking some time off from social events or going on Facebook. 

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