Has this ever happened to you? You’re out with friends at the beach or shopping or perhaps on a date with your husband and a pregnant woman walks by…and you stare. Try as you might, you can’t stop staring with longing at her pregnant belly. If this has happened to you, you are not alone.
When will I stop staring, yes I said it, staring like some crazy stalker at pregnant women? It doesn’t matter where I am, if I see someone pregnant I can’t take my eyes off her belly or body in general and can’t focus on anything else. Those reading this must think I sound like a cracked bizarre person. I try and I hope I’m hiding my gaze, but who knows. I can’t stop wondering what it feels like. I’m done with fertility treatments. They didn’t work and are no longer an option, but I still stare.
Why Do We Stare at Pregnant Women
We stare at pregnant women with a mixture of emotions. For some it is simply curiosity of what it feels like to grow another human being… to feel it kicking and hiccupping. We might admire the pregnant mom for how she looks and how she dresses. For others, our emotions are more complex.
We stare because we deeply want to be that woman, or at least be in her position. We may even feel angry that it is her and not us. We stare because of our raw, almost overwhelming desire.
The Emotions of Infertility
No doubt about it—INFERTILITY SUCKS. Staring at pregnant women is not even the half of it.
It’s normal to feel an incredible range of emotions when you are infertile: sadness, anger, envy, and confusion to name just a few. While it may be normal to feel all these negative emotions, if they are crowding out the ability to feel joy in your life, it’s time to take action.
What to Do When the Negative Emotions of Infertility Overwhelm Us
As hokey as it may sound to you, I swear by this technique. Once a day write down at least one thing you are grateful for that day. I have the rule that it can’t be the same thing each day because I find that I can be a bit lazy and need to be pushed to look deeper.
I find the term “self care” is overused right now, but that does not make it less important when you are coping with something that is really difficult. Plan something each week that you enjoy and makes you smile.
Plan a Trip
It doesn’t have to be expensive, but the act of planning a trip help you focus on something to look forward to. It doesn’t hurt if this trip is something that you wouldn’t be able to do with kids.
See a Therapist
I can’t recommend enough seeing someone to talk through the crappiness that is infertility. And it helps to talk with an uninvolved person trained to help you sort through difficult emotions.
You will face other difficult challenges in life and what you learn in your infertility struggles will be applicable later. Use this “opportunity” to grow in your understanding of yourself. I know, I know…that is easier said than done, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth the effort.
It is particularly helpful if this therapist has experience with infertility. While it is not always easy to find someone with this experience, it is worth looking.
- Ask your infertility clinic if they have mental health professionals on staff or can recommend one. If you aren’t a patient at an infertility clinic, call a couple of local clinics and ask who they recommend.
- The American Society of Reproductive Medicine lists members that are mental health professionals. Check to see if one is practicing near you.
Other Creating a Family Resources You Will Enjoy
- How to Survive Infertility without Losing your Mind, Your Marriage, or Your Friends
- Infertility, Adoption, and Green-Eyed Monster Named Envy
- Infertility: Letting Go of What We Thought Life Was Going to Be
Have you stared at pregnant women? Did you think you were going crazy?
Image credit: pixydust8605
Add Your Comment
YES. thanks for highlighting…our world in IF is so weird…too much weird to share w/ others. this site gets it – thanks.
This does not end when you have a child. I adopted my daughter who I love more than anything. In a funny way I am even grateful for it because without infertility I wouldn’t have her and I cannot imagine another baby being so perfect. But I still stare at pregnant women with jealousy among a wide range of emotions. My feelings are a lot less extreme than before I had my daughter. I’m not sure if this will ever entirely go away.
You are not alone, Maura. We hear from many women in our Facebook discussion group that they feel similarly.