Thursday, April 8, 2010

No hard feelings . . .

I’m going to be completely honest here. Jealousy . . . is a bitch. It sneaks up and convinces you that what you have is crap and what others have is much much better. I’m sure we’re all the victims of jealousy from time to time. I envy knitters who are so speedy that beautiful projects seem to fly off their needles in the time it takes me to get an inch or two done on whatever I’m knitting. I’m jealous of petite pretty women with skinny thighs and thick wavy hair that looks great no matter how humid it is out. I see the green-eyed monster often when I’m attempting to count carbs and fat grams and figure out just how to time my bolus, while others simply dive in and eat whatever looks good. Jealousy loves to hit us and hit us hard.

I’m also ready to admit to some Baby Envy that I’ve been feeling. The D-OC has come down with a case of Baby Fever. It’s a happy thing, but sometimes brings up feelings of “why not me”. I’ve always loved babies and kids. I started baby-sitting for a neighbor when I was barely old enough to be left alone myself. (My parents were right next door and looked in often.)  When I cashiered at a grocery store in high school, I had a knack for entertaining cranky toddlers in my line. (I often said I could charm any man, as long as he was less than five years old.) At my former job, a co-worker on maternity leave brought in her preemie when he weighed only five pounds and everyone was afraid to hold him. Everyone except for me, who happily scooped him up and held him until his mom was ready to go home. As he grew over the years and came back in for visits, I was always his favorite. I’m convinced that on some level he remembered that I was the only one who would hold him when he was so tiny and new.

It was always just assumed I’d have a family of my own. But as my friends were finding their Prince Charmings and walking down the aisle, I found myself kissing frog after frog. When I finally met Pete, I was 31 years old. When I put on my white dress and veil and we started our life together, I was already 36. 36 with an A1C I just couldn’t get below 7. In the blink of an eye, I find that next month I’ll be celebrating 42 years on the planet. For me, not having babies doesn’t seem like a conscious choice I made. Rather, it’s just the way my life worked out. So I must admit that I’ve looked on other expectant parents with some envy . . . . and a large dose of jealousy. Don’t get me wrong, I’m completely thrilled for all of the parents-to-be in the D-OC, but it’s been a little bit hard to cheer from the side-lines sometimes.

And then there’s the Roche thing. As LeeAnn mentioned in a recent post, there was quite a bit of Roche backlash last year after they hosted their first Media Summit. Although I didn’t voice it to many, I will admit to a raging case of Roche-Envy at the time. It was difficult to watch so many people who I consider such close friends pack up for an adventure together and not feel left behind. And honestly, it seemed to me that I was the only one stuck with those “why not me” feelings. But then, things blew up. A few pretty nasty posts began to appear.  Although they weren't on any blogs I read regularly, seeing them out there upset me. It was like someone was attacking my friends. I thought long and hard about the situation. Our community is vast and filled with so many hugely talented members. There is no way any company could ever hold an event or summit that could include everyone at once. The more I thought about who was participating, the easier it was to see “why not me”. The people invited are a wonderful cross-section of our community. Each and every one has earned their place. They did and will represent us well and I can’t wait to hear what they report back to us this year. And I honestly hope they do report back – without fear of any backlash this time. I hope we’ve all banished the Roche-Envy this year.

The thing about jealous is this - nothing good comes from it. The grass is always greener on the other side, and all that. I’ve decided it’s okay – and probably even natural – to have a little bit of envy over all new babies popping up around the D-OC. But that won’t stop me from ooohing and aaahing over their perfect little faces and being sincerely excited for each new parent. On the other hand, I’ve realized that being jealous of events some are attending is just plain silly. When I look around, I can find plenty of wonderful things in my life that maybe someone else might feel jealous of. But I hope they won’t. Jealousy is called The Green Eyed Monster for a reason – it’s destructive and ugly. Instead, I choose to look at what others have and celebrate with them. With no hard feelings at all.


  1. GREAT post, honest, well written, and from the heart!
    I hear you re: the jealousy thing. I thought I'd be married & have a baby or two by now. That was always my plan.
    I was and am the one who always held the babies and made my friends children laugh. I grew up wanting babies. I always thought I'd be a mom.
    But like you said, being happy for what gifts others receive is the way to go - and the positive energy those thoughts generate have a way of coming back to us.

    I think your wonderful, a talented woman and blogger who deserves so much. Your also a great friend who has mothered me (and others) whenever you saw we needed it.
    Kelly K

  2. I understand your jealousy. I've had the same things. And like Kelly, I figured that I'd be married and have kids by now. But it hasn't happened yet.
    But we are all still wonderful people and can have great lives even if children (or marriage) aren't in the picture.

  3. Thanks for writing this Karen.
    I think of you more like a sister but you can be my virtual mom? No? Ok. :-)

    I get the jealousy. I do. I hate it. I try to remind myself of what I do have, do enjoy everyday. I try to be grateful and thankful.

    Life has a way of doing what it wants, whether we follow or like's up to us.

    Like you, I am So happy for so many out there. Number one, we all put ourselves out there...that is huge. Whatever path we choose or whatever opportunity comes our way, we have a choice of follow through, or not.

    To all those in the D-OC, we rock. 'Nuff said. :-D

  4. Thank you all so much for your supportive comments. To be quite honest, I was terrified to post this for fear of offending all of my friends, those on both sides of the jealousy fence. But I'm glad I did it - it's good to be honest and real. And I really have worked through all of those jealous feelings. Okay, MOST of them - I reserve the right to continue to be jealous of "petite pretty women with skinny thighs and thick wavy hair that looks great no matter how humid it is out". :D

  5. Great, authentic post, Karen. Thank you for putting it up here for us.
    You might enjoy this post about celebrating with those around us who have found joy. It's not easy, but I it feels like a good goal.

  6. Thanks for writing such a courageous and heartfelt post. I'm about to turn 44, and the time for having kids has passed me by. I don't think I really get jealous of other people having babies, and I'm truly happy for them. But sometimes I pull away because it touches something deep inside and makes me very sad about what I have missed, and I'm afraid of that sadness bubbling to the surface. It also hurts that sometimes people make assumptions about my reasons for not having kids, or that I'm a certain way because I don't, and I think they also sometime pull away. I agree with Crystal, we ALL rock in our own ways, and the more we can come together and support each other the better.

  7. great post, Karen! So honest. This really shows what a great person you are. I am thrilled to find such awesome people to call friends!

    I have that loving jealous too. I am so thrilled for the new parents and parents to be.... and I wish I was experiencing it to. I know, that God has a plan for our family and I have many things to be thankful for in my life. I try to be thankful in the moment so I don't miss anything. You are so right though, jealousy creeps in! (invited or not!)

    I am jealous of your knitting ability. I tried but gave up because I could barely get started. I am hoping to teach myself to sew... although the books and the machine are so overwhelming who knows! ;)

  8. This was such a great post. I think its normal to feel that way, but the fact that you acknowledge it is really wonderful.

    I wish you all the best :)

  9. Your words are very touching. I'll have to read up on the 'Roche thing'.

  10. Nodding my head and agreeing with you on many levels. Thank you for writing this.

  11. I agree with everything here, Karen.And I'm glad you said it.
    Although I am middle-aged now, I grieved the fact of being childless for many years - almost a decade. Everywhere I looked, there'd be young families walking together, etc, and it often brought me to tears. But I got over it.
    I am envious of people who seem to have better insurance coverage than I do. And those who seem to have a better support system. But these are all subjective judgements and I may not know the entire story.
    But, what remains is that we are all in this together.
    This was an excellent heartfelt post. And now I'm going outside to knit under a big maple tree who's leaves are starting to show.
    Springtime in Minnesota - doesn't get much better.

  12. Nice post Karen. Thanks for sharing this. I value our friendship because you have always come across as someone who is sincere and full of integrity and this post validates that. :)

  13. Great post, and I completely understand. Everyone gets jealous about something, and we try our best to not let it show through. I hide it by making obnoxious jokes and smartass comments, but that comes at the expense of often not being taken seriously. Although I'm one of those reproductive members of the D-OC, I'm happy to share our life (good and bad) with you guys, and it means a lot that so many people are genuinely happy for us.

    Oh, and the lack of blogging lately isn't really an anti-envy scheme. I really just haven't had the time or motivation. I promise. :)

  14. Thank you for reminding me what's important at the end of the day. I still have a wonderful nephew and three beautiful nieces, after all. And someday, I'll find that purpose I am looking for.

    A little birdie told me that it's okay to grieve that I no longer have a choice in whether I have children, even though it wasn't in the plans anyways. That has made a huge difference in the way I've been able to cope.

  15. hi,

    Just found this post, but I have to ask:

    Could you make this year the year you actively try to have children? Would you consider working with an infertility clinic if necessary? (They wouldn't turn you away for being 42). Would you consider adoption? Foster parenting?

    It seems like if you are really determined to have children one way or another, there's likely a solution. There's a bunch of different ways to build a family if that's what you and your husband are determined to do.


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