If you liked reading about hope, you’ll love reading about…
AmyG’s got a quite interesting post about envy going on. (Apologies for the incestuous reciprocal linking. Be careful that you don’t get caught in some kind of infinite mouse clicking loop.) In trying to comment, I lost my shit a bit and was unable to respond rationally to her perfectly great question. The question, you see, is nested in within a description of some utter asswipe psychi.ass.trist’s assvice (not to bias you or anything) about how infertile couples deal with pregnancies in their social circle. Since I’ve got no new sous vide cooker to play with, I thought I’d respond here rather than clogging up her comments. That’s for you guys to do, please!
Is envy a component of my IF emotional package? Yessiree. In my personal case, is it the main component? Not right now, anyway. How I feel about the person involved seems to make a difference, though. (I’m thinking of fertile people–I think it’s a different story with fellow infertiles.)
I feel envy when it’s someone I don’t care about, and the envy passes quickly. When it’s someone I do care about, I feel profound sorrow. The sorrow does not go away and is made vastly worse by seeing the person or thinking about her pregnancy. (At least, that’s how I’d describe the emotional experience. I could do some brain imaging studies to make sure–there do seem to be distinct brain circuits involved in envy as compared to grief–but I don’t do brain imaging. So you’ll have to take my word for it.) Does anyone else have this experience? The more you love the person the harder her pregnancy is?
As for the question of whether there’s anything to be done about envy…I don’t know. My approach is to remind myself of all the ways in which my life is superior. And because I have a nice life, this is semi-effective. While reminding myself about the good things in life has no effect on my sorrow at all, it seems to work for envy. This might be because envy is thought to be on a continuum with regular old admiration, and making oneself feel superior is a cure for admiration.
Side note: Some psychologists think there’s a thing called chronic sorrow. It’s distinct from grief, and applies to situations in which loss is irresolvable (including IF). Chronic sorrow can be assessed using the Chronic Sorrow Questionnaire. Doesn’t that sound like a TOTAL BLAST to fill out?