Monday, September 27, 2010

envy or jealousy?

In loss support forums there are a lot of ladies who discuss jealousy.  I usually don't mention it, because I use the word jealousy, too, but it's the wrong word.

When I was in college, I took a Shakespeare course.  One of the plays we studied was Othello.  For those who don't know the play, it focuses a lot on Othello's suspicions that his wife, Desdemona, is being unfaithful.  It ends with him killing her in a jealous rage and then killing himself.  It truly is a tragic play.

One of the days of the week we studied that play was focussed entirely on the difference between jealousy and envy.  Our society has pretty much stopped using the word envy, and therefore jealousy has taken on its meaning.  But it comes down to this:

Jealousy is when you are afraid of someone else taking what you have.
Envy is when you want what someone else has.
Baby loss moms cannot be jealous of pregnant women and new mothers.  We are not afraid that they will take what we have.  We have already lost what it is we want so much.

We envy them.

And even now I battle envy.  I have 2 beautiful children, but I still can't help but envy women I see shopping in the baby section of stores.  I envy that happy expectation that they have on their faces.  I envy being able to say "when" instead of "if."

When it's at its worst, I remind myself that I don't know that woman's history.  Maybe she finally reached full term after several miscarriages.  Maybe she battled years of infertility to finally make it to where she is right now.  Maybe this baby is her rainbow baby after a stillbirth and she's forcing herself to be happy so she won't feel the anxiety crashing in on her as her loss date draws near.  Maybe, just maybe.  I hate imagine those things happening to others, but in the end it helps me to remember that she deserves to be happy about her baby too, no matter what her story.

1 comment:

  1. I can relate to so much of what you said. I try to use envy correctly, but it's hard in a world where the word in nearly obsolete.

    And I also find myself wondering if the happy pregnant women I see have sad stories to tell. Mostly I just tell myself that I don't know their story. I don't know that it's sad, & I don't know that it's happy. I just don't know.