Thursday, 8 October 2015

Dealing with Jealousyby Larissa

Lairssa again shares with us her thoughts on Dealing with Jealousy.


    'Jealousy is just one of a range of emotions that I’ve had to deal with more than 
    I expected after my baby died. It’s been over two years of struggling but I’ve 
    started to see a way through: recognise, accept and let go. It’s not always easy 
    but it is always worth it!'



When your baby dies, you lose so much more than just them. When my first baby, a daughter, was stillborn, I lost trust in my body and in my instincts, I lost the future I had planned and I lost my innocence. Pregnancy no longer holds the same certainty; there is no “when the baby comes home” but “if the baby comes home”. I’ve had two pregnancies since Ariella’s death and while I have been excited, I have also been hesitant. I know there are no guarantees so I simply cannot get as excited about pregnancy as I did the first time.

I feel like I have made peace with this new reality. I do feel saddened that I cannot be as excited about my pregnancies as I once was, but that’s just part of my new reality. I’m ok with that. What I’m not as ok with is the fact that this hesitation, this lack of excitement, also applies to my friends’ pregnancies. I watch them eagerly prepare for their new babies and I wish it was me. The joyful baby showers, happy glow, fully prepared nurseries… all things I once had but don’t know if I’ll have again. And that’s when it creeps in.


Jealousy.

What is it about that feeling that seems worse than others? Since Ariella died I have felt many of the harsher emotions, including anger and guilt. I’ve come to terms with them and know how to deal with them when they arise. But jealousy? I’m not used to that yet. I still feel so uncomfortable when the twinges begin. It’s been two and a half years and I am only just starting to work out how to handle this particular emotion: recognise, allow, let go.

Firstly, I recognise which situations are likely to cause jealousy. If I knew a friend was going to have a baby I prepared myself for the mix of emotions that would arrive along with the baby. I knew I would be happy for my friends and relieved for a safe arrival but I’ve also learned to expect a twinge of jealousy too. Recognising that it is likely to appear takes the sudden sting out of it and therefore makes it easier to handle.


Secondly, I allow myself to feel it. I used to suppress it whenever I could, thinking that it wasn’t something I was allowed to feel. After all, isn’t jealousy a bad thing? But all that did was make the jealousy linger and make me feel worse. It was very freeing when someone wise told me that it’s ok to feel jealousy, in our situation it is a normal response! When someone else has what I desperately wish for - a living baby - it’s only human to feel jealous. Allowing myself to feel whatever emotion pops up (including jealousy) frees me from feeling guilty about my natural reactions; this makes it easier to get to the final stage of handling my jealousy.


The third thing I have learned to do is to let go. It’s so much easier said than done! I’ve done a lot of thinking about jealousy lately and I realised that while I accept it and allow myself to feel it, holding onto the feeling of jealousy only does harm. It impacts on my relationship with friends as it can hold me back from them and it steals my happiness. I’ve found the best way to deal with jealousy is the hardest: let it go. For me that means acknowledging that it’s there: naming it, sitting with it and accepting that is how I feel. And then I choose to set it aside, to look for the positives in the situation. As hard as it can be to see healthy, living babies, I have always loved babies and do see them as a blessing. So when a friend has a baby, I’ve learnt to move through the jealousy and find the positives. 


Jealousy is just one of a range of emotions that I’ve had to deal with more than I expected after my baby died. It’s been over two years of struggling but I’ve started to see a way through: recognise, accept and let go. It’s not always easy but it is always worth it!



Larissa



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Larissa Genat
Larissa is a wife to Marcus and a mother to two beautiful children – Ariella Jade in

Heaven and Levi William in her arms. She loves spaghetti bolognaise and the smell of rain, but neither of them could make her smile when, after a textbook pregnancy, Ariella unexpectedly died at 39 weeks gestation. No reason was ever found for her death. Soon after Ariella’s death Larissa began writing. You can find her posts at


Deeper Still (www.loveisdeeperstill.blogspot.com)  and on Still Standing Magazine (http://stillstandingmag.com/author/larissa).

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