Saturday, April 14, 2012

Jealousy Vs Joy

A couple months ago (before I was pregant, or at least before I knew I was pregnant again) we were in Cafe Rio. Well, I was in Cafe Rio waiting for Trevor to meet up with me. 

It's always a little weird to go there because that's one of the last places I went when I was pregnant with Luke, but this time seemed to be especially difficult. There was almost no one else in the restaurant (which is super weird for Cafe Rio at dinner time) except for two other couples. And wouldn't it be my luck that both of these women were very pregnant?

Seriously!? I felt tormented. Here I was standing in the building where I last remember feeling my son move and I'm all alone surrounded by pregnant women.

Words can't explain what I felt as I sat there and watched them, perfectly blissful and pregnant. It felt unfair. I felt envious. I felt like that used to be me, but here I am...emptyhanded. I felt like they should know their baby could die and every pregnant woman doesn't get to bring their baby home. I also couldn't help thinking that they could also be the 1 in 4 that have already experienced pregnancy loss. I realized that could be me down the road - plump and pregnant and looked at with envious eyes. I thought if only those potential envious eyes really knew my story they might not feel that way. I knew I shouldn't feel the way that I did, but that's how I felt. I felt tearful. I felt emotional. I felt jealous. I felt pain. I felt lonely. I felt so empty handed. It didn't really feel fair.

Elder Holland gave an insightful address at conference. He spoke of the parable of the laborers who start work at different times throughout the day, but all receive equal pay. He addresses the jealousy felt by those that received the same pay as their counterparts that started later in the day.

"Then this piercing question to anyone then or now who needs to hear it: 'Why should you be jealous because I choose to be kind?'
"Brothers and sisters, there are going to be times in our lives when someone else gets an unexpected blessing or receives some special recognition. May I plead with us not to be hurt—and certainly not to feel envious—when good fortune comes to another person? We are not diminished when someone else is added upon. We are not in a race against each other to see who is the wealthiest or the most talented or the most beautiful or even the most blessed. The race we are really in is the race against sin, and surely envy is one of the most universal of those. 
"Furthermore, envy is a mistake that just keeps on giving. Obviously we suffer a little when some misfortune befalls us, but envy requires us to suffer all good fortune that befalls everyone we know! What a bright prospect that is—downing another quart of pickle juice every time anyone around you has a happy moment! To say nothing of the chagrin in the end, when we find that God really is both just and merciful, giving to all who stand with Him 'all that he hath,' as the scripture says. So lesson number one from the Lord’s vineyard: coveting, pouting, or tearing others down does not elevate your standing, nor does demeaning someone else improve your self-image. So be kind, and be grateful that God is kind. It is a happy way to live." (Jeffery R. Holland, The Laborers in the Vineyard)

For some reason it is so easy for me to be happy and excited for my friends when they are pregnant and have babies, but when it's a stranger I've had the tendency to be jealous and spiteful. I suppose that is my weakness of not having Christlike love for all people. I realize that it is not good to be envious and that I should be happy for anyone that is blessed with things that are good, even if I haven't been blessed with the same fortune yet. It's hard to do.

Being pregnant again makes it easier to not be jealous of other pregnant women, because I'm back into this pool of women that will hopefully deliver a healthy baby that lives. Being pregnant again has caused me to be fearful that others (especially those of my friends that have been trying so desperately to conceive after their own loss) would be jealous of me or feel like it's not fair.  That's a fear and concern that is out of my control though and all I can do is hope and pray that others will be blessed with love. The love that I didn't feel for the pregnant women (whom I didn't know) that I encountered .

And in the end it will be fair. Our Heavenly Father will bless each of us with all that He has promised and if we are righteous and keep our covenants, an eternal family will be one of those many blessings that we can all receive. I should not be jealous of other moms that have been able to receive the blessing of motherhood before me, because I too will receive that blessing hopefully in the near future and definitely in the eternities to come.

May the Lord bless me and each of us with joy for each other's blessings and successes.


  1. I felt similarly when my sister got married. It happened a few months after I had gotten engaged, had the guy break it off, after which he had gotten married a month or so later to someone he had just met.

    It was a horrible feeling - looking at my sister and her fiance (who reminded me of my once-fiance in a few ways) and being so upset about her getting married. I always thought I would get married before her, and it was killing me to be proven wrong with that, (stupid, huh?) especially so soon after losing the one I thought I'd spend my life with.

    But, despite how hard it was, I realized I should not be feeling that way on the happiest day of my sister's life. I prayed and was helped to look past my heartache and see her joy, so that instead of resentment and heartache every time I saw them, I could just be happy for them.

    Elder Holland was right on the money: it doesn't help us to be jealous or upset by others' blessings. And eventually we'll all be blessed. And while we have to experience the hardship of waiting, in the end, the blessing is just as great. And sometimes I wonder if we're even more blessed - because we know what it's like to want and not receive.

  2. Thanks Shelley! I needed to read this =-)

  3. I loved Elder Holland's talk, too. It's so hard, this thing called life sometimes. I struggle like everyone else and sometimes I feel awfully guilty about it. I have absolutely everything anyone could ever want except for two things: more money and a husband. How dumb is that? I have SO MUCH to be thankful for. I am SO VERY blessed.

    Just keep on trucking along. I think the enemy like to taunt us with envy and we can just do our best to do our best.

    Shelley, on another note I am so excited to see you and Trevor when you visit. We will have an absolute blast!

  4. I really needed this! Thank you! I am so happy for you. I hope I can be in the pool of pregnant women with you soon, but if not, I know that I will be blessed other ways. Love you girl!

  5. Shelly I love your blog you are such a strong woman, and a big inspiration to everyone around you <3