Envy. It’s a cruel thing to have to feel. Unlike jealousy I don’t relate envy with anger quite as much, but more so with longing. I can’t talk about how other people experience it, but I can share my own experience. I’m the kind of person that goes for what I want, that works hard for the things I have, and doesn’t want them just because other people have them. Envy and even jealousy, aren’t emotions I feel too often. But there are a few things that bring it about for me. That’s the story I’ll tell today.
When I was a child my biological mother told me that I could be anything I put my mind to. The world was simpler then. I believed her and while on some level I still do, I’ve also learned that life isn’t always that simple. When I was maybe 11-12 years old my mom told me that I would eventually grow up and know what I wanted to be. I proudly informed her that I already knew. She asked me what it was that I wanted to be when I grew up and I told her I wanted to be a mother. She stopped for a moment and said “Really? Why?” And I told her that I couldn’t really explain it, but that I just knew it was what I was meant to do. She said I would make a great mom one day and that was the end of the conversation.
Over the years, due to my specific life situations I ended up mothering many people. My siblings, then my friends, followed by people I’ve helped along the way. My nickname in almost every group of friends I’ve ever had was “Mama Bear”. I wore this name with honor. People trusted me and I cared for them. I didn’t do this intentionally. It’s just who I am. Flash forward to my 17th year. My period disappears for over a year. I’m taking every pregnancy test on the face of the planet when I finally just go to the doctor. I’m diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and am told it’s the #1 leading cause of infertility in America because it stops many women from having a regular period and from ovulating. I’m devastated. I spend the next 6 years eating myself alive, avoiding the baby aisles in grocery stores, feeling like I will never have kids. My ex and I tried for years with no success and that just further ingrained my fear of never being able to do this thing that I was so sure I was put here to do.
All of my friends got pregnant and had children in this time. Envy can make you a harsh critic sometimes, something I’m sad to say but is still true. I would see so many people take their children for granted or just ignore them altogether. I saw many women who had always said that they “hated kids” and “never wanted any” get pregnant and upon giving birth immediately pawned their babies off on loving grandmothers and other various relatives. I’ve watched young girls use their babies as accessories, only caring to pick them up or play with them was someone was around to tell them “what a good mom they are”. I myself have ended up caring for many of these kids. I could go into multiple stories about women I babysat for who ended up basically just letting their child live with me so they could go party, get laid, or act like they didn’t have children. However, that isn’t what this post is about. Seeing these things made me sad and a little resentful though. How could they take for granted this gift that I would kill to have a chance at? How could they not see that these children are the greatest blessing they will ever be given? How does smoking pot and fucking random guys/girls rate above their own flesh and blood?
Now I really try to never judge people and especially not a parent. I’ve raised children (although not my own) and I know it isn’t easy. I’m not bashing on moms who went out for a few beers after months of not leaving the house. I’m talking about women who would only see their children for an hour in the morning before they dropped them off to me, would ignore their child’s cries for attention them when they came to pick them up, and would then leave my house, without actually picking up them up, to go party. It was a constant string of “Oh can you watch him/her for a little while longer?” An hour after work turned into the whole night, turned into overnight, turned into not seeing them for 3-4 days. I’ve seen angry moms beat their kids in grocery stores, a young mom give up custody of the child she used as an accessory because she was “sick of not being able to do what she wanted”, and I’ve seen far too many people ignore their kids for texting, Facebook, a boyfriend/girlfriend, and any other form of entertainment. I get that we live in a technologically advanced world and it’s all too easy to get caught up. I’m not judging for this. But when someone is ignoring their own child on a regular basis and many accidents, milestones, and achievements happen whilst their parents are glued to a phone or significant other, I can’t help but get angry.
Their child is a gift and they take them for granted. I know a few people who have had their children die and they feel the same way. I still have not had kids but I also don’t believe it’s impossible anymore. I just think it will take a lot of work and active trying, possibly fertility medication some day. But in wanting this gift so badly, I grew envious of women who have it. I would feel this pulling sadness in my gut every time I saw a mother put their child on a bus or feed their new baby. I would, as stated above, avoid the baby aisles in grocery stores, I would tell my friends how completely and utterly blessed they are. Many of them luckily, know they are. One of my best friends has two children and while she had them at a young age, she is the best mother I’ve ever seen. My boyfriend has a daughter and he knows how blessed he is. He protects his baby and honors the fact that he is her father, a title he takes very seriously. That makes me love him even more. This post isn’t meant to bash on imperfect parents, we’re all imperfect in our own ways. It’s just a reminder that what came easily for you, may be a great pain for another. Never take it for granted. You never know when everything could change and your chance runs out. You never want your children to grow up feeling unloved or unimportant. Children are the greatest blessing we ever receive as human beings and it should be respected and treated as such. Just food for thought, have you hugged your babies today? Because I’m dying to reach the day when I can hug my own.
by Ashley Hebner
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