When others have easier experiences of parenting than we do, it's easy to get jealous. But is that wrong? Amy responds to a listener struggling with envy towards friends whose births and postpartum experiences were far easier than hers.
A listener asks:
I had my first child (and only child, so far) 18 months ago. It was a really rough experience for me and my husband: traumatic birth, intense breastfeeding struggles, very colicky baby that really did not sleep much, no support due to COVID, and I had PPD. My husband and I are really only just starting to feel sort of okay again in the last few months.
Here's my issue. Within the last six months several of my friends have had their first babies. None of them are having even close to the intense/terrible experience that my husband and I did. Intellectually, I am happy about this because I love my friends, and I don't wish bad things on them!
However, emotionally I seem to be struggling with watching all of them sail through (relatively speaking) something that was 100% the hardest, darkest time of my life. When I hear/see them having such an easy time I sometimes feel angry, or even like I want to cry.
I hate feeling this way, and it makes me feel like a bad person/terrible friend. Has anyone else had a really rough birth/newborn experience, and then struggled when seeing other people have better experiences? Am I a terrible person for not being able to be fully happy for my friends who are having such an easier time?
It's important to give yourself time and space to heal when you've suffered trauma of any kind. Amy kindly helps our listener understand that her feelings are completely justified, she is allowed to give herself a break, and that no, she's not the only one who has ever felt this way.
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