Grate News

by | Jul 12, 2011 | Little Zig, MOTHERHOOD | 6 comments

Baby Love[photo source]

Here is my definition of a bad friend;

Friend shares wonderful news with you. Your heart sinks.

I know, I know, it's a pretty human experience to feel jealous/envious/like vomiting with despair when something particularly fabulous happens for a friend. And it's quite possible to feel this way while simultaneously being really happy for them.

Which completely messes with your mind.

I think it's particularly difficult if the great thing that is happening for them highlights just how NOT happening that same or similar thing is for you.

Example:

Friend: just bought first house. 

Me: still paying off a $15,000 credit card debt of which the only tangible thing I have to show for is that awesome pair of Jimmy Choos which no longer fit because my feet went up a size after I had a baby.

The above is NOT true. I have never owned a pair of Jimmy Choos….

Becoming a mother can increase the 'greener grass' way of viewing the world. Someone else's baby always seems to sleep better/talk sooner/be in a Target catalogue.

I have never felt the need to actively compete with other mums. And the other mums that I have engaged with since having babies have largely been wonderfully supportive and encouraging. I know there exists a breed of mother whose modus operandi it is to pit their child/mothering/life against yours. Apparently, I must send out a high frequency signal that repels them like the pests they are. Thank god.

But I'd be lying if I said that it didn't bother me when LD was the last one to walk in my Mother's Group. Are you kidding me? It bothered me A LOT. To disguise those feelings, I would make self-deprecating remarks about my sub-standard mothering or how it was lucky LD was so good-looking because he sure weren't no genius.

Of course, I didn't mean it. Or did I?

Today, a friend shared some bittersweet but happy news. Her 18-month-old daughter had breastfed for the last time. It had been a lovely relationship and she was relieved that the transition had been painless. She could now reclaim some freedom after being a nursing mother for so long.

Happy for her? Yes. In there somewhere. Very happy.

But overwhelmingly?

So fucking jealous.

My friend had always thought to breastfeed for 18 months. I had vowed to wean at 12 months after the trouble I'd had weaning LD at 17 months. Weaning Zee at 12 months did not happen. Now at 20 months, I feel I am no closer to breaking free of what has come to feel like shackles on my very being.

The fact that my friend was able to keep to her preferred schedule without so much as peep of protest from her baby? 

SO. FUCKING. JEALOUS.

And she knows that, too. Because I told her.  I treasure her friendship, forged through the shared journey of motherhood, and I know I can be honest with her. Even when I am struggling, I want to hear her good news and vice versa. That's how it goes.

But part of me still wishes I could be completely selfless and just be genuinely, unreservedly HAPPY for her. Because it is such wonderful, happy news. A lovely chapter closing in a lovely way.

Instead, I had to make it about me. Which is a shame, I think.

I could go on about what's happening with Zee and I. I feel like I need to purge but I've done that before and am reticent to get all 'broken record' on your asses.

But breastfeeding is the woe-est of woes for me right now. Which makes me indescribably sad because it is tarnishing what would otherwise have been a joyful memory in this journey that my baby son and I are on together.

But dear friend, although evidence suggests otherwise, I am VERY happy for you and your little girl. It is a dream ending and one that, yes, I very much envy.

But YOU, dear friend, deserve it. Of that, I am sure. 

Hello friends

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I’m Angie!  I mum. I write. I wife. My husband would say this is the correct order.  He’s so neeeedy. I live with my family in Melbourne, Australia, where I complain about the weather for 90% of the year – but I can’t imagine living anywhere else. Except maybe in Lake Como, waving to my neighbours George and Amal each morning.

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6 Comments

  1. melbo

    Oh how do they do it? I wish I knew. Weaning has eluded me too as you know. I hope you and Z can reach an agreement soon.

    I’ve been “a bad friend” too. Infertility messed with my head something fierce. I offered congratulations to people who conceived or had babies then went to hide in the bathroom with a box of tissues. I really was happy for them but it was just another reminder of what I couldn’t do myself.

    But that kind of envy is a very different animal from the one that would wishes people ill. It is a totally normal response in many ways I think.

    Reply
  2. Angie @ The Little Mumma

    I think having a kid that eats well and doesn’t comfort boob is a BIG help. Zee is hit and miss with food and is all about the comfort boobing. I limit it as much as I can but the child is willful and to hear the hysterical crying (bordering on tantrum) at 3am in the morning when B tries to settle him instead of me? Too hard.

    As to the bathroom tears? Perfectly normal response. Trying to conceive a baby when everything works as it should is a mindfuck – add anything else to the mix and it’s an emotional chasm into which one frequently falls.

    Thank you for always acknowledging me, Mel. You’re a bloody good friend. xxx

    Reply
  3. Jane

    Oh I relate to this, big time. Not the weaning but the grass being greener. It’s pretty normal I think 🙂

    Reply
  4. MJ

    Oh, my gorgeous, gorgeous friend. I think I know who was the catalyst for you feeling this way… and I LOVE your honesty. I treasure it, in fact.

    I totally understand the jealousy thing – so jealous that it’s painful. I’ve been there more times than I care to say (home ownership? what’s that?), and I’m sorry that the weaning thing is pear-shaped for you right now. I know there’s nothing I can say, and the way it happened for me had nothing to do with clever boobs or a clever baby. I was just fortunate.

    Having been at the other end of the spectrum with a monster comfort feeder (F), I feel your frustration. But right now, I guess there’s nothing I can say without being read as smug, so I’ll stop here.

    Giant squishy hugs have been thrown your way.

    Reply
  5. Angie @ The Little Mumma

    Oh squish those clever boobs into me, you smug devil, you!

    You’re ace. I am jealous of you for many, MANY reasons extending well beyond PJ’s awesomeness. Like, that she is a GIRL.

    And that you are an Amazonian woman currently enjoying poolside BBQs in LA.

    With completely free boobs.

    But whatevs. I am totally selfless and happy for you! OKAY???

    Love. xxx

    Reply

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