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Baby Shower Burnout

Photograph by Getty Images

Starting a family is something that is on my mind almost constantly these days. I am extremely eager to have children, but my husband is still not sure he's quite ready for all the additional responsibility. So I wait. Sometimes I even wait patiently. As time goes by, though, the waiting gets more and more difficult. I worry about getting older, about the fact that, given my medical history, I might have a difficult time getting pregnant and, admittedly, about the feeling that everyone else is having babies before I am. That last thing is really a very silly thing to think about, but I find it to be increasingly on my mind.

Due to the nature of my work, I am almost constantly connected to various social media applications. And, because I have a decent number of followers on these applications, I find myself confronted with "We're pregnant!" announcements almost daily. And so I "Like" or comment, "Congratulations! I'm so happy for you!" and I mean it. I really and truly do. But then I shut my laptop and take a deep breath and prepare for what I know comes next. A wave of jealousy and sadness and shameful self-pity washes over me, and I think, "No fair." And then I get disgusted with myself and am all, "Suck it up Lauren, you're embarrassing me." But I cannot deny that it does, in fact, happen.

It would be intensely wrong to mar truly celebratory occasions with my bitter boohooing.

It's the "Always a Bridesmaid" phenomenon at its finest. I know logically that it is completely ridiculous to feel almost entitled to a child just because it seems like everyone around me is having a child, but, emotionally, there is nothing I can do to stop it. As ashamed as I am about feeling this way, about crying in the shower and in the car (and only sometimes in the grocery store) over the fact that my younger sisters' friends have the most adorable chubby-cheeked nymphs and all I have is a half-empty box of Snowcaps, I am beginning to realize that I have to stop beating myself up over it.

This does not mean that I intend to express my feelings more freely. Absolutely not. It would be intensely wrong to mar truly celebratory occasions with my bitter boohooing. It just means I am admitting that, while my emotions in these moments might not be sensible, they are real. I want a baby so badly that, yes, sometimes it hurts. I might wish away the pangs of envy, but as I've not yet encountered a genie, and my birthday cakes now have entirely too many candles on them for me to hold any hope of extinguishing them all in one breath, they are probably not going anywhere. So, going forward, I am going to try to be OK with that.

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