For reasons you might not imagine.
Jealousy is ugly on me. I suppose it's ugly on anyone, but it feels particularly nasty when I wear it. I would love to do away with it completely as an emotion, but it keeps cropping up again.
It’s not that I'm jealous of women who are taller, thinner, prettier. I'm not jealous of women with more money or more glamorous lifestyles. I'm jealous of one person and one person only: the mom of my stepson. And maybe not for the reasons you would think.
I'm not jealous because she was married to my husband first. I was married before and I don't hold any romantic, idealized memories about that period in my life. I get the feeling my husband feels the same way about his past marriage.
I'm not jealous because of the love my stepson has for her. I wouldn't want it any other way. If he stopped loving his mom, that would be cause for concern.
I don't feel threatened by her. I don't feel like she's going to take my husband back and ruin my marriage. I'm not worried about any of those things.
The problem is, I'm trying to conceive. Well, my husband and I are. (He's in on it, too.) It's not going super well. I've had tests done and he's about to start on his round of poking and prodding, but no luck yet.
He does have his son, however, so it seems likely that he's probably going to be okay. It's disheartening, to say the least, but I've written all of that before.
So am I jealous that he had a child with his first wife? Sure, in a way, but it's more than that. If I'd already had a child of my own prior to our relationship, it might be different. Maybe having that experience on my own would change how I feel. I don't know.
Really, it doesn't even bother me so much that he has already gone through all of this with someone else; if we had a child together, it would just mean I would have a knowledgeable partner who could help me through things, help me figure out what to do, someone who is already an amazing parent to help me navigate through it all.
What kills me, what really does me in, is the fear that I'll never share all of that with him.
What if he never talks to my belly, never makes our child kick out to say hello to his or her daddy? What if he is never in the delivery room with me, sharing one of the strongest bonds a couple can ever have?
What if we never get to talk about how our child is a little bit me, a little bit him, completely special and unique and perfectly wonderful, watching that sweet little sleepy face as he or she lies in the crib?
Will I not be as special to him? Will we not be as complete as they were?
These are the thoughts that run through the head of a possibly-infertile woman as she cares (quite lovingly, mind you) for her husband and the child he shares with his ex-wife.
For the record, I hold zero resentment toward my stepson. He is a joy day in and day out, even when he's in the throes of his worst 7-year-old behavior. On a certain level, I have to thank her for making it possible for me to share my life and my home with such an amazing kid.
It can't be easy for her to trust another woman to raise her child, and every day I try to honor that trust by doing the best I can for him.
But there is still that part of me that aches thinking she might be the only one with whom he will ever have shared all of this.
She could be the only one who will ever have taken pictures of her son sleeping on this man's chest. She could be the only one whose needs as a pregnant woman were met by this man, from back rubs to crazy food cravings to just being held close.
I don't want to take that away from her; I just want it for myself, too.
So there is my jealousy. It's ugly and it's sometimes bitter and it keeps me up at night and it breaks my heart. It's not her fault, it's not his fault, and I don't believe it's my fault. It just is.
And I really wish it wasn't.