Woliat and Regina began an unlikely friendship, about seven years ago. They met on campus, both from different social strata, but took a liking to each other. Woliat had been the brunt of campus gossip and taunts, and just when she was contemplating forfeiting her admission, Regina walked up to her and offered to be her friend. Years later, they graduated from the University, and were both lucky to get jobs straight out of school. Regina got married during their NYSC year to her boyfriend of three years, and of course, Woliat, albeit being a Muslim, stood in as her Maid of Honor. Regina put off pregnancy partly because she wanted to enjoy solitude with her husband, and partly because she and Woliat had always hoped to be pregnant at the same time. Luckily, she didn’t have to wait too long, as Woliat got married about eight months after Regina did. She met Deji, a Christian, at Regina’s wedding, and the sparks started flying immediately. Regina was over the moon with joy for her bestie, and soon after Woliat’s honeymoon, they started planning their pregnancies.
Woliat got pregnant the very next month, and Regina was shocked at the feeling of envy that enveloped her. While she was happy for her friend, she couldn’t get over the dampening feeling that tugged at her heart. “I was waiting for her to get married, so we could get pregnant, only for her to get pregnant before me. How unfair is that?”, she bemoaned to her goodhearted husband, who only said “These things happen. You have no control over when either of you gets pregnant. Don’t worry, you too will get pregnant soon, and then, your babies would just be months apart”. Despite what she was feeling, she tried her best to be there for Woliat as the latter struggled through the early stages of pregnancy. Unfortunately, at six weeks gestation, Woliat lost the baby. Regina’s envy was gone with the wind, as she consoled her friend and prayed that God would grant her a rainbow baby soon. Silently, she rekindled their dream of going through pregnancy together and encouraged Woliat to move on, and try again.
Two months later, both Regina and Woliat had great news; they were both pregnant…Regina’s pregnancy was only a week older than Woliat’s. Both ladies were over the moon as it seemed that God had indeed being good to them. Now, they could realize their dreams of giving birth together, and starting a second generation friendship. “Our girls are going to be besties too!” Regina echoed as they rejoiced in excitement. “No, I want a boy, so he can marry your girl!” Woliat replied. They joked and laughed, as they made plans for children that were still being molded in the womb. Neither gave thought to the tumultuous months of pregnancy. Neither anticipated that their wishes and dreams could drive a wedge through their years of friendship. They were happy for each other, and simply thought it was the best thing ever, to go through pregnancy, hand-in-hand with your bestie. They dreamed of all the pre-natal shoots they would take together, and even hoped to give birth on the same day.
“I don’t understand Regina anymore”, Woliat was complaining to her husband a month later “Doesn’t she understand what I am passing through? She never calls to check up on me”. Woliat erroneously thought that Regina was having a swell ride through the first trimester, while she had nausea, acne, morning sickness, and could hardly keep anything down. What she didn’t know was that Regina was also fighting her own battles. Regina had no nausea; instead she had cravings to eat anything and everything, which pretty much caused her to put on a lot of weight. The day they finally got to see, Regina was jealous over how slim Woliat was, and Woliat was jealous that Regina already had a pregnancy glow. Both parties were ashamed of what they were passing through, and instead of confiding in each other and drawing strength, they both put up fronts and acted like strong super women. Sad thing was, they both went home feeling as though the other party had it easy, and their husbands, of course, had a lot of petting and cooing to do that night.
The next time they met up, Regina was all out bragging about how sweet her husband had been, rubbing her back and feet each night, and even cooking for her. To her, it was a form of defense, to distract Woliat from seeing how big she was, and the fact that she waddled around, while Woliat was still able to carry her weight. She was envious that you couldn’t tell that Woliat was pregnant, if you didn’t have a trained eye, while she looked like she was ready to pop. In a bid to hide her insecurities, she made Woliat, whose husband was currently out of the country, feel even more jealous of her friend, who had her husband by her side every night. To make matters worse for Woliat, everyone they came across gave Regina smiles and kind words about her pregnancy, without giving her a second glance. “We are both pregnant!” she found herself saying to a woman who offered to pay for Regina’s food, just because she was pregnant. That didn’t help as the woman insinuated that Woliat was probably still in the early stages of pregnancy, which was why she hadn’t noticed. So, Regina was jealous that Woliat still had a banging body that hid her four month plus pregnancy, while Woliat was jealous that her bestie was grabbing all the attention they were meant to be sharing.
Both parties knew that their relationship was suffering, but didn’t know what to do about it. They missed each other, but couldn’t get past the she has it better notion in their heads. Woliat knew that things had come to a head when she found herself trying to twist her husband’s arm about going to give birth in the USA, the same week he returned from his overseas trip. They had no relatives in the US, but had plenty in Canada, so it made sense to Deji that she went to Canada. “But I can stay in a hotel!”, she lamented. “For four months??” her husband asked her, almost sure she didn’t mean what she was saying. “Are you trying to milk me dry over this issue? It’s like you will just stay in Nigeria and have the baby here!” he concluded. Woliat started a water torrent, as she tearfully explained “I have to give birth in the US!! That’s where Regina is going to have her baby!!” Deji looked at her seriously and said “This is not the woman I married! You can’t continue like this. You better fix things with your friend, because I don’t like who you have become. This jealousy, this unhealthy competition is not how I want my kids to be raised”. “I don’t want it too!” Woliat cried; with sincere tears this time. She was tired of the envy, competition and jealousy. This wasn’t what she dreamt of when she wanted to go through pregnancy with her bestie. So far, they had managed to turn everything into a competition; from the hospitals they used, to what their nurseries were going to look like, to what they wore. Woliat had even being tempted to take her antenatal drugs in excess, just so her baby would be stronger than Regina’s.
The following day, she was at Regina’s doorstep. “I had a terrible first trimester, and I was jealous that you were eating well and glowing through it all”, she blurted the minute Regina got the door. Regina who had also had enough of the negative energy, hugged and told her she didn’t have it easy either. Confession time; as both confessed what they had been jealous about. Regina confessed that her husband didn’t rub her feet and back every night…”More like, every other night” she said, “And I have to beg or pout to get him to do it!”. They were able to get everything off their chests, apologized to each other and promised to be as open as possible. They realized that their journeys were different, and it didn’t matter. What mattered was the support and care they were going to show each other. Eventually, Woliat and Regina both travelled to the US to have their babies, and stayed at Regina’s sister’s family house. Luckily, Woliat had a baby boy while Regina birthed a girl…parenting jealousy over whose baby girl was cuter or had longer hair and all what not, nipped in the bud.
Prenatal resentment is a lot more common than many of us women care to admit. If you see another pregnant woman you think looks beautiful, while you look fat and are vomiting non-stop, there is bound to be some jealousy. But always keep in mind that there truly is nothing like a perfect pregnancy, and the person you are going green with envy over, just might be having it even worse than you are.
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