Last weekend, I attended my Godson’s dedication and while there, I met a lot of old school friends and classmates, with most of them complimenting my gele, beads and general ‘glow’. At the reception, I had changed into something casual and the compliments continued about how good I was looking. My friend, the host, came to me at some point and said “Shey, you would go sit down quietly, so all these ol[ men can stop asking me if you are truly married, or only wearing rings to drive men away. Even those two young guys over there wanted your number, and they were shocked when I told them you are married”. I laughed hard, taking in the compliment before I replied “All na packaging my dear, Thank God we don’t look like what we have been through”. She smiled, said “Yes oh, thank God we don’t look like what we have been through”, and went to fetch drinks for some guests.
I would have missed the dedication, but for the fact that it was my Godson being taken to church. In the past week, I received a BFN when I went for a pregnancy test, and I sure needed to be alone. I wanted to spend time with myself…maybe spend a day walking on the beach, and mentally getting ready for the next FET…but I had to show up. For now, I have been swarmed with so many activities and responsibilities, that I have not had that much needed break, and yes, I currently feel overwhelmed! But if I don’t tell you, you won’t know. There is no sign of my surrogacy journey on my social media handles, because I would rather only share that in this community, and with few friends, as well as family. So when I see a comment complimenting one thing or the other…probably a plastic smile that looked great on camera…all I think is “It’s all about packaging”.
My friend, Chisom who appointed me as her baby’s Godmother has an A in packaging…probably right from when she was a baby. She married young, at 21, and her mother-in-law expected a grandchild immediately. The pressure started from the moment her bride price was paid. She was trying…trying so hard, but somehow it just wasn’t clicking yet. But whenever she went to see her in-laws, or attended events with her husband, you would never tell that she was TTC. Chisom could cry all night, but she was sure to dress up, make up, and show up in the morning. Her strength amazed me. We would have stayed up all night, with her lamenting, and me giving motivational speeches, and the next day, her Instagram post had everything on fleek…hair, make up, dress, smile…everything on point! And then, the jealousy mill started spinning.
Another friend of ours was pregnant and already spotting a bump…and somehow got her mind so twisted that she was jealous of Chisom. Like, who has ever heard of a pregnant woman jealous of the one TTC? Well, Awele was! It started off weird, when she started to point out glitches whenever Chisom posted a photo online. She could have this cool photo that had everyone admiring her hair, outfit, face, and pose, but Awele would just comment “Your nails look chipped oh. You should get them done”. This continued for a while, with Chisom getting angry, of course, and eventually deleting and blocking our pregnant friend. I decided to intervene, and chatted with Awele one evening, asking her what her issue with Chisom was, and she said she hated the fact that Chisom was still ‘forming sisi’ while she was there, looking all bloated, in an attempt to raise her family. “I have a thousand problems with this pregnancy, and she would just be posting picturse everyday”. Imagine that!
It sometimes seems really unfair when you manage to clothe your problems and put a smile on it, only to be on the receiving end of jealousy and envy. When people have no idea what you are going through, they react to you in a negative, malicious manner. They are jealous of what they believe is a perfect life…not knowing that you are actually clothing your struggles with strength. What can you do under such circumstances? Does it help to show your vulnerabilities, just so they know you also have your own struggles? That was the route my friend Chisom was tempted to take, but I advised her against it. People who are jealous of you because they think you have no problems, would only use your problems and struggles against you, if you let them into an area of weakness. The problem is not you…it’s them. A beautiful quote I read once says don’t dim your light because others are comfortable in darkness.
A lot of TTC women apply themselves in their jobs, as this is one area they feel very capable and in control of. Working hard and getting up the career ladder keeps them sane, and avoids that feeling of vulnerability that comes with infertility. It would be wrong for such #TTCSisters to slow down on their pace, or let the entire office know about their TTC struggles, just to pacify the jealousy and insecurity of colleagues. Keep it well-packaged…life while TTC doesn’t have to be gloom and dark. If anyone is offended or jealous, they just have to deal with it. Except, of course, they are close to you, and you trust them enough to open up.
Take care sisters!
Join the conversation with any of our TTC and Pregnancy Groups here.