When news broke last week that 20-year-old Kylie Jenner was pregnant with rapper Travis Scott’s baby after only dating a few months, the outcry on social media was a collective “WTF?!?”
Girls star Lena Dunham tweeted: “A solid 10 friends texted me triggered by Kylie pregnancy. I’m like 'ladies she’s 20. We were all v fertile then, we were just broke,'" explaining that her pals were jealous that the reality star seemed to get pregnant so easily.
Lena continued, “You know the fertility industrial complex has pushed us too far when we’re trying to stay neck in neck w/ a reality star who can’t drink yet.”
And apparently certain Kardashian family members were a little surprised - and not in a good way - to her the news.
People reported that Kim Kardashian, 36, who is reportedly expecting a third child via a surrogate this January was a little freaked out when she heard the news. She denied that was the case.
“Her first reaction was, ‘Seriously?’” said the report. “She didn’t respond well at first. It’s like she and Kanye had gone on this journey to get pregnant for months and now this happens to Kylie. She teared up. It definitely took a lot of time for her to process it.”
“Of course Kim is happy for Kylie,” the source continued. “She’s going to support Kylie 100 percent, no matter what. There’s never been any question about that. But it’s just a weird dynamic, after all that Kim did to intentionally have another child. It has taken a lot of time, energy and money for her to get pregnant and now Kylie is having a baby around the same time.”
Kim replied on Twitter that the story they were reporting sounded fake but if it was true no one would blame her.
Kim has been open about the difficulty she had in conceiving and carrying daughter North, 4 and son, Saint, 1. The social media star had IVF and suffered from placenta accreta, where the placenta attaches itself too deeply to the wall of the uterus and can be life threatening. She turned to a surrogate to carry her third.
New York mom Kerry, 37, struggled for five years to get pregnant before finally having two children through IVF and says those were dark times for her.
“It felt like I was in the middle of a conspiracy where everyone could get pregnant except for me,” she remembers. “I could not walk down the street without seeing several pregnant women. It was as if they multiplied when I was infertile.”
“When friends got pregnant, it was worse, because I had double grief: the sadness that comes from not falling pregnant, and the grief that comes from realizing I won't share this experience with a close friend. It sounds terrible, but I found it hard to be happy for even close friends at that time. It just felt too close to home, and I had tried and failed too many times to get pregnant."
Kerry continued: “My best friend and I did fall pregnant within months, and then I miscarried, and when I eventually saw her in hospital holding her newborn - it was hard not to be upset about the fact that that could have been me, and that might never be me.
“In the end, I just had to isolate myself from a lot of people in order to protect myself. I didn't willingly put myself around babies. I tried as best as I could to explain what was happening and apologize, but I had to create a little, safe bubble for myself,” she explained.
Dr. Marni Rosner, a New York City-based licensed psychotherapist says these feelings are completely normal and women who haven’t gone through infertility struggles are often clueless on what to say and how to act.
“The idea that you should easily be able to conceive a child is ingrained within our culture,” Rosner explains. “We receive this message constantly - and from an early age - from books, magazines, TV and movies. When this doesn’t happen it can be shaming and traumatizing. The life you had planned is now in question and the idea of this potential loss is overwhelming. Most needed is understanding, acknowledgement of the loss, someone to talk to about their fears, someone to cry to.”
Dr. Rosner says the biggest complaint she hears from women struggling conceive is that people don’t understand the trauma surrounding it.
“This results in experiencing insensitive comments (just adopt, relax and you’ll get pregnant, it wasn't meant to be are all common), are hurt feelings, and a sense of incredible isolation and loneliness as normal support systems disappear.
“It’s very important for infertile women to grasp that few will truly understand. They may not have understood either if roles were reversed. Yet, they should try to convey some of their pain and struggle to close friends and family, if that is all all possible. Most people can understand loss. Tell the people closest to you what you need from them, and be specific. This is not easy. It requires good communication and a willingness to be vulnerable.”
The doctor says it’s also normal to feel jealous of friends and family members who are pregnant.
“It also brings up a lot of envy, which is often experienced as very uncomfortable and contributes to sadness and depression. Those going through infertility should know it’s okay to avoid certain social situations that are going to be triggering.”
Another New York city mom, Danielle, 40, suffered from endometriosis, which meant she tried for 10 years to get pregnant and went through several failed IVF attempts before finally falling pregnant with what she had promised herself was the last attempt before turning to adoption.
Many of her close friends had children and she was always invited to their birthday parties.
“Even though these were friends I had grown up with, gone to school with, I just couldn’t go their children's birthday parties,” she admitted. “It was just too painful.”
Luckily her friends understood and were completely supportive of her decision.
Dr. Rosner recommends staying off social media completely so you’re not overwhelmed by Instagram and Facebook photos of women cradling their baby bumps or cherubic infants beaming in their parents arms.
"Don’t hesitate to hide newsfeed from friends who constantly post about their pregnancy and babies,” she advises. “And don’t feel badly about taking care of yourself for doing so. Unfollow those who regularly tweet about their children. Ask your partner to screen your Facebook page, and enlist their help in responding to email announcements of pregnancies, baby showers and birthday parties for babies."
You have to protect yourself.
"I have yet to see anyone desensitized to this. The best someone can do, I believe, is to limit exposure whenever possible, learn some coping mechanisms, and surround yourself with kind, empathic people who love you.”
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