There are many things that make the decision to become a parent difficult. One of the most challenging things to understand is how envy partakes in the decision making process.
The thing that makes the decision about having children so difficult is that it’s full of loss. Whether a person decides to have a child or not, they will experience a loss. Becoming a parent means a profound loss of freedom, which research shows can lead to a decrease in happiness. Deciding not having a child also means loss.
For some it means learning that their life won’t be going in the direction they always thought it would, for others it means letting go of a relationship that will never be, and for most it means wrestling with feelings that they are “bad” for being somewhat unconventional.
What complicates the decision further is that whenever there is loss, the risk of feeling envious rises. When we are dealing with pain, others lives can look so complete. It can appear that everyone has their ducks in a row, this makes us feel bad and makes it harder to understand what we truly want.
Keeping envy in check is so important, obviously having a baby to feel equal to others rather than because that’s what you want isn’t going to lead to happiness. When you understand what triggers your envy and why you are experiencing envy it gives you power to know yourself. Then you can make a decision based on what you want rather than what you “should” do.
Whenever engaging in a difficult decision it’s important to keep comparing yourself to others to a minimum. The reality is that whether you are a parent or not, life is hard and unpredictable. As humans we share in the fact that difficult things happen. In addition we are emotional and all experience anger, pain, envy, and fear. Holding this reality in mind will help you from elevating others position and lowering your own.
I support woman in making this decision. In accepting their strengths and limitations surrounding child rearing. And in helping them truly understand that no one is perfect.