From pregnancy through the beginning of parenthood, women have to deal with heightened emotions. They expect a few bouts of tears and maybe even a little bit of rage due to the hormonal shifts that happen during pregnancy and after the birth. But one emotion that might surprise them is jealousy.
Unfortunately, jealousy can happen even to the best of moms, especially after the baby is born. Women have to deal with a lot of envy that can go even further than they expect, thanks to those postpartum hormones. They get jealous of things like sleep, as well as the ease other moms seem to have with their birth or with nursing. They envy the ability to sleep, and those feelings can even seep into other things going on in their lives, such as going back to work. And they even get jealous of their baby at times, although most moms would never admit it.
In some cases it can seem funny, but these feelings of jealousy can get in the way of bonding with the baby, and they can even exacerbate postpartum depression, especially with the extremes that happen in the postpartum period.
Here are 20 hard truths about post-baby jealousy.
20 Moms Who Seem To Get It Easier
All moms feel at least a little bit clueless with a newborn. Even experienced moms can struggle in the first few weeks when they are getting to know their little one. But some women fair OK and seem to thrive, which means that there a lot of other women who get jealous of them.
Moms can struggle in the toddler or elementary school years or the teenage stage. But the jealousy isn't as great as it is in those first several post-baby months. That's because the hormones are heightened and the stress is high. But it's OK if we don't get it in a snap as long as we are trying our hardest.
19 Dad Jealous Of Baby
Moms aren't the only ones who get jealous right after the birth of the baby. Everyone in the family can get envious at some points, and dads might be the first to get jealous.
It's unfortunate, but a lot of the time a man can find that his relationship with his partner changes in the first few months after birth. He may not get the attention that he is used to, and he is likely going to have to give up grownup time for at least six weeks. Many times dads feel left out, and that can just exacerbate their feeling of envy that the baby gets so much of the mom's energy and attention.
18 Coveting Looks Back
Some moms might be surprised to see how little the scale moves after birth. Some can covet getting their looks back after the birth, especially since celebrities make it look easy these days.
If a mom is nursing, doctors don't recommend cutting calories, since that can hurt the milk supply. And she likely has to wait a couple of months before doing much lifting in the gym. It took nine months to put on the pounds and it can take an entire year to get it off in a healthy manner. But that doesn't mean that a woman won't get a little envious along the way.
17 Wishing For The Attention Again
One perk of pregnancy is the attention that can come from family, friends, and strangers. Moms-to-be can get spoiled with people bringing them drinks, offering up their seats and having them put their feet up and just laying on the attention and the love.
But that ends when the baby is born. Pretty soon, the mom is put to work and the baby is the new center of attention. And that can be a bit of a let down for a woman who has gotten used to belly pats and presents. Many moms don't want to admit it, but they can get a little jealous and wish for the attention again.
16 Nursing Envy
There is no job task of motherhood with more pressure on it these days than breastfeeding. While there are amazing health benefits for both the baby and the mother, the truth is that nursing is really difficult, and some women have health or other challenges that make it impossible.
Lots of women end up with nursing envy. They are jealous of women whose milk come in or who get better support at work and at home. They can even feel betrayed by their bodies. It's a shame since it's tough enough to go through breastfeeding and weaning without the hyper-emotional jealous feelings that come with it.
15 Grandparents' Love
There is nothing sweeter than seeing a grandparent meet his grandchild for the first time. As much as our moms and dads love us, their hearts grow even bigger when their grandbaby comes along. It comes to the point where a woman can't call her mother without first having to tell her how the kids are doing.
Women go from being the center of her parents' world when they are pregnant to being almost forgotten compared to the baby. It can be a little frustrating for some, and even more than that, they can get jealous. It can take getting used to grandparents' love and taking a step down in the family hierarchy.
14 Missing Girls' Night Out
Motherhood can be a big wakeup call, especially when it comes to a woman's social life. Missing out on girls' night can be pretty sad, and it's no surprise that women get jealous that others can go out when it's tougher on them post-baby.
Women should try to take some time for themselves and their friends, but it can seem impossible in those first few weeks especially. Some moms can get really envious of missing out on time with friends, and that can be tough on new dads as well. But hopefully, when the baby gets a little older, parents can rejoin the party, at least on occasion.
13 When Going Back To Work
Many moms end up going back to work after having a baby these days. But there are some jealousies that can come up in that time, especially when it comes in the first few months postpartum when a woman is still going through some hormonal changes.
First, even women who are excited to return to the office can be jealous of others who get to stay home with their baby. Sometimes those feelings can come up at the office, such as if a mom feels like she got bypassed on a project because of her home life. It can be tough to navigate work as a new mom, and jealousy can get in the way.
12 Sleep Envy
The nights can be long when a mom is taking care of a newborn. The baby sleeps a lot, but he has to be fed and changed every couple of hours, which means that moms don't get much of a chance to rest.
In the first few days after the birth, moms run on adrenalin, but it doesn't take long before exhaustion creeps in — and so does sleep envy. It doesn't help when your partner has no problem snoozing through the crying. Eventually, the baby will start to sleep for longer stretches, but it can take years for moms to catch up on their sleep and dispel their jealousy.
11 Jealous Of Dad's Relationship With Baby
Moms can get jealous of anybody in those first months postpartum and beyond, and that can even spill over to being jealous of the relationship the baby has with his or her dad. Even though newborns are often more attached to mom, that can change, and it can bring out envy.
Moms absolutely can and should celebrate the positive relationship that a dad can forge with his child, but that doesn't mean that they don't want a little piece of that pie. Eventually, though, it will all settle out, and the bond for the entire family will be stronger when both parents have a good relationship with the child.
10 Birth Comparisons
Going through childbirth can be pretty scary, even if it seemed easy to other moms. And these days the situation can get even worse because of the comparisons that people make and the judgment that some moms feel. It can make getting over the birth even harder when you are feeling jealousy.
These days, natural birth advocates can make some women feel bad for using induction meds, having an epidural or going through a C-section. It can make some women feel like their body wasn't good enough, and that isn't a healthy perspective. Don't be envious of others; instead, be grateful for the health of the mom and the baby.
9 Caretaker Jealousy
As much as a mom loves her baby, she can't always be there to take care of the little one, especially if she goes back to work. Many working moms work hard to find a caretaker that they trust and that the baby will love, but there are some days when the mom will end up jealous of the caretaker.
A good nanny or daycare worker doesn't change the bond that a baby has with his mom, but we understand if a mom is down that she doesn't get to be there for the baby. It's hard to see those kisses and smiles go to someone else.
8 Missing Baby's Milestone
Dropping off the baby at a daycare in the morning is one thing, but the worst is when the mom finds out that while she was gone the baby rolled over or took some steps or gave the first laugh. Moms can get really jealous when they miss their baby's milestones.
The baby's firsts can be very memorable. It's a thrill to hear the baby say "mama" for the first time. But just because mom misses that moment doesn't mean that she won't get to experience it over and over again. Don't be jealous that someone else saw the first and instead be thankful that the baby is hitting his milestones in the appropriate time.
7 Dad's Jealousy Of Mom
We've already talked about the situation that can arise when the dad feels his relationship with his partner change. But some men don't get jealous of the baby — they get jealous of the mom. That's especially true if they aren't allowed to be a part of the baby's care.
Often moms feel like they need to change every diaper and give every feeding, but dads these days aren't as disinterested as they were a few decades ago. They want to spend time with their baby and take on more responsibility. And if not, they can get jealous of all the time that mom gets with their child.
6 Baby Name Envy
Baby naming can be a really difficult process. Some families settle on a name that they love dearly, but many spend months debating their favorites. And as much as either of them seem settled when they fill out the birth certificate paperwork, some moms find themselves having baby name envy in the months after the birth.
After months of listening out for the perfect name, it's hard to stop when you hear another name that you might have added to your list. The hormones and new mom fears can make it worse. But don't rush to the courthouse right away if you develop baby name envy — many moms end up happy with their original choice.
5 Jealous of Baby Smiles
The biggest first milestone that babies experience is the first smile, and that one can make all the difference. It usually comes around the six-week mark, and for moms who are tired, hormonal and feeling unappreciated, finally seeing a sweet smile can brighten life as a new mother.
But moms often struggle more to get smiles from their baby than others. Dads are usually good at it, as are grandparents. Big brothers and sisters are the best. All that a mom wants is to see her baby happy and smiling, so she can get jealous when the baby will smile at others because they want all those grins to themselves.
4 Coveting Mom Friends
Life as a new mom can be tough, but there is nothing like having friends to help lighten the load. Sometimes, though, women go through pregnancy and motherhood at a different time in their life than their other friends. What the really need are mom friends who have babies about the same age so they can talk and compare.
Lots of women covet mom friends, especially at the beginning. It can be hard to find someone you really relate to, and sometimes comparisons end up being competitions and that is no fun. Mom friends can take time to develop, but it is definitely worth it — those friendships can last a lifetime.
3 Baby Gear Jealousy
These days, having a baby requires a pretty big investment. On top of the medical expenses, there are a ton of baby supplies to stock up on and a lot of gear that many deem essential. While many moms are fine with shopping for second-hand bargains, some get some major stroller envy.
Many moms receive gear as gifts at baby showers, but there are a lot of high-end items that don't necessarily match the budget. It's impossible to keep up with the pricey items all those Kardashian babies have. But if moms are smart, they will get ahold of their jealousy and save some money for their baby's college fund.
2 Jealous Of Moms At Drop Off
Lots of moms are total hot messes at home, but once they get into the daycare or school drop offline, their jealousies can come out. There, women can fit into all types of categories, but there will inevitably be a few who drag their kid screaming — barely making it on time — while wearing yoga pants and hair in a bun and forgetting a snack.
Some women get envious of the moms who seem to have it all together in the drop off lane. But be assured; it's all an illusion. Those moms might seem to know what they are doing it that day, but the next day, they might be the hot mess.
1 Secondary Infertility Issue
There are lots of women who envy pregnant moms-to-be, especially if they are struggling to have a child of their own. But the same can be true for women who are already moms, as a growing number of women these days struggle with secondary infertility.
As much as they want to be grateful for their bundle of joy, women who want a bigger family can get really jealous of moms who are pregnant or have a newborn. If they are still in the first year postpartum, their hormones can heighten those emotions. If the biological clock is ticking, even new moms can be envious of pregnant women, and that is a hard truth to swallow.