Lately I’ve begun to relate to Disney villains,not because I like to dress in sinister shades of black or burst into song about being prepared or poor, unfortunate souls, but because lately I’ve been bitter, brooding, and jealous. I feel like a malevolent queen whose mirror has just told her she’s not the fairest of them all, and similar (but not too similar–I’m not after anyone’s internal organs here) to the Queen of the very first full-length animated Disney feature, I haven’t been taking it well.
Let me explain myself.
Recently, my sister-in-law gave birth to my first niece. She and my son are almost exactly 6 months apart. Best of all, we are moving in right next door in May, so these cousins will get to grow up together and likely become the best of friends.
So what’s the problem here?
Without going into any details, my sister-in-law’s delivery was more or less similar to my own, just a little faster and with certain aspects of hers happening the way I wanted for myself. While I’m overjoyed I have become an aunt, I can’t help but be a bit salty about the process.
I’ll spare you the details of my own delivery experience, aside from the fact that it was all natural, and over within 24 hours from early labor to the final countdown. I was pretty proud of myself for being able to deal with the pain on my own, and I may or may not have humble bragged about this on occasion.
Subconsciously I felt like this was the only thing I had to really feel good about regarding my short experience with motherhood thus far. I’ve talked about my experience with post-partum depression and re-learning to trust in God’s plan, and despite my best efforts to strengthen my trust in Him, sometimes I catch myself reviewing the event of my son’s birth and “re-writing” it the way I wished it could have gone.
Maybe I felt like this was the only thing I had going for me, and I assumed I would have this “over” my sister-in-law, who, in classic evil queen fashion, I have been extremely jealous of in regards to her beauty and figure throughout her pregnancy. Maybe I’d caught myself thinking, “Well, at least my labor and delivery will be better.”
Don’t get me wrong, it’s a joy, relief, and blessing it was so smooth for her! I certainly didn’t want it to be difficult! But being overcome with illogical feelings of inadequacy, I just wanted to have the “upper hand” in this one thing.
All of this to say, after I had gotten the chance to see my teeny, tiny, precious niece I had to sit down and have a nice chat with myself. I needed to figure out what the heck was wrong with me for feeling the way I was feeling.
I’ve been a jealous type for a while, envying younger people for their youth, beautiful people for their beauty, funny people for their effortless humor, etc. I have even been jealous of my sister in law’s relationship with her husband, seeing him doting on her while I selfishly felt neglected by my husband. I know this is Green Eyes talking, and I know in my heart of the cards I’m spoiled and loved by him second only to God, and just because certain aspects of our relationship are different, our love isn’t any less beautiful.
After thinking about it a lot and praying about it some more, I’ve come to realize this blessing for my sister in law, and our whole family, was also a lesson for me. I needed to be humbled. I needed to take a look at what I have going on instead of comparing myself to others so often. I also needed to learn not to be so prideful. After all, I may have brought my son into the world fairly quickly and naturally, but it was through the grace of God it was all possible.
In Ecclesiastes 4:4 it describes the act of envying of one another as, “meaningless, a chasing after the wind.” When we focus our energy on being jealous of other people for whatever reason, it’s wasting energy we could be applying towards something greater. We’re not doing ourselves any favors by envying what other people have, and even worse, by doing so we’re not appreciating what God has given us.
I am happy for my sister-in-law, I’m blessed to have become an aunt, and that my son will have a baby cousin he can grow up with. God has blessed our family immensely, and I cannot give thanks to Him enough. I need to realize what He has given to her doesn’t take away from what He’s given to me. My experience is still special, and although I may struggle with self-esteem, I know I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I need to stop comparing myself to another of God’s unique creations.
I can defeat this Disney villain inside of me, and I don’t even need to sing a song or wear a pretty dress to do it. I just need to say a prayer or two.