How Do You Deal with Envy

For me, it’s avoid. Avoid the near occasion of sin. I’ve been thinking of this as a friend recently emailed this (which to give you background she’s been married four years and is bearing the cross of infertility, what can I say, we find each other for a reason):

More bad news on the adoption front, another agency has turned us down and if one more person suggests social services I will punch them in the face as our social services agency contracts out adoptions to a private agency and that one said no too! Seriously though, every time I log into anywhere, email, facebook, instagram, for the Love of Pete LinkedIN, someone is announcing a pregnancy or birth. Each month as my cycle re-starts there is some baby product on sale at the grocery and/or drug store and a display right where you walk in. We’ve had a baby shower at work every other week for about six months now. I’m inundated and I can’t avoid it! I want to say, wow, God, can’t you throw us a bone here? An agency that doesn’t care my husband had one bout of cancer when he was two??? Just one baby??? I want to ask pregnant teenagers I see in the market if I can buy their babies. It’s terrible, this envy. And I don’t know how to stop it.

How do you avoid something that is so in your face? You have to buy groceries. You have to go to work. I supposed you could try and work in an almost exclusively male dominated industry but then there’s always the risk of an overexcited new dad.

God gave us the virtue of temperance, the self-control to resist temptations but I can see how someone in my friend’s situation can be sorely tested in this area with envy. I understand how she feels, can’t she just have a baby to love? She did everything “right.” She’s worked with pro-life physcians who were trained at the Pope Paul Institute but still cannot explain why she isn’t getting pregnant. But I know how badly she doesn’t want the sin of envy around her neck or over her head. We’ve talked and she’s praying for God to remove the desire for a child from her (I’ve prayed for the same many times in my life). She said her envy keeps bringing her back to the confessional where her kind priest has assured her that she’s still doing it right praying for God to not allow envy to overtake her heart and coming back to confession when it does. I wish I had advice. I wish I could tell her to just avoid it. But I know it’s not that simple. Our crosses may both be infertility, but hers is in some ways heavier than mine, after all I have three children already and I don’t have the work situation to deal with, so I’m offering up my pain for her struggle with envy. It’s so small and I feel, rather inadequate, but it is the best I can do.


4 thoughts on “How Do You Deal with Envy

  1. I have 2 questions: Why on earth does it matter her husband battled cancer when he was two? And are they only rejecting her for an infant or any adoption?

    • Two agencies they tried to work with were private, Christian agencies that required, in addition to the normal “home-study” etc very detailed health assessments. They can do this because they aren’t affiliated with the government as part of their screening process. They both have policies that regarding a parent with a past diagnosis that was “terminal.” (We’re all terminal after all…) The particular cancer he beat as a child is a rare one that sometimes recurs in adults and also people who have had it and survived often develop one of a couple other types of cancer in their lives. (Sort of like the BRCA genes that lead to an increased likelihood of both breast and ovarian cancers.) One of them has an orphanage attached that does have some older children there (lots of private agencies only handle infants though and older children are more likely to go through the foster system until they possibly become eligible for adoption) which is why they were trying to get in with that agency because they did not want to limit themselves. In their state, like in ours, the foster system outsources the adoption portion to a private agency. Part of their issue is that their state is carved up into districts and you cannot adopt outside of your district. You also have to be foster-parent certified and her district has stopped all training because they have so many foster parents they can’t place children with all of them. So they were on a waiting list but went ahead and the did the home-study and screenings with the agency but for reasons that weren’t revealed to me, the agency told them they would not place an infant or child with them. They passed the home-study portion so it’s anyone’s guess and I don’t want to ask because I’m sure it’s very painful.

      • Wow. What a mess. I’m so sorry. I know Maryland you can adopt pretty cheaply through their social services program but I guess not all states are like that. I don’t know enough on the subject to offer any advice but I hope a door opens soon.

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