The green monster has reared its ugly head around here. It’s not the first time and I’m sure it won’t be the last, but this latest bout of jealousy seems nastier than usual. Jealousy is such an icky emotion, I’m not even sure you’ll want to read on, but if you do, be forewarned: The following thoughts may make you want to slap me, backhand.

I’ve been unusually preoccupied with babies and pregnancies lately. There are several people near and very dear to me who are either expecting a baby or have just had a baby (and in one case both, you know who you are). I am happy for them. I know what a blessing a baby is. Not just to them but to our whole community. But as I watch them anticipate and then receive their healthy infants I am plagued with what can only be described as an empty feeling, the feeling of being left behind.

Part of the problem is that I spin the present into the future, adjusting for my self-pity and flair for ingratitude. I imagine a future where I am providing lifelong medical care for Ramona as she struggles to survive, grow and develop while my friends’ daughters grow up, go to college and become Nobel Prize-winning underwear models.

I wonder what this is about. Why this feeling seems so involuntary and persistent. Who cares if Ramona isn’t “perfect”? None of us are. Who cares if she does or doesn’t look like she has a “syndrome”? She’s adorable. I’ve been desperately trying to work it through in my mind and achieve some peace. I even googled “easing jealousy”. No luck.

I’ve been down the rabbit hole about as far as I dare go and the best I can come up with is this: I have never taken great care of myself. I do everything to the extreme and have a tendency to chase the immediate pay-off with little regard for the long-term consequences. I think I’m carrying with me the feeling that somehow, someway, Ramona’s illness is the fruit of the choices I have made. That God made me, beautiful and without sin, and I have somehow corrupted myself so completely that even my children bear the mark of my sins.

I know, I know, I know that this is not how God works. I know this line of thinking dishonors Ramona and the beautiful way God made her. But I just cannot get it out of my head. I know that it demonstrates my lack of faith in God’s plan and purpose for us all, and yet it persists. I think that somehow this feeling of guilt and shame reacts to the good fortune of others. Like maybe God only has so many healthy kids to spare and he’s certainly not handing them out to moms who can’t even take care of themselves. It somehow confirms my messed-up way of thinking and then I find myself envying their wholeness and worthiness.

I’m out on a limb here, I know. I guess I’m kind of hoping that one of you might be able to help. That you might be able to lead me to the truth with some of the wisdom and counsel that has helped me so much in the past. No Psalms 139 though please, I’ve read it till I’m blue in the face, nada.

Thanks for listening, you’re saving me a lot of money on the therapy I probably need, Jane.

EDITED 3/17 TO ADD: I feel like I should clarify that I in no way feel entitled to my jealousy. I think it’s sinful. Although the feelings are real and I feel I need to acknowledge them, I also need to move on. I’m working on it. I like what Terri has said below about perceived loss. Most of my jealousy comes from comparing Ramona’s situation to what I thought it “should” have been or to what others have. I have gained immensely from knowing her and any loss I feel is compared to something imaginary that was never promised by God. I also like what Erin said about not feeding it. Airing my thoughts here is a way for me to get them out in the open and hopefully work through them. Thanks for all of your support and for “showing up” when I’m in a dark place.