"O! beware, my lord, of jealousy; it is the green-eyed monster which doth mock the meat it feeds on."
- Iago, from Shakespeare's OthelloOthello is one of my favorite of Shakespeare's plays. It has all the juicy aspects of a good drama; love, jealousy, deceit, betrayal, manipulation, an interracial couple in the 1600s(!), and one of the greatest villains - Iago. For those who never read the play, in a nutshell, Othello the moor of Venice is married to Desdemona and has a trusted high ranking soldier named Iago. When Othello promotes a younger officer Cassio and not Iago, Iago is furious and sets a course of lies, back stabbing, and manipulation to convince Othello that Desdemona is betraying him with Cassio. Othello then kills Desdemona only to find out that he had fallen for Iago's lies. Othello doesn't kill Iago and instead leaves him to suffer the rest of his life in pain for what he has done. But as expected with Shakespearean tragedy, Othello kills himself before they can take him into custody.
The reason I bring this all up is that I am jealous. I've been green jealous of so many things during this infertility journey. Not all the time, but it's reared it's ugly head. It's hit the range from reasonable to irrational. Here's my jealousy list:
1) I am jealous of every single woman who can get pregnant naturally.
2) I am jealous of women who got pregnant on their first IUI or IVF.
3) I am jealous of women who didn't have an ectopic.
4) I am jealous of women who truly don't want kids. I wish I could take a pill and make this desire go away.
5) I am jealous of women who don't have to use a surrogate or donor egg.
6) I am jealous of women who got a diagnosis and were able to then fix something that was causing infertility.
7) I am jealous of women who join online buddy groups and graduate to the pregnancy boards.
8) I am jealous of my sister who had 3 kids without a blink of an eye.
9) I am jealous of my friends who can plan play dates and not blood draws and shots.
10) I am jealous of youth and fertility.
But who am I- Othello or Iago? In many ways I see infertility as my Iago - manipulative, disloyal, and destructive. I am the proud Othello that is just a victim of this deceit. I've been part of a web of lies around me telling me IVF would work, that anything would work, and that has made me a jealous maniac. But on the other hand, part of me might be Iago. I was denied something I feel I deserve, something I expected. I am pissed that the Cassios of the world got what I wanted. I might have gotten so enraged to go on a rampage of destructive behavior to seek revenge.
All this is to say that jealousy is pretty poisonous. The latest, but brief, bout with the green-eyed monster happened yesterday when I was told my egg donor has 40 follicles. Yes, you did not read that wrong - 40. Of course my first concern was that they are overstimulating her, but I was assured her estrogen levels are good and so they are happy with where she is. After that relief, for a very brief spell, I was jealous of my donor's youth. My 37 year old body can barely eek out 6 good eggs and this 26 year old can just pound the suckers out. If I didn't already know that my eggs were sub par, this certainly hit the nail on the head.
What can I say, I am human. I am going to have jealous thoughts. But, unlike Iago, they don't last long and I certainly don't act on them besides avoiding pregnant women. However, the tale of Othello is an eloquent reminder that the green-eyed monster will not only eat you, it will mock you. So unless I want to have a Shakespearean end, I have mastered the quick recovery from these jealous moments. Very soon after letting the 40 follicles sink in, I was quite elated. We might finally have enough eggs to make a baby.