Ladies, Please Stop Comparing Your Fertility to Others

Photo: Xavier Collin/IPA/Splash News

The internet exploded last week with news that Kylie Jenner is reportedly pregnant with boyfriend Travis Scott. While it has yet to be confirmed, a source close to the 20-year-old reality star told TMZ that “they started telling friends a few weeks ago.” The news was registered online with a host of hilarious memes and tweets expressing utter shock. “Kylie Jenner is pregnant. I actually can’t keep up with the Kardashians anymore,” one read.

But Lena Dunham, the 31-year-old creator of Girls, took to Twitter on Friday night to explain that many of her friends felt jealous that the youngest Jenner sister was expecting her first child before they were. “A solid 10 friends texted me triggered by Kylie pregnancy. I’m like, ‘Ladies she’s 20. We were all [very] fertile then, we were just broke,” Dunham tweeted.  She followed up with a solid point: “You know the fertility industrial complex has pushed us too far when we’re trying to stay neck in neck [with] reality stars who can’t drink yet.”

The unplanned (ahem) pregnancy announcement sparked a similar reaction among many of my friends, who range from single to married. “Kylie Jenner gets pregnant while my husband and I have been trying for years…” read one text followed by an eye-roll emoji. Another followed: “Kylie Jenner’s pregnant, and I can’t even get a first date.” Seeing younger women with bumps and babies can be a tough pill for many women to swallow, especially those who are struggling to conceive.

“Infertility is one of the hardest emotional experiences a woman may face in life,” explains Shoshana Bennet, PhD, a clinical psychologist who specializes in prenatal and postpartum depression. “It’s human nature to compare ourselves to others, and as a result, fertility jealousy is a common feeling for many women who are trying to get pregnant. Thoughts like ‘it’s not fair’ or ‘why does she get to experience it and I don’t’ are normal feelings.”

But remember that, despite social pressure, conceiving is not a competition. There is no need to feel shame or compare your journey to others. Fertility depends on many factors, including health, family history, and, yes, age. The only fertility journey that matters is yours.

“Fertility issues are hard enough to go through without adding a layer of shame on top,” Dr. Bennet says, adding that it is important to acknowledge and embrace our own feelings with compassion. Turn to your support system to help you get through. But if feelings of jealousy or anger turn to an obsession that is getting in the way of your daily life, Dr. Bennett suggests seeking help from a therapist who specializes in fertility issues.

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