Joy and Melancholy

by | 6 Jul 2014

I’ve been thinking a lot about words this week. How sometimes they say it exactly as it is; and sometimes you can’t seem to find the right one. I’ve been thinking about how I overuse the words ‘totally’ and ‘one hundred percent’. How I often say things I wish I hadn’t and there’s no taking them back. And how ‘breakfast’, ‘lunch’ and ‘supper’ are probably my favourite words in the English language, along with the phrase ‘I’m going on holiday’ which, frankly, I don’t get to say as much as I’d like.

In my book, The Pursuit of Motherhood, I wrote that I’ve been struck by the fact that there’s no word in the English language for feeling happy for someone and sad for yourself at the same time. I know it’s a real feeling because I’ve felt it a million times in my struggle to conceive.

This week I felt it again. On Friday, at work, we celebrated a close colleague’s departure for maternity leave (twins!). And on Saturday afternoon I went to a Baby Shower of an old friend. They were both lovely occasions which I’d never not want to be part of. So, I’ve decided to fuse two of the most beautiful words in the English language and call them my moments of ‘Melanjoy’.

What do you call them?


  1. kiftsgate

    I don’t really have a name for moments like that. Not even in my own language.. I like melanjoly! x

    • thepursuitofmotherhood

      Mine was actually melanjoy, not melanjoly. But melanjoly is great. Maybe even better. Or perhaps, going on my previous comment about everything sounding better in French, what about melanjolie?

  2. mumswrite

    Joie de grievre? But yours is better. You are a star for continuing to share the precious moments of your expectant friends–many people with infertility cut off those friendships because the melancho- overwhelms the joy. Living with both is a whole lot more challenging…and fertile?!

    • thepursuitofmotherhood

      Joie de grievre is GREAT. Everything sounds better in French. I am officially stealing it for the future – thank you! Jessica x


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