And I felt so stupid. So weirdly embarrassed, which only made the tears come out more. Another month had passed in which I'd totally convinced myself that I was in the early stages of pregnancy. I'd wake up exhausted, was peeing more than usual, and was experiencing aches and tenderness that all the (probably inaccurate) websites suggested I would if my body had a tiny human inside. I'd excitedly take home pregnancy tests, and they'd show negative. I'd frown, and reassure myself that I'd been definitely feeling something "different", and decided I must've just taken the test a few days early. So I'd wait two days and take the test again. Still negative. I'd frown again, and think to myself, "ok, I'll try again in two days." A few hours later, I'd start my period.
There was this one month that I knew I was pregnant. I knew it in my gut. I waited patiently till the day after I missed my period, and like a child anticipating Christmas, woke up at 4 am. FOUR AM! You guys, I don't wake up at 8 am without an alarm. Excitedly, I tiptoed into the bathroom, and took the test I'd laid out the night before.
It took less than a minute for it to say "not pregnant". It was one of those expensive ones that actually spells it out for you. I spent like 15 bucks on that stupid test. I sat on the toilet (with the seat down) for a few dumbfounded minutes- realized what time it was, and climbed into bed next to gideon horribly sad and confused. I remember it was the night before fathers day. That's why I was so excited. I thought it would be the perfect day to tell him that he was going to be a dad.
The next day a 22 year old at my church came over to visit because she was worried about me. She actually texted me that- "Can I visit you? I'm worried about you". Then she proceeded to give me compliments followed by the catchphrase "for you're age".
Wait, how old are you? You look so good for your age.
Wow, you've accomplished so much for your age.
For your age, you've sure traveled a lot.
I knew she didn't mean to, but every time she said it my right eye twitched a little bit more. If we only had 5 years between us, why did it feel like so much more? I thought back to my 22 year old self (and my present self) and wondered if I spoke to those slightly older than I in an equally patronizing way. I chalked it up to sensitivity. I'm sensitive. At least that's what my horoscope is always telling me. To be honest though, my horoscope has been super off lately- it's always promising that something wonderful will happen right before I fall down a flight of stairs or something. I guess that's what I get for trusting a free app on a phone.
I couldn't figure out why a negative test felt so personal. Maybe it was because the majority of my friends from college were expecting with at least their second child, and for some reason I felt acutely aware. Maybe it was the concept of feeling like I'd failed a test over and over that others seemed to whiz right through (sometimes literally without even trying!). One evening I threw up, and the next morning my period started. Was I freaking my body out? Did I want to be pregnant so badly that I was imagining symptoms? Had I really reached that point of desperation?
I felt broken. And yet, foolish for feeling broken at the same time. Everyone knows it takes several months (and at times years) for couples to conceive. Why did I think I was exempt from that statistic? I also hated that the internet knew I wanted to be pregnant and felt it's mean girl sneer at me as it flooded my news feeds with baby articles on Facebook and infant advertisements on hulu. Annoyed, I'd press the "I don't want to see this" button. I did want to see it-- just not on someone else's stupid digital life.
I stopped getting excited about buying "nice" pregnancy tests at target, and started buying the cheaper ones. I stopped thinking that "maybe I wouldn't need to buy tampons this month", and instead stocked up on them when I saw a good sale. I vowed never to trick myself into thinking I was pregnant until I saw a plus sign on a test. (That didn't happen.)
These experiences have opened my eyes to my dear friends and family who have struggled with infertility and miscarriage (we're talking years of this frustration). I have so many loved ones who haven't been able to conceive, even after painful and expensive procedures. It's funny how you think you'll never be "that person" until you kind of are. Trying to get pregnant is so much more emotional, and so much harder than I realized. A friend of mine went through 8 miscarriages. EIGHT. I had no idea until she casually mentioned it to me. Like she was talking about how many times she'd been bowling. I was heartbroken for her, and yet she shrugged. "People go through it all the time," she said. I wish I had that kind of resilience.
Another friend of mine broke down when I ran into her at the community mailbox, saying that she'd told all of her friends and family that she was pregnant a few days after she'd found out-- she'd announced it on Facebook even!-- and then had an early miscarriage, less than five weeks into the first trimester. "How do I tell everyone the pregnancy didn't stick?" I had no idea what to tell her.
I'm not sure where I'm going with this post, friends. Maybe it's that I feel like there's a thousand people just like me who feel broken and sad, wanting to tell someone that they're terribly disappointed that the Christmas morning they thought they'd wake up to didn't happen. (I just had a visual of Aunt Flo from those tampon commercials dressed as the Grinch. That was weird.)
On the other side of the fence, I know women who have children. Perfect, beautiful, hilarious little children. And yet, some days they still feel broken. They wake up to the same Christmasless mornings, but they also have to deal with screaming babies with pungent diapers. (Gosh, I can't get that grinch visual out of my head.)
I guess I'm just saying we should be there for each other. And we should love each other. We all have rough days. Or rough months. I guess that's all.
Yes. That's all for now.