The hardest part is waiting to know. Your life is scheduled, familiar, and then it’s not … you pass into uncertainty, into muddied time. Are you? Could you be? How can you know?
It’s known as either “The Pregnancy Possibility” or “The Pregnancy Scare,” and whether you’re filled with hope, dread, or ambivalence, it means combing your body for clues, feverishly counting and calculating days on your fingers and calendars, and running to the bathroom every five minutes to check.
(“Let’s see, we did it on Thursday after that party, that was the 25th … “)
Or worse, refusing to run to the bathroom to check. I’ve known women who’ve set timers for themselves, only allowing bathroom breaks once every hour. But then they feel a trickle or a tickle, and they find themselves, defeated, pulling down their pants yet again, searching for the tale-tell touch of color that will tell them that they aren’t. Preggers. Knocked up. With child. Expecting. Baking a bun in the oven. Pregnant.
I’ve been there myself, waiting to find out, through two unfounded pregnancy “scares,” plus one unwanted pregnancy and one deeply desired one—and I don’t know which is harder to live through, the dreading or the wanting. There’s nothing quite like that uncertainty to drive a woman crazy. I don’t know which is more stressful, thinking you’re pregnant and not wanting to be, or hoping you’re pregnant, and not knowing if you are. Am I, or am I not?
It seems a little diabolical that every early pregnancy symptom can also be explained away by something else.
- Late period? Stress or normal irregularity.
- Swollen breasts and belly? Premenstrual syndrome.
- Nausea? Stomach flu or food poisoning.
- Intense hunger? PMS or … intense hunger.
The most common cause of a missed period is pregnancy, but exactly when does a late period become “missed?” Making it even worse are hormones. If your period is just late, you may be flooded with premenstrual anxiety. If you are pregnant, well, there are those hormones making you feel obsessed. I told you: Crazy-making.