Thursday, 1 October 2009

"I might be pregnant"

“I might be pregnant.”
“I know.”

In this conversation there are no winners. While my boyfriend contemplated the benefits of selling a kidney, I tried to convince myself that nine months without wine and menthol cigarettes was something I could cope with. What would happen after that my mind simply wouldn’t accept as a reasonable topic for deliberation.

The process of discovering whether or not you are accidently with child is one mild embarrassment followed by another, concluded with the climatic urinating on one’s own hand.

Firstly there is the running to the bathroom every five minutes to check whether or not you have indeed got your monthly visit from some obscurely named, prim and proper aunt. Looking rather like you have contracted a urinary infection to anyone spending more than 10 minutes in your company, you start to wonder if even late developing teenage girls stare so intently so often at their knickers for a sign; any sign. I swear one on occasion I mistook the stars in my weird staring eyes for my period.

Then there is the agonising self-diagnosis complete with imaginary symptoms. First, do my breasts feel tender, my nipples sensitive? Hold on, oh wise internet forum, let me just give them a squeeze. Nothing? Hold on, let me just squeeze harder…just a bit harder. Yes, definitely some tenderness.

Second, do I feel tired and moody? Am I easily upset? Shit, I thought, I’ve been pregnant for fucking years.

Third, am I lightheaded, do I have backache, and am I peeing more often that usual? More importantly, I should have asked, can any of these symptoms be explained by my lack of sleep, computer-hunched day-long stance or my desire to check for Flo every five minutes?

The results of my self-diagnosis were “inconclusive”.

I moved onto the next stage of humiliation. Judging by the many, many internet forums full of women getting unwanted AFs (Aunt Flos) who are TTC (trying to conceive) and sending each other “baby dust” (seriously), nobody could possibly know that my queuing up to buy a pregnancy test in Morrison’s was anything but a happy and joyous occasion following a sensible “planning a family” meeting with my supportive husband.

However, somehow they all knew the truth. They knew that I didn’t really need toothpaste, grapes and a packet of Pringles. They could tell what hid beneath my baked beans on the conveyer belt. They knew I was another statistic waiting for my turn on Jeremy Kyle. “I take it you want a bag?” the check-out girl sympathetically asked.

And then there is the bit where you pee on a stick. By now, having convinced myself of the inappropriateness of my potential condition, feeling like a naughty teenager, I concentrated too hard on peeing right and splashed my hand, and the results window. Then I’d lost count – did I pee for more than five seconds? Whatever the test says now, I thought, it would almost certainly be wrong. If it said negative, it would be positive, and eight months later I’d give birth to a chain-smoking, drunk in a train station loo.

So to the shops I went to buy another test, unsure of whether I was now being judged more for failing to pee correctly or failing to use contraception.

Starting to care less what the result was so long as I never had to go to Morrison’s again, I retested.

The test was negative.

A sigh of relief was enjoyed by all, for about a minute until the fear crept in: why aren’t I pregnant? What’s wrong with me?

At least this neurosis can be soothed with a full-bodied Shiraz and a long menthol fag. Oh sweet life, welcome back!

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