Time for a nice little downer post. Yes, I’ve officially become “one of those trying-to-conceive nutjobs”. I’d say I have no regrets but you know what? I’d much rather not be like this. Just for the moment, it’s all got a bit too much and I need to blow off some steam with some confessions.
Confession Number 1 – Every period is like a bereavement
I only have to see a spot of blood now on more or less the right day and that’s it. I only let myself full-on wallow for a day, but it still feels like every single cramp is a punishment. You didn’t ‘do’ it right, you’re too fat, you lifted too many boxes, you got too stressed. That’s the rhythm that beats in my head, constantly for at least six days in every 24.
When I see that blood, it doesn’t matter how good everything else might be. For that first few minutes, I sit there every single time and wish the world would end and take me with it.
Confession Number 2 – I’m pretty sure I know more about the biology of conception than most medical professionals
I’m an obsessive researcher anyway; anyone who’s ever had the pleasure/misfortune of going on holiday with me knows that. Throw in my own body and my future and I hit whole new levels of obsession. At a push, if someone went into labour in front of me right now, I’d be able to deliver the baby. At any point in the month, I can tell you which hormones I’m supposed to be releasing and which cell is supposed to be where, and for how long.
It’s not just googling, by the way. The other day I made a special visit to the Hunterian Museum in London, mostly so I could stare at the samples of ‘generation’ (as the labels on the jars proclaim them to be). I spent far too long staring at preserved fallopian tubes and four-week fetuses. Utterly fascinating. If anything ever ends up taking residence in my uterus, I’ll know exactly what it looks like and I think that’s pretty cool.
Confession Number 3 – there’s a lot of crying
Hormones, depression, whatever. I seem to spend most of my life right now with a huge painful lump in my throat from trying not to cry. At work, at home in front of the telly, writing blog posts on the bus at 6 in the morning. Even listening to the Lion King soundtrack can set me off.
By the way, I’m good – really good – at putting on a face. You might think I’m in a perfectly good mood, bantering away at my coffee machine like always. But there’s a good chance that when I disappear for a few minutes to ‘sort something in the office’ I’m going in there to put my head on the desk and howl because someone just came in with a newborn. I got set off the other day because a couple at the bus stop were heartily ignoring their cherubic cooing baby so they could smoke their fags right over its buggy; I absolutely howled at the injustice that they’ve got a baby and I haven’t.
Confession Number 4 – I’m ragingly jealous and the hatred that spews out of me is terrifying
So many of my peers are getting pregnant right now. So, so many. It seems like a new one every week. I’m happy for them. I’m not far gone enough yet not to realise that. I am. I don’t know their stories. For all I know, they could have been in my situation, or worse.
But that doesn’t stop the jealousy and the vitriol burning me up to the point where it’s not unknown for me to throw my phone at the wall when a new ‘belly shot’ pops up on social media. It scares me a bit, I don’t like feeling like this. And I would never act like that to anyone’s face. Like I said, I am happy for them. I’m just also really really sad for me and my husband, and sometimes that comes out in rage. Especially when they find things to moan about that amaze me – if you have a healthy child or are pregnant, in my mind you need to count your lucky stars right away and get a bit of perspective. Obviously, that’s TTC-selfishness and absolute bullshit. I know it full well, but I can’t bloody stop myself.
Confession Number 5 – I pee on a lot of sticks
For two weeks of the month or so, women who are trying to conceive are existing in a state of Schrödinger’s Uterus. And the only way of possibly attempting to communicate with that cat while the box is closed is by weeing on sticks. Even though it’s absolutely pointless most of the time, because you know it’s far too early to tell anything, you do it anyway. Then when the test is negative, you can tell yourself you tested too early and the test is bound to be positive tomorrow. Or the next day, or the next.
I’d be a good blogger and recommend my favourite pee-sticks to you, but there would be no point because the sodding feline has always kicked the bucket anyway.
Confession Number 6 – if you tell me to ‘just relax and it’ll happen’ I will impale you on the end of a chopstick
I think I speak for everyone trying to conceive when I say this. No matter how well-meant, ‘just relax’ and its many, many variants are possibly the least helpful, most irritating things you can hear when you’re trying to have a baby. Have you ever tried to ‘relax’ when you’re, I don’t know, running away from a massed zombie horde waving bloody Bodyform packets, at the same time attempting to catch a Golden Snitch that’s hovering approximately eight feet above your head?
That’s my life. Enjoy ‘relaxing’.
Confession Number 7 – every symptom is pregnancy… then none of them are
I used to symptom-spot with the best of them. Every tiny twinge would set me off. This has to be it! That can’t be a usual thing!
But now, eighteen cycles on, I know otherwise. I have had every single ‘early pregnancy’ symptom you can think of and it’s not been right once. Sore boobs, nausea, dizziness, pulling sensations, heightened sense of smell, back pain, wind, heartburn, implantation spotting, headaches, hunger, insomnia, vivid dreams, runny nose, prominent veins, mood swings. Take your pick.
The fact of the matter is, anything that can possibly be a symptom of pregnancy is also a symptom of your period revving up. Every single cycle, your body prepares itself for a pregnancy whether you’ve conceived or not. So realistically, none of the ‘symptoms’ mean squat. I have now reached the point where I can sit in an ancient sports bra because my boobs are so painful, and I’ll still shrug it off. It means nothing.
I am now all out of confessions, for now. That felt very cathartic. And if anyone stumbles upon this who is in the same boat, know that you’re not alone. There’s loads of us out there and we all feel like shit sometimes. Have a good rant; it definitely helps.