5 Things Nobody Tells You About Trying To Get Pregnant
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I grew up with a lot of misconceptions about where children come from. I thought pregnancy was always a thing that happened to women by accident, usually in the backseat of a car or in the restroom of a Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville. That is the mating ground of my people.
When I got a little older, I was told that if a man ejaculated within a five-mile radius of my home, I would become pregnant. Now I know that's not case! Because I've been trying to have a baby for a while now, and here's what I've learned ...
You Make Completely Unnecessary Preparations
We all know that you have to be pretty careful with what you put in your body when you're pregnant. You can't drink alcohol, or smoke pretty much anything, or eat raw, bleeding, scrumptious meat. And it's not just those things. Women are told to avoid a whole grocery store's worth of foods during their pregnancies. So if you intend to get pregnant, make a list of all of your favorite foods, then fold that list into a little square and eat it. And try to enjoy the taste, because that's the closest you're getting to ingesting any of those foods for the foreseeable future.
Soft cheeses, fish, peanuts? All foods that are probably bad for you. Or maybe great for you! The internet is both the most wonderful and terrible tool at your disposal. You can ask it anything and it will give you an answer, and then another answer that is the exact opposite of the original answer it gave you. And it's not clear which one is right, but if you do the wrong one, your future baby is totally and irrevocably fucked.
Avoiding this stuff for nine months sounded doable to me, but avoiding it for the unknowable amount of time it takes to actually conceive a baby is torture. No brie for a couple of years is white girl hell. You don't have to choose to avoid these things, but every time you don't get pregnant, you're going to picture that delicious chunk of creamy cheese you ate and decide it caused some kind of karmic upheaval in your womb.
There are tons of websites that are just trying to be helpful, with lists of things to do and not do when you're trying to conceive. They basically all amount to "Be a normal healthy person," but once you take in enough of them, you start to read them with an implied "or else." That makes them much more intimidating. It's like you're on a game show, and the grand prize is guilt, and you always win! Yay?
You Learn More About Your Body Than You Ever Wanted To Know
I don't know a ton about my own body. I'm just not a super curious person. If something works, I don't need to know how. I assume computers run on Harry Potter magic, and so does my reproductive system, probably. For a long time, if anyone tried to tell me differently, I stuck my fingers in my ears and hummed "Take Me Out To The Ballgame." I've been kicked out of every doctor's office in the state.
So when I got an ovulation app, I was terrified by the specificity of the questions it asked. It wanted to know my cervical position. Is it high or is it low? Does it wobble to and fro? Can you tie it in a knot? Please don't do so. I didn't know shit was shifting around like the goddamn tectonic plates in there. My cervical position is somewhere in my vagina, I hope? Let's say yes, to be safe.
It also wanted to know what my cervical mucus was like, and "Like two words which combined make me unable to feel sexual attraction ever again" was not an option. Apparently the cervix is really important to pregnancy. Until this point, I thought that if my reproductive system was NSYNC, the cervix was Joey Fatone. But now Joey's running the whole show, and I guess I have to be cool with that.
I know pregnancy is often depicted as this magical time when you're glowing and floating and strong like a Super Saiyan, but it's actually a time when you're sweating and screaming and mean, also like a Super Saiyan. Getting pregnant is supposed to be the fun part, not the part where I try to determine whether I have hostile cervical mucus.
There's A Whole World Of Fertility Products Out There Just Waiting To Take Advantage Of You
If you aren't ready to explore options like in vitro fertilization, which is expensive, often not covered by insurance, and involves putting a whole bunch of needles directly in your uterus, you might search for less-invasive options to get the baby factory up and running. Luckily, there are tons of companies willing to take advantage of your misfortune by selling you non-FDA-approved pills to increase sperm count, or help you ovulate better, or make you more fertile in some vague and unspecified way.
If the fake science route doesn't work for you, fake magic is also readily available. There's an authentic witch who only charges $80 for a full moon triple cast fertility spell. If that price tag is a little high for you, or if you don't want to invite black magic into your womb, an Etsy seller offers fertility crystals from a "diploma qualified crystal therapist" for $5.48. Wait ... where do you put the crystals?
One thing a lot of people swear by is acupuncture. However, I'm a tad skeptical about paying someone who probably has a PhD in crystal therapy from Miss Cleo University to stick needles all over my body, just so I can avoid a handful of needles stuck into one measly internal organ. There is a needle-free acupuncture product that asks you to tape a bunch of seeds to your ears. So that's a little sad.
But it's not the saddest thing. The saddest thing about these products is that there's a tiny part of your brain that will consider each and every one of them a little bit. You have to explore every available option, right? Even if that option is putting a crystal ... somewhere you don't normally keep things.
People Will Accidentally Be Dicks To You
A brief survey of my friends with kids returned one of two answers about how long it took for them to get pregnant: "The first time we tried, I got pregnant" or "Oh, we weren't even trying, but Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville is just so erotic. And once you down a plate of Lava Lava Shrimp and the Watermelon Margaritas start flowing, the pants. Just. Come. Off."
Everyone knows it's harder to get pregnant as you get older, but if you're young and healthy, people assume not having children is a choice, and they want to tell you how smart you are for waiting for the right time. If you decide to tell them that you have actually been trying unsuccessfully for a while, they generally give you the same useless advice of "Relax and it'll happen." You know, I never thought of that. Excuse me while I unclench my uterus.
They're not trying to be dicks, as they're just presenting you with the most pleasant platitude that jumps into their minds at that moment. Even though you know that on a rational level, there's still a part of you that silently pictures a piano falling from the sky and smooshing them. Then you feel guilty for committing mental pianocide. So you go and eat some soft cheese to make you feel better. Then you feel guilty for eating the cheese. It's a vicious cycle.
Irrational anger comes with the irrational guilt, and at times, you'll find your frustration directed at the most innocent of targets: babies. Some broken part of your brain starts to think that all babies know each other and are somehow conspiring against you. Every time the song "Baby Got Back" comes on the radio, you find yourself yelling, "BABIES AINT THAT GREAT, SIR MIX-A-LOT!" and changing the channel. That'll teach babies. And Sir Mix-A-Lot.
Every Month Is A Tiny Disappointment
Every month, without fail, you find a reason to convince yourself you're pregnant. "I feel mildly nauseous. Yay, I'm pregnant! This is the only possible explanation and is in no way related to the humid, dimly lit buffet I ate lunch at." Then you start picking out names and deciding how to tell your family, and just as you're booking the local Sir Mix-A-Lot cover band (Becky and the Anacondas, now accepting gigs in the Nashville/Murfreesboro/Lebanon area!) for your flash mob reveal, you discover you're not pregnant.
It's a real roller coaster ride, and it's going to happen over and over again for the foreseeable future. But you keep pounding away (LOL) and trying to downplay the excitement you feel every single time you convince yourself it's happened.
To make it even worse, you end up having to break the news to your partner, saying the same thing month after month. "Nope, not this time," or "Maybe next month," or "No, I don't want to go back to Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville. I want to conceive this baby someplace nice, like Red Lobster."
Then you realize that if you manage to get pregnant, you could end up having a miscarriage, like 15-20 percent of women do. If you do manage to deliver a healthy child, you then have to worry about keeping it alive and making sure it doesn't murder people for at least 18 years. So I guess the horrors of trying to conceive are actually just an introduction to (what I'm going to assume must be) the constant mind-numbing terror of parenthood. Oh good. I feel better now.
See more dark, funny things from Lydia on Twitter.
Look, here's some delicious Giant Pocky, because we don't really know anything about fertility medicine.
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