I wrote this in 2018 when I was trying to get pregnant. I know, trying TO get pregnant?! It was a change for me. And it didn’t happen fast.
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Not to brag, but…
I’m kind of a loneliness connoisseur.
When I was a little kid, I was so lonely I used to picture myself walking around in a bubble, isolated from everyone. As a young adult, in the apartment in Chicago I shared with three people, two rabbits, and three cats, I was once so lonely I looked up “lonely.com.” (Yes, of course it was porn.)
The comics I wrote in my late twenties were all about dating unsuccessfully and how lonely that can be. I thought then that looking for love was the way out of loneliness. I wasn’t wrong, but I was a little too narrow in my search. Love in all forms is an excellent connector.
Getting married was a great step into trusting that I was meant to be part of a family, and did have strong connections in the world, especially to one person.
And so, it was a bit of a surprise to embark on a very special journey with my husband and find myself swimming in the pond of lonely again: trying to conceive.
So, it’s sex. Let’s not be delicate here. A lot of sex happens when you’re trying to get pregnant.
Sex isn’t lonely.
And getting pregnant is a wonderful shared journey, right?
Except that by the time we got a month or two in, it became clear to me that this journey wasn’t entirely shared. Both of us were there for the sex. But I, alone, would get pregnant.
Or, I, alone, wouldn’t.
It was my body that would either change irreversibly, or make real my inner fears about not really being a functional person.
Day to day, I was running the TTC show. I took my temperature every morning at six. I stuck my finger up my vag multiple times a day to see what my cervix was up to, and got to know the stretchiness of various types of cervical fluid.
I peed in cups after holding it for hours, and dipped in test strips to pinpoint ovulation. I typed everything into an app and watched for the days to change colors. I read a book the size of a monster truck, and then I read it again.
I harbored the secret fear that my body would never do what I wanted it to.
Months went by. When questions about what could be going on with my body took over my brain, I took to the internet. I realized something: I could google “light pink cm 3dpo bbt dip” and land on a post on Babycenter or something from 2008 where someone had asked about that exact combination of symptom shorthand.
Read enough of these posts, and you’ll start to pick up on a pattern:
Someone posts. The title will be a list of symptoms with a lot of ellipses. A message follows that offers a few more details, usually at least one the author deems “tmi.” The post ends with one of two questions: “Could I be pregnant?” or “Am I out?”
Replies look like this:
One person will say that’s what they had with their second.
Three people will say they’re having the same things and will be watching this thread.
One person says “I have heard it’s possible!”
One person says “that sounds like AF to me. Sorry frowny face”
And one person will say “the only way to know for sure is to take a test!”
Which, duh, we all know that. We’re all on the internet asking strangers to tell us something only a medical test really can. But when you’re trying to get pregnant and your body keeps tossing you periods, the ONLY answer you want to hear is YES!
YES, You ARE pregnant! Yes, I have assessed your symptoms and the only possible explanation is pregnancy! Yes, I have the same thing and my doctor told me everyone who has light pink EWCM with a BBT dip is definitely PREGNANT! Yes, you are. You are!
Most of these threads trail off.
The replies might go on for a few pages. Sometimes the OP will answer questions–”I POAS yesterday and it was negative, but maybe it was too early.” In just a few, the OP returns to say “AF reared her head, so it’s on to next month.” Mostly, the replies just stop.
I wonder about that person, searching in 2008 for the answer they were waiting to hear.
Some posters’ signatures are a list: miscarriage dates. Failed IVF rounds. “TTC since” (several years before)
Did they ever get what they wanted?
We’re all so powerless before our bodies. In so many ways.
I think of friends with loved ones enduring chemo, another friend’s daughter with a newly implanted blood sugar sensor that shrieks when she sleeps on it wrong, which means they’ve been up in the middle of every night for weeks.
We have so little say in how this goes.
There are a lot of steps between TTC and healthy new baby.
I hope we all get what we want.