It is a universal truth that when you are trying to get pregnant everyone but you is pregnant. Men are pregnant. The elderly are pregnant. Woman with IUDs are pregnant. Britney Spears is pregnant with Miley Cyrus' baby. Everyone in the world, but you, is pregnant. So says the pregnancy test you took a few days before your period was due because you just couldn't wait to find out if you were pregnant and you were certain, this time, definitely, for sure, you were pregnant. But you're not. You're not pregnant and also out $15. No two lines for you. Just one, all by its lonesome, staring up at you, letting you know you are not pregnant. Because you're not. You are not pregnant.
The test, it says, is only accurate in 86 per cent of woman testing that day so maybe you're still pregnant. You probably are. You know your body best, after all, and you were more sluggish than usual this morning so chances are you're probably pregnant and you say to your husband "I think I'm pregnant." Except you're not pregnant. So says the pregnancy test you took a few days after the last pregnancy test you took which is now 98 per cent accurate. That's $30 dollars and you're not pregnant.
You text your husband at work, "I'm not pregnant," to let him know you're not pregnant because you're not - you're not pregnant - and you can't help but feel just a little bit like you have let him down, that your body hasn't done what it needs to do to make him the father he so desperately wants to be. You're marking your cycle. You're having sex. You're putting your knees up afterwards, even though you read it's a myth and the sperm gets to where it needs to go without you, but you do it anyway because you want to feel like you are actively trying to get pregnant. You want to feel like you have some control, like you can nudge your body into pregnancy, like that game you used to play when you were little where you would tilt the board, with knobs at either end, to get those silver balls from one side to the other, skipping over the holes. Like that.
As with parenting, everyone has advice on how to conceive a child, the funniest of which is "Just relax and have fun!" Relax! Isn't that hilarious!? You are not pregnant and you are supposed to relax!
"It just hasn't happened for us yet," your husband says, "Take it easy."
You are not sure how you are supposed to take it easy when you need to know why, exactly it hasn't happened for you yet. Is it the time of day you're doing it? Is there a position in particular you should have done? Are you not getting enough iron? Too little calcium? Is it that you take your prenatal vitamins in the evening instead of in the morning? Maybe you should switch. Clearly there is something you're not thinking of. You take to the Internet. You Google "How To Get Pregnant."
You think you know when you are ovulating. You have an app that tells you when you're ovulating, so you are pretty sure you know when you're ovulating but maybe you're not ovulating when you think you're ovulating. Maybe you're ovulating at a whole different time and that is why you're not pregnant. Because you're not; you are not pregnant. Another cycle has come and gone and still you are not pregnant.
Does the universe not think you would be a good mother? Are there higher forces at play here? Is that why you haven't gotten pregnant? Because you're not. You want to be pregnant and you are not pregnant. You're not.
You know there is only a 15-25% chance of conceiving a baby each ovulatory cycle. You know this and yet you hoped, somehow, it would be easier for you. You hoped this would come easily for you where so many other things haven't, that you would be that woman who rubs her swollen belly and sighs, "It just happened on the first try!" Or the second. Or the third. At 34 and four months, don't your ovaries know they are getting closer by the day to advanced maternal age? Don't they?! What kind of eggs are you working with here?
You wonder if this is punishment for taking so long to come around to motherhood. You have been married for nine years but you weren't ready before, you were unsure if you wanted to be a mother but now you are sure so you would like a baby, now, please. You can't believe you have to wait at least nine months. What could possibly take so long??
You listen to your friends tell you, over the din on their children, that "it takes time." But you want to know how much time. When is it going to happen for you? When are you going to be pregnant? They can't tell you that. You remember them crying to you the very same thing and how you reassured them, comforted them, the way they are comforting you.
You watch them parent now and you think, what happened to all that struggle and upset? What happened to the charts and the thermometers and the one lines and the tears? What became of that time? You see them rock their children and you think, it's been melted by love. Just as the agonizing uncertainty of the time it took to find a partner succumbs to the momentous potency of togetherness, so too will this time. You know this. So you tell yourself to do your best to enjoy trying to make another life with the person you love so much. How lucky you are to be in this position, trying. And, you don't tell anyone, but as you drift off to sleep, lying on your empty, un-pregnant belly, you tell yourself that maybe, just maybe, conception and delivery are inversely proportional so that the longer it takes you to conceive, the shorter your labour will be.
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