Romper's Trying project follows five women with very different stories through a year of trying to conceive. Where discussions about fertility often focus on the end goal, they'll document what it's like emotionally, physically, and spiritually before you get there — the anxiety, the hope, the ovulation kits, the tests. How do you function when getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to term isn't a given? Read on for one woman's answer to that question.
Jessie has been married for three years and trying to conceive for one year. This is the fifth installment of her Trying diary. You can read the previous entry here.
There is a moment in my cycle where I feel both incredibly anxious, as well as ridiculously optimistic and hopeful. My anxiety grows as I know that there is no physical way for me to know whether or not I have conceived this cycle, but my hope grows as I let myself daydream about the possibility that this time is the one. I have a love/hate relationship with the timeframe commonly referred to as “the two-week wait,” or the hopeful time between ovulation and the beginning of a new cycle. At the end of this wait, I am able to take a pregnancy test, and if all is normal, it will be accurately negative or accurately positive.
While most women I have talked to that are trying to conceive dread this wait, I have found myself looking forward to it. I do understand their frustration but lately do not share in it. It can be incredibly nerve-wracking to anxiously wonder what is going on inside of your body, especially when the stakes are so high. However, being an incredibly anxious person all of the time no matter the stakes or circumstances, it isn’t particularly jarring for me. In fact, being able to pinpoint a reason for my anxiety is soothing as it is so seldom the case.
Within the two-week wait, this particular brand of unknown is actually comforting to me.
I have discovered that within this wait is my opportunity to dream. I don’t typically do well with the unknown, and have been known to have extreme panic attacks with respect to things that are not within my control, or at least this is what my therapist and I have managed to suss out over the years. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder isn’t as color coded and organized as pop culture would have you believe. The obsessive thoughts and compulsions are less about having everything neatly in a row (though sometimes that is part of it), and more about if I don’t do this particular thing at this particular moment x amount of times, I will die, my family will die, or something incredibly traumatic will happen and it will be all my fault.
Within the two-week wait, this particular brand of unknown is actually comforting to me because it feels considerably better than the known disappointment I have experienced at the end of every waiting period for the past two years.
There is beauty to me in this particular unknown because it gives me the space to imagine what our lives will be like when we do get that double line. This is the time when my husband and I talk about baby names, and I google due dates according to when we might have conceived in accordance with ovulation. Our dream is possible in these moments because we have no real way of knowing whether or not they are taking hold. I cling desperately to these moments and cherish them for as long as possible, because this is where our dream thrives and the possibility feels so real.
Right now I’m in the wait, and everything is due dates and ideas for how to tell my mother-in-law when we are pregnant. I’d like to believe that this time I’ll stay there, and the need to burst the bubble won’t prevail.
The end of this wait is when the desperation begins to sink in and hope begins to fade as I feel the overwhelming need to know what the hell is going on down there. The distraction of dreaming and the romanticizing of our particular unknown begins to leave a sour taste as the need to take back-to-back pregnancy tests grows, and the money in my bank account decreases. Pregnancy tests are ridiculously expensive, a fact which my husband likes to mention ad nauseam. So, like a true addict, I switch from designer brand to internet cheapies that provide a watered down result at less than a third of the price. Negative after negative brings an overwhelming feeling of — no surprise here — negativity.
Right now I’m in the wait, and everything is due dates and ideas for how to tell my mother-in-law when we are pregnant. I’d like to believe that this time I’ll stay there, and the need to burst the bubble won’t prevail, but as honest as I am with my audience, I’m also pretty damn honest with myself. The negative will come again because cycles are cyclical, but, armed with the support of my ridiculously patient and loving partner, our faith, and the unending positivity of our close friends and family, maybe I can stay in the glorious sunshine of hope just a little bit longer this round.