Thursday, 17 January 2013

Getting off the pregnancy roller coaster

I've noticed there has recently been a significant increase in women posting the same question on the forums I read - How early can I do a pregnancy test? The good tests can detect a pregnancy from 5 days before your period is due. However, I have learnt the hard way that testing that early, or even earlier, is just like buying a ticket for a roller coaster! 

It’s only human nature that we want to test as soon as possible to see if our dream of pregnancy has come true. However, it becomes an emotional minefield when women go onto the internet to share their symptoms and ask other women to tell them if they think they’re pregnant or not. I understand they are just looking for reassurance, but I’ve seen the perilous journey these posts can take when women say "It looks good”, “Sounds promising” or “Congratulations" prematurely. Inevitably, the poster then shares how crushed they are when it turns out they’re not pregnant. They got their hopes up, only to have them dashed!

They put themselves on the roller coaster of hopes - going at fast speeds, through twists and turns, turning upside, feeling sick and getting off with shakey legs! It's a horrible ride and, I admit I bought a ticket for it, but didn't enjoy it at all. I tested the day before my period was due for my first pregnancy but only because I had so many symptoms I knew I was pregnant. I did the same last month because I had the same symptoms and wanted to know if I could drink at New Year's Eve! It was a horrible experience and one I don’t intend to repeat.  

I have decided that I will wait until my period is overdue by 1 week before testing again. The emotional upheaval I suffered last time is motivation enough for me to stick to my plan. I’m glad that I learnt this quickly as I see so many women who don’t. I feel for them when I read their posts – they put themselves through so much emotional pain by questioning every single symptom they experience the minute after they ovulate. They read into every single cramp, niggle, strain, pain and ache. And sadly, they do this over and over again.

Again, I confess to doing the same, but I now realise that so many other things can cause those symptoms so I don’t read into them anymore. Case in point - this month, I am again experiencing all the same symptoms I did when I got my positive pregnancy test but I'm not dwelling on them. I simply note them down as a way to determine any patterns and move on. I don’t dwell on it, I don’t over analyse it and I don’t obsess about it. I know the dates in my head and I’ll simply see what happens.  

I’m spurred on by a very sensible friend of mine who shared her views on this with me. Given she works in the fertility industry, and recently had a baby, she’s the most qualified person I know to talk about it from both the physiological and emotional point of views. To paraphrase her, she said humans are now so intelligent and technologically advanced that we can detect a pregnancy before it has had the time to properly establish and determine if it is destined to survive. As a result, pregnancy has become the emotional journey it was never meant to be.

Her words have become more prophetic to me now after fearing I had a chemical pregnancy last month. Think of our mothers, who didn’t find out they were pregnant until 5 or 6 weeks. They never knew anything about chemical pregnancies – they just thought they got their period and were never pregnant. They lived in the beauty of ignorance and oh how I wish I could live in those times!

I understand the pressure and desperation women have to have a child – especially when it’s taking longer than it was ever meant too. However, I have experienced enough of life to know that being desperate never bought me the things I was desperate for. It was only when I let go of the desperation, and the fear that normally accompanies it, that my desires appeared. I take that same approach now because desperation creates stress, anxiety, panic and fear and I'm pretty sure those emotions are not conducive to conceiving a baby.

I’m going for acceptance instead. Acceptance creates calmness, peace, patience and contentment and I'm pretty sure those emotions are conducive to conceiving a baby. Trust me, after miscarrying a baby, I could surrender to the desperation quite easily, but the desperation roller coaster and hopes roller coaster are at the same theme park and I don’t want to go there again.

When I read these posts, my first instinct is to type “Do yourself a favour and put the pregnancy test away and just let it be. Your body will let you know what's happening.” I feel like I would be judgemental or standing on my soap box with that kind of response. And, I realise these women will need to do what I did – ride the roller coaster enough times they become sick of all the twists and turns and decide to get off. They need to come to that conclusion by themselves.

The one thing those of us trying to conceive have in common is impatience. We just want it to happen now. As someone who has suffered impatience my entire life, I do believe that I am finally seeing the light. I am starting to learn the value of just sitting back and letting things unfold. I can put my hand on my heart and say I am truly content to just being open to whatever will happen. As a spiritual person, I know I am on the journey I'm meant to be on and whatever is meant to be will be. Struggling with reality, fighting it or getting upset about it won’t change it. I know I will continue to have challenges that I will need to overcome because there is no escaping life. However, I'm hoping that facing them head on, with patience, will help me face them with calmness and peace. It must be my eternal optimist speaking!

Or, as a fabulous friend shared with me – “An optimist is someone who thinks that taking a step backwards after taking a step forward is not a disaster, its a cha-cha.” – Robert Brault. That perfectly sums up exactly where I'm at – choosing to cha cha my way into my future!

Image by anat_tikker
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