I’ve gone through this every month for the past year.  Two weeks out of every month, I could be pregnant.  That possibility steels me for the changes in diet and behavior and body that are taking place.  For two weeks a month, I pretend to be pregnant.  I take vitamins every day; I avoid soft cheeses, raw eggs, and too much caffeine.  I don’t kill myself at the gym, telling myself that this month could be the month that that bit of belly flab that won’t go away is actually something much more significant.  But each and every month, it is not. 

Around the third week of my cycle, I start being hopeful. I start tuning into my body, waiting to feel those twinges and sensations I felt 2 summers ago, when I was pregnant for real.  I wait for that moment to replay itself, that moment one morning that summer, when I came happily bounding down the stairs and felt my breasts heave and tug as they never had before.  In that moment, I knew I was pregnant.  I both fear and welcome those sensations, as they mean something is happening in my body.  But why must the PMS symptoms be so similar in timing and quantity to early pregnancy symptoms?  Why does implantation feel so similar to regular old cramping?  Why does a change in appetite signify my period or a pregnancy?  Why does a bloated belly feel so much like a baby bump?  Am I just more tired than usual or am I tired?  Am I feeling like I need to clean or am I nesting

I am no longer tracking precise data about our “no-no’s” or my basal body temperature.  I tried all that last fall, and through the winter, with no success.  No patterns emerged, and there was nothing to show for my efforts.  My cycle ranged from 4 weeks to 7, and, try as I might, I couldn’t tune into my body’s signals as I had before.  I realize I was not in control, but all my charting and tracking and counting was compensation.  I was trying to control what is supposed to be a natural process.

When “family planning” became a science, and all the “What to Expect” bullshit hit the mainstream fan, the so-called natural process was flipped on its head.  Now we’re having sex on top, on bottom, on the flip-side, on the roof, if it’ll change our odds.  In our own bathrooms, women are measuring cervical mucus, fertility hormones, basal body temperatures, and we’re counting days obsessively.  We will seek out that elusive Ovulation, and we will corner it and make it show itself to our husbands’/partners’ sperm.  It will be known!  We will control it!

As I try to become more in-touch with my body, it becomes a mysterious and distant entity, furtively squirreling away its secrets and sending mixed signals.  We will try again this month, armed this time with a ClearBlue Easy Fertility Monitor.  This thing is digital, folks.  It will seek out and annihilate highlight any ovulation within a 100 foot radius. If there’s anything growing up in my generation has taught me, it is that technology will solve all the world’s problems.  All.  Disregard all the killer-race-of-robot movies and all the cloning scenarios, technology is our friend.