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It’s a good thing so few people read my blog, or I’d never have the nerve to put up this kind of post. 

Ah, the mood-stabilizing caffeine is finally kicking in.  Or maybe I’m just safely out of the public sphere.  I should not be allowed out of my bed, much less the house, when I’m in a state like this.  I should have known it wasn’t going to be all sunshine and roses, even on the Saturday before Valentine’s Day.  I accused the erratic heating system at work of causing my migraine yesterday, but I was in denial that a migraine is usually the harbinger of my period.  Or, more precisely, the dashing of my hopes of pregnancy for yet another cycle.  When I awoke this morning to a continued headache, surprised I had been able to sleep at all, and dribbled toothpaste down my new shirt, I just knew.  These things come in threes.  Sure enough, no baby this month.

Were my hopes any higher this cycle than usual?  My digital, idiot-proof fertility monitor had actually green-lighted ovulation 2 weeks ago, so I was optimistic.  Mr. Apron and I tried our most dutifully to make a baby.  After some wrangling, I’d made a (back-up) appointment with a fertility doctor.  And yet, this morning, as I saw the wall of chances come crumbling down, it still crushed me as hard as ever.

I tried go out, pick up my new glasses, buy our special peanut butter, do some bullshit shopping, just to keep myself busy and occupy my mind, rather than sitting home and wallowing in self-pity, but there’s no use.  The littlest things are setting me off, and I’m seething with vitriol at my body’s failure to do what I’ve commanded it to.   A woman at Bed, Bath & Beyond directs me to the “other side of the store” to find the dog beds.  I find nothing except doggy stairs (to let the dog access the human bed), couch/car seat covers (for when the dog is lying on those human furnishings), and doggy towels (microfiber towels with a dog-print on it, so you know it’s for dogs).  As I head out the door by the register, the cashier tosses off her mandatory, “Did you find everything you were looking for?”  and I bark back, accusatorily, “You don’t actually have dog beds, do you?”  “What?” She is taken aback.  “I mean, for real dogs.  You don’t have them, do you?”  Of course they don’t.  But she told me they did.  I go into Starbucks to try to get the caffeine jolt that usually lessens the stubborn migraine’s grip on me (now entering its 23rd hour).  My usual caffeine intake is restricted and so minimal, that a junky, girly Frappuccino is enough to send me into a hyper, happy buzz, and hopefully kill the headache as well.  Why would the drink-making chippy ask if I wanted whipped cream after I specified I wanted soy milk in my Frappuccino? Especially after the register-chippy already wrote a line through “WC” on the cup? I should have stayed in bed today.  As my eyes tear up, I grab my drink and rush to the car, only to find myself boxed in by 2 enormous SUVs. 

I hate that Starbucks, with its impossible parking lot.  I hate the oversized SUVs the WASPy tooth-bleaching moms drive in my neighborhood.  I hate having to explain common-sense things to people; and I hate when they lie to me about what their store carries.  Maybe I could tolerate this bullshit any other day, but not when I’m fit to burst from disappointment and frustration. 

On these days, when I hate my body, I want to punish it somehow.  As soon as I find out I’m not pregnant, I want to go on an anti-pregnancy bender of sorts.  If I were a drinker, I bet I’d be reaching for a bottle.  I want to purge all the precautions from my body.  Caffeine?  Feta cheese?  Eating well?  Vitamins?  Exercising?  I want to simultaneously make a clean start and scrub it all away, and trash all the things I’d been doing, on the chance I’d be pregnant.  Which I never am.  As my body is punishing me by denying me the baby I want so dearly, I want to punish it for failing me.  I want to ignore my Good Girl GI diet and eat greasy disgusting things to make myself sick.  I want to skip my prudent breakfast, and eat nothing but two rolls for lunch.  As a non-drinker, I don’t have a full toolbox of methods to actually make myself sick, but I think I’d be drinking it all away if I could. 

If I go out, if I pretend everything’s okay, and go about my business, am I denying myself the opportunity to be sad?  If I stay home and bathe myself in self-pity, marinating in my own filth and self- loathing, is that any better? 

As I do my errands, I am reminded acutely that all am I doing is distracting myself again with bullshit.  I look around my house and see more claptrap nonsense: the stand mixer (still in its box) my mother gave us for Hanukkah that we’ll probably never use; the first season of “The Wire” that I have no interest in watching with my husband; the dogs and their fur-covered trappings; the feeble attempts at suburban homey-ness; and all the crap we use to keep ourselves busy.  Right now I don’t want any of it.  What I want is a baby, and no amount of bargaining or mourning or self-flagellation is going to bring it to me.

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.

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May 2020