Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Pregnancy scare and a sense of loss

I recently had a bit of a fright with a missed period (two weeks late). I started to suspect pregnancy when my generally healthy stomach started to revolt and send me into two straight days of roller-coaster nausea. Seeing as my periods have been messed up for the past few months, after weaning off of the pill (for reasons I will get in to in a minute), I decided to give it a few days before overreacting and heading to the nearest drug store.

Well, those few days passed, and last night I picked up my expensive urine stick and headed home, thinking about one million thoughts in a time lapse of twenty minutes. I mean, I had this imaginary child's entire 18 years planned out in my mind. It was the most synergistic episode of thought-jumping I have ever experienced -- I only wish I were that innovative at the office!!

Heading to the washroom to perform the instructed tasks, I stared fervently at the stick for 10 minutes, until I was certain nothing living resided in my uterine home (sorry for the strange visuals - hah).

Of course, I picked up the phone and notified the hubby, who was no less than elated with the news. I threw out the expensive stick (for what they cost, I should have had it incorporated into junk art or something!) and went to make dinner.

That's when it hit me, UTTER SADNESS. I stood at the oven and started crying?! My imaginary child no longer. What's strange, is that I did not want to be pregnant. I did not want to have our already tight budget stretched so thin I wasn't sure how we'd ever afford a kid right now. I didn't want to go through the pains, sickness, hormone surges, you name it that all my female friends are currently experiencing or have experienced.

Still, I was very sad.

Somehow, in the twenty minutes it took for me to visualize this person I might bring into the world, the fantasy was completely gone. All my plans forfeit. My sense of loss real, despite all reason and logic. It was primal. It was a phantom, and left my entire body feeling empty.

I know that in a few days I will be back to my old self, and will have forgotten the way I am feeling today, but today sucks. I am hopeful for an end to the feelings of sadness when I emerge back into my old frame of mind, with a new understanding of how lucky I am to be able to choose a better time to bring a child into the world than right now.

My partner doesn't get any of this. How could he?

My plan now is to look into some herbal solutions to regulate hormonal levels and menstruation. Does anyone know of anything of hand? I am a birth control pill skeptic for many reasons, so I am trying to regulate myself without the use of the pill.

All feedback is appreciated, and don't be shy if you are an enlightened man.



Blogger Terry said...

I don't know how enlightened I am for a guy but you have my sympathy. Kids play no part in our future plans (I knew that going in) but on occasion I get that melancholia of wanting to be a dad. It's absolutely terrifying/exhilerating to imagine (how to protect, teach, not completely screw them up, etc) but I like to think I'd be a pretty good dad. Its totally ok to be sad, it can be very cathartic. Just my 2 cents....

9:19 AM  
Blogger zombieswan said...

I completely understand everything in this post. I too have had a recent encounter with an expensive "stick." I hate those damn things--two pink lines, is that another line, or my imagination, or what? Has it been three minutes? What if..... Screw that!!

But for me, aside from the complication of a deadline for my dissertation that would be very hard and not "soft" like it is now, it would be okay, and both me & the hubby are good with the idea, and happy about the potential. And it would make other things easier, too. (Like the annoying relatives would shut the hell up for a while).

And that's what makes it harder. I am very sad when it doesn't happen, even though I know it's still for the best. The loss is a sign that you're mentally ready for a new life in your life. That's the good part. The sense of loss is because you're looking forward to the new person you get to meet when you have a child. And it's exciting to think about, even when you're not perfectly ready. So see that as a good thing, because even if you're not financially ready, or ready exactly for the major changes it will take, it's a sign that your relationship with your husband is healthy, and you COULD be ready, if necessary.

But I've been "off" the pill now for six months, and my hormones are still very screwy. I don't know of any herbal supplements that help. I wish I did. I could research it, and there's always those stores where people tell you what you don't know, but I am skeptical still of that, too. The pill causes "fake" periods. And if you're on it for a long time, I think it really does change your hormonal makeup. So when you get off, the new feelings, which are perfectly normal, feel weird to you. And I think it takes a while for you to really get regular again. They say up to a year! And I know I am not regular yet, after 6 months. I was on the pill for ten years, after all!

When you say "regulate yourself" do you mean regulate your periods, or keep yourself from getting pregnant? Do you have irregular periods? I don't think there's anything you can do that's very reliable, herbally. I mean, this is why the pill was such a huge change for women's lives, because all the "natural" stuff before that was hit or miss. (and the "Hit" was usually another baby!)

Anyway. Long rambly comment. No real answers. But empathy! I also think this rather fatalistic way: The Goddess knows when you're ready, even if you don't think you are. I mean, that's her gig, right, babies? So she will make it so when you are ready for it. Whether we are on the pill or some herb or not. (My sister got pregnant both times while on the pill). Babies come when they come. We meet the souls we will meet when it's time for that to happen. So until then, be your own person. Live YOUR life. And be ready for the life that happens when you're making other plans. :)

9:24 AM  
Blogger aleah said...

Wow, thanks to you both. I had no idea how much discussion the topic can bring. I suppose we are all in the same proverbial boat: married/partnered, out of our wild years, domesticated (dare I say it?!). Hah.

Thanks to you both.

Kim, I had meant regulate my cycle. But I agree, I think that's as easy to do as flying to the moon on a paper plane. We shall see.

Blessings, and thanks to Terry for his bravery in approaching the subject. :-)

9:44 AM  
Blogger Terry said...

No worries, I wish I could write as well as Kim. Near you is a naturopathy clinic for women. I'll send you some contact stuff for a doctor there. she's one of my best friends and I've known her since I was 4 (I'll have to find your e-mail...).

10:27 AM  
Blogger aleah said...

Thanks, that sounds terrific. Send her contact info. :-)

11:02 AM  
Blogger June said...

This is an interesting post, because I´m married/partnered, out of our wild years, domesticated...and have have never experienced such sadness, although I absolutely can imagine and feel so sorry, Jane. However, that sadness wanted to remind you something and I´m sure you will find out what it was.
It took me 12 months till my body recovered from taking pills.
I also think you can not spoil anything with good herbs as it is written above, (herbal mixtures "for women", at least here in Germany they sell it under this name in nature stores :) ). I wish you lots of patience. You don´t need to be worried, you still have LOTS of time.
I read somewhere that if you want a child, you should buy something expensive which is not possible to use once you get pregnant - scuba-diving or horse riding course (pay for one year, in advance), 200 packages of pads, set of extremely tight jeans and similar. You can try if it works when you will be prepared physically/emotionally/spiritually/financially to start :).

12:33 PM  
Blogger June said...

Oh, I completely forgot - I fully recommend you constitutional homeopathy. There are remedies which help to purify body from toxins and get it to hormonal balance.

12:36 PM  
Blogger Owldaughter said...

Jane, I went through something very similar a month ago. After five years of marriage, my husband and I decided to officially begin trying for a baby at the beginning of August. We had chosen not to have a child earlier for the same reasons you cite: shoestring finances, no room, not mentally ready. Then, four days later... my clockwork-like period didn't show up. One week in, I used an expensive urine stick (gawd, love that phrase) and it indicated negative. The expected period still did not show. Two weeks late, I took another test; it was positive. We were stunned, scared, taken aback, and a bit spooked. That night, we talked about it, and slowly began to appreciate the idea.

And then, the next day, I began gut-wrenching and violent mensutruation. I normally have very light, gentle periods, but this was insane. And I, too, felt that sense of loss. Whether I was actually pregnant and my body decided that it wasn't a good idea, or whether my uterus had been in vacation mode and suddenly remembered that it had a schedule to keep and proceeded to keep it with overcompensating enthusiasm -- I felt simultaneously bereft, devastated, relieved, and a bit glad. We hadn't begun planning for it; we had only decided to start in a half-month's time. The idea hadn't completely settled in our minds when it happened. And then -- the new idea didn't have a chance to completely settle in our minds before it was taken away from us. Talk about a roller coaster of emotion!

So I understand your phantom child, despite not planning for it. And I understand your perplexity at your reactions. You are in my thoughts. I have no suggestions to regulate; it took me four months to wean off the pill lo these many years ago, as I wanted to have natural cycles once more, and it settled down quite reasonably. The one recommendation my doctor gave me was to sleep regularly, eat well, don't mess with your awake/asleep cycle, and be outside in natural light as often as possible. Leave a full-spectrum light on by your bedside for about five nights when you're about twenty-five days into what you think your cycle is, as some alternative practitioners believe that natural light helps stimulate menstruation. You might be one of the women who are sensitive to this.

Good luck!

6:18 AM  
Blogger aleah said...

I am always humbled by the thoughtful, beautifully written feedback I get. Thank you for this. I will definitely check out the natural light solution, as I am one who experiences SAD every winter in Toronto, so it would make sense that I am light sensitive.

Best wishes to you!

7:26 AM  

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