1. It stresses you out.
Possibly you’ve been dreaming of this day since you were young, possibly you’ve only recently come around to the idea. No doubt you’ve talked to yourself, your partner, the sales person at the sperm bank, and/or your friends. You’ve made the decision to bring a life into this heart-expanding, heart-cracking world. You’ve resolved to be an optimist, even if you’re not, because you can’t raise a well-adjusted child while believing everything’s the worst. Your glass is suddenly not only half full but totally full of a delicious beverage of your choice, preferably not coffee or alcohol, since you’re supposed to cut out such habits before you even start trying to get pregnant.
Only your brain didn’t get the memo. Bad thoughts crop up and creep in. Even if you’ve only been trying for a little while, you can’t help yourself (and well-meaning questions about the state of your womb from parents, in-laws, coworkers, and whomever else you’ve excitedly told about your big plans for down there aren’t helping either). All your energy is going to your uterus, leaving your mean little interior monologue unchecked. It asks, what the fuck is taking so long?
Unless your last name is Duggar, chances are you’ve spent most of your sexual life trying to avoid getting pregnant. Maybe you should have kept the one you got rid of. Maybe you should have had more sex, given how hard it often turns out to be to get knocked up, how tiny the window in which conception occurs. Maybe you should have stopped using birth control or smoking or fanatically exercising or being around plastic and/or doing everything else that decreases fertility sooner. Coulda, woulda, shoulda.
2. It makes you stare.
You become very interested in other women’s midsections. You try to be casual as you look for the telltale half-moon or full moon. Is she showing? Or just fat? Or just really, really fat? Trying to get pregnant makes you judgmental. And, depending on how long you’ve been trying, it can make you envious as well. You wonder, why has it happened for her and not for me? And again: what the fuck is taking so long?
Celebrity magazines make it worse, as they are wont to do, trumpeting the baby bumps of everyone from Kate to Kim to Fergie to Halle to Penelope to Jennifer. Standing in line at the grocery store, you can cut your eyes and still feel like a failure.
3.There’s a lot of peeing on sticks.
Think fast, ladies: do you know when you’re ovulating? No, well, there’s an app for that. And a kit and a calendar and a thermometer. You have to keep track of your period, take your temperature, pee on a stick or in a cup, learn to read your cervical mucus, learn to consider cervical mucus without getting skeeved out, calculate your optimal time(s) to get busy. If you want to increase your odds scientifically, that is.
And, when you at last believe yourself to be in the family way, you have to pee on, or into, still another object. Go ahead and invest in the jumbo size of hand sanitizer to keep nearby. Regardless of your flexibility or the length of your arms, you’re going to need it.
4. You become a hypochondriac.
Your body becomes a weird other being. You lose touch with it, even as you spend more time considering what it can (or can’t) do.
Pain in your back? Pregnant. Nauseous? Pregnant, no matter if you just washed down a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos with a liter of Mountain Dew. Craving Mountain Dew and Doritos? Pregnant.
Had a visit from the period fairy? You’re infertile. Or your partner is. You have cancer. Or your partner does. Or you both do, and perhaps brain tumors too. You have crappy ovaries. You have a blood clot in the fallopian tube. Suddenly you have thoughts containing the words “fallopian tube.”
We expect our bodies to do what we want when we want, because they generally have. So we bank on them to continue acting like a well-trained golden retriever, to heel or roll over or stay on command (and to have great hair). Here you are trying to conceive, after all, something that’s supposed to be natural and effortless, something our lady parts have evolved to do, something our very genes clamor for. But it turns out our bodies might be more like mules, stubborn and stupid. If you’re healthy and young, then trying to get pregnant might be the first time your body betrays you. Live long enough, and it won’t be the last.
5. Your grammar goes funny.
I am trying to get pregnant. Now that’s an unsexy phrase. We’re trying to get pregnant. If you’re lucky enough to be doing this with a willing partner, and you live in Brooklyn, say, or you went to a college everyone’s heard of, this is the phrase you’ll likely use. But really it’s you. Your oven, your bun.
Actually, though, you’re not trying to get pregnant, you’re trying to conceive, or TCC. No one loves an acronym like a would-be procreator. When you’re TCC, you need to track AF and BBT and do the BD with DH, assuming you’ve gotten the OK from the OPK saying your LH is kicking in and getting ready for the big O. Then you have to endure the 2WW before you can POAS and take an HPT, fingers crossed for a BFP, not a BFN.
Translation: when you’re Trying To Conceive, you need to track Aunt Flo and your Basal Body Temperature and do the Baby Dance with Dear Husband, assuming the Ovulation Predictor Kit shows evidence of Luteinizing Hormone, which appears as you’re getting ready to ovulate. Then you have to make it through the Two-Week Wait before you can Pee on a Stick and take a Home Pregnancy Test, hoping for a Big Fat Positive, not a Big Fat Negative. Yes, many people refer to sex as “baby dancing.” Yes, it’s all very heteronormative and gag-inducing. Oh, and the big O? It stands for ovulation, not orgasm.
On the plus side, trying to get pregnant means you’re giving the human race a great big vote of confidence and civilization a huge thumbs up. It links you to an impossibly long line of women, which might produce blissful brainwaves as you contemplate the oneness of all living things. It definitely makes you fill in the blanks of such statements as If that were my kid, I would ______________, I will never __________ like my parents did, and When my child is born, I promise to __________. And, of course, it means you get to have sex. Lots and lots of sex.