11.15.15 – The pregnancy test

FullSizeRender copyA pregnancy test costs from sixteen to twenty dollars at the pharmacy.  For about five minutes, the weight of the entire world rests upon the moment after you piss on a stick and the five minutes you wait for one line or two. Then you do it again.  Get in the car, drive to the store, select a different brand, hand over twenty more, hope you don’t get stuck with the same clerk, drive home, drink three glasses of water and pee on another stick.  New brand soaks through with an affirmative “YES.”

For some women, I suppose this is a moment for celebration. For others, terror.   For me, shock along with some obscenities.  Disbelief.  Confusion.

What a curious device.  This plastic piece of overpriced garbage delivering the news that there’s life on other planets.  You can buy them at the dollar store.  I think you can also buy paternity tests at the pharmacy now.  Maury in your living room.  Did you know that Maury is still a thing?  It is.

I learned that sometimes women sell positive pregnancy tests on craigslist as a tool to manipulate men into staying in (presumably) unstable relationships.

In many ways, the pregnancy test is an emblem of momentous transformation. A plastic stick that holds within it a cosmos tunnel of what-nows, what-ifs and oh fucks. What power. Not inherently, but representatively so. The witch wand of motherhood.

4 thoughts on “11.15.15 – The pregnancy test

  1. I recall the horrifying moments leading up to results. The gut sinking feeling when you realize that the morning after pill didn’t work after all, after proceeding to have protected sex to have a malfunction. Having a girl who is no longer a friend in the same bathroom as you to find out both tests are positive, calling the “dad” at work after we broke up. This was back in 2001, and it was very hard to realize how segregated friends become due to the “choice”. Luckily, I was born with a very supportive mother. I look forward to reading more of your journey.

  2. I decided the second I saw those two lines that I was having an abortion. My boyfriend and I were in no place financially, and I had never wanted children, but my best friend decided that I needed (she needed?) to have the baby. She kept having me look at baby names, and talk about “what ifs”. It made the weeks while I was waiting for my appointment very confusing and put a massive strain on my relationship with my boyfriend (now husband). In the end she supported my decision, but she definitely did not help me make it.

  3. I’ll never forget the day I went to buy my test. I couldn’t remember even having the sex that got me pregnant, and it was with a guy who was supposed to be one of my closest friends (the whole experience has even made me question the idea of friendship.)
    When I was standing at the counter I whispered to the pharmacist “can I buy a pregnancy test?” Even then, the fear of judgement, without confirmation I was pregnant, totally overwhelmed me.
    And then I went home to pee on the stick and I spent the 2-3 minutes waiting time trying to fool myself that this wasn’t really happening to me.
    Then ‘Yes, 3+ weeks’ appeared. In that moment I strangely started to consider all the ways I could have felt before actually facing the way I did feel. My head went light and I was completely disgusted with myself. I also felt a passionate hatred for the guy who was just as much to blame as me.
    But I never doubted what I was going to do for a second. It wasn’t until after I’d gone through the abortion that I started to fantasise about life with a baby. The entire time I was pregnant I had a yearning to get rid of it and feel free in my own body again. And yet, somehow, I had these weird maternal instincts that would kick in every now and again – I didn’t want to drink because I wanted to protect whatever was inside me, even though I knew I’d be getting rid of it. The contrast freaked me out. I couldn’t balance my emotions. It’s hard to explain that to people.
    Even though you’re making this decision for yourself because you know it’s the right one, this tiny fetus is still a part of you and you can’t help but feel something for it.
    Before I found out I was pregnant I felt like my body was being invaded, and that ruthless invasion became most prominent when I read the ‘yes’ on the stick. Invasion. I think that’s the key word for me when describing my reaction to the test.

    thank you for doing this. I felt so alone the entire time I went through the procedure. People are cold and unhelpful. Sometimes I wonder how much peoples attitudes would have changed if I had kept it. I bet people who work on maternity wards aren’t anywhere near as unfriendly/unsupportive/uninformative as people who work in abortion clinics.

  4. OMG.
    I really admire you. Not only because (I known) you had to take a difficult choice… also because you had the guts to “expose” a very intimate episode of your life.
    Me and my boyfriend decided 4 years ago (I was 25) that we weren’t ready to be parents. I’m from Mexico… And believe me, talking about this theme is a taboo.
    Till now, any member of our families know about this because we know none of them were going to support our decision.

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