Wednesday, March 4, 2009


When I was in high school, I had the unpleasant experience of having to take the morning-after pill. I was a very naive 17 years old. It was during a rather unfortunate relationship, I was very obviously not on The Pill, and I was really uncomfortable with the entire situation. Not to mention totally freaked out. The people at Planned Parenthood were very wonderful and non-judgmental (and in fact after that visit and various other more routine visits when I was a low-income recent grad, I vowed to go back one day and make a big donation). Nonetheless, taking the morning-after pill seriously sucked.

For starters, I puked violently after the first dose, forcing my friend's parent to pull over the minivan in which we were driving on our way to a day of skiing at Tahoe so I could be miserable by the side of the road. I took that as a sign that the medication was probably no longer in my stomach, which indicated I needed to take it again. I no longer recall how long I was sick due to those pills, although I do seem to remember enjoying at least part of a sunny afternoon in the mountains. It was rather uncomfortable to have everyone worrying about me, wondering whether it was the flu, or motion sickness, or something I ate, when I knew exactly what it was the whole time, but was not at liberty to say. I grew up quickly that day.

That little lesson made a huge impression on me. It made me even more wary of my relationship with my now-ex (a relationship I finally ended at least 6 months later, not having had the spine to say "no" to way too many things until I left for college). It made me wary of the choices I was making in my life, or rather the choices I was letting other people make for me. It definitely made me think about having children, at least to the extent that my naivete allowed (being from a small family, I had no experience with pregnant women or babies outside of occasional babysitting). It also reinforced, as it would with any young girl that age in our society, the lesson I had learned from school and church and parents and everyone else that JUST ONE MISTAKE could RUIN MY LIFE. That a baby is an unwanted thing, and that ceasing to be vigilant for 10 minutes would automatically produce one.

Getting older and growing wiser and a lot more aware managed to only partially change my thinking. I began to understand that a baby is NOT an unwanted thing, but a blessing and one of the greatest joys in life. Somehow, I didn't make the connection that due to the sacred status of creating a new life, it might not be so easy as ceasing to be vigilant for 10 minutes.

Of course, after my first incredibly disappointing month of ttc, I've progressed through all the stages most infertiles go through (based on my own opinion), and I'm currently at the one that I think we tend to fall back on frequently - bitterness.

UNLIKE many other infertiles, I so far don't blame myself. I don't think my wishing and hoping and praying not to be pregnant when I was 17 years old caused God to curse me now. I certainly don't think that I'm being punished for being less than perfect, for making the wrong choices in life, for not being religious and going to church, or for anything else. (Despite this, I DO find myself sometimes bargaining with God or the Great Being or whoever, promising to be a better person if I can just get pregnant).

No, I think this is all random luck, just as the person who gets cancer or suffers a miscarriage did not in any way do anything to bring bad luck upon herself. Whether it's random luck that we cannot seem to get pregnant for unknown reasons, or random luck that there actually IS something wrong with one or both of us that modern medicine cannot detect - either way, I think it's random.

Unfortunately, I also think it's damn unfair.

1 comment:

  1. Wow - great post. I remember how FREAKED OUT I was about the possibility of getting pregnant before we got married, and now I look back at my obsessive-birth-control-taking and laugh. Sometimes bitterly. I agree completely with the randomness of it all. Oddly, I find that somewhat reassuring; that it isn't about finding fault, but finding a way through it.


Thanks for sharing your thoughts!