Only 8 days after ovulation, it could be my 5th baby, my 6th pregnancy, and I started peeing on a stick. all sticks. I couldn’t wait to find out if I was pregnant again. No. I was officially a POAS addict, which stands for Pee on a Stick Addict, a term fertility moms throw up online that they call the VVVVF line (very very faint line) I realized that I was staring at something.
I analyzed it from several different perspectives — was I pregnant? Of course, I couldn’t wait a few days when the test instructions advised me to test again, but I waited until that night. I looked at the bathroom counter strewn with tests and packages, was shocked by the results, and vowed to be a little less nervous this time around. Except for testing, I glanced at it every time I went to the bathroom to convince myself that this was real.
My stick peeing habit is one of the many things women do when faced with fertility issues to calm themselves, get more informed, and connect with the rainbow baby they are carrying through their anxiety. Just one of those weird but somehow logical things. After finally reading the word “pregnant” on a digital test, you’d think I’d calmed down a bit. Then we moved on to the second stage, compulsive wiping. Sorry TMI but this is where I spend way too much time going to the bathroom looking for blood that reminds me I had a sudden miscarriage at 11 weeks but later that the baby died at 8.5 I found out about the week. In retrospect, if I had noticed the signs, I wouldn’t have been happily announcing my pregnancy and buying her maternity clothes for her three weeks. So I was frequently returning to the bathroom to check for signs of trouble. This interrupts gym classes, evening shows with her husband, and work for the rest of the first semester.
All of this sounds like unresolved trauma, but right after and after my miscarriage, I would say that I did a lot of work with a trusted therapist to deconstruct the many emotional levels of losing a baby. Glad… But those two pink lines still got me back in some tough spots.
I went out to dinner with my husband and some friends and midway through my first semester I was very uncomfortable with my bulging belly and pants which I thought wouldn’t be a problem until I sat down. So I popped into a nearby Target for maternity pants, changed them in the bathroom, and headed out with new, looser jeans. All of this could have largely been avoided if I had allowed them to dig out and set up the two bins of maternity clothes they already owned in the basement. I won’t be able to do that until the second half of my first semester.I had two ultrasounds and decided it was time. What remains at the waistline is a relief.
Maternity clothing superstitions don’t just break the box. I didn’t realize it yet when I lost my baby, so I wore her dress for New Year’s Eve maternity. It’s a complete tragedy because it fits. But as if with all the pain of announcing a pregnancy I didn’t know was over, I can’t wear it again. I guess.
I was mourning the carefree pregnancies I had when I was younger, without actually experiencing any miscarriages or complications. But now I realize that there is profound beauty and miracle in every pregnancy, even an anxiety-filled one. And having a perinatal therapist on speed dial clears up a few cobwebs when it comes to all things fertility, pregnancy, birth and postpartum. It was useful for
In my first pregnancy after a miscarriage, I was pretty self-judgmental about these myths and behaviors. Instead of worrying about peeing on too many sticks, budget some for pregnancy tests, use them in a way that feels appropriate, and move on. When it’s too tight, let go of the superstition and wear maternity pants. But most of all, learning a few mantras from other mothers with fertility issues helps me appreciate every day of my pregnancy instead of fearing the terrible consequences. It gives me strong concentration throughout the first semester.
Alexandra Frost A Cincinnati-based freelance journalist, content marketing writer, copywriter and editor with a focus on health and wellness, parenting, real estate, business, education and lifestyle. Away from the keyboard, Alex, who is also the mother of her four sons under the age of seven, offers chaotic, fun and interesting. Over her decade, she has helped publications and companies connect with their audiences and deliver quality information and research in a friendly voice. She has been published in The Washington Post, Huff Her Post, Glamour, Shape, Parents Today, Readers Her Digest, Parents, Women’s Health, and Insider.
Alex holds a master’s degree in education and a bachelor’s degree in mass communication/journalism from the University of Miami. She has also taught in a high school specializing in media education for 10 years.