On the Pregnancy Scare
April 13, 2010 1 Comment
As of yesterday I was thirteen days late and feeling, as Rizzo so memorably put it in Grease, like a defective typewriter. Though I’m predictably and chronically late to all my scheduled engagements, I’ve been outfitted with a punctual uterus. My periods tend to be short-lived and relatively easy to live with, although I sometimes wonder if my cramps predict the pain in the ass the unimplanted egg would have been.
When the days go by unpunctuated, I start to wonder. I toy with pregnancy but it’s thoroughly abstract, the way I think about winning a football game or sinking a yacht. You can wonder what it would be like to be a Filipino sock merchant, but you’ll probably never be one. In the wonderful world of reproduction and its repression, no such probability exists. The odds are wild and woolly, and no matter how good your Dutch book, your bookie will probably win. You might be sterile. You might be pregnant. You might have eaten too much mandarin chicken.
The pregnancy scare is a funny non-event: a certain amount of time passes, and purely because it has passed, you have to consider—even if you don’t say it out loud—that you might have an infant. You have to ponder the possibility of an abortion. You consider folic acid and coffee and ohmygosh did you take ibuprofen and what if that harms the fetus but wait—do you even want it—and does it even exist anyway—and what about that red-headed stepchild you undernourish already, your work?
Thirteen days and suddenly partner, that ambiguous word for the person with whom you have just triumphantly made quiche, is an acronym for parent with a silent “r”. How silent do you keep the r? This is one of the biggest talks. Is it even worth having, since this is possibly a big bowl of LifeChange but more probably nothing at all? And is a morning-after pill appropriate just in case? But what if it’s teratogenic? Can you want both a morning-after pill and a healthy baby?
The answer, of course, is of course! This is what the Pregnancy Scare is: a bizarre airport in a country you don’t know where you spend a few hours or days, laying over, not really being able to say you’ve been, never having exited the building, but neither can you say you haven’t memorized the exit routes and all the murals on the walls.
Fondly, and out the gate,