When my period was a few days late, I noticed right away and immediately went into pregnancy scare mode. Normally it showed up like clockwork after years on The Pill. In fact, it was so regular that all of my female friends synced up to me, so that the last week of every month we all menstruated collectively. I was the anchor period. So when I was a few days late, I felt uneasy immediately. At first I made excuses and flattered myself by pretending I had just been working out too much, but at the week mark, I decided to take a test. Luckily, I had a Costco pack of pregnancy tests under my sink (purchased after my first pregnancy scare in high school when I left school at lunch to buy and take a test in CVS—I figured from then on I’d just rather be prepared). I peed on the test and tried to distract myself during the longest two minutes of my life. After two minutes, I checked the test. It said positive. I took another. FUCK.
I immediately called my doctor and set up a blood test for that afternoon. As the phlebotomist started taking my blood, she brightly asked
“Are you hoping to be pregnant?” I passed out before I could answer. It was a Thursday afternoon, and the following Monday was a holiday, so I was told that I’d get my results on Tuesday. TUESDAY. That’s five days of agonizing questions, fear, and waiting.
At this point in my life, I was an underemployed freelance graphic designer barely making rent and dodging calls from my student loan collectors. I wasn’t ready to have a child nor was I prepared to support one.
So I spent five days agonizing over how to handle it, bouncing back and forth between the following 10 thoughts during my pregnancy scare:
1. Maybe I will keep it.
I like kids (if they are adorable or say funny and insightful things), and I want to make a few of my own demon spawn one day. I figured this might be my chance to be a hip cool young mom who didn’t say things like “Email your sister’s phone and ask her what kind of ipod bumper she wants,” by which my own mother meant to say “Text your sister about a new case for her laptop.” I struggle a lot with trying to figure out where/when children will fit in with my grand life plans, and I figured maybe an unplanned pregnancy would make the decision for me.
2. Should I have an abortion?
I’m so pro-choice that I’ve been known to say “I love abortion” in normal conversation. When I had my first pregnancy scare as a terrified-as-shit seventeen-year-old, I didn’t even consider any options besides an abortion. I didn’t want to be pregnant, and I could make it so. In all the back and forth crazed thoughts, having an abortion seemed like the most reasonable thinghttps://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/abortion to do.
3. Is my boyfriend a person I want to have babies with?
My boyfriend and possible impregnator, Jordan Catalano, and I had at that point been together for about six years, and I was and am basically completely obsessed with him both in a love and sex type of way. Facing the very real possibility of starting a family together in nine months was terrifying, but also had the side benefit of confirming that he is the dude I want to do that with. He was supportive, calm, and communicative during the entire waiting period. If I was going to have an unplanned pregnancy, he was the guy to put it in me.
4. Could I be nurturing?
For a 20-something who makes her living as a writer, I sort of have my life in order. I own four different bras and I cook dinner most nights a week, with enough leftovers to take to work the next day. I like caring about people. But our windows don’t have screens and I love alcohol. Who do I even talk to about getting screens?
5. WE WILL HAVE TO MOVE TO THE SUBURBS
I don’t know if you know, but kids are expensive as shit and I really wanted to save up for a fifth bra. Given my state of employment at the time, I couldn’t imagine supporting a kid. My boyfriend and I would have to move to Chino (a shitty suburb near where he used to work) so we could save money on gas and rent and provide for a child on our anemic salaries. There would be no money for childcare. We would live in the Inland Empire and probably do meth – so yeah, I hope this is just a pregnancy scare.
6. Stop googling abortion stories.
You might find yourself in an internet black hole of awful anti-choice propaganda, spewing stories of women’s lives ruined by their abortions which even though you know is bullshit is very difficult to take in when you’re considering an abortion yourself.
7. We are not getting married.
I’ve never, ever felt like marriage has to come before babies in any capacity, and that a pregnancy means you have to quickly get yourself down an aisle. My family might clutch their pearls, but I don’t even know if I ever want to get married. Screw you and your potential judgement of my imaginary future family.
8. How will we support it?
Must I turn tricks? My tits are 8s and my ass is a 10 but I won’t do any butt or foot stuff.
9. What would this do to our relationship if we kept it?
Even though I had decided that my boyfriend is exactly the person I want to make some people with, I wasn’t ready for our screwball romance to end. We already have to talk about the electric bill and once he had to go out and buy me tampons, so I’m really hanging onto the magic by a thread as it is.
10. HOW COULD THIS HAPPEN? We had been so careful (sort of).
Perhaps we had gotten a bit too comfortable with our birth control routine, given that I was on The Pill and after years of doing it to each other we had never had a problem. I scanned my brain for every time we had done it without a condom in the last month and mentally tore myself apart. Guess who now has a box of condoms from Costco in her nightstand? This guy. I bought it from the same Costco where I had bought all those pregnancy tests.
When Tuesday rolled around, I ignored all of my clients and waited by the phone thanks to this pregnancy scare. By 3pm, I was jumping out of my skin and called the doctor’s office, who had forgotten to call me. Fantastic. It turned out that I was not pregnant. It was wildly anticlimactic since I had spent five days completely reevaluating my life and trying to decide what I would do, and then BOP I wasn’t pregnant. Thank you, universe.
Agonizing over having to make hard decisions is a lot easier than actually having to make those decisions, and I felt lucky that I had the luxury of going back to my irresponsible, selfish life. Hopefully the next time I take a pregnancy test I’ll be hoping for a different result, but I’m gratified to know I’ve got a good partner either way, and I now feel unexpectedly excited to try and make some kids with him. As it turns out, true love might be saying “I wouldn’t mind if you knocked me up.”
(originally published on Nov 1, 2013)