by MARIANA RYAN
As I reach for the tampons, it becomes clear that yet again I have failed, failed at something that humankind has succeeded at, so successfully, for millions of years.
The Creature is restless…
Day one is met with excited apprehension but quickly turns to dread and spirals into a frightful scene. To those who have bore witness to such a scene there is nothing more startling or disturbing than the sight of a woman crying on the bathroom floor, pregnancy test in hand. She’s the type of creature that couldn’t give a shit if her hair, after somehow becoming grotesquely matted by her snot, stuck to her face and strangled any human-like characteristics she may have once possessed.
Few people have ever witnessed such a phenomenon, as they are a secretive and solitary being. But, in bathrooms around the world, make no mistake, this creature exists. She is sad, lonely, frustrated and in the few minutes it takes to pee on a stick and for a line to appear (or not) she has lost all her social graces. She makes painful audible gasps, tears stream down her face and while nobody is watching she falls desperately to the tiles, clutching, possibly even clawing at her stomach wailing.
She is an enigma and in fact has only minutes, if not seconds to live, because in order for her to function she has to evolve, she doesn’t have the luxury of dwelling in her sadness, of allowing her misery to consume her. The world outside her bathroom won’t understand her disappointment. To them, 28 days is a blink of an eye, to her 28 days is an eternity; an eternity that ends with the same ritual month after month, her, clinging a plastic stick, wailing on the bathroom floor like a lunatic.
Often partners, or close friends of these creatures believe that their loved one, even though they are forging through the jungle of infertility, are handling it really well and they would never be so undignified as to lose their shit over a pregnancy test. It seems cruel to burst their perfectly formed bubble of ignorance but whether they have witnessed it or not, I can guarantee that ANY woman who is trying to conceive has morphed into the dismal pregnancy test creature, even if it is only for a fleeting moment.
Some, those who obviously possess a will power above and beyond mine, don’t find themselves cradling their betraying womb on the bathroom tiles, but I am positive they do think about it. I know that their creature is lying, waiting just below the surface and if it isn’t this month or this day, there will be a time when the relentlessness of this journey will awaken the beast.
Regardless of whether a woman trying to conceive is able to stifle the creature within and maintain some dignity, her end of month ritual, quite honestly, is alarmingly universal and pedestrian. Her eyes will fill with tears as she throws the horribly accurate pregnancy test, that moments before was the key to her happiness, across the room. There is tightness in her chest and a horribly nauseous feeling rolling up her throat.
Two minutes ago she would have welcomed the nausea with open arms, as it was surely a sign that this month she would be pregnant. Now though, she realises it wasn’t morning sickness but another stealthy ruse by the infertility phantom, a cruel slap in the face, as if finding out she is not pregnant just wasn’t enough.
The cramps she felt, two minutes ago, were the light pulls of an embryo snuggling its way into her uterus; now they are throbbing pains of PMS. Her headache, moments ago, was surely a sign of hormones gathering and preparing for pregnancy; now, a thundering migraine of discontent.
Oh, and not to forget the implantation spotting she noticed only yesterday, that has now, since peeing on a stick, been confirmed as the onset of yet another unsuccessful menstrual cycle. Nothing slams your head against the hard brick wall of reality like a period!
Mariana Ryan is a 32 year old English teacher, living in Brisbane. Her journey along fertility’s path was a tumultuous one but the dark and frustrating days of her past now pale in the shadows of the jubilant ones. Her two beautiful children are testament to the fact that the quest is always worth it.
Are you, or is someone you know, struggling to get pregnant?