Warning: This Is My Scheduled Angry Time.

There are so many things that they don’t tell you about trying to make a baby. So. Many. Things.

For instance: It is actually quite spectacularly difficult to get pregnant. No kidding. All those years we spend trying desperately NOT to get pregnant, thinking that it’s just a simple Tab A to Slot B kind of venture – as it turns out, the odds of a sperm fertilizing an egg that then implants properly in the uterine lining and grows to term are astronomically low. The female reproductive system is in fact a finely-tuned sperm killing machine that will only allow this whole messy conception business to occur for a period of about 48 hours out of every month. Who knew? I didn’t, when two years ago we decided to start trying, threw away the condoms with joyous abandon and began rapturously bonking 47 times a day, savoring the thrill of danger because we were allowing these two highly radioactive agents – his sperm and my egg – to encounter each other unfettered. Pro-creation. Let’s fucking create some shit, baby.

And then the months go by and every time you’re sure it’s happened, your body feels full and ripe and ready and full of life and all your folic acid and prenatal vitamins and yoga and hydrating and what-the-fuck-ever is going to pay off and then pthfffft. That test comes up negative and the bleeding starts and the whole thing goes down the toilet with the sound of a raspberry blown by a David Lynch backwards-walking scary dwarf. Over. And over. And over.

And nobody tells you about the miscarriages. You hear about the rare example and it sounds properly gothic and bloody, replete with the rending of garments and the gnashing of teeth and the gathering of relatives by the bedside, like it must be this one-in-a-million kind of tragic misfortune that never actually happens to anyone you know.

In fact, a staggering number of pregnancies – 15% of all pregnancies in the US – end in miscarriage. They never tell you, for instance, about chemical pregnancy, which is basically a fertilized egg that begins to implant in the uterine lining but then, for some ineffable reason, stops. So you get a few days of positive pregnancy tests and then that little line gets fainter and fainter until it disappears entirely. The first time I got pregnant, in May of 2011, was a chemical miscarriage. I hadn’t ever heard of it, had no context or containment for such a thing. I was just pregnant and then not pregnant, and the OB brushed me off with impatience when I called and called and called for my hCG readings because I could not understand what had just happened. I had never heard of a 4 day pregnancy. You don’t, really.

And nobody tells you about what a later stage miscarriage feels like. I’m not really ready to tell about that either, but it seems like I’ll need to eventually because every month, every blood, I relive it. In my head and in my body, the shock and grief, the searing, shredding pain that grips you in all your limbs and pushes out the dead decaying thing that you’d already dreamt a life for, gone and slipping out and away, gone and gone and gone.

I’m not there yet.

And in the midst of it all, there is the anger. No one tells you about the anger. You walk around with it like a serpent coiled around your throat, like a pacing tiger that keeps everyone else at bay. You’re angry at women and at children, at people who try to give you advice and sympathy but end up sounding utterly asinine and heartless, at doctors, at advertising, at your family, at your spouse. You’re angry in the grocery store and at the mall, in movie theaters and in airports. You’re angry at the women who conceive despite meth, despite alcohol, despite rape and violence and war and prostitution and destitution, as if these are fabulous talents they are rubbing in your face to make you feel even more inadequate. And most cripplingly at yourself, at this body that has failed so completely to protect and nourish a life in the way that you believe other women’s bodies can. There’s self disgust, self punishment, the final triumph of every cruel internal voice that’s ever told you you weren’t good enough in the fanged and sleepless dark of night.

There’s all this that they don’t tell you.

Maybe because if you knew how much pain was in store you’d never open your legs.

I’m in a place of remapping right now, trying to find a way to live with all this instead of dying every month. I have to figure it out or I have to stop trying, because it is too much death time after time. And I have to find a way of feeling less alone in it. I know that if I feel alone in it, countless other women must feel alone in it too. I don’t know what else to do but write.

This morning, on the advice of a fellow therapist and feminist and thinker, I saw a new therapist who specializes in infertility issues. She suggested adapting the concept of “scheduling worry”, the idea that a highly anxious person might get some relief in their daily life by scheduling time to obsess and be anxious at strategic points in the day, when they’re doing something comforting or mindful, so that the worry doesn’t just rampage around taking everything hostage. Her idea was to have “scheduled angry time”, when I could focus all this anger and impotent rage into something creative. If not pro-creative, then at least creative.

So here it is. Thanks for listening.

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6 thoughts on “Warning: This Is My Scheduled Angry Time.

  1. This has been my big challenge too, “letting go” and being at peace. I jump around from sadness to anger to acceptance to indifference to hope. It’s a complete mind fuck, which then makes even angrier because I think if my mind is feeling so screwed up by it all, how the hell do I stand a chance of falling pregnant?

    • schrodingerscatbox says:

      Oh yes, and then you get the “Just relax and it will happen” shite that makes you want to gouge someone’s eyes out. Here’s my immunization – For millennia, women have been getting knocked up in the middle of war, famine, plague and pestilence, and any other Horseman you can throw out. Women have conceived while being repeatedly raped, while being beaten half to death by husbands, while watching children die, while hunkered in bomb shelters. Women conceive under stress. The idea that we are somehow “asking for it” by actually feeling the utterly unavoidable pain and tension of disappointments and loss is akin to telling us it’s our fault when we miscarry. Would you ever in a million years look at a woman who’s just miscarried and tell her it’s because she was just too high strung? No! Why on earth do we say this to ourselves??? I am just as guilty of it and I want to be rid of such fuckery. Let’s go on strike! No more blaming ourselves for infertility!!!!

      PS – Thanks so much for reading my blog. I’m really enjoying yours. 🙂

  2. gradualchanges says:

    I am right there with you… Thanks for sharing. It’s good to know we’re not alone.

    • schrodingerscatbox says:

      Nope! It’s been really cool to connect with women all over the world who are dealing with this every day. Hallelujah for technology, eh?

  3. Thumbalina says:

    I love the idea of scheduled anger sessions! I sit around and sulk far to often….even from the DAY I ovulate. I think over and over and over in my head, if there was anything else I could have done better….did I remember to take my vitamins each day, did I drink any alcohol (which is fucked up, because 1/3 of my graduating class got knocked up on a drunken one-night-stand at a bar), should I have slept with my husband at lunch rather than waited at night….its ludicrous, and it is driving me mad. Three years of trying, watching all your friends get pregnant (some deserving, others you wonder what loop-hole in the universe they slipped through to be able to conceive.) It’s starting to control my life for the worse. I’m definitely going to have to try scheduling anger/obsessive time, especially now that I am starting the two week wait!

    • Ha! I have been curious about those loopholes myself from time to time. I work with disadvantaged and at-risk children and families, and if you took all your data from that population you’d come away with the definite conviction that meth, tallboys and Pall Malls are THE most effective fertility aids you can possibly get your hands on. 🙂 I recently noticed that my life was beginning to revolve around all this crap as well – that’s why I started writing. Thanks for reading my rants! Good luck with that two week wait, sister.

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