I remember girlfriends 25 years ago who were terrified that they might be pregnant. I don’t remember at-home pregnancy tests being an option but I don’t recall if that was because they didn’t exist, did exist but were too expensive or our parents might find it in our room or the trash or hear about it from so-and-so who heard it from Myrtle who worked at the town’s pharmacy. Our hardships were great back then: imagine a world with no Walmart or CVS on every corner and . . . my hand is shaking as I type this on my tablet . . . the internet did not exist. These girls willed themselves to feel something going on down there and every false alarm kicked the sheer terror up an unbearable notch.
I remember girlfriends 15 years ago who wanted nothing more than to have a baby. I remember at-home pregnancy tests and trips to the bathroom that both ended in heartache. There were tests and samples collected, at-home injections and the physical act of love turned into a highly regulated and timed event. These ladies and their gentlemen willed themselves to create a new life and every false alarm kicked the sheer despair up an unbearable notch.
I now know girlfriends who no longer plan their vacations around a 28-day cycle because there is no rhyme or reason to when it will happen but they do know that when it does it will be as though the monthly occurrences of their last 30 years have all shown up at once. Children had or not had, these women will themselves to be done with this suffering and what seems to be the betrayal of a vessel designed to create human beings. Every surprise is a bad one and kicks the countup calendar back to Day 1.
I had heard that some women are sad to realize their childbearing years are over but my girlfriends and I all just want it to be over when the time comes. And it has. Period.