Ok, I admit it. Sometimes, I pretend, imagine, even let myself believe that, against all odds, I could be pregnant. Most of the time, it’s just a fleeting thought; sometimes it lasts up to a few days. Sometimes – and this part is shameful and expensive – it even leads to the taking of pregnancy tests.
In spite of what I’m discovering about my lack of a body-mind connection in therapy, since my actual pregnancy, I sometimes feel like I’m over-aware of my body and its sensations. An unfamiliar stomachache, a few days of exhaustion, a particularly suspicious bloating – all of these can lead me to wonder about the state of my uterus. Most of the time, that nagging voice in the back of my mind just annoys me: “Of course I’m not pregnant,” I tell her. “Why do you insist on taunting me like this?” But occasionally she convinces me to check my IUD, to reach into my own vaginal canal and poke around at my cervix in search of Mirena’s fishing-line-like string. And then there have been the occasional HPTs (and I do mean occasional – two in two years), each coming back with, as they call it in the infertility blogging community, a BFN: Big. Fat. Negative.
I am more than aware of the existence of a psychosomatic condition called a hysterical pregnancy, in which a woman’s body will mimic pregnancy symptoms when no conception has occurred, because of its timely appearance on Grey’s Anatomy a few years ago. And I’ve added it to my list of diseases that give me hypochondriac leanings (along with diabetes) – which beggars the question, is it possible to imagine you have an imaginary condition?
In any case, I don’t think I can label my days of imagined pregnancy as actual hysterical pregnancies. I don’t think it’s my desire to have a baby causing the symptoms, so much as the otherwise-unrelated symptoms inspiring a sort of fantasy. And, I suspect, this embarrassing tendency may even be good for me.
Because what happens during these days is that I take a little better care of myself, just in case. I look at my profile in the mirror, sticking my stomach out as far as I can, and I tell myself, “One day I’m going to look like this.” It’s not a question, or a prayer, it’s a statement of fact, from a voice of reason living deep within me.
And when that first, obnoxious voice asks, “What if it’s today?”, the second responds calmly, “Not today. Someday.” And then, though only for an instant, in the mirror with my projected belly, I know that everything is going to turn out all right.