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LJ Idol week 7: Hope

It happens every month.  Every month, I hope, and wait.  Every month, I hope for blood.

This probably isn’t what you think it is. (Actually, I don’t have any idea what you might think it is.) This doesn't mean I eat meat (though I do) or that I am particularly violent (only in my thoughts).  It means that I am an adult woman in a loving and committed relationship who does not want to be pregnant. 

(Yes, this entry is going to be about menstruation. That time of the month. A visit from Aunt Flo. Riding the crimson tide. My period. If this topic freaks you out completely you are hereby excused.)

Of course I use birth control, so my cycle is chemically controlled to be regular.  You might guess that means there are no worries.  Sadly, in my brain there are always worries.  My particular form of birth control is 99% effective when used correctly.  But that 1% can loom large in your thoughts when you have a sudden random craving for ice cream, or your stomach just won’t settle for a few days in a row. The 1% factor makes me periodically reconsider using the only 100% effective means of birth control.  Then I remember that I don't have the willpower or desire for abstinence. So, worry it is.

See I might be ‘regular’ in my cycle, but it’s not clockwork.  There is one week ‘off’ from the hormones.  It's not until the fourth day of that week that my period will begin.  On the first day – I notice no differences.  On the second day I begin to cramp slightly, only for an hour or so at a time, just enough pain to remind me that my period is close to starting.  On the third day it's the same, but I begin to be a little nervous.  What if these cramps are something different?  What if something has gone wrong?  What if different hormones have taken over? What if (*whispers*) I’m pregnant?

On the fourth day my period begins, sometime between noon and 6am the next morning. That’s a large window of time.  In the months when I start early in the day, it's usually a touch surprising, and I am grateful to be done with the anticipation.  But in months when it comes later in the day– like this one – it is a waiting game. 

There are physical things that occur in the hours before I begin to bleed.  There is always a moment of pain so intense that it doubles me over and takes my breath away.  It only lasts for a few seconds. Then the cramps become a little more present. You would think once these things take place I would be reassured. Obviously I’m not pregnant, everything is going according to plan, and everything will be fine.

But there is a part of my brain that is still not convinced. 

Then finally, there is no doubt. I can’t have my period and be pregnant after all (Shh, I know there was probably that one time when someone’s sister’s cousin’s friend spotted a little but was pregnant and didn’t realize but I don’t need to go down that rabbit hole). I get a little giddy with relief, or maybe that’s the beginning of the blood loss. I let go of the worry that has been buzzing in the back of my mind for four days.  I am grateful that my body is functioning like it should. I am thrilled all over again to not be pregnant.

I am in love, but I am not ready to be a mother.  Every month I spend days with the anxiety that something will have gone awry, and that I'll be faced with a decision I am ill-equipped to make.  Every month, I hope for blood.




@@@This is my entry for week 7 of LJ Idol – the topic is Hope.  As always, I'll post a link to the poll on Friday once it is up.  Thank you for reading.@@@

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Great entry.

Good to see someone tackle this because that it is a hope that many women experience even with the 99%.

We also have such a strange relationship with menstruation which I am certain is a hang-over from times when it was considered 'unclean' (and still is in some quarters).

Thank you.

Yeah menstruation is an odd thing. This affects my boyfriend just as much as it does me, but we don't really ever talk about it. And think of how many euphamisms we still use instead of saying what it is.

*nodnod* Excellent tale on the topic... well written/expressed as well! Great job!

Thanks so much! Yeah, I figured I wasn't the only one in this particular boat.

Excellent entry! I think you took an interesting angle to this topic and wrote it well.

*Side note - today is my day four and I've been freaking out for two days. My birth control day changed from Friday to Sunday, so I'm used to getting it on Mondays, and when Wednesday came and went with nothing, I was really freaked out. Everything's ok now though :)

Thanks so much! Tuesday night when I *finally* started I thought 'duh, this is what I should write about'.

I hate that - when you've moved something by a day and aren't sure what to expect. And of course sometimes your body just decides to take its time. I'm glad your worry for the month is over.

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When I had to get my tonsils taken out in college one of the pre-tests they wanted to do was a pregnancy test. At the time I was still a virgin, so it was exceedinly unnecessary. But still I had to wonder just a little...

So glad you took a different take on this! It's a wonderful read. :)

Glad you enjoyed it. I had no ideas this week at all except this one.

You're definitely not alone in this hope. Good luck to you!

I thought I might find a few kindred spirits. Thanks!

And I love your icon.

I *wish* I was as regular as you.

The reason I started taking birth control pills however long ago was to become more regular. My boyfriend at the time and I were using condoms and a diaphragm and were doing just fine, but my cycle was anywhere from 4-7 weeks and that was driving me nuts.

Though when you know it's supposed to be starting and it hasn't quite yet I think the worry gets even worse.

Hehe, I wrote pretty much the exact opposite of this entry, but I can definitely relate because I've been there. Well-done.

Although "Every month, I hope for blood", I did immediately think you were talking about periods.

Heh - I haven't had a chance to start reading yet, but I'll look for your entry.

Yeah, I figured it was kind of obvious, but then there are a few boys and their brains may not jump straight there.

I love this entry - it encompasses a wide range of women and I'm sure most can identify with this. : )

Thanks so much. I think most women have had a 'yay I'm not pregnant' moment at some point in their lives.

Interesting take on the topic (grin) I used to be on a certain birth control med for five years, ... no period at all, but went off after side effects started to develop tat weren't good for me... now I am "regular" again... although, took a year before I finally got the period to appear... now that I am a regular "period" not on birth control, I take very powerful pain medication to sway the cramps I deal with that lasts approx. 12 hours on the first day. No fun being a woman sometimes!

I had no ideas until Tuesday night (my fourth day) and realized what I was hoping for. Heh.

I can't imagine having no period at all - though none of the cramping or headaches would be fabulous. I'm usually on ibuprofen for two days, and then I'm fine.

Thanks for reading!

Well done. I can identify.

Thanks. I figured a few folks out there would be able to relate.

Great take on the subject! When I went off the pill I skipped months a few times in the first year- talk about nerve racking! Even if I knew there was no way I was pregnant, I worried anyway!

Yeah I've wondered what being on birth control for 13 years means would happen if I stopped. Any time a period is skipped it messes with your head, no matter how unlikely pregnance is.

If I wasn't a lesbian, I'd be hoping the very same thing. Luckily, the kind of sex I engage in can't result in pregnancy, and I'm grateful for that. I'm not ready to be a mother either.

That does take one concern out of the mix. But yeah wanting to have sex with my partner is not the same as wanting to be a mommy.

Thanks for reading.

I have to admit that you've shown me a perspective I'd never considered. Even though I come from the opposite end of the spectrum, I sympathize with the monthly worry. I just worried the other way around is all. LOL

That's the thing - while we may be worrying about opposite things but we still both worry every month.

Thanks for reading!

It means that I am an adult woman in a loving and committed relationship who does not want to be pregnant.

That's exactly what I thought you meant.

Yeah, I think it was a bit more obvious than I thought. No one went with vampire.