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.@@@