the pause before a period

bookidle- lucyIn Lucy, Jamaica Kincaid’s protagonist is in the early days of adolescence and experiencing a lot of angst. One of the many sources of which was having a period. Those who have or currently menstruate will be familiar with the discomfort, inconvenience, the pain. One woman I worked with said she welcomed and celebrated her period. It  was for her a reminder of her fertility. I’m not trying to have children, so for me that excitement isn’t there. In Lucy, the mother of the protagonist warns/ predicts…

“finding blood in [your] underpants might be something one day [you] would get down on [your] knees and pray for” (69)

… and let me tell you truer words were never written.

Chris Rock has a hilarious joke (@3:25). He says, “you’re young and you date what do you do? You go to the movies, you go get pizza, you have sex, what else? You wait for periods.” He’s very right. If you’re young, single, fertile, having straight sex, and not planning on having children any time soon I’m willing to bet pregnacny young wocyou’ve had a pregnancy scare.

Owing to my hypochondriac ways I’ve had a couple pregnancy scares myself. Oftentimes not justified: I’m a stickler about safer-sex.  I always use condoms and am often on the birth control pill. But let me tell you, nothing puts fright in me more than, the thought, “shouldn’t I have had my period by now…”

And then rings true the words of Jamaica Kincaid, everyday you wait for finding blood in your underpants… oh what a blessing. What activities do you engage in? This is my usual modus operandi

  • calendar checking
    • when was my last period? I’ve never been good about tracking my cycle. So I end up having to try to remember what was going on in my life- events and activities when I last had my period and work back from there. I actually once convinced myself I was pregnant because I’d gained some weight even though it had been 9+ months since I’d had sex. #hypochondriaisreal
  • decision making
    • should I buy a pregnancy test?
      • Surprisingly I never have. My period has always come before I get that scared. That said, I know many a friend who has a pregnancy test hidden somewhere in her house just in case.
    • when should I tell him?
      • When you’re one day late? When you’re 10 days late? When you get two lines on the pregnancy test? Now I’m definitely torn on this one. I’ve never discussed my anxiety with anyone I’ve had sex with with because nothing makes me worry more than other people worrying with me. But I remember watching a sitcom where a character had a pregnancy scare and she said she was telling him because there was no reason she should be the only one stressed about something they were both responsible for. To each his or her own.
    • what would I do?
      • Because I’m a dilly-dallier it would definitely be too late for the morning-after-pill which leaves abortion on the table. I’m as pro-choice as they come but in these parts of the world (English-speaking Caribbean) save a few territories it is actually illegal. So that leaves finding a doctor who will (there are many) and considering his or her reputation. Talk about stress. #awkwardconversation
  • and thankfully all my stories have ended with great relief.

Hopefully we’ll all have/do an appreciation for the irony when there’s a shift in our desire to have children and we then start cursing the blood lining our underpants.

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Comments on: "the pause before a period" (2)

  1. pieces2peace said:

    I used to always have a pregnancy test on hand. Hypochondriac too, I can not have sex for 7 months and swear I’m pregnant for no other reason than watching an episode of “I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant”

    And I love how we refer to it as hypochondria… is pregnancy a serious illness?

  2. That show was evil. Talk bout panic inducing.

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