The first time I thought I might be pregnant I wanted to just know one way or the other. So, I started googling “how to tell if you’re pregnant” and “could ____ mean I’m pregnant?” These questions led me to message boards and down the rabbit hole of a myriad of abbreviations like 5dpo (five days past ovulation). I was searching for certainty just like every other woman on those sites. I wanted to know if I was pregnant. I wanted someone to give me certainty in the midst of so much uncertainty.
Googling does not help
I’ll fill you in on a little secret… googling does not bring certainty. I know, it surprised me too! 😉 No, googling only brought more questions and more links and more know-it-alls who in fact know nothing at all. If anything, googling made me less certain. I was questioning every twinge and cramp and emotion and discharge. Maybe this means I’m pregnant? *opens Google*
Eventually I had to stop. No amount of searching was going to answer my questions. No one on those message boards would have the certainty I yearned for. I wasn’t going to find what I needed on the internet.
Infertility is full of uncertainty
Infertility is full of so much uncertainty. Will I ovulate this month? Why is my period so light? Why am I getting cramps now? What if we missed the ovulation window already? If I get pregnant next month then the baby will be born in that month and then… I mean it goes on and on.
Health class made getting pregnant seem so easy. Like, if you sat on the toilet seat wrong you’d get pregnant. It doesn’t appear to work that way…
Searching for certainty
This global pandemic we’re currently facing is reminding me of those early days of trying to conceive. I turn to Twitter searching for certainty. Maybe so and so knows when we can leave our houses again. Maybe such and such will tell me when I can go hug my family.
Maybe reading what other people have to say about the president will make me feel better. Maybe knowing what the current death toll is will bring this into perspective. Maybe scrolling and scrolling and scrolling will bring me some certainty in a time when absolutely nothing is certain.
Here’s what I’m learning: searching for certainty only brings more questions and uncertainty. I can scroll all day long and I promise you, it doesn’t help. I’m learning to get comfortable with the uncertainty. Instead of scrolling for 30 minutes, I limit it to 15 (I’m not a superhero, folks!) and then I pick up a book or I go for a walk or I sew.
I won’t find certainty on Twitter or NBC or Instagram or whatever else the internet has to offer. I won’t find certainty in a book or on a walk or at my sewing machine either. However, at least those non-internet options feed my soul. They calm my brain and remind me that I’m safe. Choosing not to scroll means choosing my mental well-being over my desire to know all the answers, which won’t be found by scrolling anyway.
It was never a given
Four years ago I was planning out my life every month based on the hope that during my next cycle I’d get pregnant. I was certain that I’d get pregnant and we’d have a baby the following year. I had no doubts. It wasn’t long before I learned that was not going to be how my story went.
Just six weeks ago I was planning out my life, by the day. I knew when I would fly to LA and when I would drive to Chicago. I knew my work obligations and was starting to plan a summer vacation. It’s amazing how my life can go from “I can’t wait to travel in a few weeks” to “I have no idea when I’ll be able to travel again.”
Nothing was ever certain, if we’re going to be completely honest about it. Nothing is ever a given. However, we lived under the impression that things were certain and that it was all a given.
If you need me, I’ll be over here pretending that I’m not searching for certainty while scrolling through Twitter, that “I’m just curious.” We all know that’s not true…
Be gentle with yourself and with each other. We are all searching for certainty in our own ways.
2 thoughts on “Searching for Certainty”
Thank you for this post, Anne. This pandemic is bringing back old feelings–uncertainty for one. Also, isolation & anxiety. Though I am sorry that you are struggling, as well, it does bring some comfort to know I’m not in this alone. To know that others feel this way, too. Sending you hugs…
Thankfully we have good coping skills to work through our feelings. It always feels better to know we aren’t alone ❤️