“Trying”–then waiting. (part I)

June 30, 2007

This post was so long, I had to split it in half! Here’s part one.

Based on various physical signals that I won’t detail here, I’m pretty sure I ovulated this week, most likely Wednesday. Which means that I have begun what those in the TTC know call the two-week wait, 2WW for short (there is more esoteric jargon involved in this baby-making process than in any dull academic tome, and believe me, I am well-acquainted with dull academic tomes).

Now, despite my new ob-gyn’s lack of interest in the months of basal body temperature charts that I brought her a few weeks ago, I know from these long months of charting that my 2WW is usually considerably less than two weeks long, because my luteal phase (LP) tends to be around eleven days rather than the fourteen days that is considered typical. You’d think that would make the wait a little less excruciating, but each month it still ends up being the longest eleven days of my life. Even worse is when I miscalculate my ovulation date, or when for some other reason my LP stretches out an extra day or two, leading me to think I might be pregnant–only to end in my period, again.

But I have to say, this “baby wait” stuff is wholly unfamiliar to me as a black woman (dare I speak “as a black woman” on this blog? Take it with the caveat/disclaimer that I know my experience is only my own, and does not necessarily apply to any and all black women out there). The concept of “trying” for a pregnancy was not something I really understood until recently. Up until last year, pretty much everyone I knew with kids got pregnant by accident, and usually at the most inconvenient time or with the most incompatible partner possible. Even the married or almost-married people I knew who turned up pregnant were surprised by it.

As such, it never occurred to me that black people “tried” to have kids. Although I know a few black women who’ve had abortions, I know twice as many who were surprised by a pregnancy and decided to keep the baby, whether that baby arrived in the middle of our senior year of college, in the middle of a doomed relationship, or in the middle of complicated career plans. Maybe it shouldn’t be so surprising–African American culture tends to see children as gifts from God, new life as something to be embraced, not necessarily planned. Much of this is surely the longstanding influence of Christianity, but part of it may go back even further, to traditional African notions of kinship, in which children are viewed as literal wealth.

Blah freaking blah. Sorry, I seem to have lapsed into college professor mode without realizing it–end historical lecture. Whatever the lurking sociocultural reason, in my 20s I didn’t realize there were scores of women out there working at getting pregnant.

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