Confession time. When we were trying to conceive I was one of those women who tested early. Like really early. Like 6 days past ovulation early. A friend told me that I was addicted to peeing on things. I guess I thought it would change something if I found out earlier. I guess I was just a glutton for punishment. Spoiler alert: I never saw a second line on any test, ever, no matter how many days past ovulation I took it. As the months turned in to a year and then years early testing led to anxiety heartbreak, with each month worse than the last. Sometime late into the second year I stopped because it just wasn't worth it. Anyway, as a result of my (embarrassing) early testing, I'm somewhat of an expert on pregnancy tests. I can tell you which are the most sensitive, which are the best deal, debate the merits of pink dye versus blue dye, etc.
Sunday I was in my local big box store doing some shopping. I was standing in the razor aisle trying to remember which kind of blades that hubs uses (I am strongly encouraging him not to participate in No Shave Novembeard....). As I'm standing there, I'm cursing under my breath, at myself because I didn't write down what kind before I left the house, and also because those darn things are expensive. In my peripheral vision I see a early 20s woman standing directly across the aisle staring at the pregnancy tests looking confused. I wanted to be anywhere else. So I sent hubs a quick text asking him to reply with the type of blades he needed and then tried to get out of that aisle quick to continue with my shopping.
But before I could get out of there I hear "I'm really sorry to bother you, but....". Full stop. I wasn't fast enough. Fuck. I turn around to face her and she shyly asks me which pregnancy test is best. I asked her how early she was testing. She looked at me like I had three heads. I asked her if she had missed her period. Looking at me like I was completely crazy, she give me an exasperated "yes, I was supposed to get it last weekend!" So I told her that any of them would work. At this point I thought the conversation would be over. But no, she asked me which one I would pick. So I told her that if I were picking out a pregnancy test and I had already missed my period that I would just grab the cheapest one and be done with it. So she grabbed the cheapest test and thanked me for my help. I told her that I hoped it turned out like she wanted (based on her anxiety level, I predict that she was hoping to see one line, but I have a feeling there were two).
On the drive home a couple of things occurred to me. First, that it is the norm to assume that every 30something woman would have knowledge of pregnancy tests, likely because they are a parent. And second, how different the infertility experience is from the normal experience and that most people don't even begin to think that they're pregnant until they've missed a period and would never dream of testing before a missed period.
It was a difficult weekend with reminders all over the place of the life that will never be mine. Trick-or-treat, my pregnant sister's baby shower planning party (which I did not go to!), because apparently that's a thing now, and a family friend and his wife had their baby (cue throw-up-in-my-mouth worthy Facebook posts about parenting being the most perfect thing ever). I'm ok. I handled it. These days I'm having an easier time dealing with these things as they come up, even if a bunch comes up at once. I seem to be able to separate the randomness of fertility, meaning that I can accept that their children/babies/pregnancies have nothing to do with me not being able to have kids. This isn't to say that I didn't shed a tear or feel sorry for myself, because I did have a moment, but these things didn't ruin my day, weekend, or the next week, and that's something. I don't think I'll ever get over not having kids, but it does get a little easier to deal with as time passes.