Yeah, that’s right. Strap in, dorks. I’m going to be talking about the female reproductive system.
Yesterday I got my period for the first time in months, which made me very happy. This isn’t particularly noteworthy given my menstrual track record —it’s always been pretty irregular and tends to stop completely when I’m taking birth control, because apparently when my uterus realizes that it’s not going to be needed it just gives up and lounges around in there doing nothing of note. We have that in common. But I’m nearing the end of those three-month-long pill cycles and haven’t exactly been too good about keeping up with the last week, so in the immortal words of my hero Liz Lemon, “It’s my period! It’s a gonna blow.”
I’m sure that for many vagina-laden individuals, the idea of not really having to deal with periods is probably a dream come true. After all, it’s messy, it costs an annoying amount of money to deal with (and somehow you never have any tampons or pads in the house when it actually starts), it usually causes some discomfort, and a lot of idiots think they’re entitled to dismiss you as an irrational harpy while it’s happening. Who wouldn’t want to shut that whole system down for a while?
Not me! Because despite how careful I am and how completely unlikely it is, I am always just the teensiest worried that I could be pregnant. Like, at all times.
Now, I should point out that I have definitely never been pregnant. In fact, if I’m being brutally and invasively honest — skip this paragraph, family members! — I have not even had the option to possibly become pregnant for some time now. If I had actually gotten knocked up the last time the opportunity presented itself (and something would have really needed to go wrong since there were two different methods of contraception at play there), the resulting child would currently be old enough to engage me in a semi-rational conversation. So it’s been a while.
However, I’m not particularly in tune with how the way I live my life might affect me physically, so any slight changes are enough to start me on a weird neurotic “did I get pregnant from a dirty toilet seat?” thought process. Have I gotten bigger because I’ve started eating Trader Joe’s cookie butter right out of the jar, or is it baby weight? Is that a stomach flu I had last month, or am I experiencing some kind of nighttime morning sickness? Am I getting choked up over this Batman video game because I’ve had a crappy week and the kid actor they got to play newly orphaned Bruce Wayne is really good at crying, or is it some mysterious mommy hormones kicking in at the sound of children in pain?
Of course it’s always the former and never the latter, but tell that to my irrational Catholic-raised subconscious. After all, I had the miracle of the virgin birth drilled into my head from a very young age (two of ‘em if you count Anakin Skywalker), and even if you know you’re not exactly a candidate for carrying the second coming of Christ to term or anything, you still kind of have it in your head that pregnancies just sort of happen to people at random and no matter how constantly vigilant you are, it will never offset the fact you are also an inherently flawed human being who makes a mess of everything. In fact, you are probably making extremely irresponsible choices right now at this very second just by existing, and why are you even concerned about what’s happening with your body when you should be in church right now?
I mean, I’ve never seen the show I Didn’t Know I was Pregnant because that’s basically like allowing a hypochondriac to watch the health channel, but remember that season of Mad Men where Peggy Olson was pregnant and didn’t know it, and every critic on the internet called shenanigans because how could she not know? Of course she knew deep down, but she was probably so used to being afraid of getting pregnant that she rationalized away all the warning signs, to the complete opposite effect. Am I pregnant? Peggy probably asked herself every single day. No, of course not! I take birth control, and sure I’m gaining weight but I’m gaining it all over so it can’t be a baby bump, and even if I am pregnant then there’s probably nothing I can do about it at this point so I guess I’ll just have to give birth.
How do I know this? Because I’ve given myself basically that monologue at least three or four times since attending a cousin’s baby shower last weekend.
“The last time I even made out with a guy was in December,” I’d say to myself — out loud if my life were a romantic comedy, poking and prodding at my flabby stomach — “So if I am pregnant, it’s April now and I guess I will just have to go through with it and feign ignorance Peggy Olson style. But probably not, because you can’t suck in a baby bump like what I’m doing now, right? I’m definitely not pregnant, unless I am. Everything will be fine. I need more cookie butter.”
But not anymore! Because I got my period! So I can rest easy, affirmed in the knowledge that spontaneous generation has once again been disproven and my womb is fetus-free.
Well, until the next time I use a unisex bathroom, at least.