This time I thought I might be pregnant, but I was wrong again. How annoying is that? When you're Single and celibate, an absent period is merely weird, but when you're happily married, childless and forty, it could be evidence that another dream is coming true. But, of course, having been wrong before, I was determined not to get my hopes up. Having a crying fit every month gets tiresome.
The days ticked by. I told myself not to get my hopes up until Friday. On Friday I would be over a week late, and then I could buy a test. I buy the cheapest tests, because I refuse to spend £10 on a possible negative. Uh-uh. Then not only would I be sad, I'd be out £10.
So on Friday I bought a test and fought companionably over baby names with B.A. and took the test, which was negative. The instructions said to try again in 3 days, but you-know-what arrived a few hours later, so I haven't bothered. I went to bed early and pulled the duvet over my head.
Nobody mention naprotechnology in the combox or I will go insane. When you're a Catholic Canadian, going to British doctors, doctors forced by PC to have all the sensitivity of an Orange Day parade, is a nightmare. The first nurse I talked to stopped herself before the word "baby" could slip out and talked about "the fetus". I am supposed to have a blood test, not to see if there is too much of this or that in my system, but to prove I don't have a dread STD. Thanks so much. And despite the fact that I am the patient who presented myself to the system--and despite 40 years of my-body-my-choice sloganeering--we have to be "treated" for possible infertility "as a couple", which would entail my husband doing something that Catholic men must not do. This prohibition seemed not to occur to the doctor I spoke to, despite the fact that ROMAN CATHOLIC is firmly written on our registration cards.
Really, all I want to know at this stage is if it is too late for me, me the owner of my own particular, concrete and therefore unique reproductive system, to hope. Since the lady doctor only gave me five minutes of her precious, precious time, there was not enough time to get into that. Say what you want about the Canadian medical system, but my lady GP back home (whom I can no longer see as I am no longer a resident of Ontario) actually asked how I felt about things and talked to me about my health for up to an hour.
Anyway, I didn't mean to get into what is probably typical migrant terror of an alien new medical system. Back home, I'd be swanning into doctors' offices and the Marguerite Bourgeoys Family Centre with all the confidence in the world. But that still might not result in having a baby, which is what I want to write about.
You can't always get what you want. This is a very difficult lesson, especially for girls because we are told that we can. Our mothers, female teachers and female guidance counselors are full of stories about this jerk and that in their high schools who told them women can't be astrophysicists, and this inspires them to tell us we can do or be whatever we want as long as we work hard enough, and as long as we are smart enough. But as true as this may be for astrophysics, it means squat when it comes to marriage and babies. You can't work to make a specific guy fall in love with you, and you can't always just get pregnant when you want, especially when you are over 35.
Sure, you can do some things. If you're a timid little mouse who longs for marriage, but you never leave your room, you can work up the courage to leave your room. If you're a married lady in your twenties wondering why babies haven't come, you can have a chat with an Natural Family Planning nurse. That's just sensible. But sometimes after you have done all that you can morally do to become a likely marriage prospect or an expectant mum, you're left with the scary truth that it's not all up to you.
And then you pray. You pray not just for what you want, but that if you don't get what you want, you'll be happy anyway. You pray for an increase of faith and trust in God's plan. You pray that you will truly believe that He knows better than we do what is best for us, and you pray that His will be done.