Monday, November 21, 2011


Potential Babies

Girl: Hmm, my period's a bit late.
Boy: Oh? (!!!!)
Girl: It's okay, probably, there are lots of other reasons why it could be late.
Boy: Such as?
Girl: Excessive exercise – we can rule that one out. Stress. Diet…
Boy: Diet? Like not eating meat?
Girl: No, like not eating anything. It's not late because I'm a vegetarian. Geez.

At the time of writing, my period is nearly two weeks late. It's not usually like clockwork, and sometimes I'm slack about documenting the dates in my diary (mostly due to laziness but also I like surprises!) (I don't really, it's all down to laziness), but I don't think it's been this late before. I've been with my boyfriend for more than four years. We co-habit. We have cats, which is about the same as having kids, I'm guessing? But I feel like I would be woefully unprepared for carrying/having/taking care of a human baby.

We spent last weekend with my boyfriend's nieces and nephews, which only made me more apprehensive about my potentially impending motherhood. At one point, his nephew whacked me over the head with a plastic croquet mallet and my initial reaction was to do it back to him. (I didn't actually do that, he's three years old.)

Here's the thing, though. I have a job and all, and it's fine, but I'm somewhat of an underachiever. I like leaving work on time, and not having too much responsibility and stress. All in all? I'd probably rather stay at home most days. Luckily, women's rights have advanced enough that I can choose to have a career, but I'd probably still choose to stay at home if not for the issue of nobody offering to pay me a wage to bake, watch repeats of America's Next Top Model, and update my blog. So maybe it wouldn't be so bad? I've been wanting to get into freelance writing for ages. And I'm nearly 30, so obviously I can hear the clock saying "tick-tick-YOU'RE-NOT-GETTING-ANY-YOUNGER-tick-tick-tick…"

Only a few weeks ago, a friend and I were talking about the prospect of having kids, because for him and his wife it is probably a fairly immanent prospect, and he said "how do you feel about having children — mostly excited or mostly scared?" My reply was something like "Mostly doubtful, I'm not even sure I want any!" It's so often expected, of people and especially of women, that we will have offspring, or will at least want to.

My boyfriend and I can only talk about it in hypothetical terms, because the prospect is so terrifying to us. I'm probably writing this just to trivialize it in my mind. But here are some pros and cons that we have come up with when we're not ignoring the subject/are using humor as a defence mechanism:

Pro: I'd never have to clean out the cats' litter tray, because pregnant women and cat germs are a big no-no, apparently.

Con: We're going to Italy next year, so I wouldn't be able to have wine/cheese. Also, I might not actually be able to fly by then so I would have to get their by other means, involving trains, ferries, and other methods of transport. Ugh, that sounds so tiring — I'm approximately 7-8 months pregnant! Get me a chair!

Pro: I would probably use it as an excuse to eat meat again, which I'm bi-curious about after being a vegetarian for eight years. (Bonus: potential Italian meats, if I manage to get there.)

Con: Fears that I might be too immature/selfish/intolerant/impatient to take care of a baby.

Pro: Shopping for new clothes in the form of maternity wear, which I think I could pull off quite well.

Con: I might become one of those people who blogs pictures of their baby and talks about their baby all the freaking time. I do this with my cats, so it's pretty likely.

Pro: Months and months of maternity leave!

Con: I'd have to stop acting so much like a baby sometimes if I'm actually going to have one.

Pro: I quite like the idyllic idea of teaching a kid to bake/ride bikes/read/swim/blog/etc. And I have an appreciation for refrigerator art.

Hmm, I'm none the wiser.

A lot of people say that you don't necessarily ever feel 'ready' to have kids, that most people have these (or similar) doubts, and that you have to actually have children before you feel it's the right time. It's probably about time I find out if the decision has already been made for me.

Rachael Stiles lives and procrastinates in Bristol, UK.

Photo by Steyno&Stitch, via Shutterstock

251 Comments / Post A Comment

Daisy Razor

"Pro: Months and months of maternity leave!"

...and that's how you know the writer isn't American! Sigh.


@Daisy Razor I had the same thought. Siiiigh.


@Daisy Razor That + the prospect of going to Italy by train. If only!


@Daisy Razor Also, mentioning wanting to get into freelance writing without mentioning the fear of losing health benefits.


@Daisy Razor This is exactly the first thing that I thought of when I read this.
My wife is due in a couple of months and she will get 6 weeks at 60% pay and I am in a struggle to get 2 weeks of vacation time after the birth.
I even have a coworker that brought his work laptop to the hospital so he could be available before and after the birth.


@paskettios I miss the good old days when GoogleMaps would tell you how to get to Rome or wherever by swimming part of the way. I guess they eventually noticed what was going on and made it all REASONABLE.


Wait, so...no pregnancy test?


@Lizanne07 Seriously! Lady-writer, get thee to Boots! Am I the only conscientious pill-taker who pees on the stick every few months out of sheer unreasoning paranoia?


@BadWolf I have friends who keep one in their medicine chest, just for peace of mind. I can't say how many times friends of mine have done the "freak out about period being late, buy EPT, EPT comes up negative, period comes the next day (because you're no longer freaking out)"


@BadWolf Oh no, you're not alone... I mini-panic somewhere around every 3 weeks (AHHH what if spotting means baby! [sorry, TMI?]) to 6 or 8 weeks (AHHH why is it laaaate!). Oh, the joys of wild irregularity. Married, stable income, approaching 30 etc etc but not sure if baby will ever sound appealing, so that... NOOO


You can get preg tests in the pound shop, even! I never managed more than a week late before taking a test. (It was never positive.)


@BadWolf I do that too. I've doing that whole 4 periods a year thing for quite a while now, so the whole menstruation thing isn't a good indicator for me.


@bocadelperro "freak out about period being late, buy EPT, EPT comes up negative, period comes the next day (because you're no longer freaking out)"

oh yeah, i know this one well


@cee But don't you have to wait a month after the missed period to ensure that an at-home test will give accurate results?


@BadWolf You're most certainly not alone. Unrelenting, blatantly unreasonable paranoia. I have yet to forget a pill/shot/ring* and I still freak out if I'm more than a day late.

*at different periods (ha) in my life, of course. I do not use 3 kinds of hormonal bc at once.**

**Though if it helped, I probably would.

@D.@twitter I don't think so? Maybe. A friend of mine got a big ole' positive (on 2 back to back tests) less than a month after she missed a period. I don't know how it works the other way, honestly.


@D.@twitter i head that we use different tests in the uk, which are apparently more accurate early on. (i do not know why this is but i have heard this from people before)

but looking on the wikipedia entry for pregnancy tests it seems like home pregnancy test kits aren't very likely to give a false negative once the period's late, cos that's like two weeks after ovulation


@cee the worst part about that is that EPTs are so expensive, you feel like you've freaked yourself out of $10/15 (and in college, that's a LOT of beer!)

Emma Peel

@Lizanne07 Nope! I do it too. The $15 is worth the peace of mind.


@cee (nevertheless if one's period still does not come i reckon a medical professional might recommend at the v least a further pregnancy test but more likely a doctor's appointment)


@Lizanne07 @D.@twitter some preg tests can detect pregnancy hormones 7 days after your missed period. they're more 'spensive.


@Lizanne07 I have become a champion for pregnancy tests. Why freak out when you can just pee on a stick and get on with your life (or not!!)


@mooseketeer See, now I'm all urine stick champion lady too. But there was a time when taking a test meant that OMG I WILL TOTALLY BE PREGNANT. And I wanted to just remain in the gray area for a little while longer.


@bocadelperro I am an expert at this. I took my first pregnancy test before I had even ever had sex. Apparently I thought I could get pregnant from finger-banging. (Also I was 19 shhhhhhh)

raised amongst catalogs

@sarajo TMI?!? You realize you're among friends here, right? Never, ever, ever TMI.


@Polina Now I keep them in the medicine cabinet just so anytime I get that illogical paranoia I can put it to rest immediately. But yes, I totally remember the college days when taking a test was a HUGE deal. I put myself through so much stress trying to decide whether to go to the store to get one. You work yourself up and then it's nothing. Keeping them in stock means you can just put those fears to rest before you even have time to let them grow. Perfect!


@KeLynn For me, the stressful part is always buying the test. Which is why I now keep a pack of like 5 in my cupboard for freaking out. I'm turning 23 in two weeks, so I don't think my purchasing a test is really all that scandalous, and yet I'm always sure that the cash register is judging my possible pregnancy. Apparently, my irrational fears have their own irrational fears.


@BadWolf NOPE. And I say that as someone who's on the pill -- sometimes the "once every three months period" thing makes you wonder...


@MissMushkila I meant cashier, although come to think of it, when I'm worried I might be pregnant I swear I can even feel inanimate objects judging me. So.


@BadWolf I'm always driven to taking pregnancy tests out of paranoia. How are you supposed to know if you're pregnant if you're on the pill and don't have proper periods anyway? I even asked my GP about this in a panic and he just said that "well, if you normally have withdrawal bleeds you'd probably keep having them". THANKS.


@Verity seriously! And has anyone heard those [terrifying] stories about people who don't know they're pregnant because 1) they spot, but normally don't have heavy periods so it doesn't seem that weird, and/or 2) don't gain much weight, and/or 3) can even have negative home pregnancy tests?! AHH so paranoid.


@vanillawaif Fair and true. thanks for the reminder.


@sarajo Oh, my god, this is THE WORST thing I regularly imagine. SO SCARY.


@MissMushkila Ha. Imagine (or perhaps you know?) the feeling when you're getting the morning after pill. Even though you know you are just being SUPER EXTRA RESPONSIBLE and taking precautions, still you feel the glare of your own self-judgement. (I'm in liberal-land, my local CVS definitely does not give a damn.)

EDIT: I just noticed your handle/username/whatever we call them! Awesome!


@sarajo OMG okay so I was in the hospital for a few days last week for this crazy skin infection I had, okay? And I also had a Mysterious Pain in my lower left abdomen. In the emergency room, the doctor(s)* asked if there were any chance I was pregnant. Obviously, I immediately freaked out while thinking OMG AM I THAT CHICK and said, "um, I would be REALLY surprised."

*(Seriously, I was seen by seven different doctors/residents before I even got up to observation, I am the queen of baffling ailments.)


@miwome Ahhh it is never not scary! Even if the chances are really really slim! (And seven?! I hope you are recovered or at least on the way!)


@sarajo I don't know about humans, but 2/3 of those things happened to our mare. And it wasn't until her 10th month that we were like, What? No. NO? YES!!


@bocadelperro When I was in college, my roomie started birth control and I didn't, and her crazy-super-pill-powered-cycle pulled me two weeks off my cycle. So, My female roomie made me think I was pregnant, and then I totally remember trying to decide between buying a test from the dollar store, or a real one from a real store. I (sadly) don't remember which one I bought, but I didn't have a baby. The end.


@miwome I HATE the "could you be pregnant" question. Because no contraception is 100% reliable, so whenever they ask me that I want to say "well, I haven't taken a pregnancy test recently, and I am having sex, so yes, yes I could!". But then they would probably think I was very odd.


@Verity Right? Like, the obvious answer was "no" since I've had my period since the last time I had sex, but my brain went straight into "OMG one time I heard about this girl who and there was that one story that and can't you spot while pregnant sometimes?" mode. The doctor I was talking to seemed to think I was a little wacky, but COME ON.


@MissMushkila Re: judgment, I've bought a pregnancy test in the hoity toit area where my grandmother lives and the cashier totally said, "Have a, uh..." before trailing off.

Bought one in my neighborhood and the cashier was all like, "Oh gurl, do you want one?" "No." "I hear you, it changes everything. Good luck!!"


@mustelid That reminds me of the time that I was in safeway at 7 am (I'm a morning person, don't judge) and the girl behind me was buying only a pregnancy test, and sniffling. The grandmotherly cashier lady gave her a hug.


@Verity AHHHH So one time I was having a lot of medical problems, and because my mom is a nurse I usually asked her to schedule the appointments, etc. because she knows the doctors and can usually get me in faster than I can get an appt for myself. Anyway, we were standing next to each other and she was on the phone making the appointment, and the receptionist was asking her all kinds of questions like what was wrong, had I changed medicines lately, etc. Then suddenly my mom says "I think you need to take this question" and hands the phone to me. And just stands there, staring at me and judging me, while the lady asks if I'm pregnant. I say "no," and she asks me how I know. I said "I took a test from the drug store" and she said "that's not good enough, we won't give you an appointment until you go to a real doctor and get a blood test" and my mom is just STARING AT ME THE WHOLE TIME. She can be aggressively judgey. When I hung up the phone she just walked away and didn't talk to me for a couple hours. I assume she was fainting over the idea of her adult daughter having adult relationships.

In conclusion, I hate that question as well.


@Lizanne07 I KNOW! I bought one *yesterday* and it set off the damn security alarm at the pharmacy. The (male) cashier shouted across the store: "Not to worry, it is your pregnancy test, just go on through." ARRGGGGHHHHH. (BTW: it didn't even work, but no babies here. I'm sure they would have massive anger management issues stemming from that incident otherwise.)


@D.@twitter noooo. No. Some pregnancy tests can be positive 7-10 days after ovulation, and most other ones are accurate from whenever your period is due.


Do people ever really write down the dates of their period in a menstruation journal?


Dear Diary:

Menstruated today. Cold chicken and watercress for lunch. James broke the engagement. Looks of rain tomorrow.

That's all, I guess.


Edith Zimmerman

@melis Can you imagine if you were going through a glamorous ancestor's dusty old trunk and stumbled across what looked to be a diary but was really just a long menstruation journal?


@Edith Zimmerman So You've Decided to Read Your Long-Dead Great Aunt Cecily's Menstruation Journal.


@melis Well, some people I know (*cough*) do mark the dates on a calendar. These people (*cough*) might put a little dot after the number on the calendar because GET IT? PERIOD?!?!? LOL.

Kelley Pounders@facebook

@melis OH God. This is why I should not read these in class. Shaking and crying, desperately trying not to laugh.


@melis Mmmmaybe. Why?
(I used to use the 'fertility awareness method' and I created a whole pretty spreadsheet to print out so I could not only track my cycle but also my corresponding exercise, emotional breakdowns, physical ailments and other crap alongside eachother to see if things were connected I guess? But I also fold and organize my undies by type, as do many other Pinners apparently. Uh, I'd be happy to share my spreadsheet if anyone wanted to start their own menstruation journal...)


@melis yup. No alarms and no surprises for me. As regular as the moon.

@Rachael Stiles Time to wee on a stick?


@melis: I definitely mark it on a calendar. A few years ago, my period arrived two weeks late for no good reason (wasn't pregnant, wasn't on BC, wasn't sick), and a doctor recommended I begin tracking the dates of my cycle. I haven't really had any menstrual problems since then, but noting the dates has become a habit for me.


@melis i just mark it in on my regular day planner, with an asterisk in the margin.

(also, my name is cecily and yr 12.10 pm post made me super confused for a second there)


Dear Diary,

Menstruated again today. A letter arrived from James today. Orders are in they're to go over the top quite soon.


Can't seem to find my bathing things anywhere. Must remember to ask Effie.



@wee_ramekin I know someone *cough* who marks it on her google calendar. Just in case.


@melis MENSTRUATING LESBIAN EPISTOLARY STORYLINE....COMMENCE! You didn't need James anyway, Cecily. Effie is so much better for you.

The Lady of Shalott

@wee_ramekin Oh God almighty, I just remembered that when I was in middle school and high school my mother used to mark the dates of my periods (beginning and ending!) with a red dot on the calendar in the kitchen. Because I would take out the trash from my washroom each day during my period. She charted it. I don't know why. I had literally blocked all this out until just now, when it came screaming back to me.


@The Lady of Shalott Jeez. Mine just looked through my backpack for drugs. She got lucky once with some Valium AND TOOK THEM ALL. Selfish bitch...


@melis Yeah I do, just a little mark on the day planner, and I mark 28 days after the first day of the last one so I can see when it's coming up ("Ohhh, THAT'S why I've been weeping/having rage fits.")


@The Lady of Shalott Oh God! That's terrible! The people I know (okay fuck it, it is me) use a black pen because it is the same color as the numbers on the calendar, and the dots are so discreet. That must have been really embarrassing for you. I guess maybe she was trying to make sure you weren't pregnant? Like, if you didn't menstruate on schedule, she would sit you down and give you a talking-to about the Premarital Sex?




@Slapfight Mother's little helper, indeed. My mother also spent a lot of time talking about valium; if I'd ever had any, I think she would have been angrier for me not sharing than about possessing drugs illegally...


@The Lady of Shalott my mom did the same thing. she told me to circle the date in a certain color marker without explaining why i should. the first time i got it, i circled that date on every month throughout the year. whoops.


@Edith Zimmerman And it would all be in antiquated code, like "the brougham was three days late, do I need to buy a portmanteau??" so you'd spend at least a week fascinated by the possibilities of what it could mean.

The Lady of Shalott

@wee_ramekin I HAVE NO IDEA. I truly have no idea. Maybe it was the modern-day equivalent of keeping an eye out for bloody rags in the wash every month? Like, she didn't have anything to worry about because my high-school boyfriend was legit voted "Most Likely To Become A Priest" in our graduating class, and after six months of dating he never once tried to touch me anywhere below the chin, but still. Mom.

I have so many things I should ask my parents when I visit for Christmas this year.


@wee_ramekin Before I went on the pill (ancient, dusty old days) I used to have to mark it on a calendar because...how would I possibly remember otherwise? Plus every time you go to the doctor they ask you when your last one was. Do other people actually remember these things without taking notes? I used to circle the number of the date when it was supposed to start, and people were always asking me why I had things circled on my calendar, so maybe I have the worst memory in the world?

Tragically Ludicrous

@melis I stick a "c" (for Communists!) the day it starts into iCal. It's just to make sure I know when I should be worrying because I have absolutely no sense of how much time passes.


@melis Er...isn't that exactly how these things always go? No? I guess I've been watching too much Logo then...


@wee_ramekin I DO THE EXACT SAME THING. Or rather, I did before I was on BC.


@D.@twitter To this day I've never gotten my own hands on a Valium. I feel like less of a woman.


@sox I would like to see your spreadsheet! I have dreams of creating a similar document, but there are so many potentially related phenomena to track. It's daunting.

Right now I just have a chart (spanning several years) speckled with BIG RED Xs. (Sorry, @wee_ramekin and @The Lady of Shalott!)


@Edith Zimmerman Worse than the ancestral menstruation calendar is what I DID find: a temperature chart, with, um, uh, mucus viscosity and "days we did it" marked on it.


There is a special red fine point sharpie in my kitchen junk drawer for drawing the special red dots on the special days. Don't touch my red fine point sharpie, or I will never know when to buy fritos and toffifay next.

Alice Prin

@Edith Zimmerman and @melis - The one-two punch of "ancestor's uterus journal" and "neck baby" has officially made me sterile and for this, I thank you.


@melis I just this past week became aware that my boyfriend evidently tracks mine using the phases of the moon ("I had an idea it might be [shark week]. The moon is in the last quarter"). When I told this to my best friend, she said, "Like a werewolf? Well, at least it doesn't coincide with the full moon."


Apparently, my step-mom used her period as a reminder to water the cactus in the kitchen once a month. And whenever my step-mom was exhibiting signs of crabbiness, my sister would inquire if it was time to water the cactus...


@melis: I have an app for it on my phone. There is, I shit you not, a color scheme called "Bloody Days". (I am currently using it, of course.)



I keep one for all the ladies in my life. Saves me no end of trouble.


@melis monthlyinfo.com! You can set it to email you a few days before your next period is due. I kind of love it.


@Edith Zimmerman: "going through a glamorous ancestor's dusty old trunk..." I see what you did there!

February Revolution

@Slapfight I never kept track of mine despite the annual disappointment of my doctor when I couldn't begin to describe when my last cycle was. ("Honestly I try not to think about it when it's not happening!" is not a medically useful statement, I guess.) And it was super irregular, so for all I know there was something wrong and I don't care about being second-wave empowered about my own health. Even after I started BC I didn't keep track. ("I dunno, I'm like halfway through the pill pack?")

But now I'm in a LDR and we only get together a couple times a year and I DO NOT WANT the one to overlap with the other so now I have a Google calendar repeating event set up so I can plan. And now I am making a pseudonymous public note in case my future kin find my docs in the space-age virtual attic. Those X marks? Yeah, those are for my travel-sex planning.


@melis Now I want Costume Drama Club to just be excerpts from characters' menstrual journals.

:Cinnamon Girl:

@sox I would very much like to see your spreadsheet. Right now my Basal Body Temperatures are on a legal pad because I'm daunted by creating such a document, and I don't want to pay someone for their electronic tracking software. Email it to me?? (lbishop6 at gmail dot com)

P.S. I fold and organize my undies by type. I also organize my closet in rainbow order, by type. I wonder if there are others among us? Either way, I feel so un-alone right now!


@February Revolution That's pretty awesome. I never, ever think about it. Every time I make a gyno appointment...Oh that poor woman.


@WaityKatie Seriously I do not understand how doctors expect me to remember that! I used to mark it in my calendar before I was on BCP (because now it's like clockwork and I just have to look at my pack to know when it's coming) but even then I couldn't have remembered without looking at my calendar. They always make me feel like shit when I say something like "I guess about two weeks ago?" I mean isn't that good enough? Just to know that it has happened in the past month or so?

ETA: Now I feel like an asshole because re-reading that, I sound like a whiny bitch. Obviously I'm a grown up and have been to a zillion doctor appointments in my life, so I should know by now to write down the date in preparation of my appointment but STILL. That question always sneaks up on me.


@melis Yes. Well, on my Google calendar. I tend to forget about it and so this way I can look ahead and prepare. Also, when I was younger my cycle was super short but it's slowly been getting longer, and I like to keep track of that.

Jon Custer

@spex Hm, I really didn't expect to be able to contribute to this discussion. However, one word of advice to any aspiring period-trackers: beware of spurious correlations! You can even read up on the history of research into the El Nino Southern Oscillation for tips and techniques. It's a minefield.


@Tragically Ludicrous I was waiting for someone else to say 'I have an iphone app'... :cough: I have an iphone app. But I did also used to have a 'period calendar', it was arranged in 28 day increments and you were meant to circle the days so you could recognise your cycle length and also HATE HATE HATE all those people whose period is naturally regular, with a bit of extra special hate for anyone whose natural cycle is 28 days.


@isitisabel I use that possibly-creepy monthlyinfo website, but it's pointless because my period has been irregular for as long as I've had it! For instance, I just realized that I haven't had it since July? (Um, pregnancy risks aren't currently an issue for me.)

Anyway, the website sends you reminders.


@sox OMG. Yes to sharing menstrual journaling. I have been using some fertility awareness methods and making graphs is the shit. Although, after a while I have started to feel like I just "know"...which undoubtedly means I'm walking a very, very dangerous line.


@spex Email me at soxyfeet at gmail dot com and I'll send it to you!

@.Lauren. I'll try to send it later today when I get home from work.

@cocokins Yeah, I wonder if I'm even fertile what with the 'just knowing' and that one time we had sleep-sxx smack dab when I would have been ovulating. Now I just track a few things because it's handy but since I'm not in a relationship it's only handy for like "When did I have that stomach bug last winter? Oh right, two days before that holiday party where I met __________."

I formatted it to be the front and back of one page so each cycle is a page.

Caitlin Podiak

@melis Since I'm on the pill and know when to expect my periods, I put them on my Google calendar (which crossposts to my boyfriend's Google calendar) several months in advance.


@melis I just talk about it constantly with friends, so I just search through my gchats for "period," "Cap'n Bloodsnatch," "ladies' week," and "bleeding." That;s how I learned that after months of regularity, I had a weird bonus period last month. Thanks body! You're almost thirty! Get it together!


@melis Now you HAVE to write this.


@Lucienne I also use Monthlyinfo.com! I love it. Not creepy at all. My mom put me onto menstrual tracking very early on, saying that whenever I went to the doctor they would always want to know what the date was of my last period.
Also because I've been using it for so long, it can calculate pretty accurately the "standard deviation" of my cycle—in other words, how much each cycle differs from the last so I know how long I can go before I should start freaking out/weeing on a stick.


@sevanetta Don't hate me :( When I was a teenager I did not understand the lunar thing, so it was always a date or two before I expected it. Now I'm always extra prepared. Full moon, baby.

I only started tracking it after I got my implanon out. I mark it on the moon planting calendar on the back of my toilet door. I wish I was exaggerating this for comic effect but it is ALL TRUE.

@SarahDances a few months ago my boyfriend called me and said 'did you start your period? Because I'm really cranky for no reason and feel like I might cry'. I had. And he is RIDICULOUS.

@melis please please write this as an article/book.


@melis Now that I've shared my spreadsheet with fellow Pinners, we'll be submitting our monthly reports to you for you to write up in your new journal. I think you should call it Periodicals.


@Tragically Ludicrous I am totally shameless--I'm on BC (best thing to ever happen to me, for reals) and have week-long events marked "period" every fourth week. Comes in super helpful for plotting things (trips/vacations, doctors' appointments, you name it), as well as helping me to see and plan for potential clusterfucks, like period+finals.

It's my iCal, no shame.


Regarding slacking on keeping track of your period: get the iPeriod app for your phone. After I used it for a couple of cycles, I "enjoyed" my first period in YEARS that wasn't a complete surprise.


@Exene Yeah, I forgot to check mine for several months and now my period is late by 274 days. There will be a baby in my sweatpants any day now...

Jane Marie

@Exene another app is Lily :)


@Exene I use mymonthlycycles.com since I'm unfancy and don't have an iphone. I've been keeping track for more than two years now and it's one of my greatest achievements.

sarah girl

@Exene I started using an app on my phone and loved it for a few months, but then I got the Paragard IUD and I don't even know what the fuck anymore. I think if I noted all the days that I was bleeding or spotting, the app would just uninstall itself from my phone. :(

amateur hour

@Sarah H. Oh, honey. I feel your pain. After a year and a half-ish with Paragard, I now know that I spot mid-cycle (during ovulation I guess) and a couple days leading up to my period, then my period lasts for a ridiculously long time. But at least I'm not spotting randomly all the time, I guess. I am not 100% a fan of Paragard but it seems like the least worst option for me.


@Exene also monthlyinfo.com it emails you a few days ahead.

Barry Grant

Exene Cervenka?


@likethestore I use that one too, and I love having all that data saved on the internet, but do they have to make everything so hideously pale pink and blue? and how 'bout the "fun" survey questions on the right hand side, all like "Gabbing About Leaks: TMI or Tell Me More!"

Hot mayonnaise

Item Amt. of time can leave alone
Cat 72 hours
Baby 72 seconds


@Hot mayonnaise Word, yo. Will a baby ignore you to nap on top of the fridge? Will a baby entertain himself with your shoelaces for hours at a time? Will a baby poop in one designated foul-smelling box, instead of carrying that box around on his person?


@Hot mayonnaise Also, you only have to feed a cat like twice a day, AND if they are an outdoor cat you never have to think about their shit at all, as opposed to like eight feeds a day (in the beginning at least) and shit up to your elbows all the time for the first 3 years..


Oof. This is sort of making me have feelings. The I'm starting to have feelings on this topic which were never there before feelings. Blerg.


If you're excited about the prospect of buying maternity clothes, you want a baby.

Lily Rowan

@Asterisk Or just sometimes feel self-conscious about your mid-section?


Two weeks late? Just get a GD pregnancy test already. Jesus.


@Cavendish I mean, in case she decides she doesn't want to go through with the pregnancy, wouldn't it be better to know sooner rather than later?

Edith Zimmerman

@Cavendish Helpful, thanks. I think this piece does a really beautiful job of articulating what it's like to be in that zone right before you get a pregnancy test & the things that cross your mind right before you're ready to know for sure.


@laurel The idea of not keeping it does not seem to have entered the conversation here at all, which is interesting, nu?


@Edith Zimmerman Oh, believe me. I understand that. My husband and I decided to stop using birth control this month and now I'm alternating between terror and exhilaration at the thought there might be a baby brewing in me. And my period isn't due for a week. I can't imagine waiting two weeks and not finding out for sure. Maybe I'll feel differently next week.


@Edith Zimmerman So... I haven't read any books or seen any Twilight movies, but somehow I made some tangential connection between the uncertainty of Bella keeping their vampire hybrid baby (if I understand it correctly) and this article. Maybe because of Mary HK and Natasha VC's Awl post?
And also, I really enjoyed how this portrays the nonstop stream of thoughts when you're leading up to finally getting the concrete answer and you want to put it off forever but can't!


@sox I have not personally experienced the pregnancy scare, but this nicely describes my thought process in waiting to find out about any big event. I cannot brain on the significant parts without freaking out so it's all 'but if I Do have to move to siberia, I could wear cool mittens all the time! And cute hats with earflaps!' or whatever.

Kelley Pounders@facebook

Having a baby is so unlike what you think it will be like. Safely assume motherhood will not be how you picture it, even if you totally know you are a thoughtful person who can usually appropriately predict outcomes. I don't mean this in that "take it from ME, I'm a MOOOOM" ways. The only piece of advice I feel comfortable giving anyone is "probably this is not going to be what you think it is, no matter what you think it will be." Some parts will be immeasurably better and some you will hope were only as bad as you thought they would be, but...probably all different.


Having a baby is so unlike what you think it will be like. For instance, growing up I was led to believe that female humans gestate a fetus for a roughly 9-month period of time before vaginally releasing (or, in certain cases, undergoing a Caesarean section) said fetus, now baby. This is not in fact always the case, as I learned the day I looked down in horror to find a wizened, grinning head emerging from my neck. "Motherrrr," it croaked. "Motherrrr, I'm hungry."

I pray every day for death to claim me.


@melis This post comes at suuuch the perfect time for me! Last night my husband had a terrible headache. He checked his iPhone headache tracker, and he was super late! So he clove in his head with his double-headed axe and our sweet little Athena joined us. You never think you're ready to be a parent, but when you see you little girl fully armed and shouting at the heavens something inside you just melts.


@photoalice haha why are there not more thumbs up on this? That was so funny and clever.


@roughe: Some of us already know that Hera is a Hairpinner. The consequences of getting on the wrong side of that girl are well-documented.


@roughe Well, you just made my evening!


Totes took a pregnancy test about a week ago, after feeling barfy and tired for several days. There were thirty minutes when I was entirely sure I was pregnant. Then, in the bathroom, in the right light, I could have sworn the second blue line was appearing. It was not though, I think/I know/oh god I hope.


@ginalouise Take another test. If it's early in the pregnancy, you might get a false negative due to still low levels of HCG. I know.


@bashe Nooooo. Don't say these things. This is what my former Planned Parenthood employee friend told me too.


@ginalouise In my experience and my friends who have actually been with child that shit lights up immediately. Like bing bing bing pregnant!! Very soon as well. But spend the extra dollars for another test. Trust your piece of mind is worth it.


@LRMG and also in my experience, those lines are fucking impossible to read. "Is it dark or just wet!?!???!"


@ginalouise If it's any comfort, the barfy and tired thing only starts at about week 5 or 6, by which time you would have a very strong positive on the prego test.


I'm really surprised they use the word "period" in the UK. I would have thought the British would have some charming, bucolic word for it.


@wee_ramekin Or refer to it as "the menses," which I hoped, unsecretly.


@wee_ramekin actually we call it "the full stop"


@wee_ramekin They do, they call it a lorry over there, at least they do now. They used to call it a what was it, a lift, or a scone I think. No, scone is menopause. Edith just has copy editors to clarify for the American audience.


@queenofbithynia Wait wait...I think it might be bangers and mash? Or...bubble and squeak?

ETA: Ew.


@wee_ramekin I think it's actually called Spotted Dick.


@Xanthophyllippa Yes, and once you get the second blue line on your test stick, it's Toad in the Hole.


funny. the second blue line is a bun in the oven, obviously.


OK, everyone (or everyone with a smartphone) should immediately download this life changing app: Period Tracker. I have never been able to remember to write that shit down, but now I have been tracking it for almost two years because this app has made it fun and interesting.


@janedonuts I downloaded it. We'll see.


@janedonuts I loved it while I used it, but I only have a Touch, and I always forget where I put it, because I'm not carrying it, and my phone, and my ipod everywhere.
But still, and endorsement.


Entirely unrelated but I just got over-excited by the writer's bio. WHAT UPPPP BRISTOL? Hometown representing on the Hairpin!


@rayray And we have the same name too! I spell it with one a though, in case anyone cared. Inconsequential prattling!


@rayray Who made an account just to comment on the Bristol lovin' two days too late? Mee!


@McHumple Bristolian! Eee! Where have you surfaced from?


I'm also an underachiever, and I've never really liked babies or children (or most adults, actually), so I really confused my family when I got pregnant. BUT, I have an objectively good child whose company I really enjoy like 85 percent of the time! So, just don't have one of those terrible monster-children that other people have and everything will be FINE. Easy!

hot dog princess

@erica767 If only we could be guaranteed to have an objectively good child! My worst nightmare is having a baby who turns out to be someone like Courtney Stodden...

The Lady of Shalott

Before I was on the pill I was too lazy to track my period manually so I used femilia.com, which is technically an ovulation calendar for ladies trying to GET knocked up, but you can have your settings so it sends you an email a day before your period is supposed to begin instead of emailing you when you're ovulating. You just have to enter the day you actually start so it keeps updated. Frequently these emails would take me by surprise.


@The Lady of Shalott Oooh, this is fantastic! Thanks!

mademoiselle cait

@The Lady of Shalott monthlyinfo.com does this splendidly, too. Just don't turn on the text message feature, they wake me up at 5am!


Regarding the 3 yr old hitting you with the plastic hammer thing: I am one of those people who when my nieces or nephews do something like this, I do it back to them. I'd just bop the kid on the head with the hammer right back (very lightly, of course). Then, if they cry or something, you can say, well see, it isn't nice to hit people with hammers, is it?

(Also, maybe this is why I shouldn't have kids? Idk, but I will say my oldest nephew is the most well behaved when I'm around, and always listens to me. But not because he's afraid I'll hit him or something....this comment seems to have gotten off track.)


@cannonball an eye for an eye!


@cannonball yeah, I'm with you. Also, not a parent.


@cannonball I just let them abuse me and then give them candy every time they ask. Even when they don't. Exhibit A in the Case of Why Bebe Would Be a Terrible Parent.


I've been getting my period for ten years now and it's still always a surprise! What the fuck, self?! I've started tracking it in my ipad, using this really funny app called "Woman Log" but my periods are like two months apart all the time so it hasn't been much help. Every time I go to the doctor they're like, "When was your last period" and I say, "Sometime in September" and they give me a pregnancy death horror look and want to give me a preggers test right away. So I've just started counting three weeks from the day of my doctor's appointment and lying about it, because they never believe that my cycle is so long.

Also, my fiance and I have decided that if I get knocked up, we'll just keep it. Sometimes, especially now that I'm studying for finals, I dream of getting pregnant so I have an excuse to drop out of law school. "Oh, I decided that I wanted to be a stay at home mom for the first few years and then start my own crafting business when little Bee goes to Kindergarten!" That way, I can drop out of law school without the judgement of my family members! What a perfect plan!*

*Not really.


@bonnbee "Every time I go to the doctor they're like, "When was your last period" and I say, "Sometime in September" and they give me a pregnancy death horror look and want to give me a preggers test right away."

Hahaha oh, I so know what you mean. I do the four periods a year thing (which means I should be even better at remembering since they are so infrequent!), and so when I say "Oh, two months ago!" I have to explain every farking time.


@bonnbee "Woman Log" is a terrible terrible name.

They may as well call it Period Poop because that's what I'm translating it to in my head.


@Polina Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, maybe?


@JoanTition I had to go to the Apple store yesterday to get my ipad fixed and the dude was looking through my app list to show me something and clicked on Woman Log. I died of shame.


@bonnbee: They should've called the app "Max iPad."


@bonnbee I have funky cycles, too, and found the best way to counter the pregnancy death horror look is to chart. If you can walk into an appointment and demonstrate, even in brief, that you are 100% aware of what is going on with you, they tend to back off.

Funny story - I got pregnant in mid-August and had my first doctor's appointment in mid-October. They asked me the date of my last period and I told them it was in June. I also explained that I knew the exact date and time that I conceived. They were doubtful, so there was an ultrasound. Turns out I was completely correct. I imagine it has saved me an incorrectly-calculated due date in the long run.


@bashe Errr what? Sorry my brain is not computing.


@bonnbee This reminds me of a really interesting article I read once (I don't remember where) about pregnancy roulette. Basically a large amount of women who can't decide if they want kids are just half-assing their birth control on the premise of "if it happens, it happens."


@bonnbee Gah, I made the (somewhat inexplicable, admittedly) decision to use "withdrawal" as my primary form of birth control, and now the gyno makes me do a pregnancy test every time I'm in there. And for unfortunate reasons, I've been in there a lot this last year. Even if I ended my period two weeks earlier, they not only test me, but actually ask me what my decision will be if the test is positive.

When I say, "Um, abortion?", they tend to calm down.


@dham Uh, hope you have a committed monogamous (and tested) partner because if not, baby issue not the main one...I don't mean to come across as judgy, but there are people out there who don't think things through.


@Polina I think bashe means that you might have POCS? Or some other ovary-type issue. I mean, if you get two-monthly periods, it might be that one of your ovaries ain't doing it's job. On the other hand, you might just have long periods.

@bonnbee I counter your apple store anecdote with this http://rookiemag.com/2011/10/everybody-farts/

Also, I have no plans ever to have kids, and my partner had the snip 10 years ago so there is 0% chance of an accident. But the last month or two there have been a few times when I thought that if there was, I might catch myself sabotaging contraception so that I could 'accidentally' get pregnant and not have to go to work for a year. I actually had a dream where I was trying to talk myself out of doing this, so... it's good there is no way for that to happen?


@bashe @Craftastrophies Oh! Oh no, it’s not a mystery. I’m usually explaining that the having periods four times a year is purposeful. As in my gyno and I conspire with the aid of birth control to minimize my endometriosis symptoms and also take some of the monthly load off of my depression ☺ Edit: how did that emoticon appear? Haha.


@Polina Ooooh -- that makes sense! I'm so sorry about your endo. It can be so painful, and why are there no decent treatments for it? It's not like endometriosis is some rare and curious ailment.


@feartie Indeed, I am. You'll noticed I wrote, "form of birth control" specifically. I wonder if you would have the same reaction if I mentioned I was on the pill? Anyway, the comment was meant to commiserate with frequent pregnancy testing, but I'll accept neighborly concern for my general health. I'll note, though, that relaying this information to nurses does not result in STD panels! They are much more worried, for better or worse, about delay in discovering pregnancy than infection.


I really thought the picture was a weird sex toy.


@roughe @Edith Zimmerman @JaneMarie: I thought the same thing. I love the editors or whoever chose that picture because I'm going to assume that you did that intentionally (and not as a reference to the plastic croquet mallet)


I like that refrigerator art was a pro. Its inconsequential but I think fridge decoration is woefully undervalued.


@teaandcakeordeath One of my least favorite things about moving is having to start over on my fridge covering.

I like history on the thing.
A well seasoned refrigerator.


@JoanTition the worst is when you move into an apartment with "stainless steel [-like] finishes!" and magnets don't stick to whatever the hell that plastic laminate "metal" is on there. Sigh. Then you just have a mass of tape obscuring every wedding invite and postcard on the thing.


Bad news on the Italian meats, hon. Prosciutto, salami, pepperoni, etc are all gonna be off limits unless they are heated to 165 degrees.

The good news is, prosciutto is amazing wrapped around bococcini and broiled.


@punkahontas when I heard that you can't have deli meats non-heated when pregnant I was super bummed. I thought it would be my chance to take down a couple of footlongs* and nobody could judge!



@punkahontas I've always wanted to legitimize my bologna frying. Put that in the "Pro" column.


@punkahontas Interesting, but why?

Alice Prin

@punkahontas Um, WHAT? I say bullshit to that. I can't see, breathe, put on pants, or focus for longer than 45 seconds without being under the influence of salami.


@QuiteAimable Oh I know! I know! I actually have a microbiology test on this TODAY!

So the answer is, there is a possibility of getting listeriosis from eating cold deli meats. Listerosis doesn't usually do all that much to healthy people, but infections during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery, or life-threatening infection of the newborn (that last part is from the CDC website).



@wee_ramekin Hmm ok, I have no idea what that is! But is that the same reason pregnant women can't eat cheese dip at the Mexican restaurant? I have a friend who said her doc said she couldn't eat the cheese dip when she was pregnant. (And that's when I vowed I could never be pregnant. This is double confirms that idea)


@wee_ramekin Thanks wee! I was just going to say "listeria" haha.

Also, when doing the broiling thing I mentioned, I should have mentioned the mozz needs to be pasteurized.


@Alice Prin You're just going to have to be up for hot salami. Which sounds pretty tasty and also a bit sexy.

Alice Prin

@punkahontas Oui, steadfast appreciation for hot salami is where the baby came from in the first place, ba-ZING!


@wee_ramekin Also, a friend of mine had a super permissive OB when she was pregnant who told her not to freak out about most soft cheeses, etc, but not to eat deli meats because the listeria danger for pregnant ladies is no joke (the same thing applied for soft cheeses in France, fyi, v.v. sad because we went to France when she was pregnant).


@pank Yesss! Fried balogna is so awesome.


@wee_ramekin I know this too! Because my pregnant friend emails me to ask me to google if she can eat things. Because if she does it herself she freaks out about everything. She's not supposed to eat any bought cold foods like salads or cold meats, or to reheat food. So in summer, for lunch she has... air?

Thankfully her OB is pretty chill and basically said 'avoid the listeria things. Everything else, be a bit sensible (like, don't eat chicken that's been out for three days) but basically relax'. I get really het up about the pregnancy food thing, and how judgy other people are about it. Some things are acceptable risks, especially when we know that stress hormones also have a negative effect - so surely just eating something is less risky than freaking out about it? Also, body autonomy, making own decisions, etc.


Shopping for maternity clothes sucks a ball. I already hated trying on clothes, but trying on clothes when you're pregnant? Yeah. It's super fun. Also, they won't fit you in a week. By month nine and three days, I was wearing the same pair of black draw string sweatpants and giant College Name sweatshirt every single day. That outfit and mashed potatoes became my only companions.


@kayjay As a big fat person, I gave a bunch of my clothes (from when I was a regular-sized fat person) to my thin, pregnant friend. That worked pretty well.

no way

No mention of money? Even in the comments? HOW do people afford children!?! Seriously. This is an honest question, and I am not asking for a friend. Are the tax benefits that good? Do grandparents pay for lots of stuff? How do you support another person? I know, everyone's finances are different and this is sort of unanswerable, but please, I just don't understand how it happens that suddenly, where there was once money for two people, there it now money for three or more.


@no way LOL! I am the poorest person I know and every month, we find a way! I think you just dont notice? idk, but the tax breaks are SE-WEET when you are poor!! My Christmas comes in February! I kiss my lil money sacks on the head extra hard!*

*i kid, i kid...i love my children no matter what and did not have them for the tax breaks....alone.


@no way I was thinking the same thing, especially in relation to this piece. If I were in her situation I'd be absolutely terrified, financially speaking.

no way

@ThundaCunt - yeah, that's what I hear, you just sort of find a way. It's mysterious, like the loaves and the fishes.
@Lizanne07 - That is my number one concern. My partner and I are "running out of time" to have a kid, but I just can't image how we would support one. Daycare costs! OMG.

Addendum to my previous comment - Didn't mean to imply only couples procreate and find a way. I know single folks make that money appear, too. How do they do it?? It's a great trick.

Not It

@no way Well, kids have this way of sucking up all your time, as well as your money, so all of your entertainment/shopping/grooming/other disposable income is easily shunted to the kid.

Basically, I'm sitting here in pants that are too big, with hair that could use a trim, and eating a peanut butter sandwich. And most of my kid's stuff is from craigslist and his grandparents.

And tax benefits? AHAHA. My kid was critically ill in the NICU for months, guess how far the tax benefits went to offset that? 7%. And we have pretty good health insurance.


@no way Their leftovers are your dinner. You don't buy drinks at bars anymore because you drink at home. BOOM. Money saved.


@ThundaCunt "I'm the poorest person I know" also means "I have a lot of richer friends," so: you win!


@no way She's English! They get so many benefits over there! My sister in law is German and I am suuuuuper jealous because she just married my BIL last summer and they're already talking babies because she gets a year of maternity leave, whereas I've been married eight years and we still can't afford it.


@sophia_h Change jobs. I believe Apple people get six month's maternity leave.


@no way WIC! Daycare vouchers! And if you're ineligible for those programs, you're probably not thaaat bad off. Hopefully a babyshower to provide you with some gear (carseat, stroller, playpen...) Buy used stuff off of Craigslist. I got so many hand-me-downs I haven't had to spend much $ on clothes, ever. Also, don't send them to yuppie daycares or nannies. My son has been in daycare for 6 months now (hes 2 and a half) and we pay $150 a week. Not too bad, considering we could've easily pissed that away on nonsense before we had him. Family & supportive friends who like babies/kids are lifesavers too.


My Irish grandmother used to say , "Just another potato in the pot!" So...economy size bags of potatoes?


@TheMostHumble WIC saved my life. It kept me in eggs, peanut butter and cereal after my daughter was born and we were *this close* to being homeless. It's the only low-income social program I've ever used in my life, and I shudder to think about what ladies like me would've done without it...and how tenuous its existence is right now. Seriously. WIC.


jeesh with the tracking....I love surprises!!
also, I am a parent and I would totes bop the kid in the head, not hard, but hard enough so they know who's the boss!!
also, also, I have 3 kids and had NO IDEA that you could'nt eat lunch meat when preggers! Clearly my doc was woefully under schooled!
also, also, also no one is prepared, emotionally atleast, to be a parent for the first time. I sure as hell wasn't, at 19 no less, but when I look at my 12 year old and think about all she saved me from and all she put me through....it was totally worth it and she is absolutely amazing!

Ophelia Tudeaux@twitter

http://monthlyinfo.com/ There's a graph! and it calculates your mean and standard deviation cycle length! If I'm late within 2 standard deviations, I don't stress out.


@Ophelia Tudeaux@twitter This is relevant to my interests, thank you.


I'm still at the point where the answer to "how do you feel about having children" isn't fear or doubt of excitement, but some combination of seasickness and rage (and am old enough that this is starting to feel like a pretty permanent mindset). I think this is maybe a sign that I should stay vigilant with the birth control, but I find reading about other people's doubts and processes really fascinating especially now that my friends are starting to settle down and procreate.


WAIT! can you not have cheese when you're pregnant or just the wine/cheese combo. i'm not even that into cheese but that would suck.


@propermake You can't have many soft cheeses -- technically, you can't have unpasteurized soft cheeses, but many people just don't eat any soft cheeses out of caution. Most soft cheeses in the US are pasteurized, though.


So let me get this straight: no deli meats, no/very minimal alcohol, NO SOFT CHEESES, and pooping while giving birth. Why do ladies have children again? Those things are my life.

Alice Prin

@QuiteAimable Also, NO COFFEE AND NO SUSHI. Seriously!


@QuiteAimable However it becomes socially acceptable to demand a meal every three hours, snap at people, cry into your food, and sit down anywhere you want. Plus your polite breasts become a Voluptuously Intimidating Rack.


@QuiteAimable TO BE HONEST THOUGH. 80% of those things are like... very strongly advised against. if you are careful about it you are normally allowed them. It's sort of an "in moderation" thing, rather than ALL YOU CAN EAT DELI MEAT AND SOFT CHEESE thing.


@QuiteAimable Pooping while giving birth is your life? Wow.


@Alice Prin You can have coffee. Just not a lot of coffee. A cup a day, unless you're having complications or want to be the valedictorian of pregnancy.


@Alice Prin I am crying for the pregnant ladies.

Valley Girl

Perfect picture of the ambivalence toward kids that I know a lot of us feel. I have always loved kids but I have such a short fuse, I just don't know if I could hack parenthood. Maybe my temperament will mellow as I age. I hope so, because I really DO want to be a mom.

To chime in on the period tracking apps talk, when I had an iPhone I loved the Period Plus app. It lets you set up your own parameters, so you can track whatever category you like, it's AWESOME. Now that I have an Android phone, I use one called WomanLog that isn't nearly as great but gets the job done.

I just want to echo the others that say that I find tracking my cycle to be really empowering. Not to chide anyone for NOT doing it, but rather to encourage everybody to find whatever kind of recording system works for you, even if you forget to jot things down sometimes. Fuck yeah to dispelling the mystery surrounding female bodies and to finding the right tools for our personal health journeys!


@Valley Girl Yeah, I hadn't quite articulated it, but it IS empowering. As in, it makes me feel a lot more in control, and not like 'SURPRISE GROSS BLEEDING!' I know the deal and I don't (usually) have to strip my bed the morning I start.


"I like leaving work on time, and not having too much responsibility and stress." "Luckily, women's rights have advanced enough that I can choose to have a career, but I'd probably still choose to stay at home if not for the issue of nobody offering to pay me a wage to bake, watch repeats of America's Next Top Model, and update my blog. So maybe it wouldn't be so bad?"

Dude. DUDE. You really just said, "I'm pretty lazy, so maybe being a stay at home mom would be a better deal than a full time job." ASDKFAEOITHSDFK. I'm not a mom, so maybe I'm just imagining the symptoms of burnout in my mom friends. Sure, you don't have to go to work, but you will now NEVER LEAVE.

Ok, not never. Maybe you'll go to town with your friends for a few hours once a week. In fact, do this! It seems to be really important! But you will be on call every minute of every day, even when you do get a babysitter.

Parental leave isn't going to be a time for you to laze around at home. It's hard work. The article seems to be about a person being unsure about being a parent, and that's a great thing to discuss! It's just scary to see someone considering becoming a parent with some clearly crazy ideas of what it's going to be like.

I'm sure lots of people have become parents with worse ideas about what parenting would be like, and I'm sure many of them have done just fine! I just... to be fair to yourself maybe you should, I don't know, talk to someone who's a parent so that you don't go down this route thinking you're going to be getting some miraculous free time to brush up on your classical guitar skills?

tl;dr: Being a parent is not a vacation.


@janika Bill Murray in "Lost in Translation:" "Your life, as you know it, is Over."


Am I going crazy? 160 comments and nobody is feeling the way I am about this?

"It's probably about time I find out if the decision has already been made for me."





I. Abortion! It's not so scary!
a) No dying in childbirth! Less painful than most dental procedures.
b) Waaaaaay cheaper.
c) Doesn't make you violently reprioritize your life in the face of unwanted and devastatingly disruptive life changes

II. Abortion! Ladies have them all the time!
a) They aren't really stoked about it, but most of them aren't super bummed about it either.
b) Most women don't spend the rest of their lives in black lace trawling a widow's walk above the house afterwards, staring out silently across the heath.
c) You know somebody who has had one, probably!

III. Abortion! It doesn't have to be a desperate, heartbreaking act!
a) Especially if you think it's a lump of non-sentient human tissue with the biological lifeforce of a hairball.
b) Especially if the desperate, heartbreaking alternative is raising an unwanted child for whom you cannot provide, either emotionally or financially.
c) Making sure as a culture that abortion is the Unknown versus the culturally Known option of Raising a Child only makes it harder to evaluate your choices in an honest manner. Let's talk about abortions. Not theoretical approaches to abortions, or hypothetical questions about abortions, but real actual abortions that have happened! So that none of us have to have decisions made for us! Because this is the 21st motherfucking century!


@Diana I feel like maybe everyone's just being polite, because this piece obviously 1. is super strange re: being filled with jokes about being a stay-at-home-mom because of "laziness" and 2. fails to mention the great idea that is having-abortions. But it must also be aware of such problems, so pointing them out feels equally weird?

Anyway, I agree: abortions! A medical procedure that, like most medical procedures, probably involves some pain, which (for most people) passes!


@Diana I find it interesting, too. Ten or fifteen years ago, this discussion would have been full of abortion-why-not.

Cultural purdah, ladies; you've been powned.

Really Nice@twitter

@Diana I wish you WOULD write that article.

Having access to abortion means that the decision has never been "made for you" when you find yourself pregnant. Even if you would always choose to carry rather than abort, you have the option (if you're lucky). I'm a big fan of the option to abort. It's been so instrumental in the quality of life for women since the beginning of time. It should be okay to talk about.


@Diana Would totally read that article. Though for this particular woman, I got the sense that she was within a year or two of planning a pregnancy anyway and that her worries were more about being scared of parenthood in the way (it seems to me) most almost-parents generally are than about not knowing if she wanted the kid at all. Still want to read about abortions, just maybe not hers.


@arrr starr I got the same sense, while seeing it through my own experience. I had an abortion at 17 for the real not-ready/future-limiting reasons that I don't have any regrets about. Being 30 now and pretty sure I'll eventually want kids, but not exactly wanting one right now, I don't think I would really consider having an abortion if I found out I was pregnant. It's not anything to do with morality, just where I am in my life. However, my experience also tells me that I have no idea what I would do until a decision was there to be made.


@Diana Please write this article (or three articles) and submit them and hopefully the hairpin will run them? Or put them somewhere else on the internet and link them and I will read them.

Abortion: it is a part of ladies' life experiences. I LOVE reading about ladies' life experiences!


@Diana I would so totally read this. Especially if you keep the Abortion! subject headings.
@Craftastrophies That's "Abortion! It is a part of ladies' life experiences, etc." The enthusiasm is vital.


@Diana Jesus Christ on a cracker, thank you! I was so irritated by the end of this piece, wondering why, on the Hairpin of all places, we were pretending never to have heard of abortion. "Fuckin' abortions, how do they work?"


@Diana Thanks for mentioning this. I had an abortion this summer and this piece made me feel...kind of...terrible (?)/selfish that abortion was the first thing I thought of. Also, I sure as shit did not wait two weeks after my missed period. Two weeks after my missed period, I had already had my abortion.


@Diana Um, I assumed no one mentioned abortion because it was obvious that the writer could get one? Unless, of course, she lives in Texas or Louisiana or one of those other places where you have to drive 200 miles and brave a picket line of wackos waving gruesome signs.


I'd create a ladyapp and name it "Shark Week" and let the Discover Channel try to sue me. My app would sell "Shark Week" underwear and link to "Ask a Clean Person." Also I'd sell T-shirts for guys, which would have "I'm a Bra for Shark Week."


I flew when I was 7/8 months pregnant. (frome the west coast to the eat coast of the US) Easy-peasy. I also ate cheese and cured meats. I tend to subscribe to the "calm the fuck down" school of pregnancy. The kids are fine. Smart little rug-rats. Take a pregnancy test and then worry about cheese.

Francie Worley@facebook

@gfrancie I flew cross-Atlantic around 7/8 months pregnant (flight attendants were extra attentive!), had a drink here and there, ate what I wanted in moderation, NBD. I think once you're out of the first trimester also, and the delicate, organ-making work is done, you can be a bit more relaxed with all the 'rules'. One of the best pieces of advice I got (from my mom and gynae) was that pregnancy is not an illness. Also, you're pregnant for 9+ months for a reason--it gets your head as ready as possible.


@Francie Worley@facebook Exactly! Pregnancy kind of made me a lot more chill. Nice thing about being that pregnant on the plane is that the FAs will give you more snacks or beverages.


Hi, I'm apparently the only woman on the planet who doesn't track her period.


@Xanthophyllippa Sorry, it was my smartphone that left you in that lonely place.
(And a year later I still find it hilarious that I use a period app, but then I'm one of those people [or just that person] that is constantly amazed/amused by technology)


@Xanthophyllippa I don't, either. It's too erratic, and I think I'm inching ever closer to not having one anymore.


You can totally drink wine, especially if you're 7/8 months along. And ESPECIALLY if you're in Italy!

Oliver Crompoor



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