As most of you probably know, my husband and I are trying to get pregnant right now. It’s not going well, and this leads me to do a lot of research. As with any obsession, my researching blitzes quickly devolve from scholarly articles to the OMG-my-friend’s-sister’s-cousin-totally-got-pregnant-after-taking-xyz-once type of places. I recognize that these types of forums and communities are not the best place to glean information from. I usually avoid them, but occasionally slip up, and inevitably leave feeling annoyed as hell for many reasons. Reasons that have nothing to do with my inability to conceive:
1. The Abbreviations
When you first dive into these places, it’s like learning a new language. TTC and 2WW and AF and BD and OPK and HPT and BFN and BFP and gah! I give up. You’re making no sense. While there are some legitimately useful abbreviations (I don’t mind the TTC, it’s a nice short label), others are just ridiculous and an entire post can end up looking like a string of random letters. And really, it’s not that hard to type out ovulation test or period.
2. The Euphemisms
People, the euphemisms. My favorite (or really, my most hated), is “baby dance” as in, “how often do you baby dance if you want to get preggo?” Gah! Really, you are trying to have a child, to get pregnant and therefore pass your genes on to another human being. You will be expected to raise said human, and you can’t bring yourself to talk about S-E-X out loud? Shhh! Don’t mention it! That’s not at all what happens to conceive a child! Honestly, baby dance makes me a lot more uncomfortable than sex. Plus sex is shorter and, obviously with #1 up there, these people love their short words.
3. The Word “Preggo”
I’ll admit I am a stickler for language and grammar and have numerous pet peeves regarding language and other people butchering it. So it’s probably not all that surprising that it would extend into this area of my life. However, I absolutely cannot stand the word (abbreviation? contraction??) “preggo.” I just can’t. When I finally conceive you can be damn sure that I will never, ever, EVER label myself as preggo. In fact, I will probably correct anyone who dares to call me that. I am not pasta sauce; I am not a kid who can’t pronounce long words. I am an adult, who is pregnant.
4. The Baby Dust
For the uninitiated, “baby dust” is like a well wish to couples trying to conceive. It’s often asked for if the OP is expecting her period soon (as in “we wish you luck”) or if the OP just received a positive pregnancy test (as in “congrats and please wish us luck”). I’m not sure where this got started, although I do know it’s been around for a while. What I don’t understand is why it’s a thing. Why can’t I just wish you good luck or tell you that I am also hoping your period doesn’t show up, in a weirdly non-creepy way? Or, if you’re successful in conceiving, why can’t I just express my excitement and then hope to experience the same joy myself (or you know, not focus on myself for three seconds and just be happy for the OP)? Instead, these women just go around sprinkling baby dust over themselves. For some reason, I always picture rainbow glitter in the shape of a baby, showering down from little fairy vaginas.
5. The Blind Leading the Blind
There comes a time (typically right before you decide to flush those birth control pills and officially label yourself as TTC) that you start researching all that it takes to make a baby. And if you’re like me, you realize that it’s actually kind of a complicated matter involving a lot of luck and a lot of properly-functioning er… body … functions. Everything can throw it off, from unbalanced hormones, to diet and stress, to lack of sleep or changes in routine. So I understand; it’s a complex matter where you’ll read a lot of differing opinions and you’ll have to sort through the facts to really understand what’s going on. Cool.
But when entering these forums, you will almost definitely come across a few posts that are truly bordering on a how-do-you-operate-in-real-life level. For instance, I have a nifty tracker app (technology! what would I do without you?) that allows me to record all the data that I start my day off with. (For those of you interested, that’s my basal body temperature, my ovulation test strip results, and the occasional pregnancy test result because with a cycle of 101 days and counting, I’d never know I was pregnant otherwise.(And I absolutely refuse to be one of those women giving birth in a bathroom at the airport because I didn’t know I was pregnant.)) From this information, the app makes a few calculations and predicts when I will ovulate and when I will get my period. It can be highly accurate IF you happen to have a regular, like clock-work cycle. Most women do not. We can infer this means that most of the time, the app’s calculations will be just a bit off. Key words: predict and calculate.
People, I can not tell you how many women out there seem to think that this app is some type of miracle worker. I’m not quite sure what they are expecting. Maybe that the app will force their hormones to calibrate to meet the app’s calculations? Or that their phones can somehow control their reproductive systems?? I just don’t know. All I can tell you is that I come across a lot of posts that go along the lines of “my app says that I’m supposed to ovulate today, but my test strips say I’m not – I feel like I should trust the app more” or “this app doesn’t work – it said I would start yesterday but I started today and I thought I was pregnant for six whole hours because of this stupid thing.” Headdesk.
The worst part about all of this is those same people – the ones who don’t realize that a computer app has absolutely no control over their cycles – are answering other people’s questions about fertility and conceiving.
6. The This-Isn’t-The-Place Posters
This is a very loosely defined category. It mostly involves the people who post a question that clearly needs to be answered by a doctor, sometimes even on an emergency level, or the people that clearly have an ulterior motive in a question. Bonus points if the topic is taboo (nicotine during pregnancy!) or TMI (we
had sex baby danced 167 times last week, do you think I could be pregnant preggo?).
Beyond these six*, there are many more things that will irk you and your particular flavor of pet peeves. That 27-year-old who managed to get pregnant on her honeymoon, that 23-year-old who is trying to conceive her fourth child with her third baby-daddy, or the woman who’s been TTC for 10 years and won’t quit scaring you with diagnoses. It all depends on your viewpoint and your current situation. Mostly, I just wish I could find a supportive group of ladies who don’t annoy the hell out of me while I’m trying to find a miracle cure for self-diagnosed PCOS for the
fourth four hundredth time. Is that too much to ask?
*And now I must confess how painful it was to end the list with six – not a nice round five or 10. Argh!