Confession: I Can’t Stop Taking Pregnancy Tests, Even When I Know I’m Not Pregnant

Getty / Chanintorn Vanichsawangphan / Ey

There’s a commercial I’ve grown to despise in which a couple sits on the bathroom floor, cocking their heads in confusion over their unclear pregnancy test. I hate it because it’s annoying – just let it sit for a few more minutes, morons – but also because I relate to it so deeply. Since my husband and I started family planning, I’ve wasted hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on pregnancy tests.

Our first pregnancy years ago was very short-lived. I took a test the day of a missed period, got a light second line indicating HBG levels were present, then was crushed when I started bleeding 24 later and a blood test indicated that the pregnancy didn’t take. Logically, the pain of that experience could have taught me to wait a few days after a missed period to try a test, but I can’t stop myself from stocking up on those early-result tests.

In those few minutes, I consider what a positive would mean. What would my due date be? How will I tell my husband?

There’s something about the thrill of a product that could so easily and dramatically shape the future of my family. I love everything about it. I love bringing the boxes home from the store and feeling settled that they are in my bathroom cabinet. I love unwrapping the heavy packaging and holding the fresh test. I even love making sure enough pee gets on the stick that the tab is saturated. Then comes the wait. In those few minutes, I consider what a positive would mean. What would my due date be? How will I tell my husband? Sometimes think about something else entirely.

I test myself in the morning, when my HCG levels are the highest. I test myself in the afternoon, when I’m bored. I test myself at night, when I’ve had so much water throughout the day that surely my pee simply must indicate pregnancy.

I’ve tested myself when I switched from the pill to an IUD, because it messed with my period’s regularity and made my lower abdomen feel uncomfortable. I’ve tested myself hours after testing myself. I’ve tested myself when I was several months pregnant and had seen my growing fetus via ultrasound because I had the test and why not? (Yes, I did eventually have a healthy baby.)

I know this is unhealthy, wasteful, and downright strange. I know folding up the boxes as small as possible then burying them below the trash so my husband doesn’t see them is irresponsible. I know the fact that I kept a used pregnancy test in my desk drawer for hours, wanting it nearby in case the second line appeared, is gross. (OK, then I forgot to take it out and it stayed there for weeks, amongst my pens.) I don’t care.

The past few years have been challenging for a variety of reasons I won’t get into here, but being locked in my bathroom with a little slice of hope is exciting. It’s something I can do alone, and it gives me the smallest adrenaline spike that keeps me going. Even when the second line never appears (it usually doesn’t), there’s always tomorrow. I’m not willing to give up my beautiful pee sticks yet, especially now that we are trying in earnest for a second child. I just bought a combo-pack of tests that give results in three different ways. I can’t wait to pee on them!

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