“Am I expecting my period, or am I pregnant?” Sometimes it’s very hard to differentiate between the symptoms of having conceived, and thinking you’re getting your period in a particular month.
Your breasts might feel a bit more tender than usual; you might feel cramping in your lower abdomen and lower back. Generally your emotions can be a bit volatile, being tearful one moment (to the point where you’re thinking you’re a bit crazy for crying at an advert on the TV or at a song on the radio), to perhaps losing your temper or reacting a bit more strongly than you normally do.
Some women also experience a break-out of spots, mostly around the jaw-line and chin area of their face. You can feel excessively tired, perhaps crave sweet foods, or feel a bit chilly. You might experience a bout of looser stools or discomfort and bloating in your tummy.
For many women, these can all be signs and symptoms that they’re getting their period. Especially if they haven’t been paying too much attention to their menstrual cycle and aren’t too sure when the first day of their last period was, or how long their cycle normally is, or when their fertile period may have been, or even when they had sex! And then suddenly, something might twig, and you begin to suspect that something is a bit different this month.
So off you go and root through your underwear drawer for that pregnancy test you’re sure you had from before, or scoot off to Tesco or Boots to buy one (but which one – the fancy schmancy one that tells you precisely how many minutes (well, not quite) you are pregnant? Or the cheaper one that probably does just as good a job?).
Better buy some sanitary towels as well, you never know, your period might just be a day or two late. Best be prepared! Now, let’s hope you don’t meet anyone you know at the check-out as you try to nonchalantly, casually, ever so discreetly pay for the instantly recognisable box that holds the answer to all your questions and will confirm or negate all your instincts of the past week or so.
And then the next hurdle is to try and get a quiet moment in which to perform the test. Peeing on a stick in the privacy of your own bathroom is fine if you don’t have any other children who like to follow you everywhere and know exactly what you’re doing at all times. However, it might prove to be a bit a challenge or more of a family affair if you do – “What’s that Mummy? What are you doing? Can I see? “... And then do you just pee on it, or actually pee in a glass and then stick the magic wand in for five (oh, I probably counted too quickly, better leave it just a little longer) seconds?
So many dilemmas. Finding out if you’re pregnant or not is never, of course, a mundane task. In three minutes’ time or less, your life just might change completely, be it the first time you find out you’re pregnant or the second, third, fourth or any other time. Or if you find out that you’re not pregnant, it might be a case of life stays the same, either with heart-aching disappointment, or for some women, huge relief.
Ok, so one little line has appeared. Good. The test has worked. I must have left the stick in the pee for the right length of time. And now the waiting begins. Did you ever know three minutes could take so long? I don’t think my heart was beating this loudly before. Yes, and I’m looking... I’m looking... I’m still looking. Damn, I wish I’d worn my glasses. What’s that they say, “You can never get a false positive”? Ok, patience. Is that some sort of discolouration where another line should be? Is that really another little pink line?? Really? OH WOW! I’M PREGNANT!!
And your life changes. Completely. Everything that you’ve been feeling and experiencing over the last week or ten days now makes itself clear and very obvious. “Of course I knew”, you tell yourself. “Something was just a little different.” Perhaps hard to put your finger on exactly, but you knew all along that when that little poppy-seed sized new life form started telling your body what to do, that something was indeed different.
If you have just found out that you’re pregnant – congratulations!
If you have just found out that you’re not pregnant – and you’d like to be, I honestly hope it happens for you soon.
Hi, I'm Lisa Heeney. I'm passionate about women enjoying their pregnancies and having a positive birth experience. I work with pregnant women on a daily basis and I learn so much from them and am truly grateful. Drawing on my working experiences and my personal experience of being a mum of three, I would like to share tidbits and advice that I have found helpful and beneficial in pregnancy and after.