When I was twenty-one years old I got the shock of a lifetime. I found out I was six months pregnant, despite the fact that I was on the pill, was still getting what I thought was my period, and had no obvious signs of pregnancy. (You can read the whole story of how I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant here). When I tell my story, I often feel as though people are rolling their eyes in disbelief on how I could not have known. Let me just repeat for kicks, I did not know I was pregnant and had no inclination at the time. Like I said, I was on the pill and did not think it would happen to me. Well, apparently I am the 1% of the population who gets pregnant while on the pill…go figure right?
The main reason why I didn’t know I was pregnant:
One of the main reasons I did not know I was pregnant was because I continued to have my period (or what I thought was my period). During the first 6 months of my pregnancy, I was playing College Soccer. I had been training all Summer, and in season all Fall. During this time, I was extremely active, which typically causes my menstruation to become irregular. In fact, many girls who play sports where they train hard and their bodies are under stress, begin to have irregular cycles due to low estrogen levels. I have always been irregular during soccer season, so this was nothing new for me. In the 6 months, I had three light periods. However, this bleeding was not actually menstruation. Instead, it can be classified as either implantation bleeding or early pregnancy bleeding caused by the embryo attaching to the wall of the uterus and hormonal changes. Well, I was twenty and on the pill and getting my “period,” so in my mind, there was no way I was pregnant.
Reasons why I could have known I was pregnant:
1. My hard, descended belly.
About a month before I found out, I started to notice that my stomach was bloated and getting a bit larger. Now, this was during soccer season, and I was maybe 110 pounds and about 5’6′ so when my stomach got bigger, it was easy for me to notice. However, I had been constipated for the past two months on and off (which was once again something that had been common for me), and thought maybe some laxatives and a kick of fiber would get me back to normal. Also, I had been trying to gain weight because I was “too skinny,” in my boyfriend’s opinion. So, I chalked the bloated belly up to constipation and poor eating habits, rather than a sign of pregnancy.
2. “Morning” sickness.
For those of you who have never been pregnant, when they say “morning” sickness, it does not mean it happens only in the morning. In fact, for me, it happened in the afternoon, around 2 o’clock. Typically, the afternoons have always been a sleepy time for me. Growing up, I use to come home and nap for an hour after school everyday. So, in college, when I would be up late partying and studying, and up early for classes and soccer games, I thought my tired and sick feelings were just because I was working myself too hard. Once again, as a college student who was drinking and playing too hard, nausea and tiredness are as common as lectures and beer pong. Do not let the “morning” throw you off, sleepiness and nausea can happen at anytime during pregnancy…who knew? I sure didn’t.
Apparently many women have breakouts during pregnancy due to the overload of hormones. I am one of those people. My forehead was seriously covered in pimples, and I had never been one to get acne. I wore baseball hats, loaded on makeup and washed my face a zillion times a day. Sure, acne is a sign of pregnancy. But for me, it was a sign that I was getting too sweaty and dirty during soccer and maybe eating too much chocolate.
Everyone knows not to mess with a pregnant woman. They are crazy and hormonal. I was both of these. But one thing about being crazy and hormonal is that you never know it. You just think how badly the world is pissing you off, never considering that it has anything to do with YOU.
So, now looking back, yes there are reasons why I could have known I was pregnant, but no reasons why I should have known. Like I said, when you are 20, on the pill and focused on having fun, a period here and there will do just fine as assurance because the idea of pregnancy is as foreign as the old age and wrinkles.