My adult daughters find it hard to believe that back when I started having children, you had to wait until your period was at least a little late before you could do a home pregnancy test. They also find it hard to believe, that back then, a home pregnancy test required using a test tube, mixing chemicals in with a certain number of drops of your urine, and then waiting two, long, hours to see if a ring appeared in the bottom of the test tube. No ring, not pregnant. Simple as that. Oh yeah, and we believe the test results, too.
Pregnancy Testing Madness--Nowadays, pregnancy tests come in multi-packs, and you can almost start testing for pregnancy before you have even conceived. If the one versus two line tests, or the +/- tests are too hard to read, you can buy digital pregnancy tests that will give you your answer in plain English. Pregnancy testing is big business, and you can now buy mass quantities of pregnancy tests online, so that you can just test yourself silly. I have been there, and done that, and frankly, I miss the old days of waiting until your period was late before you tested. Why are we so rushed about everything these days?
After my bout with obsessive pregnancy testing, I began to ponder why we women simply cannot wait for the answer. Is there anything to be gained by knowing you are pregnant 5 to 7 days earlier? Speaking as a midwife, and a mother, the answer is no. In fact, I think we lose a lot. We certainly lose a lot of money, and a good chunk of sanity, too. We are such a microwave society now, and even the microwave takes too long for us much of the time. I am just guilty as anyone, but when and where did I lose my self restraint?
Pregnancy tests used to be kind of like buying adult magazines. It used to be that you had to slink into the establishment where you bought those things, procure what you wanted as inconspicuously as possible, and then, red faced, you made your purchase, and got the heck out of there. Now, with the internet, you do not even have to leave home to have access to adult content, or pregnancy tests. You can buy pregnancy tests at the grocery store, online, and in convenience stores. This has led to a sort of pregnancy testing frenzy, and I bet the folks that manufacture the things are laughing all the way to the bank.
Early Pregnancy Testing Cos–So, what are the cons of such early testing for pregnancy? To begin, over a third of all pregnancies end in miscarriage. In many cases, these miscarriages happen so early that your period may just appear to be a day or two late. This is usually a blighted ovum, or a chemical pregnancy. With early testing, you have gotten that positive pregnancy test only to start bleeding a day or two later. Now, instead of a period that is a little late, you have had a miscarriage. This is emotionally and psychologically trying. I know. It happened to me. There is a reason many OB’s do not want to see pregnant women until they are 12 weeks pregnant. Sometimes babies don’t stick. And sometimes, it is better for us emotionally if we do not know that one didn’t.
At the same time, isn’t it bad enough to see one negative pregnancy test a month when trying to get pregnant? How is is helpful to see one negative test after another, day after day, for a week or more, until your period shows up? Why the need for such self torture? What part of this repeated, daily, early testing makes sense? It takes some distance to see the absurdity of it, I will admit that. I have that distance now, so maybe I can save you a little heart ache.
There is so little mystery left in life. We need to learn to embrace those areas where a little mystery can remain. I know what it is like to want to be pregnant so badly that you can taste it. I also know how much testing every day for two weeks messes with your head. Trust me. It is a dark and lonely place that you do not want to go. Fight the urge. Buck the trend. Wait for your period to be late before you pee on that pregnancy test. You will save yourself a lot of money, and when you are pregnant, and two weeks overdue, you will be glad that you didn’t add another mental week to your pregnancy. Nine months is a long time. Do not make it any longer. Just say no to early pregnancy testing.