“To be pregnant, do I have to vomit? Isn’t vomiting like the number one symptom of pregnancy? Because I don’t feel like vomiting but I have been pretty nauseous and lightheaded,” I complained to my new husband while we ate breakfast on the fourth day of our honeymoon.
“You’re not pregnant,” he said with the force of a man who has never had to worry about a gushing period blood clot in the middle of his SAT’s.
But he was probably right. What was the likelihood that I would get pregnant after the first couple of times of having sex? Not likely. Though…it has happened. I could be the new bride that all the wedding guests gossip about getting pregnant right after her wedding because she didn’t know how to use her birth control.
I could just hear them snickering about it over their brunches and spa days.
I tried to move on to other possibilities of why I might have been lightheaded and nauseous. Maybe my body was still adjusting to the oral contraceptives I just began taking in preparation for this new phase of my life. Though I had been taking them for about a month and a half by the time of my honeymoon, I still felt I hadn’t acquainted myself with the symptoms yet. Perhaps the dizziness was a pre-period symptom, which I was supposed to get in a few days.
Or maybe my symptoms had nothing to do with my reproductive system. Maybe because we were in a different country and time zone, my body was still adjusting to those changes.
Perhaps it was all completely psychological and I was just psyching myself out because I was scared of getting pregnant that I just thought I was dizzy and nauseous and lightheaded.
Turns out, I wasn’t pregnant. I never found out why I started feeling that way, it’s been a couple of years since my honeymoon and I still go through the same thing when I get the usual dizziness/nausea/cramps/headaches/cravings/backaches.
And I still ask the same questions: Is my period coming up? Is my birth control acting up? And rarely, but still in the back of my mind is the gnawing question, “Am I pregnant?”
So here I am. A woman controlled by her reproductive cycle.
Maybe if I believed that this pain and confusion were supposed to be my punishment for Eve luring Adam to the tree* all this would make more sense. Am I always supposed to define myself in terms of my reproductive cycle? Am I just a baby-making factory that’s either open or closed?
The other day, while I was hunched over a heating pad, writhing in pain from the demons clawing at my uterus (also known as period cramps), my husband asked me why I don’t just skip my period since I could do that now with my birth control pills. And though the thought of skipping a period every month is tempting, period time is cleansing time.
It marks the end of an old month, a chance to start over. A new menstrual cycle, a new me. It’s a reminder to myself that I can survive. My body is resilient–it goes through this, and later when/if I have children, so much more.
I am a WOMAN.
Hear me ROAR (literally because these period cramps are extremely painful).
*Genesis 3:16: To the woman He said, “I will greatly multiply Your pain in childbirth, In pain you will bring forth children; Yet your desire will be for your husband, And he will rule over you.”