Greetings, Fellow Travelers on the Road of Life!
Today, this sunny Saturday in Seattle, I had a specific plan to take control of a specific fear in my life. But that original fear got trumped by another fear - fear of the plan itself - so I ditched the plan altogether.
Regarding this fear, have I mentioned my post-KuKd Tocophobia? Surely I've alluded to it, and of course know that that word means. But in case you don't, let me explain:
Tocophobia is simply another word for Maleusiophobia, which - as anybody with first-grade-or-higher vocabulary level understands - is a synonym for Parturiphobia, which - as even your Amish grandmother living in a rural cave with no TV or Internet will inform you - is no different from Lockiophobia. Which - as indexed in the bible of all bibles of phobia lists - means: "fear of childbirth or pregnancy."
Ahhhh, pregnancy. Remember the days when it looked like this?
Just a lovely ten-month journey fringed with foliage, a hopeful springtime breeze caressing your ears, a shining light at the end of the tunnel beckoning you. Come, Fertile Princess of Motherly Nectar! it said. Come to the Land of Ever-Flowing Breast Milk and Shimmering Sense of Purposefulness, Warm Rosy-Cheeked Child Awaits the Love Pressing Against the Walls of Your Soul! It looked like that for me the first time, and even the second time.
Then came my third stint at being knocked up. Gone was serene foliage, the peaceful silence, the safe and inviting passageway calling my name. Nuh-nuh-no. For me, pregnancy kind of looked like this:
Yes: like a strange acid trip, swirling with hallucinations and spinning unknowns, where nothing was as it seems. And in fact, it wasn't. Just a blighted ovum (Mother Nature's greatest mind-fuck).
So where does that leave me? It leaves me as a bona fide Tocophobe, certifiably and nail-chompingly afraid of looking up (or down at that pink plus-sign) and seeing yet ANOTHER ten-month pregnancy tunnel stretching out before my eyes, looking more or less like this:
That would be me, flailing around in the air, propelled through this shadowy tunnel of horrors with the evil Dead Baby Goddess's face floating in the background. And each of those doors off to the side represents a potential danger - a radiologist jumping out with a clipboard and a grim expression, relaying some awful news:
your baby has five heads and webbed feet!
Or: there is no baby!
Or: the baby is dead and seeping into your bloodstream, which has already caused widespread gangrene, which means we will immediately have to amputate all four of your limbs!
Or: you're pregnant with a thriving fetus, but it's not a human fetus; it's some genetic cross between a flying Mexican wombat, a platypus, a Tazmanian devil, and an ear of corn.
You think I must be kidding, but I'm not. I know it sounds crazy, and it is. But nobody ever said that phobias are normal and rational things.
* * *
Kevin and I both decided last week that my haphazard shrieks of "PULL OUT! MAKE A MAP OF HAWAII ON MY STOMACH FOR ALL I CARE! JUST PULL OUT! NOW!" would not be an effective long-term way to deal with this gnawing, nagging fear of pregnancy. No, no. The real way, the best way, the grown-up way, the responsible way, was to go on the pill. Not forever, ya know. Just for the next year or so, while I sorted things out in my head. Just a way to bide myself some time for deciding if I really want to embark down that tunnel again.
So, I told my doctor I really needed this drug to maintain sanity, and she wrote up a prescription for a few months' worth of low-dose birth control pills, the name of which I've already pushed violently out of my mind (keep reading). I was told to start them this Sunday. Today is Saturday. The pharmacy closes at 1pm. And the one, single meaningful errand I had to run today was to pick up my first pill pack.
But then, I made the mistake of Googling this particular pill, which - according to drug-review blogs apparently filled with ranty, hormonal women - comes with some side effects that made me pause:
-weight gain of 10 to 15 pounds
-sharp mood swings and depression
Now, am I the only person who finds it difficult to justify popping a pill (one pill a day, actually) that could potentially turn me into fat, zitty person with an attitude problem? Believe me, I already have days when I perceive myself as such. So why would I want to inch myself even closer - quite literally- to that unwanted physical and mental state?
So I paced back and forth a bit, asking Kevin what he thought, feeling wholly unsatisfied with the polite, respectful-of-my-female-power vagueness of his answers that civilized modern-day men are trained to give ("It's your body, honey - totally up to you! I'll go along with whatever.") Seriously, sometimes I wish I had a dominant, caveman-like husband who bossed me around: "YOU WILL GO ON THE PILL." or "YOU WILL NOT GO ON THE PILL." God, that would make life so much easier sometimes. (Actually, "YOU WILL TAKE OFF YOUR BRA" might be something I could get into...hmmm.) Anyway, I digress.
So, tocophobia then got trumped by...what...Dysmorphophobia (fear of deformity or unattractive body image)? Badmoodophobia (OK, I made that one up). Whatever. I was caught in a conundrum, trapped between phobias. A "fear sandwich" of sorts!
In the end, Fat-Zitty-Bitch-O-Phobia took over, and I skipped the pill, opting instead to do something totally unrelated to fears: ride my bike to the market with Kevin. We sat out in the sunshine and gorged ourselves on stuffed cabbage rolls from the Russian ladies and strong Americanos with lots of cream. I also made some loud obnoxious animal noises that caused Kevin to glance around nervously to see if people were staring (I LOVE getting him to react that way!) Let me tell you, this was much more fun than taking the responsible path of dealing with my tocophobia. Just don't tell any BOGS I said that.
In the end, although Kevin doesn't know this yet (as an intelligent human, however, he probably senses it coming like a dark thundercloud on the horizon): the new Tocophobia-busting plan will probably end up involving the help of you know who:
Not that Kevin remembers what one of those looks like, or how to use one. My gut tells me he'll catch on pretty fast. Which means that the only risk involved would really be
Hey, I can handle that over the other "side effects" any old day.