Guest blogger Dani Klein Modisett: "I had to meet with you because I'm pretty sure I'm pregnant and you're one of my closest friends and I know you're a Christian and I wanted to tell you in person that if I am, I don't know what I'll do. I'm 25 and single and I have no way to support a child, but ... I don't know."
My voice and hands were shaking when I said those words 20 years ago. I got my period the next day, but the terror I felt at the thought of trying to raise a baby on my own has stayed with me. I was reminded of it recently when, now well into my 40's, I once again was sure that I was facing another unplanned pregnancy.
It's not really important why I thought I was pregnant, or the fact that I may have manufactured all the symptoms. OK, I'll tell you: I had gone to see a psychic this summer, because I was freaked out that both my kids would be in school in September and I still don't seem to know what I'm going to be when I grow up. She told me she saw a baby floating around me. She said "the spirits" were trying to send me this baby, and if we weren't trying to have another child, we should be careful. I laughed in her face, because my second baby was IVF, and naturally we haven't used birth control in four years. (I'm ancient in maternity years.)
None of those details matter, unless you are my husband and we're divorcing and you're suing for custody of our children based on the fact that your soon-to-be-former wife IS CRAZY. No, what matters is that for two weeks this summer, I fully believed that I was with child. I was nauseated, my skin was glowing and everything smelled revolting. And then I got my period.
Unlike my brush with motherhood in my 20's, feelings of relief did not envelop me like a warm blanket of fudge sauce when I learned the truth. I actually felt very sad. Not for the loss of the imagined baby (although that was part of it), but for the realization that not only was I not pregnant, but I never would be again.
In the weeks since then, I have shared the story of my "hysterical pregnancy" with a few women -- some mothers, some not -- and have been surprised to hear that everyone in her 40's that I talked to had had exactly the same experience (minus the psychic). Each recalled a missed period or hormonal irregularity that had made her feel she was pregnant, followed by a day or two of bleeding and the deeply sad realization that she was never going to have a baby again (or, in some cases, ever).
I really don't want to chase a toddler at 50, and yet there is something so final about this door being closed forever. But I'm hoping that my two boys love babies as much as I, and that they start early. Maybe not Bristol Palin
early, but then again ....