Before I attempted to make a baby, I had absolutely no idea how scientific the whole process was. How very technical and precise one must be to get the right dates and timings. How you can use various sticks and swabs and specially brewed teas to optimise your chances. How you shouldn’t eat certain foods and should stand on your head for thirty minutes post intercourse to counter-act the effects of gravity (people write crazy shit on the internet don’t they?). I thought if you wanted to get pregnant you just would, unless you had a very serious and rare problem.
You see no one ever really told me how to get pregnant, only how not to. I mean I knew how to get pregnant in a literal sense – obvi. But as a young woman I was led to believe that I was in constant danger of getting pregnant and only the metaphorical layers and layers of contraception I wrapped around myself were preventing it.
Go on the pill! Use a condom! Use spermicidal lubricant! Insert a metal coil up your hoo-hah!
I’d been hearing this constantly from my early teens, before I’d even entertained the idea of sex, I had been bombarded with a hundred ways of how not to get pregnant. Now I’m not saying its a bad thing to educate young women (and men) about contraception – its a marvellous thing and we are so lucky to live in a time, in a country that allows us all to make choices and understand sexual health.
I’m just explaining why I thought pregnancy was the 99% likely outcome of unprotected sex.
Turned out that wasn’t strictly true, humans are pretty crap at getting knocked up. First of all you’ve got a teeny-tiny fertility window each month of say three or four days so if you miss that or you can’t figure out when it is because your cycle is so irregular – you’re basically shooting in the dark, my friend. Then even if you do get it right, you’re up against sperm quality, stress and of course the off chance that the fucking stars and moon will align. Then you need to know your DPO from your CD and how to check your BBT and your EWCM. You’re basically going to get a crash course in Human Biology but not the kind they taught you at school. You remember that one lesson about the female menstrual cycle, the one with the weird charts talking about FSH and follicular phases? Well when you’re trying for a baby that all becomes crystal clear and you’ll be conducting a science experiment on yourself all month, every month until a blastocyst implants and your zygote becomes viable.
It actually sounds quite scary doesn’t it? Like the Alien movies or something. The science of making a baby, really is an education.