The Pregnancy Test: Before And After You Have Kids, It Always Sucks


Pregnancy tests are the worst. If you’re trying to get pregnant, it’s like purchasing a box of disappointment. If you’re not trying to get pregnant, it can feel like a game of Russian roulette. Any way you slice it – the pregnancy test sucks.

It took us almost five years to get our first pregnancy to stick. Five years. We started trying when I was 33 and didn’t have our first child until I was almost 38. It never occurred to me that I would have a hard time getting pregnant. When you spend your whole life avoiding something, it’s easy to think that when you stop avoiding it, it will just immediately happen.


Unfortunately, it didn’t really work that way for us.

There were charts, positions, lunar cycles and just about every other thing you can think of. And of course, there were many, many pregnancy tests. Had I known you could buy them in bulk – I would have. Each purchase was akin to buying a lottery ticket; I had so much hope for something that was beginning to seem about as likely as retiring on a yacht by 40.

When I was trying to conceive I was always convinced I was pregnant, and always took the test too early. I was also always convinced I saw a line. Always.

Me: Do you see it? I see a small line. It’s like, the lightest pink color. Do you see it?

Him: No. Absolutely not. There’s nothing there. 

I began to hate those damn tests. They were a constant, expensive reminder that I still didn’t have the kids I wanted so bad. When that positive test finally came, I actually kept it in a drawer for a couple years – thinking it would be a keepsake. I know it’s gross – I really can’t explain why I did it.

Fast forward two years after we had our first child to the pregnancy test experience I had when I unexpectedly realized I had missed my period. We weren’t trying for kids. I was convinced I would never have another because it took us so long to get pregnant with our first – but we were still using birth control. One time we were less than careful. One time. I’m not even kidding. Six weeks later I was walking to Target, being talked off the ledge by my sister.

Me: I’m screwed. I can’t remember the last time I had a period, I feel like shit, and I would stab someone for a pack of Rolos. I’m definitely pregnant. I’m going to pick up a test right now.

Sister: You’re not pregnant. Don’t worry. I mean, you should totally buy the test but you’re definitely not pregnant. 

When I was trying to get pregnant, I was buying the most expensive tests that basically guarantee to detect a pregnancy that hasn’t even happened yet:

First Response! We can detect a future pregnancy the MINUTE you start even thinking about having sex. Believe us and pay twice as much for our test!

Perusing the aisles for the pregnancy test I didn’t want to take was quite the opposite. I was broke, stressed and already a little underwater with all of the responsibilities that came with having our first child. I picked the cheapest option and some Rolos and headed home.

I sat on the toilet fumbling to open the package of pregnancy tests with one hand, and firmly gripping the Rolos I had just purchased with the other. You’d think that would have been an indication as to what the result would be. A faint line began to appear. One line. Not two.

I bought the cheapest test I could find, didn’t wait the requisite two minutes and immediately convinced myself I was in the clear. I gathered all the wrappers from the Rolos and the pregnancy test, started crumpling the box in my hand and as I paused to drop the test in the trash – I saw the second line begin to appear.

I sat down, finished the Rolos – and tossed the test in the trash.

Like I said, taking the anticipated and wanted pregnancy test is a little different than taking the one that’s a surprise. But they both suck.

(photo: Getty Images)

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