Unbearable: How Ridiculous Is It That I’m Still Embarrassed To Buy Pregnancy Tests?

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Having a child is usually a happy time in a woman’s life. Unfortunately, as we wait longer to have children, infertility and trouble conceiving can become a part of the family making process. Unbearable addresses these difficulties.

When I was in high school, a friend of mine came to me with an extremely serious problem. She and her first love had gotten a little hotter and heavier than they intended. Given our extremely thorough warning from health class that, “You can conceive the very first time,” she was now terrified at the idea that she might be pregnant. I’m sure this never happened to you or anyone you know.

So why was my friend bringing this information to me, well aside from the fact that we were high school girls who told each other everything? We both went to school with a girl who worked the check-out at the grocery store near our house. My friend couldn’t possibly buy a pregnancy test in there by herself. She would be too nervous.

Being a virgin who people already thought was sleeping around, I was a lot less afraid of anyone assuming I might be knocked up. I agreed to be the one to make the purchase. We also bought a lot of ice cream. Either it was to celebrate or to cry. Even though the test wasn’t for me, even though I knew that it had no impact on my life, taking that pregnancy test up to the counter was more than a little terrifying. I felt guilty, as if the guy at the check-out was looking at me differently. I felt embarrassed and tried to hide my purchase from anyone in the line behind me. I really wanted to yell out, “It’s for my friend!”

Looking back, buying a pregnancy test in high school might have been one of the courageous things I’ve ever done. I desperately wanted to drop the thing and run for the door, but I held out and bought the test that gave my friend the good news she needed.

Now, a decade later, it’s amazing how the experience of buying pregnancy tests really hasn’t seemed to change much. I still like to buy them with lots of ice cream, either to celebrate or cry. I still feel vaguely annoyed that they are right next to the condoms. The two things are like exact opposites! And oddly enough, I still feel a little embarrassed every time I take them to the check out.

Maybe it’s a hold-over from my high school days, but I always feel this urge to explain myself when I’m purchasing pregnancy tests. (Don’t worry, I have enough self-control to hold that urge in.) Even with a ring on my finger and another child riding around in my cart, I want to let the people around me know that a positive test would be a good thing. These are tests of hope!

I’ve bought so many pregnancy tests in the past two years, I should really have stock in First Response. Every month I get impatient and use a test or two, simply unable to wait and find out my disappointing news naturally. I don’t even believe the tests anyways, so I’m not sure why I bother. But I do bother. I keep going back to the store for ice cream and pregnancy tests. And every time, I still feel a little embarrassed that someone at the check out now knows that I must be having sex.

I’ve begun to wonder if my local grocery store doesn’t notice my incessant purchase of pregnancy tests. Now, they aren’t judging a high school girl who must be sleeping around. They’re judging the poor sap who keeps trying over and over again, but never has anything to show for it. Now, maybe even more than in high school, I wish someone would believe me if I told them that they were, “just for a friend.”

(Photo: Nils Z/Shutterstock)