On December 16th, my life as I had known it was over – one trip to the bathroom, visible shock on my face, and a picture message to my husband of two little pink lines. We had been actively trying to get pregnant for nearly a year at this point, so it’s reasonable to say that we had semi-resigned ourselves to the belief we somehow had an inability to conceive naturally, partly tongue in cheek and a bit of couple’s self-deprecation, but also to protect ourselves in an attempt to avoid continued disappointment each and every month.
As most women do, I imagine, after the initial moments of elation, my mind quickly went to all of the times in the last few weeks I had a bit more than one glass of wine, and hoped I didn’t ruin it all before I even knew. When we had first set out to make a baby, I was very conscious of what I was drinking and reduced my alcohol consumption significantly (remember the CDC guidelines controversy?) but, for someone who enjoys a beer over the course of the San Jose Sharks hockey season or a couple of glasses of wine with dinner or the occasional Happy Hour indulgence with friends, avoiding alcohol for something that I was becoming increasingly convinced I was unable to accomplish was depressing and stressful, and ironically may have even had a role in preventing the pregnancy or inhibiting ovulation because of the pressure I was putting on myself to approach conception as mindfully and intentionally as possible. Feedback loops.
Anyway, the next day I switched my fertility app on my phone to a pregnancy app, and reached out to my doctor to schedule labwork. I started trying to figure out what all I should expect throughout each part of the pregnancy, what my responsibilities were, the kind of parent I wanted to be. I read article after article, got trapped in message boards on different websites, and tried to synthesize all of the information I could find from different places to approach my pregnancy with a comprehensive and well-informed plan. In fact, I found myself on occasion biting my tongue to keep from finishing doctors’ sentences because I already knew the information they were sharing with me at appointments.
It’s not that I know everything about the reproductive system or pregnancy, or even that I want to pretend to know it all. I don’t. And I’m absolutely aware that many women dig into the depths of pregnancy boards and What to Expect… articles until they feel more comfortable heading into uncharted, terrifying waters. I certainly am not the first to get lost in the trenches of the internet, trying to make sense of this new experience. However, it’s important to recognize that these waters haven’t been untouched, and there are quite often decades upon decades of scientific examination to address the questions we all encounter. We just need to know how to find it and figure out what it all means.
This is where I come in: I am quite adept in the pursuit of knowledge and received a graduate degree in Experimental Psychology which often involved reading different material from a variety of sources, integrating the information, using critical thinking to pursue additional avenues of research or insight, and filtering through nonsensical lines of conjecture that have not been held to a reasonable level of scientific scrutiny. I conducted this level of analysis constantly as part of my Master’s thesis, but also throughout each of my graduate courses and the various fields of study (despite my varying levels of interest in the topics), striving to exceed the high expectations from my professors.
Which brings me to this venture.
I believe in science and rigorous scholarly inquiry, and the value of applying findings from the hard work of those well-versed in each subject matter to “real life” as much as possible. In an age of “fake news” and clickbait headlines, with a seemingly bottomless pit of internet sources, an emphasis on peer-review is more important than ever. I’m here to help filter that information, and present reviews of various topics related to pregnancy and parenthood, and share a bit of my journey into first-time motherhood with you along the way!
Until next time,