Ugh, I hate that phrase, “mind fetus,” but it’s rather fitting. If you’ve spent any time at all on baby making forums, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Abbreviated MF and sometimes referred to as “mind fuck,” it’s the inevitable outcome of symptom spotting (another common phrase that pops up on TTC forums, but, inexplicably, does not have an abbreviation).
Any woman who has ever tried to get pregnant, whether for 2 months or 2 years, has engaged in symptom spotting. Every twinge, bubble, cramp, burp, yawn, sneeze, and eye twitch is examined with a ruthless attention to detail usually reserved only for mathematicians and the crazy Trekkies who know every inconsistency in the Star Trek universe.
It’s an involuntary function, symptom spotting. We can no more stop paying attention to our bodies’ every possibly-pregnancy-related sensation than we can stop blinking or sweating. Sure, you can distract yourself for a while, but it always creeps back in. Even those of us who have been in the trenches for a long time still do it. I’m the first person to tell another woman that symptom spotting is pointless, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t do it. Like I said, there’s no way to stop it, short of going into a coma for two weeks. (Hey, that’s not a bad idea….)
I don’t even try to stop the symptom spotting anymore. But, what I have stopped doing is assigning any significance – positive or negative – to the myriad sensations. Until recently, that is.
Two days ago, I woke up dizzy. That is not an inaccurate choice of words. The moment I rolled over to turn off my alarm, the room started spinning. After a few moments, it stopped, so I got out of bed. Correction: I tried to get out of bed. Once I started to stand up, the world started spinning again, and my ass landed back on the bed real quick. Again, it didn’t last long, but I was much more careful with my movements from that point on. As long as I didn’t shift the position of my head too much, too quickly, I was relatively fine. I made it through the day without incident. A few more dizzy spells, but nothing that caused me to worry.
Worry, no. Start decorating the nursery, yes. (Okay, maybe I didn’t go that far, but you get the picture.) What else could explain the sudden vertigo? In my narrow mind, nothing. It didn’t matter that I was a mere 7 days past ovulation, or that I had experienced this very same phenomenon years ago (it went away on its own) when I was most certainly not pregnant. Logic fled the premises the moment my head started spinning. Certainly this meant I was with child!
Fast forward to today, when a brief call to my doctor explained everything. She didn’t even need to see me to know what it was: benign positional vertigo. (For the record, I will see her for an exam this afternoon, to rule out anything more serious.) Basically, it’s an inner ear disturbance, in which a small piece of calcium breaks loose and floats around, making my brain all confused about my body’s position. It’s completely harmless. And completely unrelated to my uterus. Boy, did I feel stupid.
So, despite my best efforts, I was duped by the mind fuck that is “mind fetus.” I could be pregnant, but, as I often tell other women looking for those rare early symptoms of a uterine inhabitant, so-called “symptoms” are nothing more than normal bodily functions, enhanced by wishful thinking; or, as in my case, something abnormal but not even remotely related to possible pregnancy. Bottom line, there’s no way to know for sure. Even if you do end up pregnant, that bout of diarrhea you had two days before your BFP could have been caused by any number of things. I know this, because I’ve had pretty much every “symptom” you can imagine, including quite a few never before ones, and I have yet to get pregnant.
Yeah, I know I sound like a Negative Nelly, stomping all over your “Aaah! I sneezed! I never sneeze, so I must be pregnant!!” fun. That’s what 2.5 years of infertility will do to you. You get tired of listening to others symptom spot; you get tired of doing it yourself, month after month after month. Even if you can successfully ignore it most of the time, it’s always there, brewing just under the surface, ready to fuck with your head at any moment.