The Unopened Pregnancy Test

This is the pregnancy test I’ve been saving. It expires this month, and this month is nearly over.

The Pregnancy Test I bought two years ago

The Pregnancy Test I bought two years ago

Does every woman have a pregnancy test she saves – the one that will surely be “the one”?

When I bought it, I already knew we were infertile, but I never imagined the test would last this long.

This test has survived four residences (not including the month we lived with my in-laws while we were waiting for our house to be ready), the pregnancy announcements (and subsequent loss, birth or current pregnancy) of 7 nieces and nephews, countless friends, acquaintances, new jobs, fertility drugs, career changes, a 2,500 mile move across the country, and the rise and fall of many hopes and dreams (not to mention the dozens of times I have been sure that our wait was finally over). It’s amazing what can happen in two years.

I really didn’t think the test would have a chance to expire. The only thing more unthinkable than having it come up negative was never having sufficient reason for it to be used. I’ve never been able to throw it away, and now that it is about to expire I’m not sure what to do with it. It seems wrong to throw away a symbol of hope, but hasn’t the symbol changed? Isn’t it now a symbol of dashed hope? of hope washed away? a life that has moved on? Why would I keep that?

What do you do when the one you’ve been waiting for runs out of time?

I’m young. I have plenty of time, but in moments like this I brush up against my own ticking clock, and I realize that this dream of having our own children has an expiration date — just like that pregnancy test. My kind, stalwart Klingon of a husband is always there, unfailing in his love, support, and dedication to the life we live together. I’m blessed – truly, deeply blessed – to have life partner whom I would choose over any possible life without him. The sad irony of what a wonderful father he would make, what a happy home we would have, is not lost on me.

Maybe it’s time to get a new dream, but I can’t seem to let go of this one. I can only build dreams that coexist neatly with the hope that one day we will be able to add to our little family; one more grandchild to the mix, someone (or two! or three!) who will be adored beyond anything we now treasure.

I don’t know yet if I should buy a new pregnancy test – the idea of having one follow me around has lost it’s appeal. This one is out of date, but the dream, at least, has another fourteen years or so before I have to put it away.

But what do I do with this – this symbol of what might-have-been? It seems sacrilege to throw it away. In the end, I’ll be practical and toss it, along with my expired prenatal vitamins, cold medicine and empty shampoo bottles. I don’t want to fill my life with empty things, useful only to my wistful, nostalgic soul. I’m finding a balance between hope and real life. Giving myself permission to love the way things are. Even if they make me sad sometimes.