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PMT For Two


For many couples, there can be nothing more stressful than the female of the species suffering from monthly mood swings, hot flushes, irrational behaviour and did I mention mood swings? That would be PMT (Pre-Menstrual Tension). For us males it’s a time to show patience and support and ride the storm (it won’t last for ever). However, for most couples there’s something that is even worse. And that’s the sudden absence of the above. I’m referring of course to a missed period.

More often than not it’s harmless and nothing to worry about. The contraceptive pill can play havoc with the menstruation cycle and missing a pill can totally mess the cycle up altogether. A missed period can throw up all kinds of things that you don’t give a second thought to normally. Thoughts like: “I’m not ready to be a father”, “I’m too young to be a father”, “well there goes my fantasies of sleeping with other women – I’m going to have to get married” and of course “my life is over”. There may even be some positives but I’ll dwell on the negatives for now as it aids the narrative.

The first time this happened to me (well, to my then girlfriend of course) was when I was about 19 (making my girlfriend about 17). I was absolutely terrified. It’s one of the few memories I retain from being that age and I remember thinking things like “if it’s negative I’ll never have sex again so I never have to feel this scared again”. Fortunately it was a false-call and I quickly forgot the fear and blind panic.

But this month my girlfriend missed her period. And my reaction was not what I’d come to expect. First of all, I started joking about the whole thing. I’d send her text messages saying I was off to Mothercare to look at infant clothes. I ask her if any of her relatives had any prams / cots / sterilising equipment they didn’t need any more. Of course my dry wit soon made her a bit tense so she went off and bought a home pregnancy test. While she was away getting it I thought seriously for a moment about how I’d feel if she tested positive.

IMG_0762_2And you know what? I decided that I didn’t mind either way. We’ve spoken about having kids and how we’re knocking on a bit and if we’re going to start a family we want to be doing it soon. But we’d decided that – selfish as we still are – we’re just not ready to do it. And to be honest, we didn’t know when we ever would be. But we’d still love kids.

But it became clear to me while I was waiting that we aren’t going to be just wake up one morning and decide that we were ready. It would have to be forced on us and we’d have to deal with it and make the switch to putting ourselves second in our lives after our kids. And this could be it. This could be it being forced on us. And the scary part was that I wasn’t scared at all. I thought to myself “if she’s pregnant, then I’m going to be a father”. And I felt fine about that. I really did.

And as she took the test and came up negative, I swear to you I felt a pang of disappointment.

Maybe it’s because I’m rapidly approaching 30. Maybe it’s because I’ve been spending time with my girlfriend’s family including two nephews (even the Easter weekend). Or maybe I’m coming to realise that there has to be more to life than this. Still, the test kit claims only 99% accuracy. Which means 1 in 100 results are wrong…

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Creator of John's Background Switcher. Scotsman, footballer, photographer, dog owner, risk taker, heart breaker, nice guy. Some of those are lies.

16 Comments Join the Conversation

  1. You bugger – I was getting all excited about a little J/R coming into this world and now I’m feeling pang of dissapointment too…. Maybe your result was in that 1%, keep us posted!!!


  2. Something weird’s going on when I click on the picture. In IE 5.0 at work I get some markup showing at the top of the article.

    I’m disappointed that you didn’t take the opportunity to correct the spelling to “Centre Parks”…

    Oh and I rapidly approached 30 and came out again on the other side and my feelings on fatherhood were unaffected!


  3. Don’t panic John, I mistakenly put an illegal tag in the picture’s description, which shows up on IE. Will fix is when I get home!

    The American spelling does my head in too but I try to be accurate… And there’s hope for me yet when I turn 30.


  4. That would be August the 5th. My father wants to plan a bit party but to be honest I’m not that bothered. Maybe I’m just bitter. 😉


  5. October 8 is my D-Day.
    And I can tell you now that I probably won’t handle it very well at all. More like breakdown crying.

    (that’s just sad, I know)


  6. I know what you mean though Sebastian, I remember turning 10 and thinking it was amazing to reach double figures. That was nearly 20 years ago… Where does the time go?

    I’ll save it for the next article (which, coincidentally is about my getting older).


  7. Know exactly what you mean about realising that there won’t come a time when you think it’s right (I’m about to become a father for a second time). Another honest and refreshing article!

    How about an update on your dodgy knee?


  8. Thanks andy, and congratulations! You’re a machine…

    I’ll write about my ever-slow-healing knee shortly. Although the short version is that it’s coming along nicely!


  9. That bit about you knocking on a bit … I thought that was also just to help the narrative, but no, it sounds as if it’s all true. At least in your mind anyway. Jings crimmeny, yer auld enough to expect pipe and slippers on the 5th August. Ye’ll no have the energy fur a glorious 12th this year.


  10. Do I come across as bothered about age? Hmmm, I guess my dry wit doesn’t always work in the written format. The truth is that I’m not. When I hit 40 I might start worrying about it but that’s ages away yet.

    I’m certainly a long way from hanging up my disco shoes for a pair of slippers!


  11. Wow, and to think I went into severe depression when I hit 25 in March.

    Right now my husband and I are having this issue of kids are wonderful things and we want one or two, but I have to get through this lifetime list first. Obviously something on the lifetime list may have to be re-prioritised if I am to have one before 40 😉


  12. Don’t rush the kids…. As the (apparently only) 40 yo in the reader list with a 4yo, I can only say, there ain’t no rush. Or maybe there is – get it all over with while you’re still young!

    Seriously, we wished we’d spent a solid week (no breaks!) with a family with a really young kid or two or three before making our kid decision – it might have been different.

    It wasn’t a picnic adjusting our lives when we finally took the plunge. We had no @#$&* idea what we were in for – even trying to factor out the unexpected 9 months of morning sickness and lingering post-partum depression.

    That said, now that we do have one, I wish we had three more – just not willing to risk the whole pregnancy thing again for more. I mean if you’re going to turn your life upside down, you may as well go the whole hog!!! And being a mostly stay at home dad is a real hoot too!

    Don’t think you’ll ever have reached enough milestones before having kids – we tried that for 3-5 years too and there were just more milestones added to the list. Eventually we worked out we’d never be ready and went ahead anyway :-).

    Congrats to both of you on your engagement!


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