Have the kind of sex that involves the condom breaking. Think nothing of it until you realize you are probably ovulating because of you have an insatiable craving for carbs and recently bawled at work for stupid reasons unrelated to your job. Take the only emergency contraceptive that’s available in a country where Plan B is considered an abortifacient: 4 Trust pills within 72 hours of unprotected sex, then another 4 pills 12 hours later. Go to bed thinking, “Any day now, my period will come. Any day now.”
Three days later, be 100000000 times more emotional and sensitive than you normally are when you’re PMSing, because the hormones are now working their anti-pregnancy magic on your body. Be aware that hormone-bombing your body makes you go a little crazy and prepare yourself for the emotional shitstorm ahead.
Do the groceries, clean your apartment, go for a swim – anything to get your mind off things. During a break in between laps, finally release the tears you’ve been choking back all day. Spend the rest of the evening throwing a pity party of epic proportions on your living room floor, hair still damp from the pool water. Start smoking again, because fuck this shit. Think about all the coincidences and choices that led you to this moment. Think self-defeating thoughts about how inherently unlovable you are. Feel very scared and alone.
Decide to take a pregnancy test a week and a day after the broken condom episode. Have friends over for moral support and draw courage from half a bottle of wine. Feel relief at seeing just one red dash. Think that any day now, your period will come. Any day now.
Panic a little when there are is still no signs of blood three days later. Panic some more when you discover you’re supposed to take pregnancy tests first thing in the morning, not close to midnight on a Friday after downing half a bottle of wine. Decide to take another pregnancy test the coming weekend, and to somehow keep it together until then.
Have your secret spill out of your mouth at lunch on Monday because your panic can’t be contained. Feel relieved and expect words of comfort when one of your friends says he thought of something to make you feel better. Shake your head in disbelief as your coworkers start brainstorming names for your potential future child instead.
Reevaluate your beliefs about abortion. Decide that even though safe and legal abortions should be made available to women everywhere, it’s not an option that you would choose for yourself. Find this to be an odd decision, because selfish choices are the only choices you know how to make. Maybe it’s all that Catholic school brainwashing. Maybe it’s because you know someone who died too young. Maybe it’s because you’ll spend the rest of your life hating yourself for denying anyone the chance to love and be loved and live. Because despite all the suffering in this world, you know that life is a wonderful thing, and in spite of your issues, you have a lot of love to give.
Also, you don’t want to risk death from a botched back-alley abortion. You don’t even know where to get a back-alley abortion done.
Talk to your mother because she is probably the only person in the world who loves you. Find the nerve to bring up your fears as you listen to her gossip about someone who just got disowned by her parents. What would make a parent disown their child, she wonders out loud.
“Oh, I don’t know,” you say with false nonchalance. “Wouldn’t you disown me if I got accidentally knocked up?”
“Gaga,” your mother replies. “I would be happy if you got pregnant.”
“Even if the father was a one night stand?”
“Well I’d rather that he weren’t.”
Yep, abortion is definitely no longer an option.
Have another hormone-induced crying fit. Think about all the nights you’ll never have at your favorite bar because you have to breastfeed or sing nursery rhymes or do whatever it is mothers do on Saturday nights. Think about how being a single mother will make you REALLY undateable now. Think about how thrilled your frenemies will be and how your relatives will give you so much shit for getting knocked up by some tourist whose name you can barely remember and whose last name you don’t know. Realize that single motherhood comes with so much unnecessary judgment and shame. Think about how unfair it is to be a woman. Think about how fucking expensive it is to send a kid to school. Think about how you sometimes can’t afford to take a cab to work.
At work the next morning, Google the following search terms:
chances of pregnancy from pre-ejaculate
chances of pregnancy from broken condom
false negative on a home pregnancy test
are there any infertility gods i can pray to
how early in pregnancy does morning sickness occur because i feel really nauseous right now
See your favorite aunt who is visiting from San Francisco. Hope that you can get some of her Buddhist calm through osmosis and meditation because your friends are getting sick and tired of your moaning. Listen reluctantly as she lays down the facts.
“If you are pregnant despite all the precautions you took,” she says, “then you are ready to be a mother. I’m not religious, but I believe in serendipity and synchronicity. The universe will send you a teacher when you are ready. In this case, your teacher can be a baby.”
“But motherhood will mean that my life is over,” you whine. “I got out of a relationship because I felt stuck and trapped. I don’t want to spend the next two decades raising a kid.”
“It helps to visualize the positive. Imagine all the beautiful things you could teach a child. You might end up with a very precocious baby who’ll be reading Socrates at five years old.”
Meditate. Feel comforted by the thought that everything happens as it should. Accept that if the universe gives you a baby, then you’re going to make damn sure that kid grows up to be a smart and compassionate human being. Start making up rules on raising your child: no photos of your kid on social media until he or she is old enough to give consent, gender-neutral toys only, an enriching early academic life that will make your kid qualify for Philippine Science High School or the Philippine High School for the Arts. Begin to curate a list of books you plan to read out loud every night. Feel a little excited about your parenting project. Fall asleep wondering how to break the news to your parents.
Wake up with fresh blood stains on your pajamas and bedsheets. Realize that this means you get to live the life you’ve enjoyed up until your pregnancy scare – the life you’ve always wanted for yourself. Text a non-pregnancy announcement to your friends. Sterilize your menstrual cup. Allow yourself a minute to feel irritated because you just changed your sheets two days ago and now you have to change your sheets again. Quit smoking.
Walk to work with a skip to your step, your iPod playing a more cheerful soundtrack to your life. In between songs, listen to a tiny part of yourself cry, the part that felt real excitement at the thought of loving and raising your own child. Allow yourself a few seconds to feel a slight pinprick of disappointment. Decide that you definitely want a kid, someday, on your own terms. And hope that when you are ready, you’ll get to have that baby with someone who’ll stay longer than a night.