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Author Topic: To Worry or Not to Worry...
JamsessionVT
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We've had a lot of users who have had pregnancy risks. Most are seeking some reasurrance, or some advice as to what course of action to take next.

There is always a risk of pregnancy with sexual activity. Since there is no such thing as 100% safe sex, we can only do the best we can to protect ourselves (or our partner). But sometimes there is anxiety even when we have done everything we can to protect ourselves/our partner from pregnancy, and we can question whether or not we've there was a risk. This worry can interfere in our daily lives, our relationships, and especially our sexual activity.

Here's an outlet for everyone and anyone who has felt anxious about becoming pregnant, even when they have used a method of birth control. Share your fears, some ideas about how to cope with your anxiety, how to get help, what others have done to cope, and what you can do to make sure you are as protected as possible.

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Abbie
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Ecofem
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A few years ago I had a pregnancy risk when the condom broke. I took EC and everything worked out, but I do not want to have to go through that again. For awhile after the scare I'd dream I was pregnant, waking up crying even because it felt real and I wasn't sure what to do.

I am currently sexually active: I'm very aware of pregnancy risk, which are unlikely but still there. It's gotten to a comfortable point where I think about it a lot but don't worry. Though I'm always glad to get my period! [Smile] I'm now more concerned about STI risks.

I'm all about condoms, 100%. (And remember lube, too, because it's key.) I don't want to take hormonal birth control pills so I have a diaphragm, which is important but a bit more of a hassle than taking the pill.

I could obtain EC again quite easily, but I'm already busy and would prefer to save myself the time and emotional energy. One of the first conversations I have with potential sexual partners now has always been: "So, what would happen if I were to get pregnant."

It's really important to me that I only take the risk of having sex (well worth it to me [Smile] ) with someone who's willing to support me in whatever I choose should the "worst" happen. You never know what you're going to do in that situation, but it's not one you get into alone so it's not one you should have to deal with alone.

[ 01-01-2007, 09:55 PM: Message edited by: Ecofem ]

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logic_grrl
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I know we've had quite a number of users who have experienced obsessive pregnancy worries (even in situations with zero risk) as a part of conditions like OCD or anxiety disorders.

Do any of you want to share your experiences or your advice on what you've found helpful?

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"Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it." - the Talmud

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porte**
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Hi, although I have not seen a therapist yet, I think I may have OCD due to my frecuent anxiety of getting pregnant.

See, I had an abortion some time ago, before that I used to be quite relaxed (speaking about pregnancy risks) and obiusly we were not smart. [Frown]

Since then, Ive been dealing with the fear of getting pregnant again. Ive talked to my bf soooo many times and believe me we are really careful since then. BUT, careful isnot enough for me, I NEED to stay away from sexual activities NOW!!

I have said this a milion times, but this time Im convinced! and somehow I am very mad at my bf because he said that if we dont make this stop its going to be better to stop seeing each other... He is a lovely person and I know he said that in a good way, but I felt he was saying something like "stop it okay? Ive had enough"


We dont see each other quite often so there you go... everytime he comes to visit me we are sooo happy that we can not abstain from doing something prohibited [Eek!]


So this is my plan B, we are NOT having any kind of sexual contact untill we get married. Until I feel fine.
I guess before this I expected him to be the one who would respect the boundries, and the truth is that none of us did.

And this time Im going to do it FOR ME, because Im the one who stays worried and because I want to live a relaxed life [Big Grin]

(I guess is worth saying that the activities we perform represent pretty much zero risk od pregnancy)

[ 01-12-2007, 05:36 PM: Message edited by: porte** ]

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JamsessionVT
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I'm glad you recognize that perhaps you need to deal with what's going on with YOU before you can cater to your partner.

I think it might be a good idea in your case to see a therapist, though. They may be able to help if you do in fact get diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or an anxiety disorder.

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Abbie
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Ecofem
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porte, in addition to heading Jam's advice, I'd like to talk about this more with you. But it's after midnight here, so I'll pospone a longer response till later. For now though:

We dont see each other quite often so there you go... everytime he comes to visit me we are sooo happy that we can not abstain from doing something prohibited

I think this could be a big part of the worrying: Instead of scolding yourself for doing something that's totally ok (even if not having any sexual contact would be the best thing for your anxiety), how about being protected as much as possible? Condoms plus something like the Pill as back-up. Just a point to start from... Did you get pregnant originally from not using birth control, did the condom break, etc.?

OK, I'll write more tomorrow –- good night!

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porte**
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Jam, I think you are right, professional help would be great for me, but (why there is always a but [Razz] ) it is kind of hard for me to visit one because I live in a small city and my parents cant know about this. Anyway, I will do my research.

Ecofem, Im not a big fan of pills (because of health concerns), specially because i am not havig intercourse and I would like to take them at the time I get married and until I want children.

So, I think avoiding any sexual contact is my only option [Confused]

(I got pregnant because I was not using ANY kind of protection)

[ 01-12-2007, 07:52 PM: Message edited by: porte** ]

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Ecofem
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porte, I'm honestly a bit confused by all this. You say you're worried about pregnancy risks, but that you're not using birth control; that you're holding off on sexual activity until marriage yet you can't help but do some (unprotected) sexual activities when you see your boyfriend? I'd say your anxiety IS quite valid, especially after getting pregnancy previously while not using any birth control.

I also am not a fan of hormonal birth control, but I also want to avoid pregnancy, so I use condoms and/or a diaphragm– even if I'm not having intercourse, I like knowing I'm actively reducing my risks. I think incorporating something non-hormonal could help you reduce your fears in general. I really think there are options for you other than just avoiding any sexual contact.

I really second looking into counseling-- I'm sure that you can find something that works for you. How about going to Planned Parenthood to talk about things? I think one session could be a great start and give you some resources/recommendations. Plus, as you said in another post, you're 25, so I can't imagine why your parents' opinion matters. Heck, they could even be seeing a therapist secretly themselves. [Smile]

Here are some articles from the main site to check out:
http://www.scarleteen.com/sexuality/safer.html
http://www.scarleteen.com/reproduction/birthcontrol.html
http://www.scarleteen.com/relationships/negotiate.html
http://www.scarleteen.com/sexuality/readiness.html
http://www.scarleteen.com/sexuality/abstinence.html
http://www.scarleteen.com/reproduction/abortion.html

Good luck with everything!

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porte**
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Is it possible to be celibate and have a partner?
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LilBlueSmurf
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Absolutely. Have you talked to your partner about your concerns?

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porte**
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Yes I have. I read the article about absitence/celibacy and I think that is what I need, but I was not sure if you can actually have a partner and be celibate.
Before getting into birth control or therapy I think I will go for being celibate for a while, maybe a couple of months to start with.
As the article mentioned, somehow I am sick of sex and I defenetely need a break, I think that can ease my worries for a while.

Does anyone here has been celibate? Did you have a parter at that time? How did it go?

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KittenGoddess
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Sure it's possible to have a partner and abstain from sexual activity. Lots of people have relationships where they don't have sex. There is no reason that just because one is in a relationship they must be sexually active.

I spent a great portion of my young life abstaining. When I did meet my partner, we didn't start having any kind of sex immediately. We chose to abstain so that we didn't have to worry about sex and everything that comes with it while we were getting to know one another. Heck, after we got married, I became extremely ill and was sick for like 2 months. We were not at all sexually active during the time I was sick. I slept on the couch most of the time during that period because my illness was making us both so miserable that nobody was getting any sleep! He didn't stop being my husband just because we weren't having sex. So rest assured, during any relationship you can opt out of having sex at any time for any reason! My reason was illness, but it certainly is a good idea to opt out of sex if you are not comfortable with it right now.

There are also other activities that you can do with your partner that are nonsexual and will allow you to still be close to one another. What other (nonsexual) activities do you both enjoy? Biking, watching movies, volunteering, etc? Or, you could spend some time learning something new together! Like dancing or painting, etc. Or just sitting and talking is a great way to be close to your partner. So there's a ton of things that you can do with your partner that don't involve sex.

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Sarah Liz

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porte**
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Those are conforting words! Im going to do that, hopefully I will reach the peace Im looking for.
Im taking a PT this wedenesday just to finish w/all this stress and start with this new phase.

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LadyLuck77
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Just a question: Do you think it's logical to worry about a pregnancy risk when you use one sole method of reliable birth control? In my case, a condom? Or is this thread mainly based off of people that double up methods and still feel enormous amounts of anxiety?

I don't use double methods but have recently been overly anxious about just using condoms. Even though they have worked almost perfectly in my past.

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Heather
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You know, I think that when you really don't want to be pregnant, it's reasonable to worry about being pregnant.

People who wear seatbelts when driving still (often, anyway) have concerns about their safety. Doing things to reduce your risks doesn't mean we no longer have any concerns about them.

So, when you worry about it in a reasonable way, cut yourself a break: becoming pregnant is a BIG deal, even when you DO want to, and certainly when you don't.

On the other hand, we (should) get to make choices about what risks we're up for and what risks we're not. Nobody is cheated out of anything vital in life or sexuality by not engaging in activities which pose pregnancy risks. I can say both professionally and personally (especially as a pansexual) that you and yours can have a 100% satisfying sex life without any intercourse or female-recpetive anal sex (these being the two pregnancy risk scenarios to have real concerns about) whatsoever. There are plenty of other ways to have sex which are easy (if not better) trade-offs for intercourse for both partners.

Mind: sole methods like condoms are highly reliable when used properly. So, if you really are up to the risk that engaging in intercourse poses, period, even one good method really should be enough to keep a person from being consumed by worry, and adding a second backup method - any, really -- should pretty much cover your bases, leaving you only with real concerns when you have reason to believe your method or methods have failed.

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Ecofem
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This forum is for everyone, LadyLuck. [Smile]

To put your question another way: pretty much every sexual activity we partake in has its risks. Even if people are are doubling up on birth control methods, there's still a chance to get STIs and become pregnant. Like if the condom were to break and the hormonal birth control wasn't working 100%–- such scenarios are very unlikely but could happen. However, the positive aspects of sex can certainly outweigh the potential negatives.

(Male) condoms have a 15% failure rate (I can't vouch for that as them being used correctly all the time or not.) The question is, are you starting to feel so anxious about just using condoms that you'd want to have a back-up method to ease your fears? What's your feeling on/your accessibility to the Morning After Pill? The fact that you are sorting to worry is reason enough to do something, whatever works for you.

(Mindmeld... be it I'm a much slower poster and got up for a snack.)

[ 01-15-2007, 04:22 PM: Message edited by: Ecofem ]

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Heather
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That 15% failure rate, just to be clear, is for typical use, not perfect use, which includes times when they aren't used at all (as we know often happens), but when a respondant reports that condoms are their birth control method.

The perfect use rates of condoms is very high: with perfect use, they only fail around 2-3% of the time.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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LadyLuck77
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Right. On all of that. I had an overly anxious boyfriend who sort of transferred his worries to me. At the moment, I'm not sexually active -- and don't want to be until I figure out how I will feel best and worry-free about engaging in intercourse.

Someone also please tell me if my thinking is off base here. Since you can tell when a condom has failed you, is it logical to assume that if nothing tore or slipped (and I don't buy into microscopic hole theories, unless you have stored the condoms improperly and caused your own), that in that particular instance, you were 100% protected? With hormonal methods, it would be harder to ascertain a failure, because it's all at work inside of your body.

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LadyLuck77
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Adding to that: I ask that, because it seems to me that with a condom, you have a 2-3% chance of something failing even when you use it properly. So that would mean that there would be slight possibility for a condom to break or slip during intercourse, and obviously sometimes it does, as respondents have reported. However, if you DON'T experience those things, and use them properly, you should (?) be able to rest in the fact that your external contraceptive completely worked for you.

[ 01-15-2007, 04:46 PM: Message edited by: LadyLuck77 ]

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porte**
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I saw my boyfriend this weekend and we kind of had dry sex BUT both of us were fully clothed and I was wearing a panty-liner just un case. He did not come so.. no fluids exchange.
Im relaxed right now but still wanted to know if all this is enought to prevent any risk? What do you think?

Also, can I say Im being celibate? I mean, we did not have intercourse.. and the dry sex (more like kissing, hugging and touching) lasted no more than 2 min.

[ 01-22-2007, 08:51 AM: Message edited by: porte** ]

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Leabug
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Celibacy refers to the practise of avoiding sexual contact in ANY way, shape or form, so I suppose in dictionary terms, you're not being celibate if you're having dry sex... but you could say you're abstaining from sex [Smile]

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Lea

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LucysDiamonds
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Just to answer your other question, porte**, no, you have absolutely no risk at all from your activities. [Smile]

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porte**
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great, thanks!
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babybear
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I have aniexty with many other things, so it honestly does not suprise me that I am on hormonal birth control AND we use condoms - and I make myself sick whenever my withdrawal bleed is nearing.

I usually only get very anxious when I am on antibiotcs - which I have been for the past two cycles. See, when we are having sex and even days after, I am not TOO concerned about pregnancy. But then, as soon as I go into my placebo week, panic sets in. I stress myself out over stressing myself about pregnncy which could cause it to be late. Never ending cycle.

I think of every single way a drop of semen or precum could have gotten on me. We were spooning naked - and yeah, don't laugh - I feel like this could get me pregnant. I realize this is ridiculous - but I obsess. The last time we had sex the boy didn't even ejaculate. But still, here I am, wondering if Thursday will bring me good news.

So why do I continue to have sex? Because I know my fears are somewhat irrational. Generally I am scared of everything - so basically, if I avoided everything I have aniexty about, I would be stuck in my room staring at the walls. I AM protecting myself! I see the pregnant girls at school and I think to myself "THAT COULD BE ME!" but I realize that 9 times out of 10, these ladies did not use protection [either willingly or not]. I am doing everything in my power to prevent pregnancy. I know nothing is 100%, but I think hormonal birth control and condoms is pretty damn close, antibiotics or not.

This site helps - it's nice to hear an honest opinion. You guys are great - I mean it.

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Miss_Mary-Ann
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Yes, I've seen A LOT of people on here asking about pregnancy, Even myself. I relized that after the first time, I was not ready and if you are ready for sex that you shouldn't be worrying. I noticed that all I would do was worry all the time, and that is surely not healthy for anyone, so you really do need to make sure you are compleatly ready before taking that step, it's a big one [Smile]

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Heather
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Just FYI, it is pretty normal for women of all ages, including those who are ready for heterosex, to be concerned about pregnancy when they do not want to become pregnant.

Given we currently still don't have a single birth control method that is 100% effective, and given how tough it can be to deal with an unplanned pregnancy, concern about it is normal.

I do think that for certain, when it as a pervasive, constant terror, even with relaible BC methods are being used, it's certainly worth evaulating whether it's best for a person that freaked out to be having the sorts of sex where pregnancy is a risk, but I'm not so certain that in order to be ready for a given sort of sex, that means someone should miraculusly no longer be concerned about pregnancy.

(Heck, I'm 37, I've been sexually active with all genders to some degree for around 25 years now, and I can guarantee you you don't really get more ready than this. I know full well, given it's my job to know, about reliable birth control, and always use it for heterosexual intercourse, but since I very much don't want to become pregnant, I still have the occasional worry myself.)

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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acs79
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This forum describes me perfectly. I am married (9 months), neither of us has ever been with anyone else, and I am a perfect pill user (never miss a day and take it within 15 minutes of the same time daily). But for the last three months I have been absolutely paralyzed with fear that I am going to become pregnant. I scour the Internet looking up pregnancy signs, every time I feel a twinge or have some sort of vaginal discharge, I convince myself that it's a sign of pregnancy. I've even taken to checking my cervical position obsessively to see if it's in the ovulating position, the menstrual position, or shows signs of pregnancy. All of this is ridiculously unnecessary, of course, because I'm on the pill, and none of those fertility/pregnancy indicators really apply to me. But it's gotten so bad that I'm terrified of sex. My husband is really understanding and doesn't ask for anything, but I want sex myself; I just find myself freezing up before it and freaking out after it.
I am on Zoloft for depression/anxiety/OCD, but while that helps, it doesn't make every day an automatic walk in the park. Do any of you have any ways that you relax or things that you do to reassure yourself or calm yourself down? One thing that I do is meditate and breathe deeply and reassure myself that pregnancy is not the end of the world (abortion wouldn't be an option for me), but if any of you have any other advice, I'd be really, really glad to hear it.
Anna

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acs79
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Alright, I'm back. I've been thinking about this more (in large part because my period is due tomorrow, and I'm on edge waiting for it to come). One thing that helps me is to realize that pregnancy is not, at least in my case, the end of the world. It wouldn't be convenient at all right now--both my husband and I are finishing our master's and we both want to go on for PhDs and having a kid would definitely complicate the situation. But we both have jobs, and we both have really supportive friends and family. It's a little extreme, but I also got online and researched what exactly I would do if pregnancy happened quite unexpectedly. I figured out what my insurance would cover, and found a lot of programs in my area that will help out financially (see the part about both being students--we're pretty poor). I even looked at the grad schools we're thinking about to see what kinds of help they offer for parents (leaves of absence, stuff like that). And I figured out that even though it's not desirable, having a kid would definitely be doable. So acknowledging the risk and then figuring out a plan can actually help--as long as you don't obsess over it.
That's where I get into trouble. I realized that life is just a really big opportunity to worry yourself to death. If it's not pregnancy, it's worrying about money, about school, about a career, and there are so many what if's that I find myself just worrying about those instead of actually enjoying life. So I think that one of the keys for worrying about pregnancy and anxiety in general is to say that all of these things are possible, but there's no way that you can make 100% sure that they won't, and then you just deal with things as they come.
At least that's what I tell myself. Real life is a different story. [Smile]
(Sorry for such a long post. I think that I'm just trying to talk myself out of this.)

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Alice
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(dang, I never noticed this thread before)

I have some intense pregnancy worry. I have the results of pregnancy sleeping on my lap right now, and as much as I love him.. I don't need another. My period is 3 days late at this moment and I'm trying not to think about it, but the underlying fear is there. Rational or not.

From November for April I didn't have a period, from I guess: stress. But the entire time I was convinced I was pregnant. I took at least 4 tests each month. I was in the hospital a few times (ovarian cysts & seizures) and I always asked for a preg. test. All negative.

Here's the insane part: I still thought I was pregnant. I thought: what if I have some strange disease where I'm getting false negatives? What if I'm one of those cases where I go into labor w/out ever knowing I was pregnant? Because then it would be too late for an abortion. And I would go crazy with 2 children.

And even better: I would feel muscle spasms in my stomach area and be sure it felt like a kick. Early in pregnancy fetus kicks feel like spasms, btw. So that didn't help. I told my boyfriend what I was feeling, and his eyes got really wide.

So what do I do? Well, I almost bought a test last night, but I didn't because they're frickin expensive. So I wait for my period to start. I Really hope it does soon. I'm going to do my best to hold off for a week before taking a test. And try to chill out.

(thanks for the outlet)

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acs79
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Re expensive pregnancy tests--the last two months I spent a fortune that I didn't have on pregnancy tests--even though I was having my period (I managed to convince myself that it could be implantation spotting).
It probably isn't good for my obsessive anxiety, but I found out that Dollar Tree sells tests, and they're just as good as the pricey ones. So if you're really worried, I would just pick up one of those.

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acs79
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Period just came. Now I just have to try not to convince myself it's implantation bleeding. Arrrrgh.
Hope yours comes soon!

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Master_Of_Puppets
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Mine's due anytime in the next 1-5 days. And I honestly have done everything I can do to avoid getting pregnant, but still I feel nervous...just a beginners stress I think. I keep telling myself that, but I know I'll fee better when I get my period. I'm a bit stressed though cause I don't feel like I've had any PMS symptoms yet.
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acs79
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I completely understand. Mine is due sometime this week, I never missed a day of the pill, I hardly even had much sex this month...and I'm a nervous wreck. I know I'm not pregnant, but it's so easy to just sit and obsess over the possibility rather than actually doing something to get my mind off of it.
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Ecofem
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Master_Of_Puppets and acs79, why do you think you're worrying so much? (Like you have to keep being on BC from parents or are stressed out from school/relationships/etc.)

Can you think of any ways to reduce worrying? (Such as by using condoms with the BCP or a diapragm or sticking to low/no-risk sexual activities versus intercourse.) How do your male sexual partners help support you when you're worried?

I'm asking this as to brainstorm ways to help you two feel less worried. [Smile] Any other users' comments and suggestions are very welcome, too!

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CondomMan
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I read an interesting article a while back about how fear of pregnancy is actually displaced guilt about having sex in the first place. Living in a society where sex is viewed as 'wrong' or 'sinful' places a tremendous burden on people who choose to have sex, and this burden manifests itself when the person begins worrying about being 'punished' for their behavior. Sex can also be a very emotional experience which can make these feelings moreso pronounced.

I just bring this up as a side-note for anyone who, despite having taken all necessary precautions and has accepted the risk involved with sexual activity, still can't get away from the nagging worry. Just some food for thought.

--------------------
Condoms Rock!

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