I wonder if it’s just me for whom infertility leads to a particular perversion of magical thinking. Until Saturday I was convinced I was pregnant, thanks to a variety of the usual signs, most notably a period that was a week late. As I’ve written before, these days are beyond agonizing. Part of you wants to rejoice and think that at last, the wait and anxiety and anguish is over. Part of you doesn’t want to allow any excitement to mount, only to be cruelly crushed by reality. Every time you drive by a drugstore you think, “should I buy a pregnancy test?” but then you think, “if I buy it now, then I won’t be pregnant.” When you’re out to dinner and your friends suggest that you get a glass of wine, you would definitely like one to ease your stress, but you think if you order one then you don’t really believe you’re pregnant, and so therefore you won’t be. Or if you have a drink you are somehow saying you don’t care that you’re pregnant or you’re not concerned about the health of your baby, and so somehow you don’t deserve to be pregnant. I know none of it makes any sense. But that doesn’t matter. Your brain just goes in all these painful directions, always circling back to the absurd idea that somehow your thoughts are controlling your fertility, rather than what’s happening in your uterus. You think, maybe you actually were pregnant but your body decided the cells weren’t dividing properly and the embryo needed to go in the no-go chute. Does it matter if you were or weren’t for that week? You aren’t now.

Meanwhile, your child’s obsession with obstetrics becomes almost too much to bear. Morning, noon, and night she pretends to be pregnant, or says she’s having a baby brother or sister because you’re pregnant, and stuffed soccer balls and baby dolls are constantly hidden behind her shirt. You beg her to play something different. You wonder if the only cure for her babymania is for you to actually have a baby, and then she’ll know what it’s like for real. Obviously, if you could make that happen, you would. Is she doing this to torture you? No, you’re sure of that. But it does. Is she doing this because she senses your desperation? Somehow, maybe, although you’re not sure how. Or is she just a little girl who’s very fond of playing mommy having a baby? Are other children similar obsessed? Does it matter?

You’ve been told by many people to think positive–that if you envision being pregnant and having a baby, it will happen. But what if you envision it and it doesn’t happen and then your vision just hangs over your head like an impossible dream, and you are haunted by what isn’t? You have a life to lead that is not well-served by being consumed by babymaking. Your daughter’s obsession need not be your own. But how do you put it out of your mind? Perhaps some magic is required. Some more peaceful or joyful sorts of magical thinking you haven’t yet figured out how to achieve.