When Sally was seven weeks pregnant, her doctor said he was 99% sure she’d had a miscarriage. But she didn’t want to believe him. So in the restroom of a restaurant in San Francisco, she peed on a stick (or seven) and against all her expectations, got two blue lines.
Meanwhile, my friend Cat was so eager to find out whether she was with child that she dashed into the local Burger King toilet to take a test, despite being a vegetarian.
And Linda took her test in a supermarket restroom on the way to a Weight Watchers meeting… which she never got around to going to.
I used to think that pregnancy was a pretty private thing – at least until the belly starts to pop and strangers want to rub it. My mom and other women of her generation all went to their gynecologist or the privacy of their own bathrooms if they wanted to know if they were knocked up or not.But every one of my friends who has taken a test confesses that they did so in a public place. (And when I say ‘public place’, I must clarify that I mean in the restroom of a public place… otherwise this would be a whole other article.)
Judging by the number of empty pregnancy test boxes I see in my local mall and my favorite coffee shop, my friends are not alone in this. It seems you’re no one until you’ve peed on a stick in a stall. But why would you want to find out such life-changing news in a place that smells of other people’s… um, deposits?
Partly, of course it’s a desperate need to know whether your world is about to be tipped upside down. “It’s quite a special pee,” says Lucy Beresford, a psychotherapist and author of Something I’m Not, a novel which explores whether all women want to have kids.
Around half of all pregnancies are unplanned, and around half of those are not wanted, so if you’re scared of what a baby might mean, especially if you weren’t planning on ever attending Mommy and Me, might taking a test in a public place be a good way to rein in your response? Psychologist Dr Sandra Wheatley says yes: “You have to regulate your emotions… you can’t act like a screaming banshee.” She also points out that even women who have been desperate for a child will need time on their own to process the result – making a coffee shop toilet, with its proximity to (decaf) drinks, an ideal option.
Of course, if you don’t want to be alone but want a more private pregnancy testing experience, you can always do what Dave’s girlfriend did. Says Dave: “We saw a program about a woman who had a baby even though she didn’t know she was pregnant. So my girlfriend decided to check. Just in case.” And what better way to check than to invite two friends round and have a pregnancy testing party? A sanguine man, Dave is confident enough in their contraception not to take it too seriously.
But he can be assured that whatever the result, his girlfriend is right on the zeitgeist with this one.