Sunday, September 21, 2014

What Digital Sticks SHOULD Say

Let's talk digital pee-sticks, now that I am far enough away from my own unsuccessful bathroom shenanigans to laugh a bit about it.

Digital sticks are a lovely invention if you are actually pregnant, because there is no question of the result, and it is awfully nice to see your hopes and dreams reflected in bold lettering... PREGNANT. There's no interpreting the darkness or thickness of the lines, you either are, or you aren't. It's like the best kind of affirmation.That said, you'd better make sure you are actually pregnant when you pee on one of these.

Because if you aren't, seeing the equally bold lettering saying NOT PREGNANT feels like someone shrieking it in your face. Maybe in a stereotypically angry German accent, like Frau Farbissina in Austin Powers. It's a little a lot jarring, and tends to deliver the message in what seems to be an unnecessarily harsh way.

So, on the day I got my test results and was surprisingly more okay than I would find myself in 24 short hours, a friend of mine, who has been wrung out on this fertility journey and is now navigating the emotionally fraught adoption journey, stopped by to bring me coffee and hugs. I told her about my pee stick drama a few days earlier, which led to a discussion on digital tests.

We decided -- maybe it shouldn't say NOT PREGNANT. Maybe it should be a kinder, gentler message. Maybe it should say, SORRY, NOT NOW. Or TRY TRY AGAIN. Or something that's a little more supportive than NOT PREGNANT. And maybe PREGNANT should come with a little extra, too -- a CONGRATULATIONS! Or YOU MADE IT! Or even WOO HOO!

But then we got thinking, because of the dilemmas of people who pee on these sticks hoping for the opposite (even though this has never been my experience, there are people out there who are fertile at less than ideal times). Maybe there should be a switch on the side. If you actually are hoping that you WON'T be pregnant, you don't really want to be congratulated. I would imagine that if you are sitting on that toilet, hoping and praying that nothing life-changing has happened and crossing fingers and toes that the powerful little pee-soaked stick will deliver the correct message of relief, you wouldn't want a congratulatory message if you are conflicted and it feels more like some kind of sentencing than a long-awaited joy.

So, if you don't want to get pregnant, NOT PREGNANT could be... CONGRATULATIONS! Or WHEW! And PREGNANT could be UH OH. Or TOUGH DECISIONS AHEAD. The switch would help the stick know what kind of platitudes you're looking for for each outcome.

My point? Maybe the digital stick should be more like a Magic 8 Ball. Still clear what the answer is, but a little more mystical, a little less harsh, and with options depending on your hopes and where you are in life. Maybe it's a bit much to ask of a little piece of disposable computer programming, but I think a kinder, gentler stick would be an amazing invention. There's got to be someone out there who can make this happen!


  1. I love it, digital pee sticks as magic 8-balls. I'm terrified of pee sticks, but, yes, if they weren't so harsh, I might feel less intimidated,

  2. I was totally thinking Magic 8 Ball before I read it! Maybe just pee on a Magic 8 Ball next time and then ask it, "Am I pregnant?" Sounds like more fun that peeing on a stick anyway!