Every month, or every other month if I've thought ahead, I have to go into a store and do one of my least favorite chores. The store is GNC, and the chore is buying prenatal vitamins. GNC carries prenatal vitamins without iron, which is great for sensitive stomach types. I figure if I need the ones with iron they can tell me that when I'm actually pregnant and nauseous anyway.
So why is buying vitamins at a supplement store so stressful? Because I have been buying prenatal vitamins for nearly a year and a half. And I have nothing--not a baby, not a bump, nothing but the satisfaction of due diligence--to show for it. Just anxiety and a couple of self-pitying experiences.
The first was just a few months in, and was more of a shot to my vanity than anything else. The guy behind the counter rang me up and then said "Congratulations, are you having a boy or a girl?" Granted, he looked like all he knew about from women he learned from his mom, so he probably didn't know that you have to be about 16 weeks to find out the sex. This was when I was skinnier, and I certainly didn't look 4 months pregnant! I mumbled, "Oh, I'm not actually pregnant, see they're PREnatal vitamins so you're supposed to start taking them before, when you're trying to get pregnant..." I ran out of the store and felt both chubby and a little sad.
The second was more recent--I went in and they'd rearranged the store, so I couldn't just grab them and be standoffish so the staff wouldn't feel like they had to ask me about my blessed un-event. Apparently there was a new wonder product available. A superbaby trifecta of sorts, with the regular prenatal vitamins, a calcium supplement, and a DHEA supplement. Supposedly it would optimize brain, eye, and bone development in the fetus. The salesman went on and on and made it seem like any good mom would want to ensure that amazing developmental boost for their growing fetus. I had to politely interrupt him and say, "Well, I'll think about that one when I actually have something developing in there. I'm not actually pregnant yet. It's an ongoing quest that's taking a while." He was actually really nice, and dropped the sales pitch to ring me out. As he handed me the receipt, he said kindly, "Good luck with that." I barely made it out of the store without bursting into tears. First because I had no reason to buy the superbaby supplement set, and second because this cashier was actually heartfelt and kind. I was touched.
Every time I go, I worry that there will be the same people in the store time after time and they will realize that I am still not pregnant and still buying and taking the prenatal vitamins (although so far turnover seems high). I worry that they feel sorry for me, or think I'm some nut who will come in one day with a creepy vacant-eyed baby doll tucked into my Baby Bjorn. More frequently I just worry that I am going to be on prenatal vitamins for years without actually growing a baby in my lonely uterus. I know that's probably not true, and especially given my uber-positive take on this next cycle I know that I will get to go buy those vitamins wearing actual maternity clothes sometime relatively soon. But it haunts me just a little bit every time a realize I've only got a day or two of vitamins left and have to make my pilgrimage to the GNC down the hill.
But, tonight I went in, bought my vitamins (two months worth so I don't have to go in when I'm full of holiday no-baby blues), and didn't cry in my car after. Hooray for progress...