Here is an overview of my mental gymnastics during a 27 day cycle; they may not look elegant but when it comes to speed and flexibility they win the Olympic Gold every time.

Day 1 (period) – PAIN, and lots of it.  Pain has many guises in the first day: the agony of period cramps, the disappointment of not having conceived, the anxiety of thinking I’ll never being able to conceive and the distress of having to communicate all this to my Beloved.  All these pains turn up on the first day, partying away in my head like its 1999.  I batton down the hatches by filling up a few hot water bottles, pulling out an extra duvet and holing up the sofa with some Neurofen, red wine and cottage pie.  I have a little cry then watch an episode of 30 Rock, then I have another little cry and watch another episode of 30 Rock.

Days 2-5 (period) – CATHARSIS.  An eerily calm few days when I know that there’s absolutely nothing I can do about conceiving a baby.  I manage the ongoing period pain by taking lots more Neurofen… which might also explain my eerie sense of calm, numb, almost blissful sense of wellbeing.

Days 6- 7 – SCHEMING.  The next fertile window is around the corner so plans need to be made and people must be told:  I clear the diary, tell colleagues I’ll be in late a couple of mornings next week because of some extremely important business, I tell my mother and best friend not to call me in the coming days unless they want to interrupt some extremely important business, I dig out my sexy undies, lay down the Egyptian Cotton bed sheets, buy some more candles, do an internet shop for the food of love, and… try to relax.

Days 8-14 – GET ON DOWN and generally get a bit confused about how regular sex should be.  Every 24, 36 or 48 hours?  I try hard to keep all mentions of mucus and LH surges away from my beloved, not because it grosses him out but because it makes him feel like he’s on a stud farm.

Days 14-15 – HOPE and ovulation time.  Is the egg being granted life?  What if it was hanging out on one side of the womb when the sperm were swimming up the other?  I roll around on the carpet to make sure the sperm are evenly distributed and can find the egg wherever it’s hiding.  Hurrah, maybe this is it!

Days 16-17 – LETHARGY.  Although it’s generally advised to continue having sex on these days we are both exhausted and need to see other people for a while.

Days 18 – 25 – HOPE, ANXIETY, HOPE, ANXIETY.  I repeat as required over this period.   Much like waiting on a platform for your delayed train home for Christmas, or like waiting for your cappuccino at Pret. FOR 9 DAYS.

Days 26-27 – DELUSION and MENTAL TRICKERY.  It doesn’t matter what anyone says, I’m definitely pregnant.

And return to –


Seeing it all written down like this I wonder how I have time to hold down a job, marriage and friendships.  I think I need another hobby, like darts, where it’s possible to learn to hit the target first time round.