I was pregnant.
The doctor said I was, at least at first. I was so excited. So was Greg. We weren’t planning on kids, but when I skipped a period, I never felt so much joy in my life. Greg proposed on the spot when I told him. We immediately made plans for the nursery and my mother cried because she was too young to be a grandmother, but it was amazing.
Then when we went back to the doctor nearly a month later, I was lied to.
I was told I was never pregnant in the first place.
I threw a fit. That couldn’t be right. I was already feeling my breasts grow tender, and my fiancé could vouch for the morning sickness that would come and make me feel so ill I’d have to take a day off of work. But he insisted.
The lying fucker.
Greg was silent the whole way home. My hands never left my belly, where I knew, I just knew I was growing a new life. I told him I was going to go to another doctor, get a second opinion.
He didn’t respond.
I went to six other lying doctors. Each one told me that I was not pregnant. There was nothing in my womb. I wasn’t going to have a little Greg or a little Cheryl. I wasn’t going to be a mother.
But the symptoms were there!
At work I’d be getting up to urinate every hour. That’s a sign of pregnancy. I’d nearly hurl whenever someone brought sushi into the office for lunch. The very smell of it made me want to die. The morning sickness was still there too. And whoever coined it ‘morning’ sickness needs to be shot- I was sick nearly all day at some points.
When I realized my belly was starting to swell, I told Greg. The doctors were in fact wrong. We were having a child.
Greg kissed my stomach and spun me around and around the room.
Yet the doctor still had the nerve to lie to me.
“There’s nothing there.”
I was shown pictures of someone else’s body. Of an empty uterus and nothing else. I screamed and threatened to sue these assholes bankrupt. I was so obviously pregnant! People passing me on the street would ask when I was due, in which I’d proudly proclaim I was due in June. I only had the rough estimate on my side, given I was refused help by any medical professional.
I begged Greg not to tell anyone though, the humiliation from the doctors was bad enough.
He lied. He said he wouldn’t. But he called my mother.
My mother came over and talked to me about this ‘false pregnancy’ thing. That someone had tricked themselves into thinking they were pregnant. She showed me stories of other women going through it, told me about a therapist she’d found online that would help me through this.
I blame my mood swings for why I slapped my mother across the face. How dare she insinuate that I was making this up!? How could I make up my baby belly? How could I make up the morning sickness and always feeling so bloated? I told her to get out and leave me alone. I still had Greg.
At least I thought I did.
Over the months of my pregnancy, my stomach and breasts growing bigger, Greg grew distant. I asked him about baby names and he would change the subject. I’d go pick out things for the nursery and he’d make up some excuse as why he wasn’t coming with me.
Then I found out about Erica.
I found her name in his planner, and he’d been meeting with her weekly for months. Ever since the doctors lied at the ultrasound. I threw a fit when he got home from a date with her. I’d spent half the day leaned over the toilet, unable to keep anything down, and he was out with another woman. While he was engaged!
Greg snapped at me. I was crying and unable to stop sobbing, and he yelled at me.
He called me crazy. That Erica was his psychiatrist that he’d begun to see after we found out about my ‘pseudocyesis’. He needed a way to cope, and that I needed to come to terms with what was happening. And if I didn’t then our engagement was considered off.
He was kicked to the couch that night. I knew he’d leave me though. Because of everyone lying and manipulating us. They wanted us to be apart, for me to be trapped as a single mother, all alone. So I had to do something drastic.
I watched some videos on how to do it, studied pictures on my anatomy. I sterilized the knives in boiling water and rubbing alcohol.
I put it off for a good hour as I sat in the bathtub, not even wearing a shirt. Would my baby make it? Would they survive being so young? I knew they would, no, they’d have to be. And if they weren’t, I’d be going for the throats of the doctors who refused to take me seriously.
The pain was bad, but I bit down and kept cutting. Layers of skin peeled back like a flower’s petals, blood red like roses. Then came water, pouring from my belly. For several seconds, I sat still in my bath, surrounded by my blood and the water.
Then before I lost consciousness I saw my baby.
When I woke up I was in the hospital. Greg found me, holding my hand. He promised he’d never leave me again. That’d it’d be okay, even though we’d never have another child. I smiled. One would be enough.
We returned home a week later, and I walked into the nursery. My mother was there waiting for me, her face chalk white. She’d seen her grandson for the first time.
I walked up to the crib and extended a hand. My son, his slimy, ink like form more beautiful than anything I’d ever seen, slowly crawled up my arm. He softly whimpered as he nuzzled against my breast.
He was hungry.
I undid my shirt and let him latch on, his several spiny teeth imbedding into my breast. He squealed as blood trickled into his mouth.
I hushed him and gently rocked him as he fed.
Now no one could say I was never pregnant.