Fertility with Multiple Diagnoses

by Anna B. Sutton

we are trying to conceive so I stop
taking my antidepressants reduce

that miniscule risk while my doctors
tell me it would be easier if I lost

weight but also that the glitch
in my system will make that loss

near impossible without edging up
against an eating disorder that my hormones

are just as out of whack
as my brain chemistry I was a late

bloomer but when I bloomed
it was a savage flower I bled

for sixteen days that first time
then a few months later through

an overnight pad and heavy denim pant
in under an hour bright detritus dripping

down the plastic legs of our family
computer chair I had been lost

in careful calculus sexual awakening
via a/s/l when my sister came to tell me

my time was up and I’d stained the carpet
when asked how much a woman

should bleed an expert will hold up
a measuring cup and point

to the lowest line when asked how often
a thirty-three-year-old major depressive

will obsess over her agonizing mortality
while also trying to flint damp kindling

to fire they will refer you to a specialist
a year ago under fluoxetine’s tender watch

I told my mother that if we conceived
I’d be happy and if we couldn’t

I’d be fine but then I gave the rest
of my scrip to our dog whose slavering

anxiety is so similar to mine that my husband
blames it on her mother the very same man

who took a long look at my ovulation
test and said this seems

positive what are we doing trying
to make something that might

kill me or more likely husk from me
just as I’ve gotten my hopes up

what is the cause of all this wrong-set
stuff the scientists haven’t figured out

what should I do when my doctor says don’t
think about it too much but also

make sure you’re tracking your cycle
when lately I don’t know one woman

who’s had a child the old-fashioned way
head up and slipped from her

while her doctors tell her keep going
you’re doing it one more push

Anna B. Sutton’s work has appeared in Indiana Review, Third Coast, Copper Nickel, and Los Angeles Review, among other journals. She received her MFA from UNC Wilmington and a James Merrill fellowship from Vermont Studio Center. She lives in Winston-Salem, NC, where she works at UNCSA School of Filmmaking.