Why I’ll Never Tweak a Pregnancy Test

Photo: William Andrew/ Getty Images

By: Darcy Zalewski

There’s a growing trend in many online moms’ groups to tweak pregnancy tests. Some forums have threads dedicated to tweaking requests and analyzing each others’ pictures in search of early positive pregnancy test results. From women who’ve been struggling to conceive for awhile to moms suspicious of possible signs of early pregnancy, it’s hard to visit a mom group without seeing a picture of a pee stick somewhere.

There are plenty of awful things about tweaking pregnancy tests. Reading the results is one of them. However, this is one trend I cannot get behind. I’d be more likely to tweak my ovulation prediction test strips. Those can drive you crazy trying to compare the lines. Is it dark enough? Are they the same shade of pink?

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Have I ever snapped a picture of my test results and showed it to someone? Absolutely. I’ve texted a close friend asking for another set of eyes to help read my ovulation test strips. Not sure why it mattered so much to me. It’s not like my husband and I were only going to do the deed if the colors aligned. I suppose it’s because I was seeking evidence of ovulation.

Now, I’ve been known to take a pregnancy test or two too early. When I feel like I might be pregnant I get really excited. I long for evidence to back me up. I’ll pee on a stick before my missed period (especially since I don’t always know when that would be with my wonky cycle). Every negative pregnancy test is a letdown, a disappointment, but hope stays alive until my period arrives.

Tweaking photos of pregnancy tests is not harmful in and of itself, but it would mess with my head too much.

As discouraging as it is to keep chasing that second little line, I wouldn’t play around with photos of my results trying to detect a line unseen by the naked eye. I want a positive pregnancy test with no filters. One that is undeniable. It’s too stressful to get my hopes up on something that isn’t reliably accurate. I can’t even look at those threads most of the time.

At the beginning of my cycle I tend to react positively to pregnancy announcements. While I’m feeling more hopeful about trying to conceive Baby No. 3 it’s easier to share in the joy of baby news. Near the end of my cycle I tend to keep scrolling, especially if someone is asking for help to read their pregnancy test. It conjures up too many negative and complex emotions for me. When I’ve taken a series of negative pregnancy tests I have to scale back on social media. It’s a vulnerable time.

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I understand the feeling of urgency, that’s why I have trouble waiting longer to take home tests myself. I find it hard enough emotionally to keep trying to conceive month after month without success. Tweaking photos of pregnancy tests is not harmful in and of itself, but it would mess with my head too much. I’d constantly be seeing lines that weren’t really there, looking to others to find my missing line, and overall obsessing. If someone tweaked my results and I saw a ghost of a line, my hopes would shoot through the roof only to be crushed within a few weeks if it wasn’t truly positive. For me, it’s like playing with fire. As it is, I prefer digital readouts so my eyes can’t play tricks on me with the lines.

Have you or would you ever tried to alter a pregnancy test picture in search of a hidden line?

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