Pica is when you want to eat non-nutritive, not-food things. It is also a unit of typographical measurement.
But today we're talking about wanting to eat laundry detergent. Not measuring typography. So if you came here today interested in typography, you should probably go now. Come back later. I'm sure we'll get to that next week.
Some of you know that during my first two pregnancies I experience a strong urge to eat laundry detergent. Yeah, I know that sounds all funny but it's NOT. I'm not into self-regulation (did I mention I ate an entire box of Girl Scout cookies in three days? And it seriously wasn't even hard). I don't practice self-discipline. Or deny myself things I want. But you just can't eat laundry detergent. It's just not cool.
The first time around, the doctor actually asked if I had the desire to eat strange things and it really caught me off guard. Oh. So this is a thing, then? A thing that happens to people? Well, he says, it can be a sign of iron deficiency. Ah, then I suppose we'll be measuring my iron levels. Not so much. He just advised me to eat more peanut butter. Which, FYI, actually doesn't have that much iron it it so that was just weird advice. Maybe he was shilling for Jif.
So I just dealt with it. I sniffed detergent like a coke addict. I chewed on freshly laundered washcloths. I chewed gum.
And then I had the baby and it went away.
But then I got pregnant AGAIN. I hoped that it wouldn't happen this time around. But, then, around 26 weeks, the smell of detergent became less fresh-scent and more DELICIOUS! I told my doctor and she was all, yeah, well, that happens sometimes. When I referenced "my doctor" there if might have been misleading. See, my diagnosis of gestational diabetes meant I no longer had a doctor. I was treated by a clinic, not a specific doctor. I had a different doctor every week. Which might have something to do with why nobody ever told me that my iron levels were low. I got my records after the fact and it was right there in my blood work.
So, again, I just dealt with it. Then I had the baby and it went away.
This time around, I'm being more proactive about things. Also, it was a little worse this time. I was obsessed with the thought of eating detergent. I would lie in bed and think about it. Fantasize about eating it.
So I did a little research. The internet seemed to think that an iron supplement should be tried, EVEN IF MY IRON LEVELS WERE NORMAL. So I asked my doctor if that was okay and she said, well, your iron levels are normal, but I guess it won't hurt.
I started taking the iron supplement. It took 6 days, but then, wow. The thoughts started to fade and the desire was much more manageable. It took the need for laundry detergent from like a nine, down to a two or three. Which is a lot better. My LIFE is BETTER.
Because of doctors.
Wait. That's not true. The doctors didn't care.
So the lesson for the day is that if you want to eat things that are not food, take an iron supplement.
Also, doctors are dumb.