How are you doing? Be honest, you can tell me if you’re feeling like crap. I won’t judge!
In fact, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how to deal with the really crummy emotions that surround that time of the month where you have a BFN (Big Fat Negative). Not an easy time.
Thinking about the crazy range of emotions that you encounter at this time, I realized that in the week of getting your period you go through similar steps to grief, commonly referred to as the Kübler-Ross model of “five stages of grief”. I found this awesome blog post from Melody Mccabe over at Essential Mums that I thought captured the experience perfectly.
Here is how she describes her experience with the 5 stages of grief surrounding a BFN.
- Denial: According to Kübler-Ross “I feel fine.”; “This can’t be happening, not to me.”
- Anger: According to Kübler-Ross “Why me? It’s not fair!”; “How can this happen to me?”; ‘”Who is to blame?”
In trying to conceive speak: All of the above and “Are you kidding me? I went for acupuncture every week, I had a good ovulation, we timed things perfectly? Why is this not happening?” and in some misplaced anger at pretty much anything and everything. In my absolute frustration, I found myself blaming [my partner], which is not logical (or fair) at all.
I sometimes get angry if I hear people complaining about being pregnant at this point. Again, illogical and unfair, because every person’s reality and journey is different, but it stings to hear when you are battling to get pregnant.
- Bargaining: According to Kübler-Ross: “I’ll do anything”, “I will give my life savings if…”
In trying to conceive speak: Preaching to the choir Kübler-Ross! In my case, I start thinking – “Maybe it is something I am eating? Maybe if I stop eating dairy and sugar totally that will help? Maybe it is because [my partner] is exercising every day, could that be negatively impacting his sperm? Is it the chocolate I ate? Was it that day I had two coffees instead of one? Maybe if I don’t drink coffee at all? Maybe we should both go on a stricter diet?”
“Maybe if we (insert pretty much anything here) it will happen this month.”
- Depression: According to Kübler-Ross: “I’m so sad, why bother with anything?”
In trying to conceive speak: … I had this terrible fear: what if we go through years of this? What if we wake up five years down the track and at that point realize it was never going to happen and we have invested years of our lives into something that was never going to happen? Do we go through the torture? Or do call it quits now? Do I need to start accepting that being a mother is not on the cards for me? I know it sounds irrational, but you do start wondering. The truth is, no one can tell how many months/years you are going to go through this.
- Acceptance: According to Kübler-Ross: “It’s going to be okay.”
In trying to conceive speak: As the hormones get back to normal (when taking Clomiphene, I find it is the second week of the cycle) you are better able to get things back into perspective.
You count your blessings, you spend time with your partner-finding and connecting with each other again- in my case, I thank God that I have a treatment plan, I rationalize that I will only be 29 in March, there is time, there is support, there is hope.”
In trying to conceive speak: “I am fine, this wasn’t the month, but that is ok, next month will be the month”. Or “So the home pregnancy test was negative, that is ok, maybe the blood test will be accurate, those store-bought things can’t be that good.”
What I think is so helpful about this realization is that regaining a positive attitude after a BFN is a process. You don’t need to force yourself to smile right afterwards, and you don’t need to feel guilty for feeling absolutely crumby.
Take the time to go through these stages of grief. The important thing is that as you work your way through the stages, you end up at the “It’s going to be okay” part.
Journal, talk with others, meditate–do whatever you have to do to help yourself work through these stages of emotion and find what you are grateful for and what keeps you going. One option is to listen to our Happy Mind and Healthy Body program as a way to focus on regaining balance and positivity and to get out of your funk.
You are not alone. If you need to connect with people you know will get it, comment below and talk with others. Rant and rage and ask questions and talk about what keeps you hopeful or share how you got through it.
For some more tips related to healing and dealing with negative emotions check out my previous posts, Healing Of the Heart, How to Work Through Negative Thoughts While Visualizing and The Surprising Side Effect to Feeling Like Sh*t. I think they provide useful ideas for dealing with a BFN.
I would love to hear from you about how you manage to keep a positive attitude after a BFN.