5 Stages to Starting the Month off with a Positive Attitude after a BFN (Big Fat Negative)

CB_BFNHow 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.

  1. Denial: According to Kübler-Ross “I feel fine.”; “This can’t be happening, not to me.”

    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.”

  2. 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.

  3. 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.”

  4. 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.

  5. 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.”

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.

Warm wishes,

{ 11 comments… add one }

  • TaJuana B. February 28, 2014, 4:46 pm

    Hi, my husband and I have been trying to have a baby for the last few months. I knew it was going to be hard after I was diagnosed with PCOS. I find it very hard when I take a pregnancy test each month only to find that I’m not pregnant. I get really depressed and begin blaming myself and even questioning if I should even bother trying. This month my doctor started me on clomiphene which I pray works. I took it exactly how he instructed and even felt the symptoms of ovulation. I don’t want to get my hopes up because that has let me down in the past. I am now about to embark on the dreaded 2 week wait. Hopefully this is the month for me. I try to keep my mind occupied and my husband is a great support system. He really helps me keep my stress down. What I find helps me the most is for me to tell him my fears and worries so I don’t feel I’m carrying the load on my own.

  • Robin B. February 28, 2014, 5:17 pm

    Been trying to conceive for a long time and looking forward to purchasing the 28-day fertility program in hopes it can help me. I also have an appoinment March 11th with fertility dr and feeling very nervous.

  • Kylie March 4, 2014, 12:14 am

    Hi, Wev’e been trying for a few years now. I own a shop & in the time we have been trying all of my staff have fallen pregnant & had babies 1 after another. I am realistic and just say ” well they are younger than me. on the other hand I have a centurians gene which the gyno says is a bonus window. so Ill get there. My natropath Stacy Roberts @ Sharkys is a gem & put me on to circle in bloom which defiantly helps with the stress leaves. All in all after trying for this long I will be surprised when it dose happen rather than disappointed when it doesn’t. Sometimes being too positive has its drawbacks. maybe that’s just me, but it keeps me sain.

  • Gabbi Smith March 5, 2014, 1:21 pm

    Hi, I have been trying to conceive for almost 9 months after 2 miscarriages and I am really feeling just as you describe it above. I am a newly wed also and every month when I see my period, I feel very frustrated and I know it is putting a serious strain on my marriage. I see everyone around me getting pregnant and it frustrates me even more. So in order for me to get myself out of the emotional toll, I started downloading Joel Osteen sermons on my mp3 and I listen to him everyday to start the day, heading home and even when I exercise to build faith and have a positive attitude. And even when the negative thoughts are overpowering me and I feel like giving up, I listen to his sermon to gain control over my emotions. I don’t know if it would help anybody else but so far it is helping me. So I am still trying and I am not giving up until I get my BFP result.

  • Mommy-In-Waiting November 8, 2014, 12:17 am

    My husband and I have be TTC for 13 months….which have felt like an eternity. I have lost count of the BFNs, and after 3 unsuccessful IUIs, don’t know which way to turn. We were the first in our circle of friends to get married, and now those that came after us are all popping up pregnant. It’s so painful, but I pray and do my best to stay positive. I pray for all of you that you will also see your dreams fulfilled, in whatever way God sees fit. Blessings….we must continue to press on!

  • Joanne November 10, 2014, 10:39 am

    Hi there Mommy-in-Waiting and thank you for sharing your story with us on our blog! I know how painful this is for you – and my heart goes out to you. Did you know we have a secret FAcebook support group with about 170 members – women like you who are helping each other? If you would like to check it out, simply email amy [@] circlebloom.com and let her know you would like to participate and she can invite you (it’s top secret, so you have to be invited by email!). If not, please let us know how you are making out and if we can do anything for you!

  • Lucy December 12, 2014, 9:53 am

    We’ve been trying for 5 years this January and it feels like that’s quite an anniversary to get to. I’ve been through the above so many times and can relate totally to the grief process – 3 rounds of perfect IVF and numerous months of trying naturally equals an awful lot of BFNs.
    The odds of us conceiving naturally now are so low statically, and having any level of hope is almost impossible.
    We have just bought the natural cycle program in a last ditch attempt to get some PMA. Let’s hope it works.

  • Joanne December 12, 2014, 10:57 am

    Hi there Lucy and welcome to Circle + Bloom. First question – Would you be interested in joining our secret Facebook group to share with others? Let us know and we can send an invite to you.

    And our programs are ALL ABOUT PMA! But even more so…unlocking the mind/body connection because we have the ability the change our chemistry, balance our hormones and find health – all from within (and this is all scientifically proven by the way). Please let us know how we can help you…!

  • maggie April 21, 2015, 11:08 pm

    My husband and I have been ttc for about a year and a half now. I had bariatric surgery and lost 114 pounds. I have pcos. I am the healthiest I’ve been in a very long time though still overweight. I just started my second month of clomid. I know that it’s not normal for the first month to end with a pregnancy but I had an amazing ovulation with at least five dominant follicles. The Dr said that she’s been doing this almost thirty years and has never seen anyone respond so well to such a small dose. My progesterone was 32.6 and I had all the symptoms of pregnancy, sore breasts, frequent urination, nausea, tiredness. But nothing. I was and still am just devastated. This has been so much harder than I expected. I’m exhausted. And depressed. And angry. I can’t even begin to imagine going through this month after month. And I see myself pulling away from family and friends because I’m so sad and discouraged and it feels like there is nothing anyone can do or say to help. To top it off I am a child protective worker and I see babies everyday born drug addicted or worse and I just don’t understand it. I am trying so hard to get out of this funk but right now it seems so overwhelming and just so frustrating. This blog helped me see I’m not alone, thank you for that! The clomid makes me nauseated and last month my ovary was so swollen with follicles it was super painful and was resting on my bladder so I felt like I had a uti lol. At least I knew once I ovulated because the pain subsided. I just didn’t expect the meds to be so hard on me. Or for this to be so emotionally hard. I’m a strong person but j feel so weak. I hate feeling weak. I just want one baby. Just one!

  • Megan May 28, 2015, 10:51 pm

    My husband and I have been TTC for over two years now. I was diagnosed with PCOS and advised to take metformin, which I could not tolerate. After I was misdiagnosed with a miscarriage (and then not told about the misdiagnosis… I found out weeks later after I went through a huge grieving process) I switched fertility doctors. My new fertility doctor is great, but I just got a BFN from my second round of clomid. I feel so depressed and frustrated. I’m trying to stay positive that next time will work with a higher dosage, closer monitoring, and more frequent attempts (we’re not doing IUI) but at the same time I’m afraid to get my hopes up. The roller coaster of emotions is so exhausting that sometimes I don’t feel like I have the strength to keep trying. I’d really love to join the FB support group and hear more about PMAs (what are those?). Anyway, thanks for posting this. It’s good to know that I’m not alone.

  • Joanne May 29, 2015, 12:58 pm

    Hi Megan –

    Thank you so much for reaching out to us and sharing your story. We are so sorry to hear about your miscarriage. If you are at all interested, we have a free program for healing and recovery. You can check it out here: https://circlebloom.com/healing-recovery-program/. We’d also like to invite you to join our secret Facebook group. It’s a wonderful space for sharing and support, so please let us know if you’d like us to send you an invite.

    PMA means positive mental attitude – and it’s what Circle + Bloom is all about. There’s such amazing power in the mind+body connection and our programs are designed to help you tap into that innate power and to take control of your fertility & your health. Please always feel free to reach out to us, and let us know if there’s anything else we can do to help!

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