‘Did I get pregnant this month?’ ‘Will this be the month when my period is late?’ “Will the pregnancy test finally be positive?” If you have endured the two-week wait, guaranteed these questions have crossed your mind more than you would care to admit. The two-week wait, which is the time between ovulation and your expected period, is often a time of high anxiety, worry, and frustration for women trying to conceive. There are so many ‘what-ifs’ floating around, it’s hard to prevent a constant stream of worried, negative thoughts.
Whether you’re trying to get through the two-week wait of a treatment cycle, or a natural cycle, here are some tips for how to make the wait as bearable as possible. The two-week wait isn’t fun for anyone, but we don’t want to spend two weeks out of every month feeling anxious, distracted, or depressed. Try out one, two or a few of the tips offered below.
Two-Week Wait Survival Guide
1. Stop obsessing over “Pregnancy Symptoms”
OK, I know you’re not going to actually stop thinking about “pregnancy symptoms”. Swollen breasts, abdominal twinges, tiredness… it is so easy to read into these symptoms when you’re hoping beyond hope they signal pregnancy. However, many of the so-called early signs of pregnancy are caused by the hormones that are naturally present every two-week wait. So just remember to take whatever pregnancy “symptom” you think you’re having along with side does of reality. Feeling pregnant does not always mean that you are, and reminding yourself of this each time your imagination is about to take off can help lower your anxiety and lessen the highs and lows of your emotions.
2. Keep busy
Sitting around constantly brooding and worrying is definitely not good for your mental health, especially because we all know time seems to slow down when you’re either really nervous about something, or anxiously awaiting a result. Keeping busy will not only make the time go faster, it will give your mind a break from all of those anxious thoughts. Take this opportunity to plan meaningful, distracting fun, such as scheduling a lunch or dinner date with friends, seeing a movie, getting to those errands that have been on your list forever, or learning something new, like how to cook a certain dish or build a birdhouse. It doesn’t really matter how you fill the time, as long as you fill it with something.
3. Let yourself obsess…but only for a set time
Its important to find ways to make sure the anxiety and stress of the two-week wait don’t consume you, but it’s unrealistic to think you’ll be able to banish those feelings and thoughts entirely. In fact, I don’t even recommend trying to! Instead, schedule 15 minutes, once or twice a day, to obsess about the two-week wait, in whatever way you’d like. Call your friends or family to vent about it, run through your calculations for the 100th time, read your favorite infertility blogs, journal about it…just make sure you stick to your scheduled time. That way you can allow yourself to experience all the emotions you’re feeling in a healthy way, but by limiting yourself to a short time you won’t end up with an entire emotionally draining day of constant obsession and anxiety.
4. Get support from people who understand
Having someone to talk to during your wait will help you cope with all of the emotionally challenging aspects of infertility and the two-week wait. A few ways you can find support include finding a forum, support group, or therapist to talk to and share your experiences with. Having someone who knows what you’re going through to listen and talk with will be a great source of strength and support.
5. Use relaxation techniques to feel calmer
Relaxation techniques can be of great help during this time. There are many ways to deal with anxiety, from breathing exercises to meditation. Guided imagery has been shown in research studies to help lower stress and anxiety levels, and programs such as the ones Circle + Bloom offer are an excellent way to relax and even improve fertility. There are many options for stress relief, from books to yoga to acupuncture. Using your mind-body connection will be one of the most powerful things you can do for yourself! Check out our free Fertility Relaxation mp3.
6. Write in a journal or diary
Sometimes, writing out all your worries and racing thoughts helps to get them out of your head. A good strategy is to ask yourself one of your what-if questions, and then answer the question yourself. This helps you get to the core of what you’re worrying about. You’d be amazed how you actually have answers for most of your own anxieties, if you’ll only take the time to talk to yourself and respect your fears and worries.
There are lots of resources to help get you through this waiting period. Check out this (humorous) two-week wait activity list from bellybelly.com, and check out their two-week wait diary feature …a great way to hear from others who are going through the same thing and to share your own thoughts and expieriences.