You've made it this far. Amazing, right? All of the ovulation tests, fertility appointments and procedures are behind you—and now you wait, and wait...and wait.
During the two-week wait—as the time period between conception and a positive pregnancy test is often called—you may feel like time is going in extreme slo-mo, and it's likely driving you bonkers. If that's the case, there are some ways to ease the burden of the stress of your two-week wait. The 8 tips below will take the edge off and some will even show you how to tap into your inner calm.
Here's what to do during the 2 week wait—to keep yourself calm, relaxed and ready for the next step!
1. Breathe from your belly
Your breath is your gateway from a state of stress to a state of relaxation. Deep and slow breathing that comes from the belly slows the heart rate and also releases endorphins, the chemicals that relieve pain and stress. The brain begins to calm and then tells the body to relax as well.
Often, we take short, shallow breaths that don't really help us at all. Instead, try this on your next inhale: As you breathe in, push out and expand your belly. Once you've done this, slowly exhale out of your mouth. As you inhale again, follow that same pattern of breathing in and pushing the belly out to fill it with air, this time witnessing the breath moving up and through your lungs. Again, slowly exhale out of your mouth to release the air.
Breathing techniques like this are so convenient because you can do them anywhere and anytime you are feeling stressed. Whether it's a Zoom call for work or at the doctor's office, breathing can assist in slowing down your heart rate by focusing on your breath patterns. It's a simple option that requires nothing but your attention, and amazingly you will begin to feel the calming effect instantly.
To take that breathing technique that you just learned to the next level, try it out in a meditation. Never meditated before and don't know how to start? To try out meditation, find a comfortable spot seated or lying down, close your eyes and focus on a pattern of breath or a mantra for a few minutes. It doesn't have to be a fancy zen spot with special scents and music. You can do this practice anywhere that's quiet and comfortable for you.
To start, try out the belly breath described above for a few minutes. Once you're comfortable with that pattern of breath you can move on to different breathing techniques or even progress into using words or a mantra as your point of attention. If you need help, there are many meditation apps available to guide you.
3. Say positive words to yourself
Speaking of using words in a meditation, I love guiding my fertility meditation clients with affirmations or simple phrases of support that are strengthening and empowering. Affirmations can also be used outside of a meditation as a stress management tool or confidence builder because the phrases are positive and uplifting. A few good affirmations that will help you during the two-week wait are:
● I am calm.
● I am patient.
● I have done everything right.
● I have done everything that I could.
● I am in control of my mindset.
● I have the power to be positive.
● Everything in this moment is perfect.
Whenever you feel yourself about to spiral into a cycle of what-ifs, ground yourself back into the present moment and reduce your anxiety by repeating these phrases to yourself until you feel calm.
4. Do something fun
Sometimes, a good distraction is all you need. Plan ahead and schedule a fun activity or project for each day of your waiting period to make sure you stay connected to the present moment and have something to look forward to until test day. Also, your partner wants to help you out during your journey. So, now is the time to lean into their willingness to help and ask them to plan some fun activities for you to do together.
Word to the wise: It's especially important to plan something fun to do the day of the pregnancy test, between the time after the test until the nurse calls you with results.
5. Avoid triggers
Make sure to stay away from or limit triggers during this time. For example, getting online and searching your symptoms might not be a positive way to pass the time. Also, if talking to certain people or engaging in certain situations makes you sad or upset, do everything you can to limit your exposure to these personal triggers. If you feel uncomfortable telling people to back off or decline participation in events, ask a partner or loved one to be your spokesperson. Remember that it is okay and in fact, very important to protect your emotional and mental wellbeing during this tumultuous time because your feelings are valid and need to be protected.
6. Turn to your community
Fertility journeys can often feel like a lonely process. However, with the benefit of a more connected society, there are many options available for finding a community of people who understand what you are going through. For example, there are numerous fertility membership based groups where you can get to know other people trying to conceive (search for TTC communities in your area). When the nerves of the wait period begin to get to you, reach out for some extra support from your TTC community, who may be able to provide understanding words of support and even some helpful tips.
7. Know your next steps
A lack of control is a common feeling people experience when trying to conceive. Knowledge is power and gives us a sense of that much needed control we crave. So before you take the pregnancy test, make sure you know the next steps for what you'll do if the test comes out positive, and what you'll do if it comes back negative. When you have a clear understanding of the process, you can eliminate the stress and worry that comes with not knowing the next steps.
8. Write a letter to yourself
Another way to gain a feeling of control is to write a letter to yourself to read after you receive your pregnancy test results. Expressing your emotions on paper can feel cathartic and it can also provide you with a prepared response of support. You could write a letter for a positive result and a negative result: Both letters will give you a chance to offer words of support, encouragement, love and compassion for yourself. In your negative outcome letter, you can write the words that you know you would want to hear in that moment.
These 8 suggestions are ways to help bring you from a state of being overwhelmed and nervousness down to a more relaxed state of being. Each strategy arms you with the ability to take back your power in a situation that can feel so out of your control. And remember, even if the results come back negative, allow yourself the time to pause in your journey even if it's only for a day. You need to give yourself the time to grieve and process. It is crucial to take some time to heal yourself from within before jumping into the next step right away. Your mental and emotional well-being is of utmost importance and deserves to be honored in a manner that feels right for you.