If you have ever been trying to conceive, or had a slip up and were anxiously hoping for a negative test, you know the treachery of the “2-week wait”.
It’s LONG. It’s full of anxiety, doubt, emotions, and impatience. I know because I’ve been there SO MANY times. Whether I was hoping to be, or not to be, pregnant… the wait is still the same.
All too many times I’ve let myself get lost in the wait: analyzing every symptom, tracking my temperature and cervix position, constantly counting down the days, and putting myself on an emotional roller coaster. Sound familiar?
Well, if you’re like me and are making yourself suffer 50% of the year stressing about whether it’s baby time or not, here are some practical tips to help you get through it.
Also, if you want more info on what is actually happening during the 2 week wait if you are pregnant, here’s an article about just that. But take my advice and don’t get too wrapped up in it or you might just go crazy! 🙂
- Stop analyzing every symptom. I know, I know. The tension kills me too. But the fact of the matter is that every early pregnancy symptom is also possibly a PMS symptom. That’s because your hormones don’t change until a baby implants and starts producing HCG. That won’t begin affecting your symptoms until just about the same time you can get a positive urine test. So hold your horses and just remember that your body knows what it’s doing. You will know soon enough.
- If you are trying to conceive, practice pregnancy safe habits. If you are actively trying to conceive, instead of letting yourself freak out for two weeks, make it a habit to live as if you are pregnant! That means watching the medications and foods you put in your body at all times. Once they become habitual, you won’t even have to worry if you’re pregnant because you know that if you are you are doing everything right! Sometimes just having that comfort is hugely helpful in being patient.
- Make fun plans. You know that feeling when you have super dope Friday night plans with your best friend or your hubby? You just can’t wait for it and it gives you a little excitement in your step. Make at least 1-2 plans for each week of your wait. That will help you to focus on some other things and enjoy life without stressing about what may or may not be going on in your bod. You also won’t want the time to rush by because you’ll want to enjoy those fun plans you made!
- Have a TTC buddy. Maybe it’s a girlfriend who’s also trying to conceive right alongside you. Maybe it’s your hubby. Maybe it’s your mother. Maybe it’s a friend who is done having kids and can fully focus on you. Whoever that person is, have someone you can send those negative tests when you give in too early (we all know you will!). Have someone that you can share your irrational emotions with as you wait for what seems like forever. Have someone that can keep you in line when you get too crazy. Having this person will give you an outlet for all the frustrating energy you will most definitely have during this time.
- Schedule time to “obsess”. I saw this on someone else’s blog and I remember at first thinking it was super odd. But, it makes sense. If you tell yourself not to stress at all, you may very well end up just freaking out all the way. If you really do need time to think about your symptoms, to check your temp/cervix/cervical mucus, or take an unnecessary test, do it at a specific time each day. Give yourself 20 minutes in the morning to do these things. Talk to your TTC buddy. Then? Give it up for the day. Release your worries and anxieties and focus on that day and the blessings of that day alone. Hopefully, the day will come when your 20 minutes of “obsession” time turn into 9 months of celebration!
- Let yourself relax. Did you know that when you’re stressed, your body releases cortisol (a stress hormone)? When cortisol rises in your body, your body automatically assumes that something bad is happening and all of your adrenaline and fight or flight responses will kick in, whether you realize it or not. What does this have to do with baby making? Well, in our bodies, stress hormones take precedence over sex hormones. If you have high levels of cortisol regularly, your body will assume that the environment is unsafe for a new baby and will put up protective barriers to prevent pregnancy. Crazy, huh? So whether it’s the daily grind that gets you all worked up, or a really big project, or a difficult relationship, take the time to smooth things over. Maybe you need to get rid of a relationship that’s draining you. Maybe you need to finish an overwhelming project at work before trying to conceive. Maybe all you need is to figure out some practical daily habits to implement to help you deal with stress well. In addition to eliminating stress from your life, take the time to rest and relax on a daily basis as well. Do some yoga. Read a book. Take a nap. Watch a favorite TV show. Go get ice cream with a friend. Do things regularly that keep you relaxed and tell your body that all is well so that little embryo can implant.
- Don’t keep pregnancy tests in the house. While there’s definitely something to be said for buying those cheap tests in bulk (I’ve done it before!), there’s also something about running to the closest store and buying an expensive test that gives you a little more patience. When I have 50 tests in my bathroom cabinet that cost $0.05 each I tend to just throw caution out the window and test multiple times a day. This causes a lot of stress every time I see a negative. If I don’t have tests around, I usually wait until I’m at LEAST 10 days past ovulation before venturing out the store to buy one. The longer you wait, the less emotion you’ll have to deal with seeing negative after negative.
- Start a new book or TV series. Pick something to start the day after you ovulate. Every time you are compelled to google another symptom or take a pregnancy tests way too early, whip out that awesome book and read a chapter or two or watch an episode of that new series. Being engrossed in someone’s life other than your own can be extremely helpful in getting your mind off your waiting.
- Get lots of sleep. Take some tylenol PM, unisom or benadryl if you need to (they are safe for pregnancy), but for goodness sakes: SLEEP! Getting enough rest is very important for successful conception. For the same reason as we mentioned above with stress, when you are getting plenty of sleep your body knows that all is well to start a new life inside of you. Not to mention that the more hours you spend in dream land, the less you’ll spend awake and waiting! It sounds like a win-win situation to me.
- Practice defensive pessimism. This is a weird one that may or may not work for you. But, according to psychology, it should. The idea behind this is that if you tell yourself you probably aren’t pregnant, your disappointment will not be huge if you happen to get your period. In all areas of life, unmet expectations are one of the greatest sources of situational depression and anxiety. Remind yourself that pregnancy isn’t guaranteed even if you did everything “correctly”. It takes most healthy couples 2-6 months to conceive. If you’re still in that range, take it easy. Your time will come. Try your best to enjoy the journey!
What’s your best advice for surviving the 2 week wait?