5 Strategies To Help You Get Through the Two Week Wait
You’ve reached the point in your fertility journey where you’ve decided to try IVF. You’ve given yourself dozens of shots, had dozens of ultrasounds and blood draws, made it through retrieval day, fertilization, and implantation, and here you are in the two-week wait.
Everything you’ve been hoping for feels like it has led to this moment. The excitement of finally possibly being pregnant occupies your mind every day, to the point that it is hard for you to focus on anything else.
But alongside your hope, you’ve noticed a not so pleasant emotional companion in anxiety. You’re dreading the possibility of getting yet another negative result and feel like it would only be that much more devastating after how much more of an investment this cycle was for you. Not only financially, but physically and emotionally as well.
You try to calm your anxiety by attempting to stay positive. Yet, you cannot help but think of the potential for a negative result. You monitor your body for the slightest sign of pregnancy. And like thousands of other women who are going through IVF, you’re excited, hopeful, anxious, and downright impatient.
Unfortunately, as you find yourself caught up in the what-if’s, you start to drift away from the other things in your life that matter. You might be so consumed with your two-week wait that you find it difficult to engage with your normal life. You’re so distracted at work and distant from friends or colleagues who haven’t the slightest clue about fertility treatment.
Tell me if this sounds familiar. . .
In the 5 days since your transfer, you’ve been trying hard to stay positive, but keeping a brave face isn’t easy. You’ve been down this road before and you know how heartbreaking it is to hear bad news. Everywhere you look there are reminders of what you’re dealing with. Whether you’re on your phone or at Whole Foods, all you see are happy families and pregnant women. In these moments, you feel so emotional, and the only place to turn for support is your IVF Facebook Group, all the while resisting the urge to order bulk pregnancy tests from Amazon.
Eventually, you wind up in a place where you’re crossing days off the calendar just trying to make it through until your RE calls. But the truth is that many women going through IVF struggle to keep up with their “normal” life during the two-week wait. You’re not the only one to have trouble focusing on the here and now. It’s ok to feel desperate for answers.
There’s no doubt that your anxiety around your IVF results grows as you play the waiting game. However, if you can learn calming strategies to manage your anxiety while you wait, you can learn how to be more present and less stressed during this time.
Keep reading for 4 tips to keep calm during the two-week wait. . .
Waiting for the Phone to Ring
The two-week wait is nothing new. It’s been the worst half of your month for a while now. In fact ever since your very first treatment cycle, you’ve come to dread the time between “pregnant until proven otherwise” and a negative HCG.
But for some reason, it’s different this time. IVF has added another layer of anxiety to your already nervous wait. Perhaps it’s the fact that this feels like the end of the road. If IVF doesn’t work, you have some big decisions to make. Many of which might take you down a different road than you ever wanted to go. But you can’t let these fears and insecurities keep you from being present and enjoying your life. After all, you are still in a waiting period and the truth is you don’t have any new information yet.
In fact, the biggest downside of not addressing the anxiety you’re feeling is that you will continue to have your attention drawn everywhere but the place you’re currently sitting. By focusing on all the potential possibilities, good or bad, around your IVF, you are distancing yourself from the people in your life and the events that are taking place right now.
Regardless of whatever outcome you find out in a few days, you’re still going to be emotional. If you’re finally pregnant, you’ll be elated if not still anxious. And if you’re not, you’ll be devastated. Either way, keeping your attention on the present moment will help ground you and prepare you for whatever your results may be.
Coping During IVF
While you’re surely anxious right now, you have the potential to feel free from your constant worry. Taking the time to care for yourself during this period is crucial. The outcome of your IVF cycle does not determine the kind of person you are or how loving and caring you can be. And it certainly does not mean there is anything wrong with you.
You just need a few strategies to rely on that will help the days go by faster and help you feel more content while you wait.
5 Strategies To Cope While Waiting for the Results of Your Cycle
Yes, it’s true your mind is overcome with the outcome of your IVF cycle. It’s only normal to feel mentally consumed when your body and your emotions have been through such a strenuous process. However, becoming anxious about your two-week wait does not serve you. Instead, the best thing for your well-being is to stay calm and hopeful.
The key to achieving a sense of peace around your results is to come to a place of acceptance. Accepting that it’s natural to be feeling intense emotions, imagining the different scenarios and having negative worst-case scenario thoughts, but you don’t need these feelings to control you.
In fact, if you implement the 5 strategies listed below you will find that you are better able to manage your anxiety and prevent these feelings from controlling you.
1. Be Accepting
One of the reasons you’re might be having a hard time focusing is because of your anxiety about whether your IVF cycle was successful or not. It makes sense that this worry occupies much of your mind. Yet giving all of your mental energy toward the outcome of your cycle takes you away from being present with what is going on in your life at the moment.
Here at Postpartum Health and Harmony, we work with clients to understand that they can feel both extremely excited and extremely upset at the same time. It is ok to have conflicting feelings about IVF, and these feelings and thoughts you are having do not mean you’re doing something wrong or causing a failed cycle. They are simply a natural reaction to everything you have been going through and it would be unrealistic to expect yourself not to have any doubts or fears.
But trying to ignore the negative thoughts actually doesn’t work. It’s better to acknowledge them as a natural reaction and limit spending a lot of time on them. It’s ok to consider briefly how you might feel if you are not pregnant and whether you can go through this again. Remind yourself that the reality is that you’re still in the waiting period and you haven’t received any news yet.
2. Be good to yourself
It’s really easy to wallow during the two-week wait. To spend your energy thinking about why you’re in this situation and blame yourself for not being able to conceive naturally. It makes sense that you are feeling insecure right now, but spending too much time in a negative place is only going to make your wait more difficult to bear.
Instead, trying recognizing the strength it takes to be where you are and treating yourself with kindness.
Clients at Postpartum Health and Harmony learn to be good to themselves. We talk about taking this time to get enough sleep, keep a calm schedule, and pampering themselves.
3. Be grateful
One of the best ways to cut through anxiety about the unknown is to focus on what you already have to be grateful for. Finding things to be grateful about as you go through this journey will help you stay grounded in the here and now and keep your mind from going to a place of “what if.”
Together with our clients, we take time in session to find the positives in their lives, even when they are preoccupied with the future.
You can start by asking yourself these questions: Do you feel closer to your partner because of IVF? Have you found strength you didn’t know you had? Have you learned how to support others going through something similar?
By shifting your focus onto the things you are grateful for, you can help divert your attention away from the anxiety around your waiting period.
4. Be relaxed
While it’s so much easier said than done, relaxing during your two-week wait is the healthiest thing for your wellbeing. Identifying the relaxation techniques that work best to keep you calm will help you to cope with any negative feelings or worries that come up as you are waiting for your positive result.
Here at Postpartum Health and Harmony, we teach women throughout their fertility journey how to engage in, and regularly incorporate, relaxation into their lives. The goal is to cope with anxiety and find a sense of peace while they go through each treatment cycle. Some of our favorites include: going for a walk, sitting outside and enjoying the weather, focusing on your breathing, doing a puzzle, or even watching tv.
Work to find whatever helps you focus your mind on something else and brings you a sense of calm.
5. Be aware
You’re surely aware of the importance of having a great support network, especially when going through fertility treatment. Whether you have cultivated support in an online community or if you surround yourself with wonderful family and friends, these connections will be there for you through the tough times and also so ready to celebrate with you when you finally do conceive.
But just like this positive support can make you feel cared for and loved, being around negativity can make you feel uncared for and alone. So, make sure to limit interactions with negative people or those who question your fertility decision while you are in your two -week wait.
When you schedule a session with Postpartum Health and Harmony, we will work together to help you identify the people on and offline who will add positivity to your journey and those that are best to avoid.
Waiting to find out if your IVF worked can be incredibly hard. Your mind is filled with so many thoughts about what can and cannot happen, that it’s hard to think about other things. But you can ease your anxiety around the two-week wait and make the waiting period more bearable.
If you are going through IVF and need support during your own TWW, click here to join our email list.