How To Look After Your Mental Health During The Two Week Wait
The two weeks between ovulation, insemination or egg collection and you or your partner's expected period, commonly known as the "two week wait" for those trying to conceive, can be a particularly trying time for fertility patients. It's understandable that after investing so much time, money and energy into fertility treatment that fertility patients can experience increased stress and anxiety during the two week wait.
To help you manage this, we've outlined some coping mechanisms that you may find helpful.
Accept That Stress & Anxiety Are Appropriate Reactions:
The two week wait is a stressful time so it's only natural that you could experience stress and anxiety during this time. Instead of trying to resist these feelings it can be helpful to accept that you will be stressed and treat yourself with compassion during this period, for instance scheduling time off work to do something nice together if you're in a relationship, taking a duvet day or treating yourself to time with family or friends.
It's normal to worry about what will happen if you don't get a positive pregnancy test. But instead of engaging in a cycle of passive worry, it can be helpful to channel these worries into positive action. To do this you can write down a list of your worries and the options available to you if these worries do come to fruition. It’s even better when you can do this with someone else - your partner or a friend - so that you can be creative about the possibilities.
Work Towards Other Goals:
Often when fertility patients don't achieve pregnancy they can feel they have wasted the period of their life when they were putting everything on hold to concentrate on trying to conceive and having fertility treatment. To avoid this it's a good idea to work towards other goals both throughout treatment and during the two week wait. The goals you're working towards don't have to be monumental things like changing career or buying a house, but even small things like learning how to cook your favourite cuisine or doing some charity work, can instil a sense of achievement. It’s important to keep things in your life that make you feel good about who you are, whilst you’re struggling to achieve your ultimate goal.
Talk To Someone Who Understands What You're Going Through:
Your best friend, sibling or parent may be a great support in some situations but if they haven't experienced the strain that fertility problems can cause they may not know how to support you now. Fortunately, you can utilise our buddy system, patient support group or Fertility Network UK to get support from people who really understand what you're experiencing. There are lots of fertility related forums with more and more springing up for men too, All About Fertility is one good example.
Remember That Stress Won't Stop You From Getting Pregnant:
There's been much research done to show that stress does not stop women from becoming pregnant. After all, there are people getting pregnant everyday in war torn countries where citizens are experiencing extreme stress. However, some stress coping mechanisms can impede fertility, e.g. drinking, smoking and eating junk food, so it's important to find healthier coping mechanisms if you can. Activities that require concentration can be particularly helpful as they can break the cycle of negative thoughts. Examples include:
- Baking and cooking
Accept That You May Feel Negative:
Many fertility patients feel very positive at the start of the two week wait especially if there is reason to be hopeful of a positive pregnancy test. However in the days just preceding the test it’s normal to feel high levels of emotional distress and have intrusive thoughts in anticipation of the result. By preparing for this and planning activities that can serve as a distraction around this time, you may be able to ease some of those negative feelings. Be aware that you and your partner will feel different things at different times. It’s important to listen to each other and not make assumptions about how they may be feeling or coping.
The most important thing to remember is that it's natural to experience stress during the two week wait. Accept this, plan for it by reducing other demands on yourself, be kind to yourself and remember that this will pass. If you're struggling, please contact us or take advantage of our patient support services.