"This is the hardest part yet"
These are words I hear from patients all the time. Medication, monitoring, and appointments are challenging to manage. But these daunting tasks give patients reassurance and confidence that they are working towards a solution. They have a task that can bring them closer to their goal. But once treatment has concluded, there is nothing to do but wait.
Suddenly, two weeks can feel like two years.
Our minds are left on a constant loop of excitement, fear, anticipation, and every other emotion of the rainbow. It can be a challenge to get through. Stressful times like these can cause friction between partners and make day-to-day stress feel unmanageable.
I’d like to share some tips that have helped many patients as they enter the two-week wait (tww). I also encourage you to join us for a free support group, class, or webinar. You can find a full list of our current programs at fcionline.com/events
Here are some tips to help you during the TWW:
Foolproof Stress-Relief Strategies - No one has ever done 15 minutes of yoga or 5 minutes of meditation and felt worse off. These are proven, reliable ways to calm the mind, lower the heart rate, and lessen the butterflies. If you have time, join a yoga class. If you’re short on time, do 15 minutes of yoga in your pajamas. Spend five minutes in your bathrobe after the shower and breathe slowly while thinking positive thoughts. When worries and anxiety come your way, acknowledge them and let them go. Having thoughts during meditation is normal and remember there is no such thing as “bad” meditation. Give it a try and take those relaxing moments whenever you need them - you’d be surprised what one minute of calm breathing can do.
Adopt a Positive Mindset - Changing your focus will take time. Just like yoga, staying positive is a practice. Some find peace and positivity through prayer, others can foster positivity through daily affirmations, and some find both helpful. Whatever works for you, commit to giving yourself these moments to reset and nurture positivity into your life.
5 Daily Affirmation Ideas:
- I am happy. I am healthy. I am ready.
- I set my worries aside and allow my body to do its job.
- I allow new beginnings in my life.
- I know I will be an amazing parent.
- I accept the gift of life within myself.
Connect with Others - Whether you’ve chosen to share with others or not (it’s okay if you don’t, by the way) now is not the time to retreat. During this time you will need extra TLC and support, and lots of hugs. Reach out to trusted friends and loved ones and take your mind off things by connecting for a chat over tea, catching the latest romantic comedy, baking cookies, taking a long walk, playing board games or bingeing the latest comedy specials on Netflix.
Communicate with Your Partner - While both of you will feel nervous about the time ahead, you will both process this differently. You may need different things from each other. Remember that your partner may cope differently but that doesn’t mean they don’t care. Ask your partner how they are doing, what they are feeling, and how you can support them. Be sure to check in regularly and if you need support, be sure to let them know.
Create a Plan – Although we cannot predict the future, we can create a plan to help us be prepared for whatever the outcome. The two-week wait ends in a pregnancy test, and it is important that you and your partner agree on a plan. A common stressor I see is when one person is constantly taking pregnancy tests and not giving their partner the opportunity to be prepared for whatever the result might be. Create a plan around when the test will be taken, whether you will take it alone or with your partner, and discuss whether you’d like to clear your schedules around that time, pending the outcome.
Manage Anxiety Around Physical Symptoms - You may be moving through your day smoothly only to find that you are spotting, cramping, or experiencing an unexpected physical symptom. Resist the urge to consult Dr. Google and reach out to your medical team if you have questions. Remember that these physical symptoms are normal and do not ensure any type of outcome. Take the time to meditate with a daily affirmation until you feel better.
Set Clear Internet Boundaries - While online support groups and forums can help many on their journey, they can also become a slippery slope. I have heard many patients say they become obsessed with Google searching and checking into forums, and find themselves feeling more anxious as a result. It’s easy to fall down the online rabbit hole, particularly with an internet search being so accessible in modern life, so it is even more important to set boundaries. For example, limit forum participation to 20 minutes each morning. When you find yourself tempted to search and post, close your eyes and take deep belly breaths for one minute instead.
Things to Stay Away From - During this time it’s best to stay away from big decisions such as listing your house for sale, buying a car, or quitting your job. It’s also best to stay away from people that are negative in your life and avoid any personal confrontations wherever possible. Focus solely on what you need and stay away from anything or anyone that will make this difficult.
“Staying positive does not mean that things will turn out okay. Rather, it is knowing you will be okay no matter how things turn out.”
Author Bio: Dr. Tiffany Edwards, Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Behavioral Health Specialist at Fertility Centers of Illinois