Once my period arrived, and I knew for sure it wasn’t this month either, I could have a cry, have a bit of down time, then get on with the plan for the next month. I’m not going to tell you not to symptom spot, not to google early signs of pregnancy, not to test early and to stay off social media. All those things are up to you, and only you know if they are helpful or not. But maybe you know these things aren’t really serving you. After you’ve done them do you feel better or worse? If it helps you to feel better, is that short lived, leading to you feeling even lower afterwards? If so, perhaps they are best avoided, particularly during the two week wait when your emotions are heightened. That’s easier said than done though, isn’t it? So, here are some tips on alternative ways to fill this time to help you cope with the dreaded two week wait. Below are four strategies I found useful when dealing with those difficult emotions and I hope you find them helpful too.
1. Do the things you enjoyLet’s start with an obvious one. Watching the clock only makes time go slower, so arrange a date night or 2, go to the cinema, go shopping, go out for dinner or binge watch Netflix. Time will pass anyway so why not fill it with doing the things you love. This might be seen as distraction, which is an ok coping mechanism to use sometimes as long as it’s not the only method you have of dealing with difficult emotions.
2. Practice self-careSelf-care is something I go on about. A lot. Because it’s so important, especially when going through something difficult like infertility. Self-care produces positive feelings and improves self-esteem and confidence. Which is exactly what we need during this time. My favourite method of self-care is something we call the Morning Pages which is part of the Freedom Fertility Formula daily self-care strategy. This method is best to do first thing in the morning, as soon as you wake up. Have a notepad and pen handy and write three pages of whatever you’re thinking. I’m not big on journaling, but this is different. You don’t have to think about what you’re writing, just let the thoughts and words flow. It’s a great way to release any difficult feelings and it sets you up for a positive day.The key is not to overthink, and simply write whatever comes to mind. If nothing is coming to mind you can just write that until something does.
3. Use relaxation techniquesNo, not “just relax”. But taking time out to focus on breathing deeply is relaxing and will prevent anxiety from rising. Maybe listening to a guided relaxation to avoid your mind from wondering. Perhaps yoga, visualisations or meditation would work for you. All of these techniques though need to be practised regularly so they become really familiar. If you only use them when feeling anxious, you won’t have developed the skills well enough for them to work effectively and have the desired outcome of helping you to feel calmer. When I’m feeling anxious (or trying to get to sleep) I use 7:11 breathing. This is my favourite breathing technique to force your body and mind to relax. So, quite simply, you breath in for 7 and out for 11. Making sure your out breath is longer, whatever numbers you use, will stimulate your body’s natural relaxation response. If you can also imagine breathing into your stomach rather than your chest that works really well. It takes some getting used to but it’s really worth it.
4. Find support from people who get itYour partner, a friend, someone in your family, a colleague, the online ttc community or support from a specialist. Avoid keeping your pain to yourself, especially during the two week wait. Suppressing emotion will only cause it to fester and lead you to feel worse. Some people, although sympathetic, are only going to understand to a certain point. So the most ideal support would come from people who have been on a similar journey. I always say similar here as no two fertility journeys are the same. Even if they look the same from the outside, what happened and the way you feel about it is likely to be very different. Many coping strategies are methods of distraction from difficult feelings when they come up. Sometimes distraction is useful, however it shouldn’t be the only method you have to cope. Recognising, acknowledging and listening to your feelings could not be more important during a difficult fertility journey. Not dwelling on them, but accepting that what you’re going through is not fair and you don’t deserve it. Your emotions will be trying to guide you, so listen to them. The two week wait is full of uncertainty, anxiety and frustration. I want to remind you that your pain is real and your feelings are valid. Not everyone understands how difficult this journey is, but there are ways to make it less emotionally painful, which also improves your chances of fertility success.
This blog post has been written by Freedom Fertility Formula Specialist Nicola Headley. If you’re struggling with your emotions while on your fertility journey and would like to find out about working with Nicola click here to get in touch with her.
Click here to find out more about the Freedom Fertility Formula. You may also want to check out other IVF posts on this blog - ‘How to Survive the Emotional Stress of IVF’, 'How to Double Your IVF Success Rate'. and the Top 5 Essentials When Preparing for IVF