Surviving the Two-Week Wait

Surviving the two-week wait is like being on a rollercoaster of hope and fear.

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About Surviving the Two-Week Wait

Reviewed by Elizabeth A. Grill, Psy.D, clinical psychologist and RESOLVE Board Chair.

Whether you have tried to get pregnant without treatment or with drugs, IUI and/or IVF, the part of the cycle that involves waiting to hear the “news” about your cycle may be exhausting The two-week wait is often another example of “hurry up and wait” that you have been forced to endure throughout your family building journey.

The reason why this waiting period is particularly challenging, is because you are left with your own anxious thoughts and any clues your body will reveal without the confirmation from the clinic monitoring you and conversations with your doctor or nurse. Each day you may be self-monitoring your body for sign, not knowing if the sensations in your abdomen are indications of early pregnancy or signs that you are getting your period.

It is like being on a rollercoaster of hope and fear without any sense of control. The two-week wait can feel like an eternity so have a plan in place with the following survival tips that can help you feel more in control during the two week wait:

  • Educate those you tell about your cycle about the two week wait and let them know how you will share the outcome of the cycle. Be explicit with how much contact you want and what questions are off limits. Only tell those that can offer the support you need while respecting your privacy and boundaries.
  • Decide how you want to receive the news about the cycle. For example, if you are having a blood test to determine if you are pregnant, decide where and to whom the results should be given. Some want their partner/friend/family member to give them the news, whether it is good or bad, versus hearing a message on the answering machine or receiving the information alone
  • Set time aside to talk about your feelings with your partner, friends, family members, clergy, a therapist, or join a support group where you can get the validation and support you deserve during this difficult time
  • Tell your partner or a trusted friend what you will need if the news is not positive. Do you want to be distracted and go out to eat or to a movie, or do you want to be left alone? Do you want to talk about the next steps in treatment or options, or wait a few days? Give your “go to” people specifics on this- they can’t read your mind and give yourself permission to change your mind when you are actually in the moment.
  • Treat yourself by honoring what you need at any given time during the wait period. For some, distraction works best-throw yourself into work, a hobby, or make casual plans with supportive friends and family. For others, time alone doing the things you enjoy the most works best - prepare a wonderful meal, take long walks or curl up and read a good book.
  • Do the things that make you feel empowered and in control as long as they are doctor approved. Eat healthy foods, participate in meditation, provide structure to your days, do tasks that give a sense of mastery (organize a drawer, do a puzzle, knit a sweater).
  • Protect yourself emotionally. For example, don’t plan on going to a dinner party given by a pregnant friend or giving a work presentation the day you expect to get your pregnancy test results. Stay off of social media where you are likely to get triggered and don’t search websites to interpret every symptom where you could be misled.
  • Take slow, deep breaths - when in doubt, BREATHE! If you are feeling anxious, out of control, or depressed, distract yourself with deep breaths. This basic technique can assist you physiologically, as well as being mentally calming and physically grounding.
  • Try reframing your thoughts. This is very helpful when you are experiencing negative thoughts or if your thoughts are driving you crazy by alternating between thinking you are or aren’t pregnant. For example, the thought “The test will be negative and I’ll never be pregnant,” may end up as “I am open to the possibility of being pregnant and I’m doing everything I can to make that happen.
  • Surrender to being in the present. When your thoughts feel like a runaway train that you can’t get back to the station, look around the room and ground yourself in the here and now reminding yourself that you only have to get through today. Tomorrow is another day that you will manage when it comes.