If you’re reading this article, you probably already know about or at least have heard of the dreaded “two-week wait”. For those unfamiliar, the infertility treatment called in vitro fertilization (IVF) is an ongoing multi-stage process that involves a two-week waiting period before finding out whether the treatment has been a success.
Being patient when you’re waiting on this life-changingly important news often seems like an impossible task. And you may find that you have trouble concentrating or struggle with symptoms of anxiety throughout the day.
Obviously, it can be difficult to focus on your typical daily routines when family building is on your mind. Plus, two weeks can feel like it’s dragging on much longer.
Here are a few methods to help you ease your stress before the results come in.
Remember That You Are Not Alone in This
While you wait for your IVF results, communicating with your partner, if you have one, is crucial. Remember, you are on this journey together, and both of you may have feelings that you want or need to share. Opening up about your anxieties can help your partner better support you during this time.
When it comes to sharing personal news about your fertility treatments and results with others outside of your partnership, it’s especially important that both of you are on the same page. And it’s best to have this conversation well before your results arrive.
Above all, remember that your partner is there to lift you up throughout the process of family building. You’re working as a team, and consistent, honest communication will only serve to strengthen your bond.
If you are navigating a family-building journey on your own, make sure that you have a trusted friend, family member, or fellow single-parent-by-choice with whom you can share your experience and receive support.
Plan Your Schedule Accordingly
Whether trying to conceive without reproductive intervention or going through cycles of IVF, many women who are planning to start families end up living their lives in two-week increments—waiting to ovulate, and then, waiting to find out if they are pregnant.
Breaking out of this routine can be beneficial for your mental health. After all, constantly checking to see where you are in your cycle can interfere with simply living your life. Thus, planning out your schedule based on your cycle can be a smart choice.
If possible, avoid making plans for the day you expect to get your results. You don’t want to end up in a situation where you have to entertain or socialize after receiving (possibly) disappointing results.
Instead, plan for a quiet night in with your partner. And if you get the news you’ve been hoping for, you can always have a spontaneous celebration.
Avoid Seeking Advice for Infertility Treatment Online
It may be hard to completely distract yourself from thoughts of pregnancy and your upcoming results during the waiting period, but spending hours ruminating on the uncertainty and seeking answers online will only serve to multiply your stress.
If you have a genuine concern, contact the staff at your fertility clinic. Consulting online forums for advice on infertility treatment can leave you feeling even more confused and discouraged. Plus, some of the information that you find on these websites can be misleading and inaccurate.
Now is the perfect time to give yourself permission to unplug and spend your free time on hobbies that make you feel fulfilled, not drained.
While you wait for your results, make sure to take plenty of time for self-care and relaxation. Proactively scheduling in time for a gentle yoga practice or meditation, a nice long, uninterrupted soak in a hot bubble bath, or curling up with your favorite book and a soothing mug of herbal tea can help alleviate the stress of the waiting period.
Don’t feel guilty about using your resources to pamper yourself while going through infertility treatments. Be gentle with yourself, though, and make sure to differentiate between potentially destructive indulgences (eating 6 pints of ice cream or spending beyond your means under the guise of “retail therapy”) and those little luxuries that you probably don’t get to enjoy every day (massage, a long meandering walk with no particular destination in mind). Fully lean into your healthy habits and carve out extra time in your schedule just to focus on you.
Speak With a Fertility Counselor
Support staff at fertility clinics are trained to help women with the emotional side of in vitro fertilization and often make referrals to local therapists who specialize in this. Sometimes, all of the self-care in the world just isn’t enough to process everything you’re feeling, but this doesn’t mean that you have to soldier on in silence.
If you feel like you would benefit from having a designated time to work through these feelings with a professional, call and make an appointment.
There is no shame in reaching out and seeking help. Going through infertility treatments is rarely an easy process, and fertility counseling may help you manage stress and cultivate an optimistic outlook.
Do you need help learning healthy coping strategies for infertility treatment? Contact me and schedule a fertility counseling consultation, and we can begin working together. Or click HERE to learn more about my approach to fertility and family building.