Surviving the Two Week Wait When You're Trying to Conceive

Dealing with "Two Week Wait Symptoms" and Coping With TTC Anxiety

women watching a comedy together during the two week wait, using distraction to cope
Watching a movie with a friend can help take your mind off of your two-week wait anxieties.. JGI/Jamie Grill / Getty Images

The two-week wait is a time of high anxiety, worry, and frustration for women trying to conceive. In case you're not familiar with the phrase, the two week wait is the time between ovulation and your expected period. This is when all your am-I-pregnant-this-time anxieties emerge! 

During fertility treatment cycles, the two week wait can be even more frustrating. Your fear of failure -- and your hopes -- are higher.

There are many 'what-ifs' floating around.

What if the cycle fails? Will we try again? Can we afford to try again? Do I want to try again?

Whether you’re in the middle of treatments or not, here are some two week wait survival tips. I can’t promise they’ll take away all the anxiety, but hopefully they’ll make the 14 days a tad more bearable.

Two Week Wait Survival Tip #1: Stop Obsessing Over “Pregnancy Symptoms”

OK, perhaps it’s too much to ask you to flat-out stop obsessing. But at the very least, take whatever pregnancy “symptom” you think you’re having along with a grain of salt.

Many of the so-called early signs of pregnancy are caused by the hormones that are naturally present every two week wait. This is why those months when you were sure you were pregnant, because you felt pregnant, didn’t result in a positive pregnancy test.

Feeling pregnant does not always mean that you are, and keeping in mind that the “signs” don’t mean anything can help lower your anxiety.

Two Week Wait Survival Tip #2: Keep Busy

Ever notice how time seems to slow down when you’re either really nervous about something or anxiously awaiting a deadline? Kind of like how the night before an exciting holiday has the same number of hours as every other day, but they tick by so much slower.

The two week wait can be like this. One way to help the time go by faster, or at least in normal speed, is by keeping busy.

Keeping busy may mean working more, but it can also mean planning meaningful, distracting fun.

For example, perhaps the two week wait would be a great time to:

  • Schedule a date with your partner, or with some friends.
  • Rent or go see a movie.
  • Plan a day for those errands you keep not getting around to doing.
  • Learn a new hobby you’ve been meaning to pursue.
  • Clean out a closet or two. (Imagine how neat the house could be if every two week wait, we passed the time cleaning! I'm not sharing this tip with my husband...)

It doesn’t really matter how you fill the time, as long as you fill it with something.

Two Week Wait Survival Tip #3: Schedule Obsessing Time

This sounds odd, but it actually works. Even if you’re not consciously analyzing each sniffle as a potential pregnancy sign, it may be lurking in the back of your brain.

We pretend we’re not obsessing during the two week wait.

But we’re working slower, we’re spacey, and we’re generally more anxious.

One way to deal with this is to schedule 15 minutes, once or twice a day, to obsess about the two week wait, in whatever way you'd like.

That might mean scouring your BBT chart for signs, or getting out your calendar and counting (for the tenth time) how many more days until you can take a pregnancy test.

It might mean visiting online fertility forums to vent about your two week wait frustrations, or reading and commenting on fertility blogs.

Whatever you do, though, schedule the time. You make a promise to yourself that you’re only going to be 'two-week-wait crazy' between 8:30 and 8:45 a.m., and 7:30 and 7:45 p.m., for example.

It sounds like it wouldn’t work, but actually it can.

Two Week Wait Survival Tip #4: Get Support from People who Understand

Having someone to talk to during your scheduled obsessing time, or any time for that matter, can help you cope. It can also help you cope with other aspects of infertility. Infertility is very difficult emotionally, and you don’t have to do it alone.

A few ways you can find support include:

I personally have not tried out a live infertility support group, but I’ve heard many good things from women who have. I have found great support online. I think my online fertility-challenged friends have made the entire process of trying to get pregnant so much easier. (Emotionally, anyway.)

I’ve also found therapy to be a great way to cope with infertility, including the two week wait.

Two Week Wait Survival Tip #5: Use Relaxation Techniques to Feel Calmer

Relaxation techniques can be of great help during this time. There are many ways to deal with anxiety, from breathing exercises to meditation.

Guided imagery has been shown in research studies to help lower stress and anxiety levels, and I highly recommend the audio program Help with Fertility.

There is an excellent book on yoga and fertility, Fully Fertile, which talks about using yoga for relaxation.

Acupuncture is another option for stress relief. It may even improve your fertility.

Two Week Wait Survival Tip #6: Write Out All Your 'What-Ifing'

Sometimes, writing out all your 'what-ifing' can help you get the racing thoughts out of your head.

Ask yourself one of your what-if questions. Then, answer the question yourself.

The idea isn’t to talk yourself out of being afraid, but to get to the core of what you’re worrying about. It’s almost like playing therapist with yourself.

You’d be amazed how wise you can be at answering your own anxieties.

Two Week Wait Survival Tip #7: Go Easy on the Pregnancy Tests

Some women develop an addiction to taking pregnancy tests during the two week wait. I don’t mean waiting until your period is late and then taking a test. I’m talking to those of you who take a test way too early, like five days before your period is due.

I understand the idea behind taking early tests -- you’re hoping that maybe you’ll get a positive result, and then the rest of the two week wait will be easier to get through. If only it would work that way.

The problem is this: the chances of getting a positive result on a pregnancy test before your period is late is very, very slim.

What happens instead? You take a test, get a negative, and feel disappointed -- even while telling yourself that you know it doesn’t really count, since it was too early.

My opinion? Best to just wait until your period is late and avoid the extra aggravation.

The two week wait isn’t fun for anyone. But it’d be a shame to spend two weeks out of every month feeling anxious, spacey, or depressed. 

More on coping while trying to conceive:

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