Coping with the Two Week Wait

Fertility Treatment Options
Key Points

  • The two week wait after transfer can be emotionally challenging.
  • Prepare in advance and follow our 5 strategies
The two week wait after embryo transfer is the time a woman has to wait before testing for pregnancy. It can be a stressful time, full of hope, uncertainty and emotional distress.

If you are a woman or couple, going through infertility and multiple cycles, your confidence levels during the two week wait can be affected. The uncertainty leads you to ruminate on certain thoughts, impacting on your day to day during those two weeks and can be very challenging to cope with.

Quickly you may find yourself in some of the following situations:

  • obsessing about pregnancy symptoms
  • thinking about what-ifs
  • having negative thoughts
  • finding that time goes by very slowly
  • and feeling like no one else understands your struggle.

Obsessing about pregnancy symptoms

During the two week wait you may find yourself more aware of your body and possible ‘pregnancy symptoms’ that could give you an insight into the outcome. However, the truth is that a lot of women who have a positive pregnancy test, do not experience any symptoms; and a lot of women who have a negative pregnancy test, do experience some symptoms. Therefore, this is not a reliable indication of outcome after embryo transfer.

A simple strategy to manage obsession about pregnancy symptoms is scheduling ‘time to obsess’, allowing yourself to get your calendar out and count how many more days until you can take a pregnancy test; going on fertility forums to vent your frustrations; and reading and commenting on fertility blogs.

If you do find yourself obsessing and noticing that it’s keeping you from getting on with your day, do a quick state change by focusing on something else, maybe a good experience you’ve had with friends or with your partner. Take yourself back into that moment, visualising, recalling what you were hearing and feeling. Be mindful to use nice language towards yourself – you are doing the best you can!

Thinking about what-ifs

During the two week wait after embryo transfer you may find yourself thinking about all the what-ifs, what happens if the result is positive, and what happens if the result is negative. Thinking about all the things you’re doing or not doing that may affect the result.

A way of calming your thoughts is to practice mindfulness, as it brings your awareness to the present moment. You can also start journaling, putting your thoughts on paper makes them more real and easier to manage.

Having negative thoughts

Your previous experience and fertility journey may lead you to have some negative thoughts or even believing that this cycle is not going to be ‘the one’. It is important to manage negative thoughts, because thoughts affect our feelings, actions and results – you want to feed your mind with positive and realistic thoughts!

Start by expressing gratitude, noticing 2 or 3 things you are grateful for each day. You can also choose a positive affirmation like “my body is healthy and ready for this pregnancy” and say it every day. With time, affirmations will become internalised beliefs.

And don’t take your negative thoughts for granted! Instead look for all the evidence that challenges those thoughts. Maybe you have done something different this time and have prepared differently– think of all the reasons why this month is ‘the month’!

Finding that time goes by very slowly

As you are going through the two week wait, you may feel that time is going by very slowly. Take this time to keep busy and do something that gives you a sense of meaning, pleasure and accomplishment. This is also the perfect time to put yourself first. Acknowledge your emotions, don’t fight them - it’s ok not to be ok. Allow yourself to feel whatever you are feeling.

Feeling like no one else understands your struggle

Going through infertility can be very isolating. And in an emotional time like the two week wait you may feel that no one else understands what you are going through. A good strategy is to create your support network. Support comes in many ways:

  • Family and friends: choose a friend or family member who you know will support you no matter what.
  • Social media: online forums, closed Facebook groups and Instagram can be a great source of support during the two week wait.
  • Professional: a fertility nurse, counsellor or psychologist can help you with managing emotions, difficult conversations and making decisions.
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