5 Tips for Surviving the Two Week Wait

Disguised in blogs and online forums as the TWW, the “two week wait” is something you probably never knew about or thought about before trying to conceive.  And if you did know about it, let's be honest, you probably had NO idea how much it sucked until you went through it yourself.  Now, admittedly the TWW is not the last hard thing about getting pregnant nor is it by any stretch of the imagination the hardest thing.  But for many women, it is the first thing.  It is the first adventure with planting a flag in “parenthood territory.”  And for that reason, and so many others, it can be nerve wracking. For two whole weeks, you feel the same, you look the same, and everyone treats you the same, but at the same time, your life could be changing forever, there could be life changing stuff going on inside you ... or everything might stay the same.  

For those two weeks, time creeps along at a snail's pace, you only see pregnant people, and every twinge you feel in your body leaves you either hopeful, despondent, or running to Dr. Google to see what it means.  And then their is worry and doubt: What should you eat?  Should you stop drinking? Can you have coffee? How hard should you push it in that spin class?   

So whether this is your first go round with the TWW or your bazillionth, it is useful have some ways to cope in your back pocket.  


  1. Be prepared --  Instead of telling yourself that it’ll be a walk in the park, that it’s no big deal, or you really don’t care, be prepared to be anxious, impatient, and experience a roller coaster of highs and lows along the way.  If this doesn’t happen to you, congrats (and let me know your secret!), but it is easier to be prepared for a struggle than totally blindsided by it.  Being prepared also allows you to be gentle with yourself.  To tell yourself, ”It’s ok. This is hard.  We’re going to take it one day at a time and we’ll get through it.”  

  2. Find some distractions -- It can be tempting to want to curl up on the couch and wait, pregnancy test in hand, for the entire two weeks, focusing on nothing else.  I suggest doing the opposite.  Stay busy. Immerse yourself in projects. Find something to look forward to everyday, especially those last few days of the wait which can feel particularly long and painful.

  3. Stay positive but practical --  We all know people who got pregnant on the first try or even without trying and you might be one of those people.  However, it is statistically more likely that you are not.  It’s quite common for it to take several months to get pregnant, and for many people it can take 6 months, or a year, or longer.  I don’t mean to be discouraging, but I do want you to be grounded in reality. One thing I’ve noticed about the TWW is its incredible power to propel us into fantasy.  In those days of not knowing, it is so easy to dream and hope and plan.  And while there is NOTHING wrong with doing those things, it can also be good to check in with the other side of those fantasies--that it might not happen this month.  If you’ve been trying to conceive for a while and feel that something just isn’t quite right, I am a strong proponent of being proactive.  Depending on your age, the recommendation is to seek fertility testing after a year (if you are younger than 35) or 6 months (if you are over 35).  However, it is totally fine to go in sooner and request some preliminary tests. While I know lots of people whose road to conception was LOOONG and arduous, I also know people whose fertility obstacles were detected by a simple blood test and remedied with a prescription. The other thing to consider if you are on the fence about getting testing is that it can take a long time.  There can be a long wait to get the appointment, then one or more months to get the needed tests, more waiting to get the results, until finally it is time to move ahead to whatever the next step may be.  If you get pregnant while all that is happening, great!  If not, you’ll be a couple more months down the road and father along in identifying any fertility issue should you choose to go that route.  

  4. Don’t be alone -- There is a secrecy in our culture around trying to get pregnant and the early stages of pregnancy.  Some of this is understandable because of the uncertain nature of pregnancy in its early phases and the potential for miscarriage, however, I feel it is important for women to be able to talk about the struggles related to deciding to get pregnant, trying to get pregnant, getting pregnant, losing pregnancies, etc.  Being overly secretive about this stuff feeds the idea that if you struggle along the way it is somehow shameful. I strongly disagree with this.  So while you might not broadcast to the world that you are in the TWW, find someone you can talk to.  Your partner, your friend, a therapist, your mother, your sister. Someone who will validate your feelings, let you vent, and listen to what what you need.  

  5. To test or not to test -- As your two weeks comes to an end you’ll inevitably start itching to take a pregnancy test, or 20, to put an end to the waiting and wondering.  People have opinions all over the place on whether and when to start testing.  The non-testers will tell you not to take a test too early because you might get a false negative which will only make things harder, and you’ll have to keep testing.  The testers will tell you to start peeing away because it helps manage anxiety and (truthfully) you probably can get a reliable answer slightly before you start missing your period.  I don’t fall into either of these camps because I think the best advice is to know (and trust) yourself.  If testing a week before your period is really going relieve some anxiety and give you a moment of calm, go ahead and do it--but only if you also know that your result will likely be negative and that that the result may or may not be accurate.  If testing and getting negatives that you can’t really trust sounds like mental torture, then resist the urge to test until at least the day before you'd expect to get your period.  At least this test has a better chance of being accurate.  I know that there are tests out there that promise accuracy a full 5 days before your period. I also know that they are expensive and if you are in it for the long haul you might not want to spring for one of those every month.  Tester or non-tester, if you are on a budget you can check out these strips from Amazon.  You can get 20 pregnancy tests and 50 ovulation predictor strips for around 20 bucks: http://www.amazon.com/Wondfo-Combo-Ovulation-Pregnancy-Strips/dp/B00RY8UBNC/ref=sr_1_4_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1457982375&sr=8-4&keywords=ovulation+test+strips

Do you need support with your conception journey?  I would love to hear from you.