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Emotional Challenges of the Two-Week Wait
Infertility has intense and surprising emotional consequences and the two-week wait for a pregnancy test following treatment is one of the most stressful challenges of the entire infertility process. During this time, patients experience feelings much like those of being on an emotional roller coaster. Feelings can fluctuate from total confidence to intense worry, consuming sadness to complete elation on a day-to-day, even hour-to-hour basis. Having no control over your body, your emotions or your future can lead to tremendous stress and anxiety.
The Emotional Roller Coaster
While waiting for the pregnancy test, the emotional roller coaster starts with the anticipation of being pregnant. The desire to remain positive but realistic is extremely difficult. Thoughts oscillate from thinking positively, which could lead to a very big disappointment, to thinking negatively, assuming you will never get pregnant. At the same time, interpretation of your body for signs of early pregnancy or for signs that your menstrual cycle will start lead to swings between hope and fear. Also, thoughts may abound of what you will do in the future if you are not pregnant, whether to try again or not, and what to tell your family and friends, leads to increased anxiety.
Coping strategies during this time are key to managing the infertility emotional roller coaster. Limit the number of people you tell about your cycle and discuss with the people that do know how you are going to tell them the outcome of the cycle. Discuss with your partner how you want the result of the test delivered and what you would like to do if the result is negative. Reframe negative thoughts to more positive ones. Instead of thinking you will never get pregnant, reframe your thoughts to say you have done everything you can to get pregnant and you are optimistic about getting pregnant. Remind yourself that all the physical signs and symptoms you are feeling may be due to medications you are taking. Your body will not be able to tell you if you are pregnant or not, only a pregnancy test can give you that answer.
Pregnancy Test Results
Result of the pregnancy test, positive or negative, can have emotional consequences. If the result is negative, defining a time to discuss the next step and the different treatment options helps with putting closure to this cycle. If the result is positive, although joyous, the anxiety and stress of having additional blood tests and waiting to see the ultrasound can be emotionally very difficult. Educating yourself about these tests will help with the anxiety and stress of this process.