How does one make it through the two week wait (TWW) without loosing one’s mind?
It’s a good question. It’s a rough time, often filled with anxiety, hope, fear, joy, anticipation, daydreaming, crying, excitement, etc. It’s all the intensity and contradictions of this roller coaster ride packed into two short weeks. Or less. It’s hard to maintain calm for the duration of what may seem like to others as a little blip on the calendar, but to us seems like dog years. Take me, for example. I’m trying to maintain hope and optimism. Yep I’m trying my best, but sometimes that little bit of fear or anxiety creeps in. Or sometimes it’s just neutrality.
Daily someone who loves me is asking me how I’m feeling. I know this is code for: “do you feel pregnant?” I smile and say, “I’m fine.” But I feel like the pressure is on. Not that they mean to make me feel pressured. Maybe I put that on myself. Everyone wants this to work. Of course we do.
Having gone through more TTW’s than I can remember, I’ve come to the conclusion that the most dangerous thing you can do during the TTW is symptom spotting, which that “how are you feeling?” question feeds into. Symptom spotting is basically the enemy of every women in their TWW. We tend to obsess over every little twinge or difference in our bodies. “My breasts feel more tender,” I think to myself. Although that could be due to how much I’m squeezing them to check for breast tenderness.
But the reality is that all those “early pregnancy symptoms” can also be explained by the high levels of hormones pumping through our bodies. And to complicate matters even worse, many early pregnancy symptoms look an awful lot like what happens as Aunt Flow approaches. During my TWW during IVF #1, I was absolutely certain it had failed. I started getting a hint of a nagging heading slowing building up steam – exactly what always happens just days before my period starts. I thought I was out. I was so sure it was a negative that I typed out a list of questions to ask my RE at our follow-up “WTF appointment” (you know, the appointment you have after a failed cycle to discuss what went wrong). Literally 30 minutes after clicking save, my nurse called with my positive Beta results. Compare this to IVF/FET #2 where I was certain it worked – I felt tired, queasy, I felt what I thought was implantation cramping, sore breasts – and the Beta was negative. That was when I learned the hard way just how much progesterone can play with your mind, body, and heart.
In an effort to get through this TWW without symptoms spotting and maintain as much hope and receptivity as I can, I’m trying a different strategy. I’ve been using 2 tools daily to help keep my spirits up.
First, I’m doing a combination of deep breathing, affirmations, and meditation with the aid of a counting ritual tool. This tool can be a Witches Ladder, Prayer Beads, or simply a bowl of stones or other small items. The Witches Ladder I use is a beautiful string of crystal beads in 3 sets of 9 beads. Each set is a different type of stone, which represents certain characteristics. I created an affirmation for each set of stones. I start at the beginning and hold each bead between my fingers, take a deep breath and state my affirmation, then repeat for each bead in that section. As I proceed mindfully, slowly through each individual bead, my mind is calmed and my focus strengthened. I find this really calming when I start to feel that bit of doubt or anxiety creep into my mind. Also, doing it before I even begin to feel worried helps me prevent it and maintain a more positive sense of being.
Above is a photo of what I used, and here is a description of the stones and my affirmations. Starting at the antler (both the antler and acorns are also fertility symbols):
- Aventurine = luck, creativity, heart chakra, confidence
- “The odds are in my favor”
- Tree agate = stability and nurturing protection, weathering the storm, putting down spiritual roots
- “I am rooted in the earth, nurtured, I can do this”
- Moss agate = creating abundance, fertility, new beginnings, the spirit of nature
- “Abundance flows through me and fills me, I am fertile”
The second strategy I’m using is drawing a daily “mantra,” or focus, using a Mini Moon Oracle set; but you could use any oracle or affirmation deck that resonates with you. I love the simplicity of the Mini Moon Oracle set, which I downloaded for free from Spirit de la Lune, because it’s just one word that doesn’t need any other interpretive guidebook to understand. Each morning, I take a few deep breaths, ask the Universe for a focus that will benefit me that day, and draw a mini moon from my bag. Throughout that day I mentally come back to the word and see how I can fit it in to support my well-being. As an example, I recently picked “Flow”. As my day progressed and at times got chaotic, I reminded myself to just flow with it, not fight with it. Things that would usually get under my skin were let go as I reminded myself of the bigger picture. The following day I ironically picked “Ebb,” so I carved out time that day to withdrawal into myself in healthy ways to engage in self care. Each day, these guiding words have been helpful in different ways.
These strategies may not change the outcome of my cycle, but at least I’m finding this TWW a bit more tolerable than ones in the past.