This post was written in tandem with my post on 5 Pitfalls For Staying Sane During the Two-Week Wait (TWW). If you have already read that post, you can skip the introduction sections below and go straight to the 5 TWW Tips section.
What is the Two-Week Wait (TWW)?
For many women, the notorious “two-week wait” (TWW) can feel more like two months! If you’re not familiar with the term, the TWW is the timeframe between ovulation and when you would expect your next period to start. During this time, you have already passed the window of potential conception and are anxiously awaiting a possibly positive pregnancy test!
Why is the TWW so tough?
These two weeks are so exciting and full of anticipation, but they can also be stressful and seem to drag on for eternity. If you’re anything like me, your mind might fill with questions like:
- Was the egg successfully fertilized?
- What is happening in my body?
- Is this symptom I’m having a sign of pregnancy?
- Is there anything I’m doing that could inadvertently prevent implantation?
- When can I start testing for pregnancy?
- Should I feel hopeful or brace myself for disappointment?
I can sympathize with these emotions all too well as I am currently in the TWW of my sixth month trying to conceive (TTC) my first child. Now, I am fully aware that six months is not a long time at all to have been TTC in the grand scheme of things (most experts say it is perfectly normal for healthy, fertile couples to take up to a year or even longer to get pregnant, and there are many women who have struggled with infertility for years). Even still, just like the TWW itself, these six months have felt like a lifetime!
The good, albeit surprising, news is that I have learned very gradually over the months how to stay as calm, patient, and SANE as possible during these two weeks each month. Or how to try to, at least (am I right?)! I have come to realize that my body was made for this and knows what it’s doing, so there is no sense in me essentially wishing my life away in two-week increments when I could be enjoying life and embracing the TTC journey!
My Personal Experience
Before I get into my five tips for staying sane during the TWW, I want to emphasize something very important. These tips are things that have personally helped me during each month’s TWW and are very much based on my personal experience. I realize each person approaches the TTC process and its accompanying emotions differently, and you may very well prefer a different mindset than I do. My hope is that these tips simply give you some potential ideas to consider. I would love to hear your personal experiences as well as any additional tips you’ve used. Please share them via the comment box below!
5 TWW Tips
Okay, let’s dig in! I’ve found that when I focus on the five activities below, my TWW goes by so much faster and is much more enjoyable. The main goal here is to take your mind off of the stresses of the TWW and focus on what keeps you happy, healthy, and calm!
1. Focus on your hobbies:
Think back to before “trying to conceive” was on your mind or even in your vocabulary. (It’s hard to imagine now that there was ever such a time!) What was your favorite activity? What were you passionate about? Was it painting, dancing, volunteering, watching movies, photography, fishing, putting on magic shows? Whatever it is, now is the time to do it! For me, it is reading, exercising, and sharing my ideas on topics I am passionate about. I also love tackling a good home improvement project with my husband. (You know, getting an early start on practicing my “nesting behavior.”) Doing what you love will help keep you distracted, engaged, and, of course, happy while you wait to take that pregnancy test.
This one is great on many levels. Exercise is great for you in general but also helps with fertility (when done in moderation) and releases endorphins which make you… you guessed it, happy! If you’d rather stab yourself in the eye than exercise, just think of it as an activity that can only help your chances of getting pregnant, and use that as motivation to stay active and focus on your health. If exercise happens to be something you already enjoy, even better!
First, come up with a goal that addresses what you personally want to get out of exercising. Maybe you want to lose weight or gain muscle strength. Maybe you want to maintain your current weight while feeling more energized. Or, maybe you want to spend more time moving and less time being sedentary. Make it your own!
Next, devise a plan to make it happen! What does “success” look like? How will you hold yourself accountable? For me, success is doing an at-home workout video at least 3 days a week. YouTube has tons of great, free workout videos for all skill levels – the FitnessBlender channel is my personal favorite! As far as holding myself accountable, I do so by having a workout buddy to keep me in line (my husband) and by “grounding” myself from binge-watching my favorite shows until I do that day’s workout. You can also download an app to help plan and guide your workouts and to hold yourself accountable. Nike Training Club is a great one, and it’s free!
Now, it’s important to note that each person has a different level of desire for exercise and a different level of skill or ability. That is totally fine! No matter where you fall on the spectrum, there are ways to enjoyably incorporate some sort of exercise into your routine. Just find what is enjoyable and safe for you.
3. Get outside and get some sun:
This is a great time to get outdoors and soak up some rays! However, this is another one you will definitely want to do in moderation. We certainly don’t want any sunburns, heat exhaustion, or any other adverse effects of prolonged sun exposure. Sunlight increases your serotonin levels, which is believed to help improve mood and regulate sleep – two things that are very important during the TWW! It is also believed to help with digestion, memory, appetite, motor function, and more.
For many, being around nature and green spaces is also a very soothing experience and will help keep you calm and relaxed. It’s also an opportunity to explore new places, meditate, or have some alone time. If you have a dog who is able to be active, I’m sure he or she would love to keep you company on an outdoor walk. Mine is definitely supportive of my desire to be outside! Just make sure you’re staying hydrated. Drinking plenty of water is very important for overall health, and it is especially crucial when you are getting some sun and/or exercising, as both activities can cause water loss from sweating.
I personally use and strongly recommend the Hidrate Spark 3 Smart Water Bottle for tracking your water intake. I used to really struggle with drinking enough water each day, and this water bottle helped me completely transform my water-drinking habits and greatly increase my daily water intake in a fun way! The sensor automatically tracks and records your water intake, and the blinking light helps you remember to drink water throughout the day. The linked app syncs your water intake data to help you track your progress in real time, and you can even use the app to compare your water intake with family members and friends who also have a Hidrate Spark water bottle. This introduces some friendly competition to motivate you even more!
4. Schedule activities:
If I can give you just one piece of advice, it comes down to two words: Stay busy! In my experience, if you sit around all day thinking about everything that comes with the TWW or obsessing over some of those questions I listed up above, you are more likely to stress yourself out. Instead, schedule some activities that will keep you busy and relaxed.
You can get together with family and friends, tackle some of those items that have been on your to-do list for a while, take a trip, or learn a new skill. Whatever it is that will keep you engaged and take your mind off of the TWW, fill up your schedule with it!
But wait… what about COVID-19…? Yes, at the time I am writing this, we have a global pandemic on our hands. This obviously complicates things as I am quarantining and staying socially distant. This means I’m not seeing my loved ones (other than my husband and dog) and am not taking any trips. You can get around this by using FaceTime, Zoom, Skype, or another similar platform to virtually connect with your family and friends. Thank goodness for technology! And instead of taking the trip, you can start planning the next one you want to take when it’s safe to travel again.
5. Embrace learning opportunities:
If you’re like me, you may find yourself in a constant battle of whether to feel hopeful during the TWW (pretty much convincing yourself each month that you are pregnant only to be completely crushed if you’re not) or to instead prepare for the worst (potentially causing you to feel a bit down while waiting to find out if you’re pregnant).
I’ve found the best course of action for me is a bit of a mix of the two. Stay positive about the possibility of being pregnant as there is a very real possibility you could be! But also focus on what knowledge you’re gaining in the meantime that can be useful for next month if you don’t end up getting pregnant this month. More specifically, focus on what you’re learning about your body and what you might want to do differently next month if it comes to that. This is a great way to stay positive but also prepared!
Hold on a second… isn’t the whole point to not think about TTC during the TWW? Let me clarify! Yes, after ovulation has passed and there are no more opportunities for conceiving in a given month, I would definitely suggest trying to distract yourself and avoid obsessing over and overthinking what is happening in your body. However, I am a huge proponent of understanding what’s happening with your body prior to and during ovulation and learning how to identify your most likely timing of ovulation each month! Anything you learn about your body’s outward “clues” during the follicular phase (the time between the first day of your period and ovulation) could be really useful next month in helping to time intercourse to optimize your chances of conception. “Knowledge is power,” right?
Starting to think about how you might approach next month differently is a productive exercise on its own, but it can also do wonders for staying realistic about the possibility of not becoming pregnant this month and preparing yourself for another try next month. By the way, if you have no idea what I was talking about earlier when I said, “your body’s outward ‘clues’,” not to worry! I will be doing a post soon on some great methods you can use to help give you a better idea of when you might be ovulating.
When you want a baby more than anything (whether it’s your first, third, or tenth), it can be so hard not to obsess over every detail of the process! These are the top five things I personally do in order to stay sane during the TWW, and it is my sincere hope that some or all of them can be useful to you as well. Remember to focus on activities and mindsets that keep you happy, healthy, and calm. Take care of yourself, and don’t stop living your life while you wait for those two beautiful lines on a pregnancy test. Although, I truly hope you see them very soon!
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