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Ah… The dreaded two week wait. Also known in the trying to conceive (TTC) community as the 2ww. This period of waiting is filled with both anxiety and hope, which for most women makes it an incredibly difficult time!
In this letter to TTC women, Emilee Moreland explains the two week wait and shares nine secrets for surviving it.
What is the two week wait?
The two week wait (2ww) refers to the two week period from the time you ovulate to the time you should (hopefully) miss your period.
In the medical community, this phase is also known as the luteal phase, or the part of your cycle that occurs between ovulation and menstruation.
After you ovulate, you have to wait 10-14 days (and it feels like months) for a pregnancy test to register a clear positive result (or not, but let’s not think about that). For most of us, it’s a stressful time. These two weeks SUCK!!! Here are nine ways you can survive it.
During this phase of a monthly cycle, a woman’s body should produce the hormone progesterone, which builds up the uterine lining for what you hope–if you’re dealing with the two week wait–will be the successful implantation of a fertilized egg into your uterine wall.
If this happens, between 8 and 14 days past ovulation (DPO), you’ll see a rise in human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), also known as the “pregnancy hormone.” This is what will give you those beautiful two lines on a pregnancy test.
What happens during the two week wait?
You mean aside from doing all these things?
- Sitting around googling early signs of pregnancy
- Trying to wait the time you should to take home pregnancy tests (HPTs) bc you want to test when you know it’s too early
- Posting test photos to online support groups asking if anyone sees a line
- Hoping desperately for implantation bleeding that you’ll then fear is the beginning of your menstrual cycle
(Yes, we live in your head. We know exactly what you do during the 2ww).
But other than that, during the two week wait, the (hopefully) fertilized egg travels down the fallopian tubes and implants into the lining of the uterus.
It’s during this time when women trying to conceive start feeling bouts of anxiety and lots of excitement.
They tend to get hyper-body awareness and excessively check for signs of pregnancy.
**This letter is to help and empower women surviving through the two week wait**
A Letter To Women in the 2WW
Dear TTC Women,
If you’re in the 2ww, my heart goes out to you.
I know how anxious and excited you must be feeling. You’re anxious you’ll discover you aren’t pregnant and hopeful that you actually are.
You’re looking for all the pregnancy symptoms, downing prenatal vitamins, and hoping desperately for a potential pregnancy.
If you’re like me and have had a miscarriage in the past, you may even feel a little numb about it all. Pregnancy anxiety after miscarriage is a real thing, after all.
If you’ve gone through fertility treatment, this time is probably even more anxiety-producing for you than most. But please, don’t risk a false negative by testing too early!
Whatever mixed set of emotions you’re feeling, I’m here for you, girl…because I get it.
The two week wait is exhausting.
Confusing Emotions and Questions are Normal
Having mixed feelings during this time is normal. But normal doesn’t mean easy!
It’s during this time that we fight a huge battle between excitement and anxiety. If you’ve been in this for the long haul, anxiety is likely winning.
It’s this very battle that makes what happens during the two week wait the worst part about trying to conceive.
Because nothing happens. It can make you feel like you’re losing your mind! And it can certainly keep you from being productive.
You might spend a lot of time asking yourself things like…
- ‘Is cramping a sign of implantation or is my period on its way?’
- ‘Is my constipation a sign of conception or did I eat too much cheese?’
- ‘I haven’t conceived yet, is there something wrong with me?’
Those are some of the thoughts I’ve had during the 2ww.
So… dear friend, I get it.
We all know that stress and fertility go hand in hand. I know that simply telling you to ‘stop stressing’ is the worst thing I could do to support you.
As someone who struggles herself, I know that stressing is not so easily in your control.
For that reason, I’ve created this list of 9 Secrets About The 2WW so that you can do more than SURVIVE it.
Secret #1: Relax
I know, it sounds impossible. But hear me out. Trying to get pregnant can feel as though nothing is in your control. You feel like the fate of your family is in the hands of chance.
The the best ways to track ovulation may help you feel more in control of your fertility.
But, the emotional battle between your feelings will continue in the back of your mind.
That is why it is all too important to take time and RELAX.
If that means having a glass of wine, have at it.
I know how important it is to avoid alcohol during pregnancy.
But at this point, if you have not seen a positive pregnancy test, then it is okay to enjoy a glass of wine.
I’m telling you this because it is really important to relax during the two week wait, and stressing about whether one glass of wine is going to make or break it this month will do more harm than good.
No, stressing isn’t likely to prevent you from getting pregnant. But it does impact your hormones, and you want to let them do their own thing this time.
So, if you’re worried about it, then go with red wine for the antioxidants. Or take a bath. Or do whatever relaxes you.
Just don’t go overboard and stress your body with large quantities of alcohol. The important thing is not to stress about every little thing you do.
It’s counter-intuitive, I know.
Secret #2: Take Care Of Yourself
Whether you are 1DPO or 11DPO, you should definitely be taking extra time for self care.
Need some ideas? Grab our cheatsheet of 10 tips for FREE self care!
As I mentioned before, we’re trying to avoid stress. Self care can help our bodies feel safe and secure, which in turn reduces stress and promotes well-being.
When we care for our well-being, we relax more and feel better about things outside our control.
Plus, taking care of yourself boosts fertility and chances of implantation.
10 Ways To Make Self Care Happen During The Two Week Wait
- Take an extra-long bath with bubbles and scented candles
- Read a self-improvement book
- Drink half your body weight in ounces of water per day
- Go to bed early
- Tend to your responsibilities (even if you don’t want to)
- Treat yo’ self with a favorite food or drink
- Learn something new to stimulate your mind
- Chat it up with a close friend (socializing is important for our well being)
- Go for a walk (walking improves mood and physical health)
Secret #3: Journal About Your Two Week Wait Feelings
When, TTC your mind can start looking like this…
- ‘Is this the month?‘
- ‘Am I going to have to keep trying for another year?’
- ‘Is something wrong with me? Could it be him?’
Thoughts like these can be particularly draining. They make you feel stressed out and exhausted.
Journaling can help you cope with those intense thoughts.
It won’t make the feelings go away, but it helps to brain dump so that way you can process those thoughts better.
Secret #4: Bond With Your Partner (& Kids If You Have Them)
When you’re overcome with emotions about the two week wait, it may be hard to focus on what’s right in front of you…that’s okay.
Your partner may not know exactly how you’re feeling. The 2ww isn’t usually so hard for them.
But, it can be shocking to find that they, too, feel excited and nervous about finding out if this month was finally the month.
One way you and your spouse can get closer during this time is to take the time to talk about your feelings!
Besides helping you cope with the waiting game, it will also strengthen your bond.
If you have kids, it’s also worrisome to think about what life with another child will like.
Spending quality one-on-one time with the kids you have can lessen the anxiety you feel.
This will help you refocus on what’s right in front of you.
Secret #5: Eat More Fiber
If you didn’t already have a reason to eat more fiber, here it is…
According to this medical study, the bacteria in your gut can have an impact on your mood as much as it can impact your mental and physical well-being!
Fiber has a huge role in your health and well-being, and it is likely you are not getting enough of it to promote a healthy mind and body.
Eat more fruits and vegetables during the two week wait. In addition to helping your fertility, it can also help regulate your GI system during the luteal phase so you avoid uncomfortable symptoms!
Secret #6: Meditate On Your Body
Are you aware of the thoughts and feelings you have about trying to conceive?
Are you doubting your body?
Take a moment and think about that.
Trying to conceive can take a lot out of you. When you’ve tried to get pregnant for a long time, the pressure you put on yourself to do everything right is at level 1000.
I’m not suggesting you meditate to put another on your trying-to-conceive to-do list. I’m suggesting it because it can help to relieve some of that pressure.
Meditation is the act of pausing so that you can observe your thoughts.
(It’s okay to get distracted when trying to meditate. The important thing is to notice that you’re distracted so that you can figure out what you’re trying to avoid.)
When you pause and turn inward, you may notice how much doubt you have in your body.
Confront these feelings you have about your body. Become aware of them so you can bring them to the surface to process and release them. Bye-bye, bad vibes!
I’m not saying meditation is not a cure-all for two week wait anxieties, but it can help you relax and learn to trust your body more.
Secret #7: Take Your Mind Off DPO & Pregnancy Symptoms
Is your mind obsessed with how many days past ovulation (DPO) you are?
Are you hyper-aware of everything little thing going on in your body?
You’re not alone. One of the best ways to stop obsessing about DPO symptoms is to work on your passion or hobby!
Combat the urge to symptom-spot and make the time go by faster by doing something you love. And if you don’t have a hobby yet, this is the perfect time to try something you’ve always wanted to do!
Ways To Distract Yourself During The 2ww:
- Learn to knit or crochet
- Read a new book
- Binge-watch Netflix originals
- Watch a classic movie ‘from the vault’ on Disney+
- Attend a yoga or exercise class
- Create a new decor piece
- Plan out a book to write
- Play a card game with your spouse
Those are some of my favorite things to avoid going bonkers during the two week wait. I hope these suggestions inspire you with something fun to do!
Secret #8: Spend LESS On Pregnancy Tests
THIS! Ok, most people will tell you (logically) that you should wait until you’ve missed your period BEFORE you take a pregnancy test.
That’s why my secret #8 is to spend less on pregnancy tests by bulk buying “internet cheapies” from Amazon.
Some of you may already know about this, but it’s worth mentioning.
I recommend ClinicalGuard HCG strips. They come in a pack of 20, so if you’re like me and test everyday… You’ll have plenty to get you through the months.
The best part is they are ONLY $7.99 (with Prime). That means you can pee on a stick (POAS) every day during the two week wait for less than the cost of a store bought pregnancy test!
Secret #9: Get Extra Sleep (If You Can…)
Sleep is really important during the two week wait.
It reduces the stress hormone and increases chances of implantation.
According to a medical study, lack of sleep prevents your reproductive hormones, like the LH hormone, from effectively regenerating.
In other words, lack of sleep might prevent ovulation.
So take time to promote healthy sleep habits by turning off your phone light 30 minutes before bed. Don’t stay up late reading two week wait pregnancy forums that are YEARS old!
Take a bath or put the lavender oils you bought to good use and start taking your sleep seriously.
For more on trying to conceive, check out our 5 helpful tips to conceive.
There you have it folks, my 9 Secrets About The Two Week Wait! Baby dust to you all!
What helped you survive the two week wait?
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Katy Huie Harrison, PhD, is an author, mom, recurrent miscarriage survivor, & owner of Undefining Motherhood. She lives in Atlanta with her husband (affectionately known on the internet as “Husband,”) son (Jack), and dog (Charlotte). She believes our society puts too many expectations on women that make womanhood and motherhood restrictive. Her goal is to shift the paradigm about what it means to be a woman and mother, giving all women a greater sense of agency over their own lives. You can find Katy and her work featured in places like CNN’s Headline News, Romper, Scary Mommy, Demeter Press’s Motherhood and Social Exclusion, & more.