When you’re trying to conceive, those last two weeks of your cycle—when you may be pregnant—can bring a sense of hope and excitement of what is to come. But at the same time, it can be an intense, all-consuming, emotional roller coaster that can quickly spiral into sadness and disappointment if your period arrives or you have a negative pregnancy test.
Those two weeks you wait to find out if your well-timed sexual escapades (or fertility treatments) paid off and you conceived—often referred to at the two-week wait, or TWW— seem to move at a snail’s pace, especially if you’ve been trying for a while.
In my first attempt to get pregnant, I had a positive test in just five months. But the second time around, a frustrating diagnosis of unexplained secondary infertility threw us for a loop. My husband and I tried for three years and two months before we were successful—that’s 41 cycles and 41 two-week waits.
Each cycle started the same: I was optimistic, excited and positive. I knew what had to be done and when, and I focused on the ultimate goal of becoming pregnant. But as each day passed after my peak ovulation window and no pregnancy symptoms presented themselves, I would start to feel frustrated, sad and mad. We were doing everything we could when we should—why wasn’t it working?
I spent those weeks feeling anxious, wanting time to fly by so I could get my results. Looking back, I wish I had been more present. If you are going through the TWW, here are 10 ways to make the most of your time without worrying.
1. Make plans with friends
Go for lunch or get your friends together for a movie night, retro games night or book club—whatever will put a smile on your face and take your mind off things. It’s incredible what a few hours with your best friends can do for your state of mind.
2. Pamper yourself
Go for a massage or facial, have a relaxing bath or go to a yoga class—whatever will help you unwind, do it. You are expecting a lot from your body right now, so show it some love and kindness. A little self-care will do your mind and body wonders.
3. Express yourself
Get your feelings out of your head. Write in a journal, confide in a close friend or talk to a therapist. It can be emotionally draining to internalize all of your expectations, hopes and worries during this time, so get it out.
4. Find a productive distraction
Tackle something you’ve been putting off for ages. Sort through all your iPhone photos, declutter your inbox (do you really need 4,000 emails?) or overhaul your closet (KonMari!). They aren’t necessarily fun (well, organizing a closet is for me), but you’ll feel great tackling something you’ve been avoiding.
5. Throw yourself into work
When you haven’t had the results you’ve been hoping for personally, tackling a passion project at work where you can see positive results may be exactly what you need right now. Seeing progress in some areas of your life can help spark the encouragement you need in other areas.
6. Help someone
Take your mind off yourself by doing something kind for someone else. Offer to dog-sit, help a friend with her LinkedIn profile, run errands for a grandparent or help a co-worker brainstorm for her latest project.
7. Get away
Go on a weekend getaway with your partner or a friend. How about a last-minute trip to New York or Montreal? A restful stay at a local B&B is also a great option. A change of scenery can help with a change of perspective.
8. Be entertained
Read a book that you’ve been wanting to read for months or binge-watch a show on Netflix.
9. Get outside
Go for a long walk in your local park to see the cherry blossoms, plant an herb garden, go for a bike ride or just sit back and enjoy a sunset in your backyard. Hell, even give the much-hyped forest bathing a try. It’s amazing how much of an impact nature can have on your state of mind.
10. Get lots of rest
Things always seem worse and more overwhelming when you’re exhausted. Embrace naps and early bedtimes and sleep in if you can. Sweet dreams!