The Two-Week Wait


For those unfamiliar with the term, the two-week wait is the time between ovulation and the beginning of a woman’s next period. For women who are not trying to get pregnant, the two-week wait is as little noted as any other time of the month. For women who are trying to conceive, especially those who have been trying for a while, the two-week wait can seem like forever.

Susan Leonard, a licensed professional counselor and marriage and family therapist, works with infertile couples. A client once told her, “When you’re thinking and obsessing and hoping during that two-week wait, what you’re hoping is that you’ll soon join a different population, the population of the pregnant, while worrying that you just might not.”

Looking for Symptoms?

A common thread on fertility discussion boards is women asking other women what this twinge or that bloat or this headache means. Even physical signs that seem like they couldn’t possibly be related to pregnancy are often discussed in great depth. This is typical, Leonard says, noting that during the wait women do tend to obsess over every twinge, ache, and cramp. She says some of this is a natural outgrowth of the strong, instinctive desire for motherhood, but for women undergoing fertility treatment, it’s also a time when the distractions and actions of trying to conceive come to a full stop.

“In IVF [in vitro fertilization], for the first two weeks there is something going on virtually every day leading up to the big moment of the transfer,” Leonard says. “As part of that activity, most women see a doctor or nurse every day. Then everything stops. They go from all of that activity to just waiting and there’s nothing concrete they can do to guarantee success. It’s not unusual for patients to describe a sense of powerlessness.”

Ways to Pass the Time

Leonard suggests activities that focus on the quest to become pregnant, but in a positive, nurturing manner that are specific to conception. For example:

  • If there are mind/body workshops in your area, try one. If not, become familiar with Dr. Alice Domar’s mind/body philosophies and techniques for use during your entire cycle. These are explained in Domar’s book, Conquering Infertility: Dr. Alice Domar’s Mind/Body Guide to Enhancing Fertility and Coping with Infertility.
  • Try guided meditations specific to fertility and conception, such as Jennifer Bloome’s CD series Imagery and Meditations for support of a Healthy Cycle.
  • Positive thinking is important, but Leonard does warn against absolute, blind optimism simply because any disappointments may be magnified. However, positive imagery in general may give you a feeling of control that can help you through that difficult two weeks.
  • Visit online discussion groups to vent and talk with others going through the same thing.