Tips to survive the fear and trauma of home pregnancy testsSep 20, 2021
A home pregnancy test.
It’s a stick that you urinate on. Just a stick.
But for many of us, it represents so much more. It can be a beacon of hope. The destruction of a dream. A continuous form of anxiety. And trauma. It isn’t just a stick.
It holds so much power over us. It can turn the strongest and smartest of women, into a neurotic, undecisive, bumbling hot mess.
Do we take the test? Or do we wait?
We weigh up the pro’s and con’s in our mind – and it goes around and around on a constant loop. If we test now, could it be a false positive? Or could it be a false negative? If we wait for a few more days, perhaps we could hold onto this feeling of hope a little longer. But if we wait too long, we may drive ourselves insane. We’re going to a party on the weekend, so we need know if we can drink or not. Our life is on hold until we pee on that damn stick.
It’s a constant tug of war inside our brains. Where we feel completely crazy and stuck in our minds.
Then when we finally give ourselves permission to take the test (who are we kidding – we were always going to take it) there is that build up. The excitement and a brief moment where we allow ourselves to dream. We create a mental movie inside our mind of how we’ll react if those two magic lines appear. We imagine how we’ll break the news to our partner or our parents. It’s nerve wracking – could this be THE ONE? The one time where our hopes and dreams become a reality? You can almost taste it.
So, you read the instructions with shaking hands (even though you’ve memorized them, because you’ve read them a million times before), just to make sure you get it right. You have the equipment set up, and it’s GO time!! You do the deed and say a silent prayer. You put the test down on the bench, set the timer on your phone and walk away, trying to distract yourself.
But who are you kidding??!! Your feet keep walking back to the test every few seconds. It’s the longest 3 minutes of your life. You try not to look. But you can’t resist. One line. Just one line. Your heart sinks, but you don’t fully believe it. Maybe you didn’t wait long enough? You should probably give it a couple more minutes. So, you walk away again, trying to hold back the tears and the heaviness in your heart. When you walk back to the test, you have another look, squinting to see if you can see just a faint second line. You stare at it for so long that your eye’s go blurry.
In anger and disappointment, you throw the test in the trash and walk away. But the power that stick wields over us isn’t over yet. An hour later, you feel the call to go back to the bathroom and you find yourself on you hands and knees rummaging through the rubbish, to retrieve the test, just in case it’s changed. Of course, it hasn’t.
You punish yourself for being so silly to even hope that this could be your month, and you wonder who the hell you are anymore. What kind of desperate crazy person goes through the trash??!!
And when its finally over, you walk away, purchase a bottle of wine and a tub of ice-cream and bury your feelings once again.
This was me. Every. Single. Month.
I am now blessed with two beautiful babies after 7-years of fertility struggles, yet I still can’t walk past a pregnancy test without rolling my eyes and feeling anger. That damn stick still has power over me!!
If this is you too, you’re not crazy. It isn’t just weeing on a stick. It’s so much more. It’s month after month of grief and disappointment.
So how do you cope with the continual mind-games that testing can evoke?
Here are some things that may help you through the continual rollercoaster and trauma as a result of home pregnancy tests.
- Limit your testing to one per month. You don’t want to go through that process multiple times every month. It’s unnecessarily soul-destroying. Also, resist the temptation to take the test too early and risk a false reading. This rollercoaster is hard enough without adding doubt and uncertainty into the mix.
- On the day of testing and in the lead up, keep repeating some helpful mantras, so your mind is occupied with good messages as opposed to going to the dark side of self-punishment. Try something like – I am going to be ok, no matter what / My value and worth is not defined by a positive or negative result / Our time will come / I can do hard things. Keep reminding yourself, if it doesn’t happen this month, it doesn’t mean that it will never happen.
- There is no need to punish yourself for dreaming and hoping. I used to feel so stupid for believing that this could actually be the month. I felt foolish for reading into the signs. I mean, what kind of asshole created period pain and implantation pain AND all the emotions that come with both, that feel exactly the same. Your belief doesn’t make you foolish – you have been sacrificing so much and making so many changes in your life, you are entitled to believe that this could have been the month.
- It’s ok to throw yourself a pity party each month it doesn’t work. Give yourself permission to feel shitty for a while. We usually push down the disappointment or in my case, numb it with a bottle of wine and a tub of peanut butter and chocolate ice-cream each month. But allow yourself the space to scream, shout and be angry. Go for a run, hit the punching bag, or get out your journal and let all the emotions you’re feeling right now flow out of you. This is grief. You are grieving another month of being on this soul-destroying journey. So, make the time to process your emotions. You don’t have to go through this alone. Organize to catch up with a girlfriend or someone who can support you through a potential negative result.
- The rebuild. After you’ve set aside the time you need to process and grieve your negative result, it’s time to get back up and keep putting one foot in front of the other. Replenish your energy. Work out what fills up your tank and double the effort – it could be getting out into nature, soaking up some sunshine, reading a book, binge watching tv, or having a warm bath. Take some time for you.
But most importantly, know that it isn’t just you. You aren’t foolish for keeping on getting your hopes up, nor are you weak because this is affecting you so much. It isn’t just a home pregnancy test. It’s a beacon of hope and a crusher of dreams.
Give yourself a little grace.
If you’d like to develop some healthy ways to get through each month on your way to a positive result, you can find more information on my private coaching program HERE.
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