I have been there. Month after month of only seeing one line or the words “Not Pregnant” on the test. The crying. The depression. The hopelessness. I’ve been there.
And I know how hard it is to get out of there. So here are my top 6 tips on how to get out of there. Please note, that I am not saying your feelings aren’t valid, because they most definitely are!! But we can’t live in that place of darkness and expect our angels to find us. Read on to learn how to climb out of the darkness.
Talk about it—even if it’s to yourself.
“There’s no one-size-fits-all way to cope with a negative pregnancy test,” says Shoshana Bennett, Ph.D., clinical psychologist and prenatal and postnatal health specialist. Sadness, anger and guilt are all totally acceptable. But you’re not going to get past those feelings if you don’t talk about them, so open up.
I’m not talking about venting. I’m talking about saying positive things, like “It didn’t happen this time, but I know it will eventually happen”, or “When it’s meant to be, it will happen,” or even reminding yourself that if at first you don’t succeed, don’t be afraid to try and try again.
Talk to those you feel most comfortable with, whether it’s your partner, your best friend or your family members. Heck, make it a point to talk aloud to yourself, even if it feels a little silly at first. “Rid yourself of the ‘never’ thoughts,” says Bennett, “and instead, use positive self-talk.”
And yes, I know how hard that is!! I would get so mad when someone would say those things to me. But it wasn’t until I started saying them every day that I started to see a shift in my mental state. (And I didn’t even believe them yet!!)
Accept that you and your partner may not be on the exact same page.
This has been my personal experience this time around. And honestly, it’s because we were never on the same page to begin with. I wanted another child, he didn’t. And that’s okay. Maybe it will happen in the future. And if not, then it wasn’t meant to be. That’s just my personal experience. But for you and your partner, here are a few things to keep in mind:
When you talk to your partner, Bennett says, remember that he or she might take the news differently than you did—and that’s totally okay. “Everyone reacts, responds and processes news differently,” she says, “so avoid the desire to be angry, offended or hurt if your partner isn’t as devastated by the news as you are.”
It’s a good idea to talk to each other about your feelings and any anxieties you have about the future, including:
- your hopes
- your fears
- your expectations
- how you can support each other.
You may also find it helpful to:
- have an open and honest chat about how you’re both feeling. Take turns to listen to each other
- try not to be accusing or too negative, instead think about practical things you could both do to make things better
- try to understand things from your partner’s point of view as well as your own.
Talking about how you feel won’t always stop you arguing. But it may make you feel better prepared for the changes ahead (because there are going to be changes, even with a bfn) and reassure you that you are in a strong, healthy and loving relationship.
Pick up your forgotten plans.
What are you going to do now? Knowing you have a plan of action, even if it’s an extremely simple plan of continuing your current treatment or trying to conceive efforts, can help. Your plan may even be to take a month or two off from trying to conceive. Thinking of the future helps you remember this is not the end of the road. Yes, make time to cry, but then follow up by making time to live life again.
Remember that European vacation, that painting class, that huge novel you’ve been wanting to read, but instead were focusing on starting a family? Now’s the time to act on it. “In my experience,” Bennett says, “it’s useful to not put your life on hold. Don’t act like because you’re trying to get pregnant that everything else needs to wait.” But at the same time, don’t pretend that seeing the negative didn’t happen, either. “Have the mentality that getting pregnant will happen when it’s supposed to,” she says. In the meantime, get out there and enjoy life.
Find the right people to confide in.
It’s okay to want to talk about what you’re going through, but you might not want to go around telling everyone and anyone that you’re trying to get pregnant.
“Surround yourself with people who will be supportive of your journey to conceive, which means finding people who won’t ask you every month if you’re pregnant yet,” Bennett says.
Once you’ve found those people, be direct and honest, telling them the way you’d like to be supported and comforted. (For example, if you don’t want any mention of fertility treatments, or you’d rather not feel pressured to attend your cousin’s baby shower, go right out and tell them.)
Some of the best supports that I have found are in online forums. If you are on Facebook, there are tons of great groups on there for support! I even have my own group, which you can find here, where you can get support from the community as well as personally from me!
Dwell on it, but then move on.
The ache in the chest upon getting a negative pregnancy test is usually a reaction to what’s happening at the moment: seeing only one pink line instead of two. Crying after a negative pregnancy test is often less about what’s happening now and more about the story you’ve created regarding what the negative test means.
Everyone creates stories about what happens in our lives, and it’s completely normal. For example, if your partner comes home without the milk you asked him to buy, it shouldn’t be such a big deal. However, the story you may tell yourself — “He forgot because he doesn’t care” or “He never listens when I ask him to do things” — is what gets you increasingly upset.
Separating out the “facts” from the “story” can help you cope better with difficult situations. So, when the pregnancy test is negative, the fact is “the test is negative.” It may or may not even mean the cycle failed (yet)! The stories you may tell yourself include:
- I’ll never get pregnant. This is the biggest and hardest one. One negative test — even 20 negative tests — doesn’t mean you’ll never get pregnant. Of course, the longer you try, the less likely you’ll achieve success without help. But one test isn’t a testament to this.
- Treatment isn’t going to work for me. If your test was negative after your first or even second try at a particular treatment, don’t be so quick to think this is a sign of future failure. Three to four trials of a given treatment are commonly needed before you know if the treatment will work for you or not. Even if this is your fourth trial, this doesn’t mean changing treatment or tweaking certain aspects of the treatment won’t help.
- I am a failure. Getting a negative pregnancy test can quickly bring us back to grade school, feeling like if we fail at a “test,” it means that we are failures. This negative pregnancy test is no indication of your worth as a person. In fact, if you never get pregnant, it still says nothing about your value.
- I’ll never be a mother/father. If, after getting a negative pregnancy test, you find yourself imagining the rest of your life without your dreamed-of child, you’re in good company. Remember that this one negative test doesn’t mean you’ll never be a parent.
Also remember that even if your worst fears come true and you can’t conceive or can’t pursue treatment to conceive, you may have other opportunities to be a parent, including foster care, adoption, or even being a wonderful Auntie or Uncle to your family and friends’ children.
To be clear, I do not intend to brush away the sadness of that idea — of course, it’s very upsetting. But at the same time, it’s essential to keep the big vision in check and to not allow this pregnancy test — or even the fear that you’ll never become a biological parent — hold all the keys to your life happiness. Your life is worth so much more than this.
Conception is a process—and it can take a lot longer than you imagined. But just because it’s common for it to take months and months, doesn’t mean that each one of those months isn’t hard. Give yourself the time and the space to grieve. “Have your pity party, if that’s what you need, but don’t let it last longer than an hour,” says Bennett. “Then focus on everything that you do have, and be proud and appreciative of it.”
See the doctor before it’s a concern.
Maybe you’ve only been trying to conceive a few months. But it doesn’t hurt to make an appointment with your OB after a few failed attempts.
At best, your doctor will give you helpful advice that might speed up the process, and at worst he or she will let you know it may be time to look into third-party treatments (or if it’s time to see a fertility specialist).
Bring your partner along to the appointment (so he or she can also be checked) and remind each other that, no matter what, you’re in this together.
The normal guidelines for needing to see a doctor are if you’ve been trying:
But sometimes those guidelines mean you have waited too long and will end up needing help no matter what.
Letting your doctor know that you are trying to get pregnant is always a great idea BEFORE you start trying. They can do a physical check up and make sure that you are healthy enough to conceive. They can rule out certain underlying problems of infertility and trouble conceiving.
If you are not healthy before a pregnancy, you can imagine how much harder it is going to be to get healthy once you conceive. So don’t be afraid to have a very real and open and honest conversation with your doctor.
Make sure you grab a copy of my FREE guide 5 Steps To Increase Your Fertile Cervical Mucus & my FREE Self-Care Mini Course. You can access either one by clicking on the title. These are packed full of information that you can begin implementing today to put yourself one step closer to getting pregnant, naturally.
If you’re looking for a group of like-minded women with which to share your fertility wellness journey, be sure to check out my Whole Body Fertility & Wellness Facebook group today!
- THANKSGIVING AS FERTILITY HOLIDAY- SYMBOLS, FEASTING, AND GRATITUDE
- Natural Mothering Begins with Birth
- 12 Signs You Need to Take a Break ASAP
- Babywearing: Everything You Need to Know to Wear Your Baby Safely
- 10 NATURAL COLD AND FLU REMEDIES THAT WORK