How to deal with a Big Fat Negative
By Juliana Kassianos, Transformational Fertility Coach, Yoga Teacher and Founder of The School of Fertility
You’ve survived the two-week wait and have officially missed your period (Aunt Flo/AF). Desperate to know whether you’re pregnant or not, you anxiously take a pregnancy test, but it comes back as a Big Fat Negative (BFN). After the initial disappointment sinks in, you start to question the validity of the result. After all, your period still hasn’t come yet, so that’s a good sign. Plus, you swear you’re experiencing pregnancy symptoms as you've got tender, swollen breasts and have been suffering from nausea and headaches for the last few days. All signs that a little one is on its way… then again it could just be pre-menstrual symptoms. Why do they have to be so similar!
You start to worry you might just be imagining your symptoms and do a good old Google search to see if anyone else has experienced the same thing. Confirmation comes in the form of three letters splashed across the message boards, IPS standing for Imagined Pregnancy Symptoms. The fact it has it's own acronym says it all. Scrolling a little further through the posts, you come across one on pseudocyesis, a condition where you believe you’re pregnant, when really you’re not. You start to freak out at the thought that you might have positively visualised yourself into a phantom pregnancy as you desperately want a baby, more than anything in the whole entire world.
Taking a moment to collect your thoughts, you decide to list out all the possible outcomes.
Period’s just late (...hurry up and come so we can start trying again)
Got pseudocyesis (...hubby's going to think I'm going mad)
hCG levels are too low to be detected yet (...many other women experience this, so it’s a totally plausible explanation)
Home pregnancy test is faulty (...please let it be this)
There’s a complication, like an ectopic pregnancy (...minor panic attack at the thought of losing a fallopian tube)
Coming back to your senses, you remind yourself it's only a few days late and that you should test again in a day or two. Later that afternoon you start to bleed. It takes a few minutes to digest the fact it hasn’t worked this month. That you won’t have the due date of so and so month you were hoping for. It’s a real blow as you really thought this was going to be the month the magic happened. You message your partner, knowing how gutted he’ll be and head for the bottle of wine sitting in the fridge.
Sound in any way familiar? Getting a negative pregnancy result and/or your period can be really upsetting, especially if you’ve been trying for a while, have endured medical treatment or experienced a loss. Instead of having the bottle of wine ceremony, here are some healthy alternatives that can help soften the blow.
10 MINUTE MELT DOWN
Give yourself permission to let yourself feel any anger, frustration and disappointment bubbling up inside of you. Set an alarm for 10 minutes then let it all out. Once the alarm goes off, take a deep breath in through your nose for four counts, hold for seven counts and exhale through your mouth for eight counts. Repeat this 4-7-8 breathing exercise a few times, as it will help to turn off the stress response in your body, calming your system down. Then shake your body about for a few seconds letting it all go, count down five, four, three, two, one and launch yourself back into your day.
PEN TO PAPER
Write down all your thoughts, feelings and emotions in a diary. Get them out of your head and on to paper. By becoming more aware of them, you'll be more able to process and manage them.
RELEASE YOUR EMOTIONS
Emotions can be thought of as energy in motion. They want to be felt and acknowledged so they can move through you. If you suppress your emotions you create a physiological blockage. It’s this blockage that you need to remove to let emotions flow and let your physiology flow. Dance your emotions out by going to a Zumba class or take a long walk outside in the fresh air.
CHECK IN WITH YOUR PARTNER
Check in with your partner and talk through how you’re both feeling. It's important neither of you suppress you emotions as this can have an impact on not only your wellbeing, but relationship too. Plan a few date nights that month to look forward to and book a romantic weekend break around your next fertile window.
Remind yourself that all the hard work you’ve put into keeping yourself healthy hasn’t gone to waste as it takes around three months for your eggs to mature, so you're in a great position for trying again this month. Now your period's come, at least you know where you stand – not knowing is sometimes a lot worse.
Do things that make you feel good, like start a new hobby, learn something new or take on a new project. These not only offer great distractions, but can help you feel like you’re growing as a person and progressing with your life, not just stuck in limbo waiting to get pregnant.
HOT BUBBLE BATH
If you’re period's arrived, have a hot bubble bath, light some scented candles and put on your favourite tunes in the background. This isn’t advisable if there’s a chance you may be pregnant though – all the more reason to indulge in it if you’re not!
Treat yourself to a new piece of clothing or jewellery. Something small just to pick you up and make you feel temporarily a little bit better.
Book a spa treatment or have a home pampering session – do your nails, put on a face mask and watch a girly movie.
TALK TO OTHERS
Share how you feel with someone you trust, this could be a family member or a close friend. Some find it helpful to talk to others on online fertility chat rooms as it makes them feel not so alone, however, others find this makes them more stressed. Find what works for you.
PRACTICE MEDIATION AND YOGA
Join Headspace App for short guided mediations you can practice daily that can help calm your mind and book a few relaxing yoga classes to help release any tension in your body.
SAY POSITIVE AFFIRMATIONS
Our thoughts have a direct connection to our wellbeing. Get into the habit of saying positive affirmations, which are simple statements that define you as you want to be. For example: “I am a strong fertile woman”, “I am loved and supported by those around me” or “I am grateful for all that I have in life”.
Avoid any triggers that could upset you. For example, come off Facebook if there are too many pregnancy announcements or bump updates and decline invitations to baby showers if you don’t feel up to it.
Create a plan for this coming month so you feel like you’re being proactive. For example, you may choose to use ovulation tests, have acupuncture or see me.