My anxiety is always heightened during my Two Week Wait (TWW) and it doesn’t help that my TWW sometimes becomes a Four Week Wait due to my PCOS. I find myself wasting a lot of mental energy on trying to figure out whether or not I am pregnant. I mentally log my current symptoms: light cramping, breast tenderness, chin acne, fatigue, etc. Then I google early signs of pregnancy and somehow try to mold my symptoms into a definite pregnant or not pregnant result. Sound familiar?
Why do I do this to myself? Month after month, I rack my brain and my nerves trying to figure out and understand something that I know I can’t possibly know for sure until I have waited those full two weeks (or more). The more I try to figure out and understand, the more anxious I become, until I am so tightly wound, I become short with people, I have back pain, neck pain, and headaches. One moment I’m convinced I’m pregnant, but in the very next moment I try to convince myself I am not pregnant so I can spare myself the pain of disappointment. The constant flip flopping and up and down roller coaster of emotion leaves me exhausted and irritated, which is not something you want to pile on top of the already present PMS irritation, anger, and fatigue (or possible mood swing due to a surge of hormones needed to support an embryo).
So how can I turn this Two Week Wait into a Trust While Waiting? I know my problem lies in my inability to keep a tight rein on my thoughts: I allow my mind to play out all the scenarios of every symptom, I release my mind to wander as it wills through dangerous fantasies, and I try to dissect and understand every little pain and ache. I have tried to distract myself by keeping busy. My thought was that if I packed my days full of activities and work, I wouldn’t have time to think about it. I have found it is not good enough for me to simply “keep busy”. Keeping busy doesn’t keep me from letting my mind and thoughts wander and with the added activity I realized I was more anxious and exhausted than ever. I needed something that would refocus my thoughts where they needed to be.
After many months of trying new things, falling back into old habits, and one very large emotional breakdown, I realized that what I needed was rest. Not necessarily sleep, but rest from my toxic thoughts. I needed to learn how to turn my mind off and just be present in the now. Whether I wanted to admit it or not, my inability to remain in the present reflected my inability to trust God.
It was so hard for me to just be, because there was so much to worry about. There was so much to do and so many things to figure out. But when I actually sat down and reflected on this, I realized that I wasn’t trusting God with my future. I felt like I had to figure everything out for myself. I was so uncomfortable being in a state of the unknown because I didn’t trust that God already had it figured out for me.
With this new realization, I have started some practices to help me remain in the present and relax my body during my TWW. When I start to get anxious, catch myself analyzing my symptoms, or I drift off into baby La La land, I stop everything I am doing and do one of the following:
- Pray – This is my first go to. I pray for focus, the ability to trust God, and that God would help me with my doubts and unbelief. Sometimes I have a hard time focusing my thoughts even enough to pray, so I have to do something lower on the list to empty my brain and come back to prayer.
- Yoga – Focusing on the breath and flow of yoga helps me empty my head of worries and it allows me to be fully present in the moment. Here is a great PMS yoga practice to help with aching back and legs.
- Hot Bath with Lavender Essential Oil and Netflix – The hot bath and lavender helps sooth my tense muscles and I love to get lost for a short while in a story. I set my laptop up on the top of the toilet, put on a lighthearted show, light some candles, and relax.
- Hot herbal tea and a good book – When I get anxious and stressed I clench my teeth. My jaw muscles get really tight and that’s when the headaches start. Hot tea helps relax my jaw muscles and the good book helps me take the focus off of my symptoms and worries.
- A Hike – When I hike I get lost in the sights and sounds of nature. I allow myself to take as much time as I want exploring different areas without a calorie burn or mileage goal in mind – Hiking for the sake of enjoying the beautiful world God created.
- Making/Reading Encouragement Cards – I have found a lot of comfort in these little cards. When I read an encouraging verse or two from the bible, I write it down on an index card accompanied with an application to my life. I carry the cards with me and spend time reading through my cards and memorizing the scripture. This one is especially helpful if I am in need of a more discrete option. It also helps me to focus on something worth focusing on: the truth of God’s word.
- Art– I allow my mind to create instead of analyze. Sometimes I will blast some good tunes while I create and allow myself to lose track of time.
These practices are specific to me and what I have found keep me in the present. I encourage anyone struggling with anxiety or a wandering mind to discover the activities that work best for them. I know it’s not always possible to do these things because of work and other activities, but I try to set aside a little bit of “me” time each day during my TWW. I know ahead of time that these weeks are hard on me, so I plan accordingly and allow myself some grace and mercy. I wish you a joyful Trusting While Waiting!