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.
We’re not talking about venting. We’re 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.”
Accept that you and your partner may not be on the exact same page.
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.”
Pick up your forgotten plans.
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.
Dwell on it, but then move on.
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.
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