How to Wait: Learning Patience for the Two Week Wait and Beyond Due Date

photo credit @mohammadgh

photo credit @mohammadgh

We live in a world of instant gratification. Amazon prime sends your deliveries tomorrow, at the touch of a button. Netflix means you never need to wait for next weeks episode.  You can instantly download the latest novel onto your tablet.

Waiting is something we rarely have to do in an age where speed matters.

Yet some things in life take time, however impatient we might feel. 

It’s important to realise that waiting is also an action, even if it doesn’t feel like one.

For women trying to conceive, the ‘2 week wait’ is a huge landmark. It’s the period of time between ovulation  or fertility treatment and taking a pregnancy test. The days preceding the two week wait may be a flurry of temperature charting and sex during the fertile window or a choca diary of tests and scans. Suddenly there’s nothing to do but wait.

By the same token, for women who have gone through months of pregnancy and are waiting for their baby to arrive, it can be a challenging time. There may be fears about going too ‘late’ in pregnancy, or pressure to induce or get things moving.

As a doula, I know the waiting game well. When I am ‘on call’ for a birth, my phone is on 247 from 38 weeks and I am ready to be called whenever needed. I’ve learnt to find a state of active relaxation as the waiting can be exhausting. It can be a month of being on call, so it’s important not to crash.

Here are some tips on waiting it out:

1- Do your best to get present. It’s easy to drift to thoughts of ‘coulda, woulda shoulda’. The past can no longer be changed, so there’s no point in letting the mind reside there. And the future is uncertain. All we have is the present moment. Whilst it’s easier to say than to really be with, the now is all that we have. Pay attention to the breath or to the senses to stay present and connected with your body.

2- Make rest your friend. If you are in the habit of writing lists, then you are using the higher functions of the brain. Whilst this is admirable, it makes it more challenging to be connected with the body. Allow yourself longer stretches of time without a to-do list or an agenda.

3- Get in nature. Watch the life around you. If it’s springtime, look for the flowers bursting through or the little buds. If it’s winter, look for the signs that nature is doing things behind the scenes. 

4- Stay in gratitude. Gratitude is a balanced state that is poised but relaxed. The more you can cultivate gratitude, through journaling or thank you notes or telling your loved ones what you’re grateful for, the more you anchor this state in your body and mind. 

5- Don’t mess with your head. At this time, each and every symptom can feel like a potential pregnancy. The same symptoms can also be a sign that your period is due. Breast tenderness, aching, mood fluctuations etc. Be your own friend by not being hyper-vigilant about everything.

6- Embrace overwhelm. Overwhelm is a common state and many people try to keep busy so that they don’t have to feel out of control. Accept that it’s ok to feel like this and let yourself have a little release with a cry or shout. Elm is my go-to Bach Flower Remedy for overwhelm, and it’s handy to keep in your handbag for when you need it.

7- Channel Einstein. The famous quote about relativity is ““Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. That's relativity.”Do more of what helps you to get lost in time. This might mean a book by your favourite author, or long walks or time with your besties. 

Matt Haig, in ‘Reasons to Stay Alive’ sums up waiting perfectly:

How to stop time: kiss

How to travel in time: read

How to escape time: music

How to feel time: write

How to release time: breathe.