How to Handle a Negative Pregnancy Test

I've had my fair share of negative pregnancy tests and let me just go ahead and, it doesn't get any easier. There are so many emotions tangled up with pregnancy tests and sometimes it can be really hard to process those emotions.
Alex and I have been trying to conceive a child since the beginning of 2017 and as 2017 continued on, the pressure of that one question test really started to weigh on me and I was getting more and more upset with every passing negative test. April and November of 2017 brought some of the greatest heartbreak as we received strong negatives.
In January of 2018, we began to seek infertility options and were introduced to IUIs and IVF. We did five rounds of IUIs in 2018 and those five pregnancy tests turned out to be some of the worst days of my life. They were injecting Alex's sperm straight into my uterus and my follicles were measuring beautifully. We really didn't think there needed to be doubt when something seemed so effective.
The two week wait was the worst and it was filled with so much emotion! I had to maintain my expectations. I couldn't let myself get too high, but I refused to doubt it for a second. I would automatically start planning out special ways to tell Alex that our time had come, but I wouldn't dare buy or make anything until it was true.
The day of the test, I wouldn't let Alex be there when I took the test. I wanted to surprise him , for sure, but I also didn't want him to experience the pain associated with that pivotal morning. I did it first thing in the morning (usually after he was already at work) and made sure that I had nothing else to do that day. I would pray and listen to worship music as I got ready to take the test. Of course, I made sure I knew how to take this specific test and how to tell if it was positive before I ever took it. I'd take the test and leave it on the counter for 3-5 minutes while I walked away to pray. Usually this was filled with a lot of worry and angst. And in that time, it never failed. I would get this overwhelming feeling of knowing that it wouldn't be positive. The timer would go off and I would begrudgingly walk to the bathroom.
And there it was.
A single-lined test that defined our future. My heart would break, I'd fall to my knees, and I would cry...most times. Sometimes, anger would strike first and I'd throw the test across the room and just leave. Or sometimes, I would just get in the car and drive. This, I don't suggest because this drive took me to a hair salon where I cut off like 7-8 inches of my hair because all I really yearned for was some type of control. For our last IUI, we were in Disney when we got the negative test and I was so thankful we had somewhere happy to spend the day.
So, what do you do?
When that little single pink line rears its ugly head, what do you do?
Like I've said, I've had my fair share of negative tests and over that time, I've realized there are some things you can do to make those days just a little bit easier. Whether you're new to this whole thing or you've been going through it for years, those negatives do not get any easier and I don't think they ever will.
But that's where the importance of community comes in. I've become super passionate about helping others go through this process and if I am able to help make that day a little bit better for you, then that's all that matters to me. I hope you find peace in the unknown and in the hurt. I get it, these days are really tough and no one, literally no one else, gets what you're going through unless they've gone through it themselves. But there is peace to be found in the hard days, that much I know for sure.
I did a lot of things on test days, but only a handful of those things really brought me comfort and peace with what I was going through. I've narrowed those things down to five pivotal things that I think could be really helpful for you. And remember, yeah, test days are hard. But there are a string of other days that are just as hard, if not more so, along the way. Try to use these tips as a guideline for all of the challenging days that may come, but for test days in particular.
1.) Feel All of the Feelings!
This is probably the most important point that I can make, ever. Don't downplay your emotions or tell yourself to get it together. What are those initial feelings you have? It is 10000% okay to lean in to all of those emotions and, more importantly, let them out. If you want to scream, scream as loud as you freaking can. If you want to cry, sit with some tissues and bawl your eyes out until there is nothing left. If you want to sit in silence, put yourself in a space where you're comfortable and just sit. If you want to throw things, find something soft like a pillow and throw that thing all over. If you want to talk it through, call your spouse and tell them you just need to talk.
It is so important to let these emotions out now. This will help you to feel *somewhat* better and it will help you to heal. Bottling up strong emotions like that will not do anyone any favors. BUT MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL: DO NOT TAKE IT OUT ON YOUR SPOUSE. If you feel comfortable around your spouse, then lean into them and let the healing process begin together. But if you want to be alone, tell them that! Be honest and explain that you need some time to process things on your own. That is okay and can prevent arguments from sparking because the last thing you want to do on that day is fight.
2.) Find Your Outlet and Release.
Find an outlet that helps you to work through this process. For me, my outlet was prayer and writing. I documented everything during our journey, either through writing or videos, so that I could remember our journey. For others, this may look different. Painting, running, working, cleaning, drawing, building, etc. There are so many things you can do to have that outlet. After you have released your initial feelings (point one), it's important to find a way to work through the other emotions you still have. Be constructive and creative. Use these emotions and put them into something that will only help you to feel better. Your outlet should be something you really enjoy, a safe haven. Find that thing, whatever it looks like for you and really press into it on the hardest of days. Some of your most beautiful work or running will come from the hardest of days.
Try to spend some time outside. Walking, kayaking, reading, running, or just sitting. Whatever it is that you like to do best. Just try to find some time to leave your home and experience a new space. The fresh air will help you to breathe better and just continue to process everything.
4.) Spend Time with Your Spouse.
I know, this one seems simple yet, it was the hardest thing for me to do. Sometimes I found myself not wanting to do anything or be around anybody. I just wanted to sit in my mood and not move. But here's what I had to realize- he's hurting too. He may not have been there for the initial test (my own preference) but he was hurting too and out of anybody that I could talk to, he knew what I was feeling.
We would talk and figure out what to do that night when Alex got off of work. Some nights we would stay in and just hang out and talk it through. Other nights, we went out for dinner and a walk. No matter what, we made each other a priority and chose to lean in to one another so that we could heal together. It was helpful to remember that our marriage was the foundation of our family and that above all else, we needed to work. So, even on the hardest of days, we would wrap each other in an embrace and just be.
This is also a day, at least for us, to evaluate what our next step was. Are we going to do another IUI? Are we going to continue to try this method? Are we going to take a break etc.? It was so nice to be able to talk through the events of the day but also have a sense of moving on and knowing that this day was not the end.
5.) Do What YOU Need to Do!
I did my best to take a test when I didn't have school or anything else to do that day. The last thing I wanted to do was regrettably take my anger, frustration, and hurt out on other people who didn't know what was going on. So, if that's you too, don't be afraid to ask for the day off or to at least ask off for the morning. This is a challenging day and you don't need to feel pressured by others to do something or be a certain way.
You know what you need to do to heal. And maybe for you, that is going to the hair salon and getting a mega hair style change. I joke about it, but that felt good for me that day. It reminded me that I do have control in some areas of my life. You know what you need to do to help the healing process and to make you feel better. The only thing I will absolutely advise against is detrimental behaviors like excessive drinking or smoking. That's a temporary healing that will only leave you feeling worse.
And if at any point in the day, you want to go back to point one and let all of those emotions out again, DO IT! That is okay! These emotions can come in waves and it's just so much better to get them out when they come than you hide them.
I don't know your story. I have no idea what you've gone through or what you're being faced with. And I definitely will not claim that I know all of the ins and outs of healing through infertility because I'm still learning right along side of you. These are a few things I have found that have helped me on some of the hardest days of my life and my goal through this is strictly to try to help you through some of yours.
I know it's tough. I know these days SUCK! I know that you don't want to be going through them at all. SAME! But let me just say, you're a freaking ROCKSTAR! You've got this and I believe in you. I am so confident when I say that your story is not over yet. You are not defined by the outcome of any of these tests! You are a fighter. Look at all of the things that you ARE in real life. What do you do for your job? What do you do on the side? What are some of the things that came to your mind as you were reading the points above? THOSE are the amazing things that YOU can do. Those are the amazing things that help you to live every day to its fullest. Those are the things that will help you to feel your best as you go through this.
Focus on the things that you love to do and focus on your spouse and your marriage! Your positive test is coming. But in the meantime, press into every positive thing that you can! God's not done writing your story, He will bring you through all of the pain and the hurt and He will give you the biggest redemption story of all!
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