The TWW is a two-week is the window of time after a woman has ovulated and before her period. These 14+ days are loaded with anxiety, excitement, hope and frustration for all women trying to conceive.
It’s can feel like the longest two weeks ever and for me personally I believe it can be an extremely lonely time.
The average women will ovulate mid-way through her cycle which is roughly 14 days after the start of her last period. From the point of ovulation, the woman enters her luteal phase of her cycle which means that if a released egg is fertilised with a sperm, it will travel down the fallopian tube towards the uterus where it then is able to embed within the thick uterine lining and begin to grow. The egg may take 5+ days to travel through the fallopian tube and embed within the uterus, from this point onwards some women begin to experience early signs of pregnancy. Meaning that towards the end of the two weeks wait you might already be suspicious of the fact that you are pregnant.
The most obvious sign of pregnancy is a late period but if you are trying to conceive that TWW can feel tortuous and you spend every moment analysing every ache and cramp or feeling of fatigue and nausea as an early sign that you have conceived.
The reason I have always found the TWW utterly soul destroying and very lonesome is because each and every month I truly felt that ‘this was the month’ as I was convinced almost each time, I felt a sign that was undeniably a pregnancy symptom. Only to have my hopes dashed when my period came and the heartbreak as I went to the toilet to discover I was wrong and that I was back to square one. I felt like my body had tricked me and how could I have been so naive as to believe yet again that that cramp was anything other than mother nature scheduling my period just like it had every month previously.
I used to excitedly share my predications with my husband and watch his face light up as he imagined the thought of our unborn baby and we both eagerly pulled out our calendars and counted forward to the due date. To then tell him a few days later it wasn’t our month, just added to the pain. After a few months I used to keep it to myself when I felt signs of what I thought might mean I was pregnant. The conversations I had with myself analysing back and forth the symptoms and endlessly Googling them. One thing I learnt very quickly was that unfortunately most things can be considered pregnancy symptoms which never gave me any clarity.
Having spent many hours on the internet I have learnt that the simple reason I spend so much time experiencing pregnancy symptoms but not actually being pregnant is that the same hormone that is responsible for those early pregnancy signs is the same hormone responsible for symptoms of PMS.
I have been pregnant a few times and looking back on those TWWs, I can honestly say there were no symptoms that differentiated them from any other TWW. Except of course for the late period and the subsequent positive pregnancy test.
My advice to anyone living the monthly torment of the TWW is to try and distract yourself as much as possible because in my experience it is the months that you don’t allow it to consume you, end up being the months I fell pregnant.
There are many ways to track your cycle each month to better improve your chances of conception and if you have been trying to conceive for 1 – 2 years without success you can seek help and support from your GP.
Current statistics show that 84 out of 100 couples having regular sex do fall pregnant within a year.
But women become less fertile as they get older. One study found that among couples having regular unprotected sex:
• aged 19 to 26 – 92% will conceive after 1 year and 98% after 2 years
• aged 35 to 39 – 82% will conceive after 1 year and 90% after 2 years
The effect of age on men’s fertility is less clear.
By Ellie Dearden
Hypnobirthing Instructor at Born to Birth Company