Negative pregnancy tests can become harder to take (literally) the longer you’re trying
If you’ve ever tried to get pregnant, you’re surely familiar with the disappointment surrounding negative pregnancy tests.
The longer you try, it can seem like each successive test is more difficult to take. If you have started or are in the middle of fertility treatments, negative pregnancy tests can be especially frustrating.
How can you cope with the mountain of emotions associated with repeated negative pregnancy tests?
Hoping you’re still pregnant
A common feeling after a negative pregnancy test is that you could still somehow be pregnant. When your period comes, that should be the final indicator. But somehow you talk yourself into the fact that maybe it’s a fluke. It’s not logical.
It can be true that negative pregnancy tests don’t tell the whole story. Be sure you are taking a pregnancy test at the right time to ensure accuracy. You could be pregnant after a negative test in some cases.
Your period is late. If you have period, it’s just not likely that you’re pregnant. But if you still didn’t get your period, there is a chance you may be pregnant. If a week passes and your period doesn’t come, take another test. If your test is still negative, you may want to contact your physician.
You took the test too early. The day of your expected period can be too early for some tests. Be patient. Every pregnancy builds up hCG levels differently. Some women may not show a positive test result until they are a week late.
Your cycle is irregular. If your cycles are irregular, you’re more likely to not know when your period is late.
What a negative test does and doesn’t mean
First off: crying after a negative pregnancy test is totally normal. It’s often less about what’s happening biologically and more about what you’re feeling and telling yourself mentally.
Try not to go down a mental rabbit hole of analyzing “why” your tests are negative. It’s just biology. You’re not the first to suffer through negative pregnancy tests, and you won’t be the last.
Simply put, when your pregnancy test is negative, it’s just negative. It may or may not even mean the cycle failed yet.
It’s easy to let yourself think some of the following emotions.
I’ll never get pregnant. Please don’t be this difficult on yourself. Fifteen negative tests don’t mean you’ll never get pregnant. Of course, the longer you try unsuccessfully, the less likely you’ll achieve success without help. But one or even a handful of tests isn’t everything.
Treatment isn’t going to work. Often, four to five trials of a given treatment are needed before you know if that treatment will work for you. Even if this is your fourth time, it doesn’t mean changing treatment slightly won’t help.
I am a failure. This is emotional torture device – please don’t fall into this trap. We are more than our reproductive abilities. A negative pregnancy test is no indication of your worth as a human being. If you never get pregnant, it says absolutely nothing about your value as a person.
I’ll never be a mother or father. You’re in good company with this emotion. Remember that this negative test doesn’t mean you’ll never be able to get pregnant. It’s tough, but it will happen.
Even if you can’t conceive or can’t pursue additional treatments, you may have other opportunities to be a parent. Consider foster care, adoption, or taking a leadership role in your family or friends’ children.
Not being able to conceive can be extremely distressing. But it’s also essential to keep the big picture in mind. Don’t allow a negative pregnancy test hold all the keys to your life happiness.
What to do after a negative pregnancy test
What can you do to cope after a negative pregnancy test?
Allow yourself to be sad. Internalizing pain just makes it worse. Cry if you need to. Talk about your feelings. Spend time with a close friend or counselor.
Separate out the facts from the story. You’re telling yourself things about a negative test. You’re trying to create a narrative to explain it. It’s human nature. But try not to allow yourself to write your own story of failure. The fact is, negative pregnancy tests are biological and no reflection of anything other than the biology not working this time around.
Develop a plan of action. What are you going to do when this cycle ends? Even an extremely simple plan of continuing treatment or shifting a schedule slightly can help. Take a month or two off if it’s too much mental stress.
Mix it up. Do something fun. Don’t let trying to get pregnant dominate your life. Yes, make time to process your emotions, but also make sure you’re making time to live.