Bounce Back from the Big Fat Negative (BFN)


Develop each move as some moves are in your control.

Some of us know all too well what a Big Fat Negative is…others are wondering what I’m talking about. A BFN is a negative pregnancy test, which cannot be confused with a BFP, a Big Fat Positive test.

Many times when working with clients I like to come up with a “Top 10” list for their challenge. Recently, an infertility client said to me, “Please develop a Top 10 list for recovering from BFNs…I’m crippled each month it happens.”

There’s no doubt about it, struggling with infertility is a rollercoaster ride. The beginning of a cycle is so focused on doctor appointments, medications, blood draws and ultrasounds. Then your IUI or egg retrieval and embryo transfer happens and you have to wait two weeks for “The Answer.” Even if you are trying naturally, all the monitoring gets old very quick.

What I remember about BFNs is that some months I was able to take it in stride and plan for the next cycle. While other months left me anxious and weepy into the next cycle. Not a good thing when wanting to be open and radiate positivity in support of your mind and body to do its best work.

So what can you do to honor your disappointment and sadness, yet pave the way for positivity in the next month? Reference this list, or develop your own, to keep yourself focused and on target:

  1. Grieve…but with a Time Limit – It’s awful. Your hopes were dashed yet another month. Take the time to experience your feelings; however, limit the amount of time. I can remember giving myself one hour for a full-fledged emotional breakdown. Set a timer for 60-minutes, cry, rip a magazine to shreds, and verbally or in writing vent your frustration. When the timer buzzes, exhale a cleansing sigh, clean up the mess, freshen up and go on with your day.
  2. Talk about your feelings with someone you trust – This conversation is certainly not for the nosey neighbor that keeps asking you, “When are the two of you going to start a family?” No this conversation needs to happen with someone who is in your “Circle of Trust” to quote Robert De Niro from Meet the Parents. Find that person in your life that’s very good at listening, not your partner or spouse, who can support you in releasing all the pent-up sadness and anger.
  3. Decide if a Break is in Order, Even if it’s Just for a Month – Many times in life, creating some space helps you to look at a situation with clear eyes. While it may seem like you’re losing out on a month of trying…you actually might be gaining the focus necessary to continue and rejuvenate your mind, body and spirit.
  4. Create an Evaluation Timeline – My husband and I created an “evaluation date” for our infertility treatments. After our second miscarriage, we decided to give ourselves six months. If we weren’t pregnant at the end of six months, then we would reevaluate what to do, i.e., Continue with infertility treatments? Look into adoption? Take a break? Decide to stay a family of two? Giving a span of time where no decision has to be made is freeing. We didn’t have to talk about what we were “going to do”…because that conversation wasn’t going to happen until the evaluation day arrived.
  5. Plan for the Next Month – I know that sounds pretty simple, but planning for the future took the focus off the present. Allowing yourself to be hopeful is sometimes the best medicine.
  6. Acupuncture – Make two wishes upon one star. Acupuncture is a great way to increase fertility and manage your stress. You will feel more centered and able to handle the stress that comes your way, fertility related or not. So what are you waiting for…go get poked!
  7. Consider a Short Trip Together – This is something that my husband and I never did, but in hindsight would have been a great idea. Especially consider this option if you decide to take some time off of treatments. Soak in the solitude together not thinking of your next step…simply be present with one another. Can’t afford a trip; then plan a great staycation where computers, cell phones and the television are a no.
  8. Girlfriend Night – There’s something magical about being with a BFF. Take the time to relax, be yourself and reminisce about fun past times while making some new ones.
  9. Delve Into a New Interest, or Resurrect an Old One – Photography has always been a love of mine, especially night photography. I can remember setting up my tripod in downtown Minneapolis and shooting over the Hennepin pedestrian bridge. Seeing those red, car light trails…nothing like it. Husband had my photographs matted and framed a few years ago. Create a fond memory and a healthy distraction.
  10. Challenge Yourself – I could make this easy and give you a tenth idea. Instead, I challenge you to supply #10. What can you think of to focus your emotional, mental and spiritual energy after a BFN? Help others by posting your #10 on this blog entry as a comment.

If your next month includes a Big Fat Negative, run through the above Top 10 and fill your time being Breezy, Fearless, and Nurturing.

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