Schrödinger’s Pregnancy, or the Waiting Game

March 12, 2014 Life 8

In the last seven months, I’ve discovered something that millions of other women already know about.

The two week wait between ovulation and your period’s due date absolutely suck when you’re trying to get pregnant.

ovulation tests

March’s ovulation test strips, saved for ovarian posterity.

Technically, this part of your monthly cycle is called the luteal phase. Hormones start telling your uterus to thicken its lining in preparation for incoming blastocyst, and the phase lasts around 14 days if you have a regular 28 day cycle. If your cycle is irregular, like mine, it can last anywhere between 10 and 16 days. It ends either in pregnancy or Aunt Flo coming to visit.

A handy-dandy diagram of the average menstrual cycle. (source:

A handy-dandy diagram of the average menstrual cycle because I never learned a lot of detail about it when I was in school. Thanks, Texas education system. (source:

If you’re trying to get pregnant, the luteal phase is pretty much the most stressful two weeks ever, repeated each month until you actually get knocked up. I’ve taken to calling it Schrödinger’s pregnancy because I’m either pregnant or not pregnant, but until otherwise observed, it kinda feels like I’m both.

All the fun of not drinking booze, cutting back on caffeine, and not being able to take allergy pills as if I were actually pregnant but with a decently large chance that I’m not. Whee.

It’s a natural part of life for women who want to get pregnant. Billions of women have gone through this before me, and I’m sure billions will afterward.

But god, it’s tough.

I’m a natural worrier, and I’m also really attuned to what my body is doing, so every cramp and twinge and general odd feeling in my lady parts makes me think about it and how I can’t know for, like, another week and a half. It’s been a constant battle between my instinctual anxiety and the rational part of my brain that tells me to stop dwelling on it and go do the laundry or something.

I mostly deal with it by distracting myself. I do other things. I’ve taken up yoga and meditation again because those are always good for helping me get my thoughts in order. And… I start peeing on test strips at about 11 days past ovulation. That’s probably not the best way to go about not thinking constantly about whether I’m pregnant or not, but hey. It’s my pee and my test strips, and I do what I want with both.

So how did you deal with Schrödinger’s pregnancy when you were trying for a baby? What strategies worked and didn’t work for you? And if you’re going through it now, please feel free to commiserate with me in the comments. None of my friends are in babymaking mode, and I’m sure they’re sick of my whining. ;)