Every now and then there are Social Media campaigns run in the world that is Instagram, that I like to join in with. I don’t tend to get involved or have the time for these things (too busy pretending to be busy) but two that were run before Christmas, miscarriage awareness week and fertility week, I felt I had something to contribute towards. The idea of campaigns like these is that you share a post talking about the fertility problems you are going through or have experienced and you use the relevant hashtag so people can look through all the linked posts. The overall outcome being that hopefully in sharing, it will join people together and make others feel less alone. After taking part I had a look through all the posts and read many honest and open stories. Stories from women who are desperate for a child, who have various problems that prevent them from having one naturally and whose only option is assisted help. After reading I had a bit of a lightbulb moment (well for me it’s more like someone slowly turning a switch on and off, repeatedly, for a long time) I realised that in hindsight we bowled headlong into IVF when we didn’t need to. There is nothing wrong with my husband or I per se – well, nothing that has flagged up on any kind of test. We easily conceived our first child we just frustratingly can’t conceive a second, we have unexplained secondary infertility. My point being that I realised we didn’t have to have IVF – we chose to have it. Now that I know what a stress and strain IVF is, I think (we both think) we should have waited before going down that route. There were perhaps other avenues we could have explored before IVF. Hindsight eh. Off the back of this lightbulb ping I was pondering about what I wish I could rewind the clock for and go back and tell myself. Here are six things that I wish had been on my radar four years ago.
Despite what I may think at times, I do have to remind myself that I have been and am incredibly lucky. Obviously I have Olivia and that is something that I am thankful for (even when she’s doing crazy windmill arms at me) I’m also lucky because when I had her I was able to give up work to look after her solely. This was something that was really important to me and that I will always be eternally grateful for. I’ve been at home and despite the odd dabble with work here and there I’ve just been a mum and that’s been wonderful. But, for a long time now and I mean a loooong time, my husband has been suggesting that I should go back to work. He’s not been saying that I must or that financially I need to (although he always adds ‘it would be nice’) he just tells me it would be good for me. Good for my brain – which bar tapping away on here or playing Sylvanian Families with Olivia hardly gets used these days, and it would be good for my mental health.
Infertility has frustratingly defined how I have felt over the last three years. It’s something you can’t really control and that’s quite hard to accept. You can eat well, exercise, take supplements or medication if you have something specifically wrong with you but you can’t physically control whether or not you get pregnant, it’s down to science, it’s out of your hands and at times I’ve felt incredibly helpless about it all. Couple this with IVF stress and a miscarriage and it’s all been a bit much, but recently there has been a shift, something has happened and I feel like I’ve turned a bit of a corner. I feel like some of the old me has returned. I feel like I’ve taken back some control and it’s like a small weight has been lifted.
I wrote a post at the beginning of the year about wanting to make changes within our family to benefit the environment and most important of all, to try and reduce the insane thing that is plastic waste. Whilst it isn’t something way at the top of my everyday life, because, well, life, I really think about every plastic item I throw in the bin now because I know it’s heading straight to landfill. When I throw something away, I wonder whether I actually needed it at all or whether I could find a more earth-friendly replacement for it. I’ve been feeling like I could and should do more and started following two great Instagram accounts recently, @ohhelloface and @small_sustainable_steps. Both use their accounts to cover the topic of ethical living and their regular updates and examples of things they are doing or trying are really useful. They’ve given me some great ideas and quite frankly, motivation. Thinking about what else I could do, got me thinking about the positive things I am doing already. Small changes that I should be happy with. Here is what I have done so far.
I had the opportunity recently to share my fertility story over on a site called My F Word. The host, Selina has been through several years of fertility problems, and has a section where others can share their tales on her site. There’s a real mix of lives in there, I urge you to go and have a read if you are experiencing similar issues. For me personally, for a while now I’ve been wanting to get the last few years written down, for my own benefit but also for any other women out there experiencing secondary infertility, to hopefully see that you are not alone. Here is my post.