IMO Chats to: Alice Rose, IVF Mum and Instagram Fertility Warrior

I have been sharing my fertility struggles for a while now over on Instagram and am always amazed by the love and support I get from women I’ve never met. I’ve had some wonderful messages of encouragement and sharing of stories, just from a post about what is happening with me. There is something incredibly powerful in this I think. A few months ago, after our failed frozen round I discovered there an actual (actual real life!) #TTC (trying to conceive) community on there, and after much searching and connecting with various people in similar situations, I came across Alice Rose.

I thought for a long while on how I could introduce Alice on here, because she doesn’t have a title as such, but she doesn’t really need one because just know that she is most definitely someone who is making waves on social media (namely Instagram) with her positive attitude covering the emotive topic of fertility problems and baby loss. Alice hosted an intimate event in London recently that I had the pleasure of going along to. Despite the intense summer heat (think a room full of women with humidity hair) Alice gave a brilliant talk about her life and how she found she wasn’t coping very well when she discovered that she couldn’t easily conceive or deal with the subsequent, ever stressful IVF treatment. She shared the tools she has, and is still using to help her cope day by day with these issues. I came away from her talk believing I could make some positive changes in my life. Her blog tag says, ‘I am on a mission to empower people during one of the hardest experiences in the world: a fertility struggle’, I caught up with her to find out a bit more about this mission of hers.

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A Failed Round

Having told a number of people that we were doing IVF back in September, then experiencing a missed miscarriage in November, it’s safe to say we wanted to be more guarded before we undertook anymore treatment. Too many people knew before, too many people knew we’d be getting a result soon after treatment and that put a huge amount of pressure on me without realising. Knowing we had one frozen embryo to go we decided to do this round in secret – well, it’s not really ‘a secret’ but we made the mutual decision not to tell anyone. Not even close family, which was a big deal for me.

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Teaching Fertility To Young Girls

What can you remember from your sex education at school? Do you remember anything specific? Can you remember any details? I have a vague recollection of being in a science lesson and the teacher trying to control a bunch of giggling girls, whilst talking about willies, lady bits and a baby in a tummy but this is about it. What I don’t recall however is really being taught periods, ovulation and fertility. Fast forward to now and I’m in a situation where I’ve had to become far more aware of what happens inside my body each month because my fertility is an issue. And this is something I’m only fully aware of in my (late) thirties. But what if this had been something I’d been aware of, from my teenage years onwards? Okay who knows what situation I’d be in now, but what if young girls were taught about fertility, alongside sex education from a young age, would that be a bad thing?

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The IVF Route

It’s happening. The road I never thought we’d have to go down, we’re on. We’re about to embark on IVF *pulls imaginary train whistle* After a fairly straightforward first pregnancy, naturally I assumed I’d easily conceive again but ever since an early miscarriage things have gone a bit wrong with my monthly cycle, and things just haven’t worked from this point on. Having IVF has obviously been talked about, it’s been in the back of my mind but I guess me and the husband both hoped that we wouldn’t get to that point. It’s been a possibility, something we may have to consider but I didn’t actually think we’d have to do it. Other people have IVF, I know so many that have had it, everyone knows someone whose had it these days, but I honestly thought it wouldn’t be me.

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Dealing with Secondary Infertility

I stumbled upon the term Secondary Infertility during one of my many Google searches last year. The phrase empowered me somewhat, because suddenly what I was experiencing had a name! This was good, it meant I could find a resolution and get to the bottom of things. But, it hasn’t been so. I didn’t think my husband and I would be that couple who’d have problems getting pregnant second time round, that happens to other people right? That wouldn’t happen to us? But here we are, a year and a half down the line and still no baby joy. After having a really early miscarriage in December 2015, I’m now experiencing what is known as ‘Secondary infertility’ (SI). Doctors describe it as, ‘the inability to conceive or carry to term a second or subsequent child’ and SI now accounts for six out of 10 infertility cases. The reasons could be a number of factors, but experts say it might be because women are having babies later in life, they’re stressed and tired already with their first child or from work, there might be a hormonal imbalance after their first pregnancy or there might be an underlying medical cause. In my case, there is no set explanation, there’s nothing physically wrong, things quite simply just aren’t happening.

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