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 completely 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.
In the last three years, I’ve found myself seeing and wishing on all the signs possible. Be it a clear blue sky, a shooting star (yep, I’ve seen one in this time), a lone floating dandelion seed, a perfect shaped cloud, I’ve seen and I’ve wished on them all, and yet, I still find myself stuck in an eternal groundhog cycle. The same pattern of roller-coaster emotions every month. I get my period, I despair, then I have hope during the fertile window, then there’s the horrendous two week wait, then I get pains, signals, signs, I wish, I am pessimistic but I hope and then, as always, my period comes. This on repeat for the last three years.
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.
When my husband and I decided to try the IVF route, we always knew that we would need to fund it ourselves. Having had one natural daughter already, despite struggling with Secondary Infertility we were not (are not) eligible for any treatment on the NHS. We are lucky in that, we have been able to pay for ourselves to date, but having only had one fresh round and two other versions of IVF, our bill already nudges near £16,000 which is eye wateringly expensive. Anyone I know who has undergone IVF has either paid for it themselves or received it for free, but what about, and this is something I’d not really considered before, those who simply live in the wrong area, or who are denied treatment? What are they supposed to do?
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?