Cut Yourself Some Slack

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If you are going through the grueling process of trying to get pregnant and it just isn’t going to plan don’t beat yourself up about it. It isn’t your fault. You are not to blame. Be gentle with yourself, you’re doing the best you can.

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The Definition of Love

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Recently a mother who has undergone IVF posted a picture of her beautiful baby girl lying asleep in the middle of hundred of syringes. Why? To illustrate the physical and emotional turmoil experienced by people who go through IVF. The child’s mother finally succeeded in becoming pregnant after more than a year-and-a-half of cycles.

It was shared more than 3,000 times as parents around the globe have opened up about their stories of trying to conceive a baby biologically related to them.

The baby’s mother told couples trying to conceive to “hang in there”.

“The needles were the easy part. It was the emotional struggle, the ups and downs, that really took a toll, I waited a long time for a husband to come. And then by that time it was difficult to get pregnant.”

What a poignant image of a gorgeous miracle baby.

McPregnant

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Another week and another celebrity couple to reveal that they have undergone IVF. McBusted star Harry Judd and his wife Izzy have publicised that the baby they are expecting in January is the result of IVF. Talking of their struggle to conceive and the heartache of a miscarriage from their first attempt at IVF last year they explained…

“You feel like you are never going to be the ones who get to say, ‘We are having a baby’. That is why we feel so blessed now,” 

“In an ideal world when you’re ready to start a family you hope you will conceive in the first few months of trying,” says Harry. “We were like, no, no we won’t need IVF, it won’t be us. IVF was like something you didn’t talk about. We thought it would be fine.”

“Every baby is a miracle but we do feel so very lucky,” says Izzy, 31, who was diagnosed with polycystic ovaries in her twenties.

“I never wanted to stop believing that we would have a family,” says Izzy. “But you do feel like someone has pressed pause on your life and you can’t go anywhere.”

The couple lost count of the number of times people asked them if they wanted to have a family. “This was always so impossible to answer and felt like my heart was breaking every time,” says Izzy

If you are struggling to conceive this must echo how you feel, and if you are going through IVF at the moment I hope you are as successful as they have been.

Humans Of New York

If you don’t follow Humans of New York on social media then you should. The blog which has over ten million followers provides a worldwide audience with daily glimpses into the lives of strangers on the streets of New York City. The photos and captions are personal, emotive and very moving. Currently the photographer has gone ‘on tour’ and has left the US to capture images from the streets of Iran. This one caught my attention.

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“It took us ten years, countless doctor appointments, and three miscarriages to have her. So we never feel bothered by her cries.”

(Namakabroud, Iran)

Isn’t it amazing to think that all over the world people are going through fertility struggles and are being blessed with the miracle of a baby. If I was to pass this couple in the street I would have no idea how much we have in common.

Mind Reader

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Wow she took the words right out of my mouth! After enduring the heartbreak of three miscarriages Emmerdale’s Adele Silva is finally looking ahead to the birth of her first child, despite her past traumas having made her cautious. Like me she is less than six weeks away from welcoming her first child and like me she has found that suffering previous baby losses, three consecutive miscarriages in her case, has stifled the potential joy that comes with making last minute preparations for the new arrival.

Here are some of her feelings which she shared in an interview with Lorraine Kelly.

‘As soon as I got pregnant again I had this massive plan of action on what action to take, stages to go through and so on, so each stage has kind of been bittersweet because although you’re like “brilliant I’ve got to this point” or “brilliant I’ve got to that point” you’re still not completely out of the danger zone.’

Fog of Grief

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Marina Fogle recently described her grief following the loss of her baby boy last summer. At 33 weeks, she suffered an acute placental abruption where her placenta detached from her uterus starving the baby of oxygen and causing a life-threatening haemorrhage.

The following quotes show the process of coping with the horrendous grief she faced. She says:

“Until that point I had had very little experience of profound sadness. Shocked to the point of numbness, I have since felt myriad emotions.”

“Crying, when it comes, is crucial, it’s a natural release. I frequently have a really good sob; it’s very physical: it is like feeling nauseous and knowing instinctively that you will feel better if you let yourself be sick. I believe that crying provides me with the release to expel my sadness so that I’m equipped to relish what is good in my life.”

“Grief is exhausting. You’ll find you need much more sleep than you used to. It can also affect your brain, your ability to remember things and to concentrate. This perplexed me so much that I worried for a time that my extreme blood loss had resulted in some brain damage. It was reassuring to know that it is normal and will slowly improve. I warned those around me that if I was forgetful, distracted or absent-minded, to forgive me.”

“This is a time to spoil yourself: book a holiday, get your hair done, lose yourself in a box set – and if you feel like eating ice-cream for breakfast, do it. It won’t make everything all right, but lots of little boosts will help you feel more human.”

“Don’t be afraid to talk about what has happened to you. At the beginning it was hard, but now I know that each time you talk about it, you will adjust a degree emotionally. You will never ”get over’’ your loss, but slowly you will come to terms with what is your new normal.”

“On August 24 my world shifted on its axis and I’m gradually accepting that, in one part of my life, I’m extraordinarily lucky, with a loving husband, Ben, two perfect children Ludo, and Iona, 3, and the most wonderful family and friends. But in another part, we’ve been catastrophically unlucky. No one could have predicted the sudden death of our son and the events that ensued; it was sheer bad luck. These two dichotomies don’t balance each other, creating a kind of ”OK’’ equilibrium; they coexist in their extreme forms.”

Wise words from a brave and courageous woman. Let’s hope there are happier times ahead for all those battling grief and loss.

Inspire Others

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Couples tend to be secretive about their fertility issues. Understandably there is a need to preserve some privacy over what is a personal, intimate area of a couples lives. However I implore you to shake off feelings of inadequacy or embarrassment. It is not your fault your body doesn’t function how you want, in the same way it is not your fault if you are short-sighted. Instead you should be proud of the strength you have shown to overcome your challenges and persist in your efforts to make your dream of a family come true.

I have been amazed and inspired by the spirit and determination shown by couples who, like us, have battled infertility. I have been touched by their compassion and support. If we are lucky enough to be blessed with the baby which is currently growing in my tummy, I will be proud to have an IVF baby.

Ben Fogle Speaks For The First Time

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TV star Ben Fogle has bravely spoken for the first time about the heartache of nearly losing his wife during the birth of his stillborn son. In August his wife Marina was within 20 minutes of death, as she struggled to give birth to their third child, a son who was stillborn at 32 weeks. The presenter admitted that the harrowing experience was a reminder of the fragility of life and has made him appreciate every moment with his young family – Ludo, four, and Iona, three. He described how the son he never had the pleasure of meeting inspires him and motivates him to ensure his children ‘enjoy every moment of their life’.

‘There’s a little boy we never got to know and if there’s anything we owe him in getting so close to having met him, and yet so far, it’s to live life even more for him,’

The father-of-two says that since the ordeal in August, not a day goes by when he doesn’t say ‘I love you’ to his family and says the experience taught him he to never take life for granted. The presenter says his philosophy is now to smile, be happy and to seize opportunity that he possibly can.

The Best Kind Of Post

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Yesterday I found, amongst the bills and boring letters, a brilliant postcard from my best friend. This is what it said. I have put it up at home to remind myself that a) I must try to be less negative about the outcome of this pregnancy and b) my best friend is so very thoughtful. Thanks N. Made my day!