Last month I attended Fertility Fest and shared my story with the audience of the More To Life Than Having Children event as part of a panel of speakers who included Lesley Pyne, Jessica Hepburn the founder of Fertility Fest, Nicci and Andrew Fletcher from CNBC magazine, and Jody Day from Gateway Women. Standing at the theatre door handing out hugs and forget me not seeds was Steph Phillips from World Childless Week.
It's taken me a while to put my thoughts into order, post-Fertility Fest, mostly because three days away from Cambridge meant coming back to lots of work and domestic stuff. It's very easy to get wrapped up in life and not take time to reflect isn't it? But it's important that we do, in order to celebrate those small moments that make it a little easier to bear the sorrows. So what did I learn from this? Well first, friendship is all and if you need a reminder then here's why it matters.
What else came from this amazing festival?
- I learnt that it's not necessarily a massive party as the word 'festival' may indicate. It's actually a great way to bring together many different viewpoints on infertility and fertility in a safe and warm environment where there are endless experts around to give support and spaces to rest.
- That the many of us who run sites and blogs need support too. We all need a friend to watch our backs when it's too much.
- The audience was amazing and I would have loved to talk more.
- What I do does matter. I often think that I occupy a small, unread corner of the web and the traffic stats are all lies! It's so lovely when complete strangers come up to you and say it's made a difference.
- It's possible to laugh and cry at the same time. Mostly with complete strangers who come up to you and say...!
- People can surprise you in many ways, sometimes good and occasionally not so good but it's how we learn from that which matters. One friend who I have known for several years amazed me with the positive changes in her and moved me to tears when she said she has a Compassion Cards in her handbag which she reads for strength.
- Oh and... the slide that made me tearful in my rehearsal was the one about Molly, our dog!
- Never be afraid of sharing your story, it will inspire someone and that someone is priceless compared to a thousand idiot trolls who know nothing. The more we share, the more we can stamp out those myths and insensitive comments. Do share your story with Walk In Our Shoes.
- You can gain support from others. Michael and Vickie are powerhouses of strength and an example to us. I was so sad to wave them goodbye but delighted to see that Michael is part of the World Childless Week team.
- My hair goes extra curly and takes on a whole new form when threatened with air con and muggy London heat.
- Meeting Steph at the Green after a hot train journey was the best thing!
Below is the presentation video from Fertility Fest, More To Life event from Wednesday 9th May, 2018. I've edited it so it makes sense post-event!