Last time I posted on social media I said that we were going to be saying goodbye to our last embryo. I can see from the website that I drafted 4 blog posts and made two videos at the time and didn't know what to say or write. Here's a video to tell you what happened next and explain what happened at PechaKucha Cambridge last night.
Today I am bringing you two video posts. Both have been recorded to mark the 40th birthday of Louise Brown, the first IVF baby and of course, IVF. The first is from Childless Voices and hosted by Jody Day from Gateway Women. In the second, I talk about IVF, us and Bourn Hall.
I’m always so pleased to read inspiring blogs and hear about news from pioneers who are doing their bit to raise awareness of involuntary childlessness. This week I’m telling you all about Brandi from Not So Mommy, the Walking Forward Inspirational Network and World Childless Week too!
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?
I met the married couple who write Married And Childless at Fertility Fest. Both myself and Steph at World Childless Week would have happily dragged Michael to the stage because he spoke so movingly about infertility from the man's point of view. His wife, Vickie is an extraordinarily astute woman who had all the right words in the two days we spent together. They hail from Australia so I think they must be the most well travelled in the audience and I hope that we'll remain friends for a long time. I felt like I had known them for years
The WHO (World Health Organisation) defines infertility as “a disease of the reproductive system defined by the failure to achieve a clinical pregnancy after 12 months or more of regular unprotected sexual intercourse.” However, for some of us, we don’t need to have 12 months or more of regular unprotected sex to know we are infertile. I’m talking about children and teenagers diagnosed with genetic disorders, hormonal imbalance or cancer.
I have long wanted to share a story from a friend who had adopted. I know many who have decided to try adoption as a way to parenthood or have embarked on this after IVF treatment. The author of this piece wrote to me with her story which I hope you'll find as moving as I did.
I have recorded the audio for my presentation at Fertility Fest as part of the More To Life event on Wednesday 9th May, 2018. I've edited it so it makes sense post-event, so you can find out what Steph from World Childless Week and I did!
A unique festival which recognizes that everyone has a fertility story whether or not they have children, the festival Founders - Gabby Vautier and Jessica Hepburn - represent two very different outcomes of the IVF journey. Gabby has IVF twins after four rounds of treatment and Jessica is still childless after eleven. Both women are passionate about creating a world that brings people together to discuss fertility, infertility, modern families and the science of making babies. In particular they want to improve the understanding of the emotional experience of people who struggle to conceive in order to achieve better care and outcomes for everyone, whatever their story, however it ends.
I was asked to write a few tips on writing and I have to say that I have very few. What I would say is that writing your story can be so beneficial in connecting people. Sharing and talking about difficult situations on blogs on any topic provides support and enlightens others. It can be powerful to get the words out and helps others to understand.
Fertility Fest is for anyone and everyone. It’s for people with and without children. It’s for people in treatment and beyond it. It’s for fertility professionals and also for the general public who are interested in how the human race is (and isn’t) being made today. We promise that whoever you are it will be engaging, entertaining and exceptionally enlightening and whilst you’re there, you’ll feel part of a very special Fertility Fest Family.
I would like to share the reigns of the Twitter chat #childlesshour. The chat was set up in August 2017 and has run every week since then with me hosting. I'd like to share this tried and tested chat with other bloggers and help to share the breadth of the chat. I’m also looking for Guest Chatters to share their skills on the chat.
I was volunteering to speak to my peers at the university. At the end, there was studious silence which is terrifying when you’ve given your soul to something so important. Did anyone listen? Is that person asleep? To be fair to the audience, the fine art student before me had presented an entertaining piece on researching beer label illustrations which seemed to involve a lot of time in pubs.
Many of us have experienced the side effects of the medication. Sometimes they can be truly devastating for lots of complex reasons. Kate emailed me with her story about her relationship with progesterone.
If you’ve been through IVF or ICSI then you too may have embryos in storage. This weekend I got the letter I’d dreaded. Nobody tells you that you might end this process with excess embryos and here’s what you could do with them. And it hurts.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines Worth as a mass noun that is ‘The level at which someone or something deserves to be valued or rated.’Many times in my life I have felt less valued or rated because I lacked the experience of being a parent. I am, according to one forum of professionals, unable to appreciate ‘how lucky I am to have the freedom to do what I want’ because I don’t have children.
To do this subject justice, I would need to write a book or two as there are so many variations of mental health problems with different causes and whether or not people have them before or after infertility treatment. People may be infertile due to many different factors and may not have found a partner to have children with and so are childless by circumstance. Then there is the treatment itself and the methods, hormones and medications used and their effects on mental health. There are also those people who choose not to have treatment or cannot afford it or cannot access it. With all this, are society’s expectations that we should have children and the stigma associated with this when we find that we cannot.
I am focusing on my mental health problems as a result of having discovered that both my husband and I are infertile. The subsequent treatment we received and the fact that this failed to result in us having a baby.
I was very moved to receive a post from a mental health practitioner who writes about her experiences of childlessness and how it impacts on our mental wellbeing. It's an inspiring piece that I felt was very powerful in her observation of herself against her demanding work. It also moved me because it gives so much useful advice that we can apply to how we manage too.
You'll now find that the website loads to a brand, spanking new landing page so you can find your way around a lot easier! I hope you like it! You'll also see that I've put all the links into neat folders. Under 'Get In Touch' you can email me via the form, find writing tips, get the low down on why Walk In Our Shoes happened and nosey all about me! In Twitter and Facebook you'll get the links to the two support initiatives I've created. And finally, there is the blog.
It's very easy to stay in the places and routines in which we are safe. Certainly in those difficult weeks and months as we may have to come to terms with a life we were never expecting, it's a good thing to do, it can help us gain emotional strength.
I feel I always start posts by saying this is painful or difficult! Much of our journeys are littered with difficult situations, painful treatment, hard decisions and loss. The loss is what binds anyone who falls under the banner of childless. To the outside world that term might seem relatively simple. Within our community, it can be fraught with misunderstandings and argument and I find myself witness to disagreements.
At the time of writing, it has been seven hours since the first post to Morrisons and no reply. The social team, who are available 8am to 11pm, are more interested in comments on their cauliflowers. So me, Mr Walk In Our Shoes, has been on a super hero mission....
It's been very quiet on here, February 18th was the last time I wrote anything which is very tardy. I've been really ill. Big Style poorly with twelve days so far in bed. I'm a long, long way from being better.
The Walk In Our Shoes website has been so helpful this past week but for an entirely different reason to the ones you'd expect!
I've been working with Steph Phillips on World Childless Week. As you may remember, I wrote lots of posts and interviewed a number of Walk In Our Shoes supporters for the first World Childless Week last year and I was proud to support Steph on this venture....