So much longer than a week!
This week is National Fertility Awareness Week.
If you are part of the #TTC community you will be more than aware of this, if you’re not – you may well have noticed one of the many stories being shared in the media about cuts to funding, failed treatment or living a life childless after having to accept it just isn’t going happen. The UK’s main support charity Fertility Network has been doing an incredible job with it’s recent campaign #Scream4IVF which you can hear more about here It does an incredible job of sharing stories within the mainstream media, sharing stories and coming up with handy hashtags to keep the conversations going, as do the amazing communities online It’s so great to see the buzz for the week. However if you’ve just found yourself in ‘this’ world and have started looking online – do know, the support continues!
There is such an amazing community available for you so be sure to use hashtags such as #YouAreNotAlone which is new for this week, as are #FertilityWeek18 and either #Scream4IVF #LifeWithoutChildren #FertilityFellas #FertilityatWork or #FutureFertility. Use these within your social and you will find so many people you can connect with.
What’s out there for you?
I still can’t believe how different the landscape looks regarding emotional support now -from when I was going through treatment in 2014. There is so much more openness, so many brave stories being shared and hopefully less stigma attached to talking about infertility. My motivation for starting this podcast was to give more of a British voice to stories about infertility, as what I could find was mostly American. Now there are so many more fertility related podcasts which I’m SO pleased to see.
I’ve been so privileged to talk to the number of people I have and keep meeting so many people who are on the same mission as me – to make sure you realise who is here for you. As far society’s perception of infertility well we’re not completely there yet, not by a long shot but the tide is changing. You will still see within any of the mainstream media pieces comments that IVF being a ‘lifestyle choice’ or ‘just adopt’ both ignorant dismissals that anyone dealing with fertility issues knows to do their best to ignore.
Whilst we were lucky to have successful treatment, our infertility a part of who we are. We’re not able to have a second child and the guilt I carry about my son not having a sibling is something I am managing, as is the decision of what we do with our frozen embryos. I know now that there are people I can talk this through with, both professional and peers who get it and get me.
When I first started on my journey into the fertility world, I had my best friend who had been through it, but not the access to what I have now. When I started making my podcast I did look online to see what and who I could find. One lady stuck out and that was Jessica Hepburn, author of two books, The Pursuit of Motherhood and 21 Miles. What a remarkable lady she is. I have interviewed Jessica numerous times on my podcast about her books, her challenges – her last one was swimming the channel and about Fertility Fest. Please go and have a listen to find out more about her.
The Wonder of Fertility Fest
Whilst there is, of course, a lot of sadness associated with infertility and sadly there isn’t always a happy ending for many people who have to go through treatment . As I’ve been saying there is this invaluable and amazing community of people who have come together.
Take Jessica as a prime example of what we like to call a ‘Fertility Warrior’. Jessica works in the Arts and has combined her experience of going through 11 rounds of failed IVF, her awesome contact book of brilliantly talented people, and the skills of her partner in crime Gabby Vautier to create ‘The world’s first art festival dedicated to fertility, infertility, modern families and the science of making babies – Fertility Fest’.
Gabby has her own infertility struggle to share, having had three failed IVF cycles, before a successful pregnancy and is now mum to twins. The pair organises and host the event together and the result is outstanding. Can you tell I’m a fan! I’ve been working with them both since it started in 2016 and am so delighted it is getting bigger and better every time it happens.
Fertility Fest brings together people to experience, friendship, discussion and a wide range of inspiring artwork incorporating theatre, comedy, photography, art – the diversity is incredible. The combination of the arts and infertility is a wonderful mix. You get to experience such honest and true emotions, as well as being able to hear much-needed discussions with panels of experts discuss issues in front of a live audience. The wide range of content available has to be seen to be believed. Here’s a chat I had with Jessica and Gabby the other week, for you to get an idea of what will be happening next year and I hope to see you there.
Source: The Fertility Podcast