If you’re a regular reader of my column, you’ll know that we struggled to conceive our daughter, Harley.
We had IVF in the end after two-and-a-half years of trying and we’re grateful everyday for her… we know only too well that not everyone is as lucky.
You might have also wondered if we would have another baby at some point as I’ve spoken about wanting to give Harley a sibling. The answer is, yes we do.
However, despite my assumption that it wouldn’t be as hard the second time around, we have unfortunately struggled massively to give her a brother or sister.
We’ve been trying for more than a year now and have had three separate IVF transfers using five embryos and unfortunately we are no closer to having our second child.
And sadly, a few weeks ago, at eight weeks pregnant I miscarried.
It felt like our whole world collapsed. The joy of seeing a positive test result on the home pregnancy kit was replaced with absolute angst and anxiety as our early scan revealed the embryo hadn’t grown as much as it should.
However, a week later, about six weeks into the pregnancy, we saw a beacon of hope on the screen, a beautiful heartbeat. I can’t tell you the relief I felt. Pure joy.
I t didn’t last long. Less than a week later at a follow-up scan (they scan you more with IVF) the heartbeat had stopped and later that evening I miscarried.
Miscarrying at eight weeks is awful for every reason you can imagine but knowing the heartbeat was there and seeing for myself that it had stopped is a pain that I will never forget and my heart aches for the poor families out there who have gone through something similar.
Why am I telling you this? It’s vital we have conversations like this. It's not unacceptable to talk about this in public. We must talk about it. I’m not ashamed, not one bit. I’m sad to my core, but if just one other person reading this who has gone through something similar feels they are not alone, it will have been worthwhile.
I promise you, my friend, you’re not. I see you.
Please think before you ask that question about children
It’s very British to suffer in silence, to not let people know how you’re feeling. I can’t do that after the struggle we had to become parents.
At first I talked about it because I was sick of people asking when I’d become a mum – not knowing we’d been trying for years. It stops people in their tracks when you tell them you’re having IVF. They don’t know what to say.
Since then it’s become more of a calling, something I must do. I don’t struggle to talk about it – many women do. I will tell Harley one day she was made with a whole lot of love and a little bit of science and I’m so proud she was. Please think before you speak next time you see a childless couple – they may be suffering in silence.
You owe it to yourself to do your research about children
As it’s National Infertility Awareness Week I’m just writing about this topic this week.
Did you know that one in seven couples struggle to have a baby and that number rises massively as you get older? Did you know that after 35 the chances of becoming a mum get increasingly smaller, which then halve again at 38?
If I had known this when I was in my late 20s/early 30s I could have investigated my options – had tests, perhaps frozen my eggs while I was young and they were better quality. Hindsight is wonderful. Do your homework, make informed decisions.
I don’t regret having Harley at 37 but I wish I’d known more than I did when I felt ready at 35.