What could you give a friend who is struggling with loss and infertility?

Since launching IVFbabble last year, we have met hundreds of brilliant, brave, strong men and women who have been through such turbulent times in their battle against infertility, but are driven by their determination to become parents.

It has been incredible to see how despite the piercing heartache, so many want to help others get through these difficult times. One woman in particular is Lisa Herkes who is doing just this.

After suffering the tragic loss of a miscarriage, Lisa was compelled to do something to help others and so launched Hug Hampers

These are specially designed hampers, providing practical and supportive items for women going through IVF. We caught up with Lisa to find out more.

Lisa, can you tell us where the idea for your hampers came from?

I launched Hug Hampers on the year anniversary of losing our second baby from IVF. My first son was via IVF and since the quest for his sibling began we have had nothing but hurdles. After finally having a successful round and a strong heartbeat at 7 weeks, a later scan showed the baby had died and I was booked in for surgery.

After this I was compelled to do something to help others. My Hug Hampers provide a solution to friends and family of their loved ones going through loss or infertility. The perfect gift for when they simply don’t know what to say. The Hampers contain practical advice and products along with lovely gifts that truly make someone feel special when they receive them. Out of the very small profit I make (you’ll see the Hampers are incredibly affordable) I make a donation to Fertility Network UK.

What sort of practical advice do you offer people who are struggling with infertility and loss?

Going through IVF or suffering a loss can be such an isolating time. For me, I had amazing support from my husband, family and friends, but being able to talk to people going through the same thing was really helpful. It’s not until you talk to other people that you realise so many who are going through the same thing. So accept the help from
friends and family, connect with people in similar situations and if you’re offered counselling, don’t be afraid to accept it.

Where are you at with your own fertility journey?

Unfortunately my journey for a sibling for my son has been placed on hold as one week before I was due to launch Hug Hampers, I was diagnosed with Cervical Cancer. At that point I was ready to scrap the whole concept. I didn’t feel mentally strong enough to deal with anything else but I knew I had to press on. If for nothing else, in memory of the soul we lost and to raise awareness of all the issues people don’t like talking about.

How are you doing now? Tell us you are cancer free? (Sending you so much love by the way xx)

I am thrilled to say I am now cancer free! After 5 hours of surgery to remove a stage 3 tumour, they confirmed they had removed all the cancer.

Whilst my priority soon changed to being fit and healthy for our son, my Consultant was aware of our desire to expand our family and was able to perform the surgery whilst maintaining my fertility,
despite the standard treatment being a full hysterectomy. I am being closely monitored every three months and if all being well at my first check up, we may consider going down the IVF route again.

How have the hampers been received? We imagine people are loving them!

The Hampers have been doing really well and the feedback has been amazing. I started with two hampers; one to support people going through IVF and one to offer support following a loss. I’ve recently launched a rainbow baby hamper and am currently working on a hamper for men to support them through the IVF process.

All the Hampers contain invaluable support from Catching Rainbows.
Lucy the co-owner helped me throughout my IVF treatment and subsequent loss. She has been a fountain of knowledge and a pillar of strength. She is passionate about these subjects and was thrilled to input her love and expertise.

The IVF Hamper contains items that I found useful during my own treatment 

Products such as the fragrance free deodorant, (my clinic always asked me to avoid strong smelling perfumes), warm fluffy socks to encourage blood flow up to the uterus and IVF diary stickers to name a few.

The loss hamper is just a lovely way of saying I’m here for you and I’m sorry for your loss.

Items include some gorgeous handmade soap from Eden Days, a bottle of wine and a Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Keyring.

Acknowledging what a stressful time pregnancy following a loss is, I created the Rainbow Hamper. A gift for new parents who have previously suffered a loss. The Hamper includes a gorgeous baby grow, a bottle of bubbles to celebrate and more of the gorgeous handmade soap from Eden Days.

I am now in the process of launching a fourth Hamper, the Hamper for Men!

Clearly the women are complete warriors with all the injecting, invasive scans and fluctuating hormones, but the men have to cope with the backlash of it all! I know at times my husband took his fair share of abuse during our treatments! The Hamper will contain a
few tongue in cheek gifts as well as useful items such as advice from Catching Rainbows on how to support their partners and fragrance free deodorant for the men to wear when attending the clinic.

You won’t have to wait long for the launch of this one and if you want to be notified of when it’s available, simply join our mailing list.

As of January, every hamper will also contain the lovely pineapple pin as part of the #ivfstrongertogether campaign.

We think these hampers are such a lovely, thoughtful gift idea. If you would like to buy a hug hamper, click here.

Thank you so much Lisa.

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