Two women have joined forces to launch a petition for better mental health support for anyone going through fertility treatment
The gov.uk petition was launched by Natalie Williams who has firsthand experience of infertility struggles and is keen to help others on their journey.
The 33-year-old met Katie Jarrett through Natalie’s Facebook support group, IVF Food and Heath, and the pair have vowed to do all they can to support anyone who maybe suffering emotionally and physically as a result of their fertility journey.
Natalie, who has Polycystic Ovaries Syndrome, has been trying to conceive for six years ad is about to start another cycle, which she is planning to document.
She said: “I was referred to a specialist and told my best option was IVF. Not wanting to wait we saved up to go private and though it was a scary time, I thought this was the answer and that finally we would have a baby.”
But just a few days into starting treatment, a blocked fallopian tube halted the process and Natalie was told she must have an operation to improve her chances of conceiving.
“During my operation they found both tubes were blocked and had to be clipped,” she says. “This news broke my heart, I knew then that I would never conceive naturally. I couldn’t do what my body was built for and this made me feel like a failure – as a wife and a woman. My partner has been amazing and stood by me all the way, always telling me he loved me and no matter what he is standing by me.
“In August 2018, once I’d recuperated from my operation, I had the one embryo we created transferred. Sadly, after ten days, we discovered it had failed. No words can express my sadness.”
Two months later Natalie went back to her doctor to ask if there were any blood tests to find out why it failed, with her blood results showing a high level of prolactin.
After seeing her specialist her levels were put down to stress and so Natalie decided to do all she could to prepare herself physically and mentally for the journey ahead.
She said: “I went in search of a Facebook group to help but there were no food related groups so I set up my own – I want to make clear, I’m no professional but I knew what I wanted. A few months ago, I realised that no one speaks about the mental health side of infertility, which is sad as a lot of women suffer from it – me included – and this is when I realised, I needed to take action stand up and speak out for all those people who are afraid to.
“People – and I say people – because both women and men suffer on a daily basis with people around us being pregnant and family members asking ‘when are you having a baby’ or ‘you’re not getting any younger’.
“If only they knew how hard it was for us. This is why I set up the petition.”
Next week we will tell Katie’s story of why she decided to get involved with the campaign.
To sign the petition click here
To join Natalie’s Facebook page, click here