Over the weekend, I read an article in the Mirror about Paloma Faith, in which she was talking about her regrets at not having started to try for a family at an earlier age
Back in 2016, Paloma was 35 when she welcomed her first child into the world following IVF treatment.
Four years on, and her plans to have a second child have been hampered, with the world having been put on pause due to the coronavirus. When asked about the prospect of having another baby, Paloma revealed:
“I feel like, with this whole Covid thing, a lot of us that have done IVF, me included, probably aren’t … It’s not looking great for another one right now.”
Although clinics are reopening, we all understand that IVF isn’t guaranteed, and although an actual cycle may only take a couple of months to complete, it can take multiple rounds, and years to actually fall pregnant.
This reality has led Paloma to reflect on life
She was asked what age she would want to go back to, to which she said: “Twenty-eight, and I’d have a baby because I think that’s the perfect age to have a child. I think I left it too late. I just think 28 is perfect because you’ve had enough of your twenties and there’s not so much concern about your fertility.
“Once you’ve had a baby and your recovery time is like a year, you’re still in your twenties and you can start rocking out and going at it career-wise at 29.”
This led me to think about my own life
Like Paloma, I fell pregnant at 35 with twins following IVF. I was blessed, truly blessed. I was 31 when I first decided I wanted to have a baby, and although unlike Paloma, I don’t wish I had started trying in my twenties, I do have regrets. My regrets, however, have become my all-important hindsight – hindsight that I will be passing on to not only my own children but to anyone reading ivfbabble.com.
So what do I regret?
I regret not researching fertility and ways to enhance it. I assumed that as soon as I wanted to get pregnant, I would fall pregnant. But my husband was a bass player in a rock and roll band and I had PCOS. These two combinations were never going to work. I wish someone had told me to look at how we both could have enhanced our fertility by changing certain aspects of our life – our diet, drinking less alcohol, stopping smoking, taking supplements, exercising more, drinking less caffeine etc, etc.
I regret the innocence of thinking that IVF was guaranteed. Nobody told me that it might not work and that in fact, I would be one of the very very lucky ones if it did actually work first time round. I still to this day remember the gut-wrenching pain at hearing the embryologist tell me that not one single egg had fertilised. I wish I had been more realistic, and more prepared for failure.
I regret not asking more questions. So as I just explained, my husband was in a rock and roll band. This meant that his lifestyle was far from healthy. His sperm was lazy, to say the least, and yet I still went through two rounds of IUI and IVF. When I look back, I feel frustrated that I wasted so much time and heartache on treatment that was never going to work. My husband’s sperm was never going to penetrate that egg on its own. So why didn’t I question my doctor? Why didn’t I ask hin about ICSI in the beginning? Why didn’t I say to him “Can I just bypass the IUI and move on to ICSI?”.
I regret hiding away and feeling ashamed of myself. When I look back at the years when I was going through fertility treatment, I feel so so sorry for myself. I was so lonely and down on myself. I felt like I had let myself, my husband, and the rest of my family down. I felt like I wasn’t a whole or complete woman because my body wasn’t doing what I thought a woman’s body should do – conceive naturally.
This shame continued throughout the entire time I was trying to conceive. It shocks m even now to say that even when I got pregnant I still felt ashamed that it had taken IVF to get me pregnant.
Hindsight is a very powerful tool that although of no use to you anymore, should absolutely be passed on to others
So, for anyone trying to conceive now, I want to say to you the things I wish someone had said to me. I want to hold you by the hands and look directly in to. your eyes and tell you not to regret leaving it too late to start trying for a child, because there is nothing you can do about the past, but do what you can now to make your fertility journey that little bit easier.
Read as much as you can about fertility and what you can do to enhance it
Ask your consultant as many questions as you can about your treatment options and tests you can have. Be kind to yourself – you are not a failure – you are a real woman and you are not alone.
Why not join us on 18 and 19 July for our live Babble Online Fertility Expo where you will have access to incredible experts across the fertility world from IVF clinics, wellness guidance, charities and so much more. You can set up meetings ahead of time or on the day, watch talks by amazing experts with Q&As afterwards, visit booths where you can chat ‘online’ with experts and download information and some special offers and discounts too . . . and all from the comfort of your home. Click here to register your place today! Don’t forget to come and say hi to us at the IVFbabble booth too!
Sending you all so much love.
We would love to hear from you. Would you share your fertility hindsight with us? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org