Kezia Ashley Okafor is fertility mindset coach, infertility counsellor and authour of “Flipping the Script on Infertility”.
Here, Kezia tells us her story and how she discovered the coping tools that held her through the darkest of her struggles.
When I discovered that infertility and misery didn’t have to go hand in hand, I knew I had to share what I discovered. Flipping the Script on Infertility is my story through infertility, as a black woman, as a mother, as a therapist – it’s a story of how I found myself in the midst of the darkest period of my life and what I discovered a long the way…
If someone had told me that trying for a year to conceive my son was nothing in the scheme of things – 26-year-old me would have rolled my eyes and said yeah right! A year seemed like a long time, there were lots of tears and frustrations, pregnancy announcements and total breakdowns. Yet even this could not have prepared me for unexplained Secondary Infertility.
I didn’t know that women and couples could struggle to conceive subsequent children
It never occurred to me that that could be an issue. I felt wholly unprepared and was thrown into turmoil and deep despair – I was grateful for what I had and deeply sad for what I didn’t have, a sibling for my son.
I went through fertility treatments that didn’t work. We chose not to go through IVF and that plagued me – what if we were turning away from our only hope? Instead I grew determined to find the solution, I embarked on holistic methods, trying acupuncture, functional nutritionists, reflexology, osteopathy. Nothing worked.
During these 6 years, I felt more and more lost, more and more desperate
I decided halfway through that I was unhappy in too many areas of my life, so something had to change. I retrained as an art therapist – it was the best decision I had made, the training meant I had to have personal therapy myself.
Therapy held me through the darkest of my struggles, having someone to talk to, to unload on was a godsend. It dawned on me quickly that I wouldn’t have instinctively sought out therapy however, I discovered just how needed it is through infertility because my mental health was suffering. It dawned on me that the connection between infertility, its treatment and mental health was not nearly being talked about enough.
I knew even then that I was going to help women through their journeys
Now I work as a Fertility Mindset Coach and Infertility Counsellor, supporting women to manage and overcome the mental and emotional distress of infertility, its treatment and pregnancy loss. Women come to me because they know I understand exactly what it is they’re going through. Many have experienced counselling that wasn’t helpful or particularly centred on their struggles with infertility – when this is precisely what they want, to talk about their fears and worries, their doubts and anxieties about whether they will or won’t create the family they have always dreamed of.
What I know is there are many women out there struggling, many in treatment, many not, many are trying to figure this out on their own, many silently struggling.
What they need is to know they are not alone
What they need is to feel supported. What they need are the tools and practices that can help them to manage their emotions and their negative thinking. This is where Flipping the Script on infertility was born.
I wanted to share my story through infertility and the tools that I found through therapy and mindset work that helped me to change my life and how I was experiencing infertility. I wanted to highlight the importance and impact of poor mental health on our overall health and wellbeing, and therefore our fertility. I wanted to share my eight fertility mindset principles, so that you can use them to help you change your life through infertility too.
Flipping the script means to change your perspective, to reframe your thoughts and shift your mindset. When you are deep in infertility, your thoughts are negative, your self-talk is harmful, your confidence completely knocked, and this is what needs attention and transformation. Flipping the Script on Infertility is your guide to do this.
I know that our stories are powerful
I don’t have the answer or a magic formula that gets you pregnant. I do have the tools that will help you to get through this infertility journey without losing your mind and who you are in the process – and these things matter. The journey to motherhood is difficult but so is motherhood itself, I want to help women to be best prepared to take on this challenge and all the challenges that life throws at them because quite simply… they matter.
Kezia Ashley Okafor is fertility mindset coach and infertility counsellor, working from Kent in the UK. You can order her new book Flipping the Script on Infertility here. You can also reach out to Kezia via instagram @theinfertilitycounsellor