What's your TTC story? What are you grateful for and what have been those moments where you needed to show yourself a little more self-compassion?
Considering we've all had many opportunities for growth recently it's poignant to take some time to reflect, appreciate, and acknowledge just how much we're grateful for, despite our challenges - in particular those that COVID-19 has brought to the TTC community!
This July marks a number of anniversaries in my TTC story. It's a time of reflection that has me acknowledging what I'm grateful for and what I need to show myself some compassion with.
Pull up a chair and settle down with your cup of tea if you're interested in hearing my TTC story and what I have to offer you to also feel at peace with your story.
July 2004, 16 yrs ago, I was curled up in a ball with intense period pain during a freezing cold winter, recently diagnosed with suspected Endometriosis. I had just had my world turned upside down after being told that I was likely going to have trouble conceiving because of this disease. It was such gut wrenching news that I needed to process that I told my boyfriend (now husband) that I wanted space, didn't want to drag him into it and tried to break it off with him. Thankfully he hung around but we weren't ready to start a family yet, so on to the pill I went.
Then in July 2007 my husband and I decided we were ready to start our family so I came off the pill, had another Laporoscopy to check that the Endo had been kept at bay and we were ready to fall pregnant! Sounds familiar doesn't it?! I know you've all been there - you decide that you're finally ready to start your family and expect that within the next couple of months you'll be excitedly dancing around the bathroom with the positive pregnancy test in your hands!
But July 2007 officially kick started the longest, most challenging 9.5 years of our lives. Even though my Gynae forewarned me that with Endo I was best going to IVF sooner rather than later, we took 18 months of TTC naturally to concede that we needed IVF. I had another laporoscopy, 18 months of IVF cycles (3 egg retrievals - 1 natural & 2 x ICSI), multiple failed transfers, chemical pregnancies, changes in diet, regular acupuncture, Restorative Yoga classes, bucket loads of tears and 4 months off work to create our miracle baby - who is now 8.5 years old!
When she was about 15 months old we conceded that we also had secondary infertility and needed to once again access IVF!! Then after another 3.5 years, another 3 rounds of ICSI (with a change in FS for the final 2), another laporoscopy, another couple of chemical pregnancies, an MRI to diagnose Adenomyosis, artificial menopause to suppress said Adeno, human growth hormone to bolster my final IVF cycle, hours of therapy and a FS who "left no stone unturned", we conceived our gorgeous boy naturally - immediately after our final IVF cycle in 2016.
As you can all appreciate our TTC journey was the emotional, mental, physical roller coaster from hell. At the end of the day though, we are one of the blessed ones for we have two beautiful sweethearts for whom we are forever grateful.
The mental and emotional scars from that (almost) decade of a traumatic journey took a while to heal. But when I did finally heal, I found my purpose was to serve those also on their TTC journey.
So this July I'm celebrating one year of practising as a therapist supporting my beautiful TTC clients to find peace with their stories, their challenges, and achieve their dreams. It's unbelievably rewarding when your client reaches those moments of clarity and inner knowing that they're going to be OK, when they develop the confidence that they've done everything they can to help the process and trust that all is as it should be.
Because of our work together my clients know they don’t have to succumb to the devastating effects of infertility. They can gracefully face whatever challenges arise each month, feeling calm and better able to cope with their emotions.
This July is also extremely special because my first Fertility clients welcomed their long-awaited rainbow babies into the world! There were many happy tears when I heard the news and saw the photos of their beautiful little bubbas!!
If you've got this far through my story, I want to thank you and I hope it gives you some hope that not only can you achieve your dreams and heal from the challenges that TTC throws at you, but you can also thrive and live a full life.
I'd love to read any comments below about your own TTC challenges and what was a major breakthrough point for you or maybe a reflection on what has been your biggest stumbling block. Maybe it was realising how powerful yoga or acupuncture was for you or maybe you recognised that you needed to take stock after each unsuccessful cycle to gather yourself back up off the floor and learned not to push your hurt feelings aside. I'd love to hear your stories too.