A few days before the exhibition opened, I received an email from a friend. In the midst of internal struggles and doubts an email arrives. An unexpected gift. These words could have been written for any other woman who have suffered a similar journey. With my friend’s permission, I share them with you.
First of all, as you know, I was really moved, emotionally, by your story and struggles over the last eight years that has led you to the creation of your wonderful exhibition.
It is difficult for myself, or anyone else, to fully and completely understand what you have experienced and I agree with you that your use of art is an excellent vessel with which to channel you inner sanctum of feelings to the outside world and this process has been paramount to your own healing.
‘The journey to motherhood through IVF would be a stressful and emotional one with no guarantee of success, but that was ultimately the choice we made for love.’
I especially feel a connection with you with regard to the longing of a family as you and I both chose the same path by marrying partners in the full knowledge that the journey to motherhood through IVF would be a stressful and emotional one with no guarantee of success, but that was ultimately the choice we made for love. I don’t know if I only speak for myself here but I remember on my wedding day experiencing a mild feeling of grief as I knew that, by choosing my husband, I was forsaking a potential straight forward and natural conception and pregnancy that I could have had if I had chosen someone other than my partner! I knew in my heart that when we were married that my choice of partner greatly reduced my chances of a family and, like you, I was deeply upset when I was around pregnant women and babies but I tried to block this out as much as I could. It was only when my twin had my niece and nephew that this eased, how could I be jealous of my own twin’s happiness! I instantly loved them as if they were my own and I would look after them for the odd week here and there at my home and that helped to ease the pain. I remember rationalising with myself that, if I were unable to have a family of my own, these children were genetically the closest thing I would ever have to a son and daughter and this brought great comfort to me and helped take the edge off my own pain.
You see, unlike most couples who conceive naturally, the odds of success through IVF are stacked against you – and all the women that go through the process – from the beginning but you have persevered and showed a quality of strength that has allowed you to endure this process for eight years, never giving up when you were knocked down, you endured, picked yourself up, dusted yourself off and looked the beast in the eye and fought again. I commend you.
Please don’t take these set backs as a failure, they are not, they show an immense quality of strength. Firstly you went into a marriage knowing motherhood would not be an easy ride ….. you could have walked away …… you endured the emotion of your first IVF cycle …….. you could have said no more …….you then endured another …… you could have said never again …….. and then endured another. The fact that you never turned your back at any of these points in your life, when others may well have done, is demonstrative of a strong and powerful person. Additionally, amongst the twist and turns of the last eight years you have overcome depression, financial strains, career choices, a poorly husband and you should be so proud you have come through the other side undoubtedly the wiser, stronger and more confident person that we see today. As they say, every cloud has a silver lining, you have been through hell and have come out the other side but along the way you found and connected with your true inner self and become a better person for it – not everyone has that opportunity in life!
‘Never forget you did create and carry a child, you were and are a mother to a child, whether that child is here or not is irrelevant to that fact.’
Never forget you did create and carry a child, you were and are a mother to a child, whether that child is here or not is irrelevant to that fact. Unfortunately, as I said before, all pregnancies carry a high risk of miscarriage up to 12 weeks, but for IVF pregnancies the risk is significantly higher. So you see, you aren’t a failure and haven’t failed, you were just unlucky, so you pick yourself up, dust yourself off and try again, it really isn’t too late for you – I was 38 when I carried my daughter and 39 when she was born!! There are also constant and continuing developments in IVF techniques to help older mothers but, if you feel you can’t go through this process again, there are other options worth considering such as surrogacy, fostering or adoption. So you see hope is not lost at all, there are many opportunities and ways for you to be a mother and I truly believe you will be a mother 😁 as long as you don’t give up on your dream.
I am not sure if the content of this email helps you, it is very heartfelt and I sincerely hope that you gain something positive/beneficial from it.
Take care of yourself and I am always here if you need me – you are not alone. Always thinking of you.