Fertility Week shines a light on and helps to spread awareness of fertility issues to a wider audience. It is a real issue that 1 in 6 couples in the UK face, and is something that not only affects your physical health, but something that can affect your mental health too.
Heather, our Head of Client Services, shares her IVF journey to help raise awareness on the first day of National Fertility Awareness Week – #MentalMatters…
In 2016, after 5 year of trying for a baby we took the plunge into IVF. I’d avoided it because I didn’t want a baby that way but sometimes as you become more desperate for something what you are and are not willing to try changes. My faith played a big part in me pushing though and is a big part of my life.
I’ve never been someone with an especially positive or excitable mood. In fact I would go so far as to say I have a fairly consistent low mood. I have been like that for as long as I can remember and I didn’t even realise it before this process.
I endured the fertility drugs and in many ways the process brought me and my husband, Mark, together more.
I was tired and to be honest just really could not be bothered to do anything and if I thought it was an option for me I would probably have stayed at home full stop. I stopped doing things I do to stay well, like walking my dog Pearl but I pushed through the process because the possible outcome was overwhelmingly worth it.
In August 2016 we found out after the first round of treatment I was pregnant. I was so happy although like I said, I’m not excitable.
A few months in I started to think how my experience of pregnancy was nowhere near as great as I had imagined. Then my friend said one sentence that made me realise I wasn’t great either.
“Do you know you’re a bit down Hev?”
“No, I don’t”
It seems daft now! I’d worked in mental health for ten years but I didn’t see it in myself!
I’d stopped doing what I enjoyed and what kept me well. I started getting up later, going to work, coming home and watching tv, going to bed and repeat. Every week day. No socialising at all except work. It crept up on me. I’m an introvert anyway so I have a tendency to hibernate at the best of times.
During my third trimester I started to feel brighter. The impending gift gave me something to look forward to and I felt amazing. When Eva came she was just perfect.
The fertility problems highlighted an issue in me. It made me see I had low mood. It made me see there are times when that dips into depression. It made me realise the importance of the small things I do that keep me afloat.
Since this revelation about my own mental health, I have noticed more when I have dipped. I have been able to consciously push myself to do what I know helps to try and stop it getting worse (I don’t always do this, just like I don’t always do my Physio exercises and then my back hurts again – I don’t know why, maybe lack of motivation is a symptom of the low mood).
I know I’m fortunate that I don’t have a chronic mental health problem and I can function even when I’m not on top form. The fertility process was not pleasant but what it gave me is an awareness in my own mental health and, of course, Eva.