Hi ladies (and gentlemen!) and welcome to another week of our #Real Mums blog series! I’ve loved the privilege of meeting such beautiful mummas from around Australia and hearing their stories about motherhood and life. This week’s mumma shares her story of going through IVF to have her gorgeous daughter, particularly her determination and strategies for going through this process, as well as how she manages her time between motherhood and starting her own business. Enjoy!!
Hi Jo! Thanks for joining us for the Real Mums blog series, it is such a pleasure to have you here! I always like to start with a bit of an introduction, so could you start by telling us a bit about yourself and your family?
I’m a stay at home mum with a very talkative and energetic nearly 4-year-old girl. Some recent tough life experiences have led me to starting a small online business (selling bamboo and organic baby wear and gifts) trying to give my daughter the future she deserves. It’s a brand-new learning experience for me and although it’s hard at times splitting my attention between the business and my daughter (she always seems to win), I hope one day she will say how lucky and proud she is to have me – the same way I feel about her. It took me 10 IVF cycles to conceive but all that heartache is now a distant memory.
Can you describe for us your experience with IVF?
This experience was a tough one. It starts off ‘we’ll be ok we just need to do x,y,z’ and it slowly snowballs into an all-consuming beast with non-stop researching, analyzing, comparing. In my case – it was over-analyzing – but if I had not been blessed with my little one, I would at least have been able to say I’d done my absolute best.
For those mums who might be experiencing the same thing (or considering looking into it), can you explain to us your thoughts and feelings throughout the IVF?
If I’m to be totally honest, it’s not fun and games. You get pricked and prodded but you have to keep smiling and keeping the hope alive. The hormones you take will also wreak havoc on your emotions. It has been described as a rollercoaster ride and it is (not scary, just full on). As each cycle passes you lose momentum and it just feels like you are going through the motions and whatever will be will be. You begin to prepare for negative results and so can cope better when it happens. And on top of all this, you need to also consider how your partner is feeling but by that time you’ve got nothing left in the emotion tank.
How did you persevere through so many cycles? Didn’t you ever feel like giving up?
I had been clucky for many years before I was in the position to start having a family. Due to my age (36) at the time we were investigating IVF sooner rather than later. I really felt being a mum was something I was destined to do – and when it didn’t come easily or naturally, I needed to find another way. When you’re young and single you try hard NOT to get pregnant and when its time you can’t. But it’s this irony & that innate need that kept me going for 10 cycles over 5 years.
What has been your experience as a mum at the age of 41? Is it something that others bring up with you?
I think I found it easier to wade through all the advice – everyone had a different and valid opinion on every aspect of parenting but apart from that, like most new parents, I was completely overjoyed and in awe of what I created. People don’t bring my age up, I like to joke about it. I’m the oldest mum in my mother’s group and technically I could have given birth to the youngest mum in the group!
After so long, I am guessing it is a wonderful experience for you to be a mum to your beautiful daughter. What is the thing you enjoy most about being a mum?
I feel it’s a cliché but at every stage you say “I just love this age’. Well until she became a threenager – but we can write about that another time perhaps. I will always remember the first time she said ‘mum mum mum’ and I have saved all the funny one liners so I can embarrass her at her 21st.
What piece of advice would you give to women or mums who might be going through the IVF process, or are considering it?
You will be tired, you will be disheartened, but keep going if you can. New technologies and tests are being developed all the time. And if you can’t get pregnant with your own ‘stuff’ there is always the option of gamete donation and embryo donation. (And adoption if you meet the requirements.) Get into IVF forums, share ideas and information in a supportive environment.
Lastly, is there any tips or tricks you would like to share with new mums about getting through the first few weeks and months with a newborn?
There’s 3 things. When people say get some rest before the baby comes – actually do it. Secondly, time really flies. Before you know it, they are preschoolers. Enjoy what that day brings and the milestones presented. And lastly, don’t experience the joy of motherhood through a camera or iPhone. You don’t need to document everything.