Infertility, a word that can be terrifying for some – but what does it exactly mean? According to the CDC infertility is defined as not being able to get conceive after one year, or longer, of unprotected sex. The NHS states that around 1 in 7 couples may have difficulties when it comes to conceiving. There are a plethora of causes for infertility including:
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
With the month of June being World Infertility Awareness Month, here at Merci Maman we have decided to place a spotlight on the lovely Tara Louise to hear about her journey to motherhood. As well as her experience with infertility.
Tara Louise, who you may know as @mummataralouise on instagram, is an infertility & baby loss awareness advocate. Having experienced infertility throughout most of her adult life she candidly shares her journey and experience over on her social media. Keep reading to find out more about Tara and her journey …
Our Infertility Interview With Tara
Tell us about your motherhood journey?
In 2011 I had a beautiful little girl who is now 10. I was told from around 16 years old that due to my endometriosis is would be really hard for me to have children. This was something I found very hard to deal with because I knew from a young age I wanted to be a mother. I am incredibly thankful that I was able to carry my daughter and that she was born safe and well, despite it being a rough ride with my waters breaking early at 29 weeks. When she was just one year old I met my now husband. We talked from early on about trying for a baby and in 2016 we decided to stop all contraception and see what happened.
When did you first realise you had fertility issues?
I think I realised early on something wasn’t right. I had very irregular periods sometimes as long as 60 to 70 days at a time! And would also experience the most horrific period pains and heavy bleeding. In 2019 we got married in the Summer. In September I went to the Drs where I felt like I was fobbed off and I was hesitant to return. But in January 2020 I decided to really push for some answers. I was referred to a gynaecologist who found I had a bicornuate uterus and in December that year I had surgery to try and correct this.
For those of you who don’t know a bicornuate uterus is a result of a partial fusion of Mullerian ducts resulting in a heart-shaped uterus instead of a pear shape.
In March 2021 we did a cycle of IUI which unfortunately didn’t work. We then started IVF in the June. We managed to get 9 embryos in the freezer and have done 3 transfers so far. The first unfortunately failed. Our second transfer ended in a miscarriage at 6 weeks and 5 days. Unfortunately, our third also has sadly ended the same way at 7 weeks and 1 day.
How has infertility impacted your day-to-day life?
I try not to let it, but I would be lying if I said it didn’t. Going through IVF has taught me that I am so much stronger than I thought and that you can do anything if you put your mind to it. Believe it or not I had a huge phobia of needles before all this. Now I am able to inject myself daily sometimes multiple times a day. It’s taught me I am resilient, but it’s also very stressful and there is always something we need to be thinking about or planning. I find it really hard to plan anything in advance because we are constantly thinking of the what ifs.
Are there any support groups or systems which help in finding comfort?
I have found Instagram to be massive support for me. When I first started going down the route of fertility treatments I found it really hard to find anyone “like me”. I felt so alone and vulnerable. But, since then have found an amazing community of women who all feel the same!
There are some amazing Facebook groups too for IVF support. I have also created one for women who are struggling to conceive where ever they are on their journeys. It’s a safe place to ask questions and find comfort that you are not alone. It’s called The Infertile Mums Club.
Do you find there are stigmas around fertility?
There are so many. A lot of people are really unaware of the impact of infertility and going through fertility treatments. I think a lot of people will have heard of IVF but don’t really know what it entails. I have been told countless times to just do IVF, or just adopt, or just get a surrogate. They are all incredible ways to become a mother but they are not easy at all. They all come with their own journeys and it’s just not that easy.
There is no “why don’t you just—“ in ANY infertility situation. No just do IVF, no just adopt, no just wait and see, no just relax. Everything is hard, everything can end in heartbreak and everything is expensive. These types of comments invalidates our feelings to an extreme. Infertility is hard, it’s painful, it’s lonely, it’s a club you’re forced to join without your permission or even knowledge. And you’re not in it, until you’re in it.
What inspired you to share your infertility journey on social media?
I really wanted to share the good, the bad, and the ugly. I was really naive when I started treatment. Having seen lots of people sharing the incredible outcomes, but struggling to find anyone sharing the bad. My goal was to break down the taboo and talk about something that I feel we are told not to talk about. I honestly don’t think I would have done it if it wasn’t for being in lockdown, and actually National Infertility Awareness Week marks 2 years since I shared my first post on this topic.
I felt like Instagram was a safe place where I could just talk and didn’t have to see anyone, I could just write, and I found that really therapeutic to write about my feelings and emotions. When my page started to grow and the messages started coming in to say by sharing my journey I was helping others it made it all feel so much more important.
I remember when I was searching for someone to make me feel like I wasn’t alone. Someone who was feeling how I was. Now being able to be that person for so many Incredible warriors feels amazing. I always say if I am just able to help one person feel less alone then I would be happy, but to know I’m helping hundreds if not thousands that just blows my mind. By sharing my pain and heartbreak and knowing it’s helped someone else, it helps me and I really feel like I have channeled my pain into a purpose.
Tell us about your Fertility Diary!
I searched for ages for a simple fertility diary where I could keep notes of each cycle but without having the pressure of completing it everyday. I wanted to be able to look back and see how far I had come with everything all in one place. This is where ‘The Fertility Diary’ was born. It is a simple and easy to navigate diary for all the important dates. Whether you are just starting to track your cycles, taking medication to induce ovulation, going through IUI or IVF this diary is for you. I have filled the diary with quotes to keep you going on the hard days. It is basically like a little friend to hold your half and help you through the rollercoaster of trying to conceive!
We want to massively thank Tara for sharing her journey with us.
Below we have linked some useful websites that may aid those who are currently struggling with infertility.