Chasing Motherhood

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Guest Blog – Frances’ Story ‘Defining Mum’

Guest Blog – Frances’ Story ‘Defining Mum’

“To love and be loved by you is a privilege I am eternally grateful for and each and every time you wrap your arms around me and tell me so, you give me the only confirmation I will ever need that I am Mum.” Today I’m honoured to share an extract from a recent blog post written by Frances, a wonderful Mum I met recently as we both talked on BBC Radio 5 Live about our alternative routes to parenthood,…

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Guest Blog – Ally from HalfOfMe Podcast

Guest Blog – Ally from HalfOfMe Podcast

I’m Ally and I’m donor conceived. When I found this out in my late twenties, there were so few resources for people like me, so few voices that echoed my experience. This is why I now like to share my story – talking about donor conception lifts the shame off of something that has been shrouded in secrecy for decades. In the processing of my news, I often wondered what my parents went through. Since then I’ve sought out voices…

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Guest Blog – IVF@Work

Guest Blog – IVF@Work

The HFEA reports that 1 in 6 couple are affected by fertility issues. This isn’t a negligible figure by any stretch of the imagination. It affects everyone regardless of how much money you have, how popular and beautiful you are, which country you live in or what social circles you move in. It has no boundaries. I didn’t want to be one of these 1 in 6 statistics; nobody does. But I was; and so was my husband and like the…

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Breaking The Silence – Dealing With Fertility Struggles Whilst At Work

Breaking The Silence – Dealing With Fertility Struggles Whilst At Work

With the majority of those experiencing fertility struggles being actively employed, how is there so much silence about these issues within the workplace? I’m exploring what can be done to change this, drawing on my experiences from both sides of the fence… From an employee perspective, I struggled to cope with the all-consuming nature of treatment and the prospect of not fulfilling my lifelong dream to start a family. The endless disappointments and devastating loss hugely affected my mental health…

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Sophie’s Story

Sophie’s Story

As a midwife, I knew that birth and death walked alongside each other. Having seen first hand the babies that entered the world with a silence, still nothing could prepare me to say goodbye to my own babies. I had to give birth to two babies, knowing that there would be no chance for them to live. That they would be so premature that no amount of medical intervention could save them. I was giving birth to death.  This is…

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Ellie’s Story

Ellie’s Story

Our first baby was conceived after we had been trying almost 2 years and I had started clomid. The first cycle didn’t work but on cycle 2 I got a very early positive pregnancy test.  I had never so much as a sniff of a second line before. I was elated. I thought we had got away with it. 2 days later however I was crunched over in pain on the sofa. This wasn’t normal. I was scared. We rang…

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Jade & Will’s Story

Jade & Will’s Story

24th March 2018 “The Beast from the East”; the unseasonal spring snow. It fluttered to the pavement in thick flourishes, burying the daffodils and the freshly cut grass. It was almost March, the hint of Spring was supposed to be teetering on the breeze. Instead transport creaked to a stop and street lights wavered in the white fog. We held each other and looked out of the window in disbelief. I squeezed him tight as we looked down once more…

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Kelly & Lee’s Story

Kelly & Lee’s Story

In our seven years of trying to start our family, we’ve suffered three devastating losses. Each completely different, each utterly heartbreaking. After two and half years of trying naturally, pleading with the GP and finally having a years worth of invasive tests and operations, we fell pregnant – our only natural pregnancy. It was Thursday 9th July 2015, 2 weeks before our first IVF appointment. We were newly engaged and planning our wedding and that day, we were the luckiest…

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Vicky & Ric’s Story

Vicky & Ric’s Story

I met and then married my amazing husband, Ric on the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond 5 years ago. I still remember his speech at the wedding and him mentioning hopefully us having a family one day. If only then we knew then how hard that was going to be. We started trying to conceive after our wedding and I guess given we were both in our mid-30’s age wasn’t on our side. After 6 months we visited our GP…

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Lisa & Ryan’s Story

Lisa & Ryan’s Story

Thinking back to when we saw that second pink line on our First Response test, I still feel butterflies. We just could not believe it and were just so over the moon. The evening before we tested, we had taken our beloved dog, Teddy, for a walk and I spotted a shooting star in the sky. It felt like that shooting star was a sign to us and when the test was positive we truly believed our miracle was making…

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Sarah & Jonathan’s Story

Sarah & Jonathan’s Story

My first experience of Baby Loss Awareness Week almost passed me by. It arrived a little over three months after the loss of my son, Harris, and I remember seeing one of our beautiful Edinburgh buildings lit up in pink and blue one night, but I didn’t know why.  Just a few days later, and while going through a second pregnancy loss, I noticed photos of candles appearing on social media. One after another, people lit them up and shared…

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Baby Loss Awareness Week

Baby Loss Awareness Week

‪Starting today and over the coming week, to mark #BabyLossAwarenessWeek, I’ll be sharing a guest blog each day, written by women honouring memories of their babies – sharing stories to create greater awareness & education about baby loss. ‬ I want to thank each and every one of these women for so bravely putting their darkest moments down on paper to help others, as Sarah Roberston says, “my story is one I still feel compelled to keep sharing if only to let…

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Baby Loss Awareness Week – My Story

Baby Loss Awareness Week – My Story

Many of you will be aware that October is Baby Loss Awareness Month, something very close to my heart. Quite simply put – miscarriage needs to be spoken about, awareness needs to be raised and people need to realise that they’re not on their own. I had no idea until it happened to me just how common it was. When I started my DefiningMum blog I intended to write my whole story, chapter by chapter. I had it all mapped…

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Rachel’s Story

Rachel’s Story

When I was in my late teens, I had always said to my Mum that if I am single when I hit 40 I was going to have a baby on my own using a sperm donor. I knew nothing about how it worked or the ins and outs at that stage, but it was something I was always considering.  Fast forward a few years, aged 26 and single (again!) I started to think about this more and thought to…

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Guest Blog – How to Help Your Kids Cope with Unexpected Questions from Classmates – Jana Rupnow

Guest Blog – How to Help Your Kids Cope with Unexpected Questions from Classmates – Jana Rupnow

I am honoured to be sharing a guest blog post, written for @DefiningMum by the amazing @JanaRupnowLPC, a licensed professional counsellor specialising in fertility and family building. In the timely theme of “back-to-school”, Jana provides some advice for supporting our children to cope with unexpected questions that may innocently arise in the school environment. It’s an important stage of development for our children, a stage where we aren’t able to physically be by their side, to protect them and answer…

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#CryingShame – Fertility Network UK Campaign

#CryingShame – Fertility Network UK Campaign

It’s a #CryingShame that those experiencing infertility often feel they need to hide their pain and ‘put on a brave face’ due to a lack of awareness and support.  Many of us have come across people (usually someone lucky enough not to have experienced infertility) showing a complete lack of understanding and empathy. They’re unable to recognise the magnitude of what you are feeling because it isn’t visible or tangible. It made me feel as though my feelings were an…

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Eloise’s Story

Eloise’s Story

My husband and I had been married for 3 years before we started trying for a baby.  We both always wanted children and used to talk in depth about what they’d be called and what they’d be like. The excitement was electric. We almost wanted to wait to start, not just because of our careers, but so that we had something to look forward to.  Circa May 2015 we thought: right, now is the time to get going! Feelings of…

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Fertility Support Saturday – Instagram Initiative

Fertility Support Saturday – Instagram Initiative

I’m a big believer in the power of sharing – as therapy for the one sharing but also as a way to make others feel less alone. It encourages understanding, changes perceptions and, most importantly, gives hope. Things that are so important to help transform what can be a lonely world for those experiencing infertility.  You may not know it, but there is actually a welcoming community and platform for sharing and support sitting right in the palm of your…

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IVF is NOT simply a choice

IVF is NOT simply a choice

I’ve had a bee in my bonnet recently, ever since reading some highly insensitive, misinformed comments. The first in response to a fellow blogger’s IVF update post, followed by some ignorant comments in response to a celebrity couple announcing the start of their IVF journey. Reading them left me speechless, but have now inspired this post which (as it’s mostly a lack of understanding that can cause hurtful comments) will hopefully educate a few people along the way!  Some say…

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Do I Regret Not Trying Again With My Own Eggs?

Do I Regret Not Trying Again With My Own Eggs?

Regret – Feeling sad, repentant or disappointed over something one has done or failed to do. I’m asked often if I regret not trying again with my own eggs.  I can honestly say that I don’t feel one ounce of sadness, repentance or disappointment about choosing to use donor eggs to have my family. I’ve never regretted not having one last roll of the dice with my eggs. How could I feel anything but happiness when I have our three beautiful…

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Infertility Grief IS real

Infertility Grief IS real

Infertility grief IS real. It wasn’t until I listened to @janarupnowlpc that I truly acknowledged this – it validated everything I’d felt. Many of us have come across someone (usually someone lucky enough not to have experienced infertility) who shows a complete lack of understanding and empathy. They’re unable to recognise the magnitude of what you are feeling because the loss isn’t visible & tangible. It made me feel as though my feelings were an over-reaction, that I wasn’t normal for…

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Redefining my vision of a Mum…

Redefining my vision of a Mum…

It wasn’t a simple choice based on odds alone, it was a complex emotional decision that took time. I realise now that one blocker for me was worrying about what others might think – the main worry being “would people think I wasn’t the ‘real’ Mum?” This stemmed from my deeply engrained societal view that creating a family was solely down to shared genetics. Based on my life experiences and limited exposure I’d been programmed to believe that this idyllic…

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Sarah’s Story – Telling the Child

Sarah’s Story – Telling the Child

I’m Sarah, a 46 year old mum to a 6 year old son, conceived in northern Cyprus by anonymous egg donation. When my husband and I initially embarked on the donor conception part of our journey, we were adamant that we would not tell our child how he had been conceived.  However, as soon as I got pregnant and the dream of having a child became a reality, my thoughts began to change.  We’d told my parents, my brother and my…

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The Personal Impact of Fertility in the Workplace – My Story

The Personal Impact of Fertility in the Workplace – My Story

Dealing with fertility struggles whilst trying to maintain a career is one of the biggest challenges I have ever faced. As a HR professional, I can honestly say that I would have struggled to truly comprehend the effect that facing infertility could have on an individual’s time and emotions before going through it myself. I know I wouldn’t have been alone in this lack of understanding. Until it happened to me, I never considered how it could totally change my…

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