My journey to motherhood was a 4 year roller coaster, full of heartache, tears and loss. My husband, Zach and I had always talked about having children, even before we got engaged. We both knew we wanted at least two and were on the same page that we would start trying for a baby when we really felt ready. Well, after we had been married for two years, both had great jobs, and bought our first house, we finally felt like the time was right to start our family. The first few months of trying were carefree and, well, fun! Then, after we hit month six, and I still wasn’t pregnant, I started to get nervous. What if there was something wrong with me? Was I even ovulating? Maybe our timing was just off? I went out and bought a handful of ovulation tests and sure enough, I was definitely ovulating. So, we kept trying. We tried for a little over a year before I decided that we needed help. I contacted my doctor for a physical and blood work and Zach went to get tested as well. Everything came back normal for both of us. It was relieving, but also incredibly frustrating because we still didn’t know why we weren’t getting pregnant. A few months into all of our testing, I was feeling a little off and realized that it was around the time I should be getting my period. On a whim (and because I owned every pregnancy test known to man), I decided to take a pregnancy test and just like that, I was pregnant! I was shocked! After almost a year and half, there were the two pink lines I had been dreaming about for so long! I took about 40 more tests over the course of two days and planned a cute way to tell Zach. I bought the book “Dude, You’re Gonna Be a Dad”, wrapped it up and anxiously waited for him to get home to give it to him. At first, he was confused, but then realized what was happening, and was so excited. We were both on just so overjoyed that it was finally happening for us!
It was two weeks later when I knew something was wrong. We were at my cousin’s wedding and I had been cramping all day. I went to the bathroom and started spotting. By the next day, I was officially miscarrying. I felt numb. How could this be happening to me? I remember going to Zach, sobbing, and just saying “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry” over and over again. I felt like my body had let us both down. I felt like I had let him down as a partner. It was one of the hardest moments of my life. He or she was my first baby. He or she made me a mom.
We were devastated, but we also had hope. We had gotten pregnant on our own! So, we kept trying. Well, after a few more months, we still weren’t pregnant and I knew that it was time to find a fertility doctor to help us. I found New Direction Fertility Centers online, was inspired by their reviews and loved the fact that the doctor there, Dr. Amols, had gone through infertility treatments with his wife to conceive his own children. I called and got an appointment for the next month, which was the earliest they could get me in. Our appointment with Dr. Amols was amazing. He sat with us for almost an hour and really listened to our concerns, learned about us as people and made suggestions based on what worked best for us. The best part of our meeting was that we were able to start a fertility treatment that same day! We signed the paperwork for an IUI, I started medication, and away we went! We also found out at that meeting that we were 100% out of pocket for all fertility treatments and medicine, as neither of our insurance companies covered anything. It was a huge blow to us, but we knew how important it was for us to have children, so we started saving every penny, just in case.
The IUI ramp up and procedure was straightforward and pretty painless, minus the needles! Two weeks post IUI, just like that, I was pregnant again! It had worked! This was it! I just KNEW that this was going to be our take home baby! We had just needed some assistance to get pregnant. We went to our first ultrasound with so much hope. We couldn’t wait to see our wiggly little guy or girl. But…there was nothing. No baby. Just an empty sac. It was a blighted ovum. The fertilized egg attached, but the embryo never developed. We were defeated. Dr. Amols, on the other hand, was still very optimistic and assured us that this was just a fluke and many couples miscarry, so we trudged forward with another IUI. This one would be different we thought. This would get us our rainbow baby. IUI number two was also seamless and easy. Zach was out of town, so I went alone. I remember thinking to myself, my husband isn’t even going to be in the room when I get pregnant! How funny is that?! And then, two weeks later, I saw those two little pink lines yet again.
We went into our ultrasound appointment holding our breath. And again…no heartbeat. What was going on? We sat down with Dr. Amols and made a game plan. He had a suspicion that there was an issue with the quality of my eggs (due to our miscarriages), but there isn’t any type of test they can run specifically for that. He advised, since we were paying out of pocket, to forgo the cost of another IUI and go straight to IVF with PGS testing. PGS testing is when they biopsy the embryos and test to see if they are compatible with life. If I did have an egg quality issue, this type of testing would be imperative to be able to implant a healthy baby. We started the retrieval preparation just after Christmas. I remember getting my huge box of medication ($3,000 worth of medication to be specific) and thinking, it’s like a late Christmas gift! IVF comes with daily shots, multiple weekly doctors’ appointments, and crazy hormones. It was intense, but I was progressing nicely and Dr. Amols was estimating that we would get over 20 eggs! Well, after my retrieval, we found out that we got 33 eggs, 28 were mature, and 24 fertilized. We were ecstatic with these numbers! Then, the wait began. You have to wait to see how the embryos develop for five days. Some of them will stop developing/splitting, others will split incorrectly, and then some will become perfect little embabies. After five days our babies were cut in half and we were left with twelve to send off for PGS testing. We were optimistic, but also were terrified that we would end up with no embryos left. After an incredibly long ten days, we found out we had six healthy embryos! We were so incredibly happy! Six was an amazing number. Dr. Amols also informed us that due to the drastic decrease in our embryos during the process that he was positive that our fertility issues were due to egg quality. Over 75% of my eggs were faulty in some way and if we had not done PGS testing, I possibly would had to miscarry six more times to get one good, quality embryo, even with IVF.
We decided to transfer two embryos in April. We had so much hope that this time would be different and we would get rainbow twins! The transfer went smoothly and I cried as I watched my babies be placed back in their home on the monitor. I knew I was pregnant after a few days. This was my fourth pregnancy and I was pretty good about knowing my early symptoms. We went into our ultrasound with guarded hearts. We had never had a good outcome after an ultrasound appointment. This time, it was different. There, on the screen, was not only one beating heart, but two! I had waited almost 4 years to see those little hearts flickering away. It was surreal and magical and everything I had hoped for. They told us then that they had implanted a boy and girl. Boy/Girl twins! God is good! We were so happy and were so excited to see our little ones again at our 8 week appointment. We had a blissful two weeks of nursery planning and thinking of names for our girl and boy.
Our 8 week appointment is a day that I will never forget. We started the ultrasound and before Dr. Amols could say anything, I saw it. A third heartbeat. One of our embryos had split and we had identical twins, as well as our third singleton! Triplets! Dr. Amols was automatically concerned about baby C’s heartbeat and was not optimistic that he, or she, was going to make it. So, we decided to just enjoy our time with the our big three and dream about life as a family of five. We drove home giggling and imaging how we’d fit three car seats in our cars!
We went into our 9 week ultrasound optimistic, but also apprehensive, knowing that, most likely, we would only see two heartbeats on the screen. We started the ultrasound and there, flickering away on the screen, was only one little heart. Our twins, our two girls, were gone. Dr. Amols was almost positive that they were conjoined, so when baby C’s heart stopped, it affected baby B. We were pretty devastated, as we had expected to at least have two babies, but were also so joyous to still have our little, healthy rainbow. How do you stay happy for your surviving triplet, when you’re miscarrying your other two precious babes.
The rest of my pregnancy was easy, uneventful and wonderful! I loved being pregnant and tried to soak up every single second with our little man. I had dreamed about carrying a baby for so long and was just so grateful for the opportunity. I loved every moment of heartburn, pimples, cellulite, backaches and food aversions!
On January 11th, 2018, Jaxsen Jayce was brought into the world and he was perfect. His first name means “God has been gracious” and his middle name means “a healing”. Our rainbow baby is only here because of God’s grace and he has healed our hearts after years of disappointment, heartbreak and the loss of our five other babies. I truly believe the verse: “So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while”. Our miracle baby boy is that joy and I would go through every trial over and over again for the chance to be his Mama. I am also happy to report that after 8 months with our baby boy, we decided to add to our family! We did another embryo transfer in September (this time with only one embryo!) and got pregnant again. Our baby girl is due in May of this year and we are so ecstatic and grateful for the chance to soon be a family of four! NEVER, EVER give up!
Not only did I get Jaxsen out of the trial of infertility and miscarriage, but I also found an amazing Instagram community of women who were facing the same struggles that I was. This network of women inspired me to create an online community that could connect women who were dealing with infertility, miscarriage, or adoption, so that they would feel less alone and isolated during their journey to motherhood. The TTC Tribe was created and we now are able to connect thousands of women every day that are dealing with infertility and share their stories.
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 perspective and alter my state of mind, so much so that it had a direct impact on my motivation at work.
Infertility is an illness, it’s not visible and often kept secret but it can be life-altering for an individual. It can cast life’s hopes and dreams into doubt and I even questioned my whole purpose in life if I couldn’t be a Mum. Trying to process something as huge as this can be incredibly difficult and impactful in other aspects of life – particularly at work.
Not only is there the enormity of the emotions involved, there is also a real stigma surrounding infertility – it’s something people don’t talk about, a vicious cycle, as the reasons that people don’t talk about it only fuels the silence. We don’t tell anyone as we fear we are the only ones going through it, we fear others won’t understand our feelings. In the workplace we fear that we may be discriminated against for openly admitting we want to have children, which consequently results in time away from the workplace.
What’s needed is to break the silence, encourage understanding and to put some practical steps in place to provide much needed support – something that the Fertility Network UK are hoping to do with the launch of their ‘Fertility in the Workplace’ initiative.
To support this initiative, I wanted to highlight the impact fertility struggles can have on an individual the workplace by sharing my own story. There can be a real lack of understanding amongst those who haven’t faced the prospect of not being able to have a family and by sharing I hope to show just how impactful it can be. Through my Defining Mum blog others have shared their stories with me – with some on extended sick leave whilst going through treatment, some like me have reduced their hours to cope with the strain, and some have even gone to the extent of quitting their jobs. This is not just a minor illness people find easy to accept and live with, it can be potentially life-changing and lead to a whole host of complex emotions.
April 2014 – I gave my all in an assessment day for the next ‘step up’ in my career to a development role. I wanted a career in HR, one that would eventually take me to a senior level and I hoped this was a company that I could progress and develop within. They were looking for a future successor, someone with potential that could become an HR leader. I was beyond excited when I was offered the job, I accepted right away and started counting down the 3 months until I would start.
May 2014 – Just a few weeks later I was diagnosed with Premature Ovarian Failure, told our chances of conceiving with my eggs were small and that if I wanted to have a genetic child we would need to start IVF straight away, before my ovarian reserve ran out and I went through the menopause.
Suddenly, in that moment, my whole perspective changed. Previously, I thought that I could have both a successful career and a family, no problem. Before hearing this news, I would have happily waited on starting a family whilst I began to grow my career with my new organisation. I thought that when the time felt right, we’d try, fall pregnant, I’d go on maternity leave and then go back to work. This all changed when suddenly I faced the prospect of not being able to have what I thought was half of my ideal life – the family. Now I realised it actually wasn’t an equal split; the family was ALL I now wanted and all I could think about. Yes, I wanted to feel fulfilled and successful in my career, but more than anything I couldn’t imagine my life without being a Mum.
I knew I needed to tell my new employer, particularly as my treatment was due to commence the same week I started the job. I had an overwhelming and probably illogical feeling that in telling them I was about to go through IVF, I had been somehow been dishonest in my interview. Yes, I hadn’t said openly that I wanted more than anything to be a Mum but at the time I didn’t think getting pregnant would be a problem for me. Let’s face it, who would feel comfortable saying this in an interview without fear of being discriminated against?! In the position I now found myself in, I felt that by telling them in my interview that I wanted progression and a career I had misled them in some way, almost giving an impression that family wasn’t on the cards in the near future. I know it’s not how you should feel but this is exactly how I did feel.
I started the job, eager to impress and hoped that I could do it all alongside my first IVF cycle. I was thankful to have been given the flexibility to attend appointments but I constantly felt guilty as I tried to sneak into the office unnoticed after a rushed 1hr20 commute post appointment from the clinic. Meetings had to fit around the many appointments whilst I tried to build networks and make good first impressions. Rather than it being exciting, motivating and energising – it drained me, work became unimportant and trivial. My usual love of building connections and relationships had disappeared as all I wanted to do was retreat and be on my own, consumed by my situation (not even considering what the hormones being pumped through my body were doing to me.)
I sensed my manager was eager for me to spend more time with my client group, to be more visible and proactive – usually not a problem for me but all my energy was taken up by my fertility struggle. I’d lost myself and felt I was constantly letting them down, unable to be the confident person they hired when I was blissfully unaware of my situation. Everywhere I looked I was met with guilt. Guilt for not being ever present due to the many appointments. Guilt due to not being fully present mentally. Guilt as I knew that if this cycle didn’t work then I would feel even worse. Guilt because if this cycle did work then I would not be present due to maternity leave. Obviously, the latter was the guilt I would have been most comfortable with, but still, it was one of the overwhelming complex emotions I experienced during this time.
Six weeks into my new job I found out that, against the odds, I was pregnant. With what I thought was the hard part over I began to relax, before being cruelly knocked for six when I suffered a missed miscarriage. After having been in and out of work for IVF I was now facing time off for my pregnancy loss. I vividly remember suddenly having to leave in floods of tears when I began to bleed and I was just too emotional to go back into the office. Overall my miscarriage was drawn out over a long 3 weeks, finally resulting in needing to have the pregnancy surgically removed. I was thankful for the flexibility I had been afforded so far but I began to sense the goodwill was wearing thin. Soon after my surgery I was asked when I would be back in the office and reminded of the amount of time I hadn’t been around, even though mentally I was nowhere near ready I felt unable to take any more time off.
With my confidence now at an all-time low, I embarked on back-to-back IVF cycles and constantly felt the need to explain my absences, particularly as important first impressions were being affected. My manager was desperately trying to motivate me by challenging me, trying to get back the fire that she saw on my assessment day, but that only pushed me further away and for the first time in my life I felt I just couldn’t perform my job. I felt like a failure.
Something needed to give and so I went to see my GP who signed me off for 2 weeks with stress and anxiety. Having never had a day off for anything other than minor illnesses, these feelings consumed me. I was no longer the person that skipped into the assessment day smiling and full of confidence, my infertility had changed me and left me a shadow of my former self.
I even considered leaving as I wasn’t able to do both – put everything into my fertility treatments and be the person my manager wanted me to be. I wanted to take a sabbatical but due to my short length of service this wasn’t an option. I was offered and nearly took a career break which would effectively have meant resigning – I was so close to doing so but for some reason I just couldn’t, particularly as financially I needed to work now more than ever to privately fund our treatment. Eventually, I found some comfort in seeing a Counsellor, accessed through my workplace Employee Assistance Programme, which helped me with managing my emotions whilst remaining at work. I realised that what I desperately needed was balance, to allow me to feel like I was giving my eggs the very best chance…to ultimately have no regrets. I finally made the decision to reduce to a 4-day week, and eventually took a sideways move to a role that wasn’t in the development pipeline – to allow someone else to take that succession step. I couldn’t help but feel like I had let others down and failed in some way, it was hard to let the opportunity go but I just knew I wasn’t in the right place mentally. My priorities had totally changed.
In the space of just a few months, just when I thought I was taking a leap forwards into a job that would progress my career, my infertility made me feel like I had taken 10 steps backwards. Feeling very much alone, I believed that by letting infertility stop me from progressing in my career I had failed. I now see I had to accept that I wasn’t able to do it all, my focus needed to be becoming a Mum so that I had no regrets. On reflection, although it stopped me progressing in the way I had planned, it changed me as a person for the better and made me more confident with what I ultimately wanted from life.
After 5 unsuccessful IVF cycles, I’m now a stay-at-home Mum to three girls under the age of three, all thanks to IVF and Egg Donation. Going through fertility struggles has made me realise just how precious life is and what is important to me for a fulfilled life. I am now taking an extended career break to raise the girls – after everything I went through to get them, I just don’t want to miss a thing. I started to write my blog just a few months ago and in doing so have found a new purpose. Aside from being the best Mum I can be, my aspiration is now to help others who are experiencing fertility struggles, to change perceptions, encourage understanding and, most of all, to give hope.
When it comes to dealing with Fertility in the Workplace, not everyone will react in the way that I did, some will find work a helpful distraction but often work is another stressor that can become just too much. It doesn’t help that currently there is a huge disparity and inconsistency around how people are treated, some are given complete flexibility whilst others are given none. Many have no idea where to find information on entitlement and lack confidence to ask questions and seek help where there is such perceived stigma. Being a HR Professional myself, I have seen how managers can also lack the understanding and capability to best support team members. This is why I’m delighted to hear that FNUK are launching policy guidance and support for the workplace. Supporting an employee through something as personally challenging as infertility can only lead to greater engagement, productivity and loyalty, whilst helping to attract talent – why wouldn’t your organisation want to embrace this and become a ‘Fertility Friendly Employer’? Head over to the Fertility Network UK to find out more.
We are all guilty of making assumptions, imagining that something is happening or going to happen without any proof whatsoever. We put two and two together to make five and believe a certain ‘reality’, especially if it is considered to be ‘the norm’.
I see this so often when it comes to fertility, where it is assumed that it is acceptable to comment on someone’s future family prospects, without any knowledge of what might really be going on behind closed doors. This assumed wisdom can make situations awkward, placing added pressure on someone who may be struggling to conceive. When an assumption is wrong the individual may then feel the need to either agree (by lying) or to correct whatever the assumption has actually got wrong.
When it comes to fertility or family situations, maybe just take a moment to think…don’t assume. Perhaps there is a different story to what you assume – one that you don’t know about.
You don’t choose infertility. By making assumptions about something so very personal it may suggest that they have actively made a choice – to put a career above having children for example. It may potentially put them in an unwanted situation where they have to uncomfortably lie and go along with the assumption. This avoids them having to explain a situation that they may prefer to keep to themselves or share in their own time and way. When it comes to discussing starting a family, only the individual can lead this conversation. If they want to talk about it they may feel more comfortable to do so if assumptions haven’t already been made.
Remember, behind closed doors, things may not always be quite as they seem.
Here are just a few that spring to mind – please share any more that you have with me!
Last week I sat in the Doctors waiting room with Eska and Lena. I had the usual comment of “Ooh, you’ve got your hands full 🙄” before someone else asked “Do twins run in the family?”. Quite an intrusive question I thought, but also one that suggests they were unaware that many twins born today are a result of fertility treatment. I’m not sure they realised that they were unknowingly asking about their conception! I answered, as I always do, with ‘No, they are here with thanks to fertility treatment – we actually underwent IVF’. With this response, I couldn’t believe how it opened up a conversation – all 9 people waiting for the Dr actually joined in! They became curious about how twins resulted from IVF and I quite enjoyed educating them on the wonders of modern science!
It got me thinking about the opportunities that can arise in an everyday situation where, if we feel comfortable enough, we can start a conversation about infertility and by doing so raise awareness. I never expected that morning to share some of our story with complete strangers but I came away feeling like I had gone some-way towards helping them understand that fertility treatment and IVF is completely normal and so very many of us go through it.
I’d love to hear how you have taken unexpected opportunities to speak out and share stories about fertility struggles, no matter where you are in your fertility journey. Or maybe you don’t feel comfortable doing so – which is absolutely fine. In the midst of my struggles I’m not sure I could have coherently spoken out without ending up in floods of tears!
It’s a vicious cycle– nobody talks about infertility and so you worry about people’s reactions, and because you think that people will react negatively you don’t say anything, therefore perpetuating the cycle.
On top of feeling like a failure (and that we are the only ones going through it) we also worry about perceptions, what people will think, what they might say – after all, everyone seems to have an opinion. How are we supposed to react to them when it’s so raw and such a personal, emotional experience? Here are just a few reasons my followers shared with me as to why they don’t feel able to open up…
“We worry others won’t agree with the process. The fear of having to justify it.”
“My Grandpa made a comment that my adopted cousins weren’t real carriers of the family name”
“Everyone seems to have an opinion. I just can’t think on my feet to respond to people’s comments”
“In case we say the wrong thing”
“Not being able to think on my feet to respond to people’s comments, instead I carry it around and mull it over”
“If it doesn’t work then I’ve got to share the loss with everyone too”
“Others will have so much hope for our IVF that it will hurt doubly or more if it doesn’t work”
In my experience there were three different types of reactions. The ‘generational’ reactions, those who say totally the wrong thing, and those who react with (sometimes unwanted) curiosity.
Starting with the generational reactions. We have to remember that the whole concept of IVF (never mind something like donor conception) is only 40 years old, it is still so new for those that were having children with no medical intervention way before this. In the past if you couldn’t conceive you just wouldn’t have children, you may carry the pain around with you and not tell a soul. When I launched my blog, someone told me “Back in the 70’s it was something you never talked to anyone about, you were expected to accept your situation”. I don’t know about you, but I just cannot imagine having to just ‘get on with’ a life without children when it’s all you ever wanted, and never tell a soul about it.
Recently, my Mum told me that she worried about telling my Nan about our struggle to conceive, for no reason other than she worried that she might not fully understand and may have a view that things should happen as nature intended. Not only was she telling her about us needing to use IVF but also that we may need to use donor eggs. Thankfully, she totally understood and was hugely supportive, but it doesn’t surprise me that there is a still a misunderstanding amongst people.
A good friend of mine recently contacted me to ask for advice on telling her in-laws. She is being open with her son about his donor conception but knows that her in-laws “are very old fashioned and just wouldn’t understand. They’d say things like ‘so, he’s not yours then’?” With responses such as that you can see why we don’t speak out!
Often these generational responses come from a place of ignorance, in these cases sharing some general information about infertility such as letting them know that is actually a common issue and affects nearly 1 in 6 couples might help. Sometimes however, it isn’t easy to change minds on something that is so unfamiliar – you have to remember that opinions can be hard to change, especially where there is a lack of understanding. It is also important to remember that you are not responsible for changing their minds. It may be wise to limit how much you share, if this is the case. I believe that these reactions will get easier over time, as generations move on there will be a shift, but it still doesn’t change the difficulties of speaking out now.
Personally, what I found most difficult were the (mostly) well-meaning responses, with useless bits of advice that people like to try to give. Those who would respond with some assumed medical knowledge based on no experience whatsoever and those that would tell you about someone who ‘just relaxed’ after IVF and got pregnant. I remember getting the odd comment that would rattle me such as:
“I know someone that was struggling, they went on holiday, relaxed and just fell pregnant!”
“Did you know a miscarriage can make you more fertile, so it could just happen naturally now”
Through gritted teeth I’d think… Yes, of course, that’s what I need to do – relax! And I’m sure the miscarriage I have just been through will totally resolve the problem with my rather lacking egg reserve! I wished that people would just think before they spoke.
Although comments such as these can be very upsetting, what I did find however was that the majority came from a good place. As it is something people aren’t used to hearing about, (because we don’t talk about it!) being open about something such as this can make others feel uncomfortable, especially if infertility isn’t something they have come across before. Human nature can mean that we automatically want to fix things, and so we say the first thing that comes to mind to offer a ‘solution’. We shouldn’t necessarily feel the need to apologise for making people feel uncomfortable though, raising awareness can only help reduce this feeling. You can respond to these types of comments by reminding them you are focusing on the advice of fertility experts and that what you need is for them to listen to you, not try to solve the problem. This then allows for the conversation to end if you so wish, or for you to then expand and educate them about the fertility advice you are following.
The third type of response I found was curiosity. I found some people were fascinated and, in wanting to know more, they would fire questions about how it all works. This was a reaction I actually didn’t mind. Curiosity can be a great response and one I would encourage – it means we can open up a meaningful conversation and actually educate people about fertility struggles. Without this, there is no way we will break this vicious cycle. When you are facing fertility struggles you almost become an ‘expert’ on the subject, I know I self-‘taught’ myself about all things fertility related with hours of trawling through the internet. I believe that if you are able to help them understand a little more about what is involved both medically and emotionally, they will be able to support you better.
Throughout our journey I found that by choosing to be candid, I experienced many reactions. On the whole, I found that most people reacted positively and being prepared to respond to different types of reactions most definitely helped. Preparation still doesn’t take away the raw emotion that can easily take over when talking about such a personal journey, although I don’t believe this is a bad thing. Allowing people to see emotion can only emphasise the enormity of what you are going through – thus educating people that it isn’t just a ‘trivial’ thing.
As I always say, I’m not saying you have to talk about it, I want to say that you shouldn’t feel that you can’t talk about it, just because of an ignorant or misjudged reaction.
Everyone is different and will respond to reactions in their own way – no way is right or wrong. I’d encourage you to remember my previous posts on the Vicious Cycle of Infertility -you are not alone and you are not a failure. You have an opportunity to educate and raise awareness, don’t be afraid to correct people or open up a conversation – without this we won’t be able to break the silence and the taboo.