One thing that’s struck me about the whole infertility situation is how much humour people have, even when the shit hits the fan. This couldn’t be truer than a podcast I came across earlier this year called ‘BFN’, hosted by two friends, Emma and Gabby.
People like me
I remember reading about it on a blog when I was on holiday in Lanzarote, trying to sleep but struggling. When I started to listen, I couldn’t believe it. Here were two women, my age from London. Journalists like me, speaking with such honesty and humour about their own IVF struggles. It was just the company I needed that night. I binge-listened to all of them over the next few days. I couldn’t get enough.
There was another brilliant podcast I used to listen to – Matt and Doree’s Eggcellent Adventure – but they got pregnant about the same time my second IVF cycle failed, and I couldn’t bear to hear all about how happy they were. (Horrible to admit, I know. Of course I was pleased for them, but it’s quite a different kettle of fish listening to a podcast about pregnant folk when all you want to do is be pregnant too.) The beauty of this podcast though is these women could be my pals, they were so relatable. And best of all, funny.
A festive get-together
Emma and Gabby organised a BFN Christmas party at the beginning of December in Islington, London, and I managed to get a ticket. I didn’t know anyone there, except of course the hosts themselves, and I literally hate going into social situations like that. But I thought: why the bloody hell not? Infertility is lonely, and I wanted to be with people going through what I am. So I put on a dress, stuck some lippy on, and off I went.
And it couldn’t have been more fun. Everyone there was lovely. A bunch of thirty and forty-something women, all with their own stories to tell, many of whom knew no one there, like me. And what I realised is everyone’s IVF situation is different. I didn’t come across anyone with male factor issues. Some had ‘unexplained’ infertility, others had no problems getting pregnant but miscarried. There was someone with PCOS who’d spent three days in hospital with OHSS, and a woman about to become a mother through surrogacy.
Finding your tribe
Going out that night made me feel like I wasn’t alone. And, because of Emma and Gabby, I have joined Instagram again after a massive hiatus. They told me there was a brilliant TTC community on there, and all the people I met that night were swapping their Insta deets. ‘But I don’t want everyone I know, knowing my business,’ I said. ‘Just set up a separate TTC account,’ they countered. It took me a while to get round to it, but now I’m on and getting involved. I realise now there’s no need to go through this alone.
So thank you ladies for being so fabulous, and bringing a load of us together like that. And don’t worry. I will keep listening if you both get pregnant! It’s going to happen.