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My son Miles turned 3 last weekend. We had a monster truck-themed party with all his friends. Everywhere I turned, tiny hands covered in fabric paint and pizza sauce waved wildly in the air and clutched at their parents’ (formerly) clean clothes. Between the chats with mom friends and smiles from my little guy, I tried to take a few moments to let this day really sink in. I thought to myself, “Look around! This is really happening!” Because for so long, I didn’t know or believe if it was even possible. My heart was full and deeply grateful.
Just as my son is turning 3, a son whose whole existence I owe to the process of IVF, I learned that the very first baby born from that same process, Louise Brown, is turning 40 this week. I can’t help but feel a sense of connection with this woman, who is only a few years younger than I am, and who, even if passively, became a symbol of what can be for generations of mothers and children.
I feel a connection with her mother, Lesley, whose powerful desire to be a mother led her to try something no one had ever done before. Even though many had done IVF before me, it was still scary and hard, and I'm so grateful to her for being the first brave mother to take that step into the unknown.
I felt lifted and encouraged by you, the community of people out there, most of whom I’ve never even met, who offered up kindness expecting nothing in return.
And I’ll keep speaking out, sharing my story and talking to moms and dads going through it so long as anyone asks. Because if there’s one thing I know, even this far on the other side of it, it’s that this this journey can be a long and unpredictable roller coaster ride.
The highs and lows are so extreme. The only way I could get through them was through the love and support of others. My husband and my family were of course key, but more than that, I felt lifted and encouraged by you, the community of people out there, most of whom I’ve never even met, who offered up kindness expecting nothing in return. Talking about infertility. Talking about hormones. Talking about the side effects and the doctor visits and the waiting rooms! That’s what got me through. I want to be a voice (not a whisper!) of love and understanding to anyone out there trying to become a parent.
So, what I can say now, with both Miles and Louise on my mind, is something I’ve said before: I haven’t forgotten. Yes, I am one of the lucky ones. Yes, my son is happy and healthy and keeps me so busy I sometimes forget to take stock of those precious moments like I did at his party. But the crazy journey of IVF is still with me, and on my mind all the time. And as a result, so are all the parents-to-be out there who are trying and fighting like hell to conceive. Remember that it’s OK not to be OK every day. Just don’t give up.