Why Special Me – for IVF Families? Why an IVF children’s book? |
About six years ago, I was in the same position a lot of IVF parents find themselves. Without warning, a regular, ordinary, rather boring, healthy 30 years of age - being told that I would need to undergo IVF to increase my chances of having a child, I did not consider writing a children’s book at that time – I guarantee!
My husband (or the “ball & chain” as I like to refer to him) and I chose to keep this time of our lives relatively private. I had seen the world comment and pass judgement on others who were undertaking the process, and I didn't want to have to deal with that, nor the anticipation, needles, drugs and invasive procedures at hand.
I remember vividly the emotions that flowed during this time; the disappointment, anger, sadness - at the hand I’d been dealt, even before the drugs were administered. I think a lot of IVF women can relate to that. I remember carrying an element of shame or embarrassment and this continued throughout the process, no matter how well I was treated by those in the IVF or medical industry. Feelings I don't want other women to be alone with. Why should we? Infertility is a medical condition, with a number of remedies, and IVF is just one of these.
As time crept on, I was one of the lucky ones. I fell pregnant, had a rather tumultuous 9 months, but delivered a healthy baby daughter - and all of it, as well as life made sense – new chaotic sense. In the throes of being a new parent, work and life - never any balance! I didn't have time or the need to revisit what I'd been through.
As my daughter grew older, I wanted to convey her arrival, without any explicit details or negativity – and in doing so, I eventually chose the truth.
My first attempt at “Special Me” was a collation of photographs of my baby girl with words that didn't even include IVF. It was loved by grandmas, but got some worthwhile scrapping by Doctor Virginia Lowe, Editor of Create A Kids Book. Which is exactly what “it” and I needed, and I got busy with life again.
Some years later I would run into an old friend Joy Holt who had rekindled her love of art and I was an instant fan of her work. After making her wait a couple of years, I came clean about my desire to write a book, starting with my IVF experience. As with all good friends, no matter how crazy the idea is, she jumped right on board, and that is how "Special Me - for IVF Families" came about.
Creating “Special Me” was a hectic rollercoaster, full of laughs and at times complete frustration, but certainly loads of fun! I highly recommend it.
Throughout the process we kept referring to “Special Me” as an IVF children’s book, for it is written as such. But on its release it actually appears to resonate with IVF parents; specifically mums.
That there is the most wonderful feeling! Creating something that generates such an emotional response – it’s something that I don’t think words or money can replicate.
We received our first facebook post in the past week, of an IVF couple holding our book. I had to hold back tears, not just because they were holding our book, but here was someone else that had been through IVF, and whilst I don’t know their story, I think we all empathise with one another. IVF people really feel for those who have been through IVF - or intend to undergo IVF - no matter the outcome. And that these strangers on our facebook page with similar shared experiences may have found some beauty in our pages – well it made my day!
This is why I keep referring to the book as a “keepsake” and am hesitant to call it a children’s book.
However seeing the emotional connection the book has prompted, I now have higher hopes . . .
I hope our story eliminates any shame or stigma (be it self-inflicted or external) felt by parents who undergo IVF. I think this is extremely important on a number of levels; mental health, personal health and humanity!
I hope our story brings hope, understanding, support and greater empowerment for all women.
I hope our story opens up discussion around fertility/infertility, which is NOT just a female problem, and impacts 1 in 6 people in Australia. I think when you are in a waiting room with four (4) other IVF women, all varying stories, ages, height, weights, history etc etc – you realise infertility doesn’t discriminate; and
Lastly, I hope our story helps people see the beauty in the science of IVF; giving parents children, that are well planned for, deeply desired, and loved long before they are ever real.
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