As a teenager, there was one thing Stephanie Holt became certain of: she someday wanted to have a child of her own to spoil with love.
The 26-year-old Brisbane childcare educator says she was exposed to the child protective system with her twin sister as an adolescent. She describes the experience as “very lonely”, and she distinctly remembers telling counsellors she would never wish her situation upon any child.
“I never, ever want a child not to have family support… It’s the worst feeling in he world,” Holt says.
“I always felt like there was a missing piece in my heart, that I had so much love to give, and just knew that I wanted to have a child, to raise that child how I should have been raised so that they can have that experience and feel all the love that children should feel growing up.”
Fast forward about a decade, and Holt continues to be as committed to this than ever. So committed, that at the young age of 24, she decided to take motherhood in her hands and walked into a fertility clinic for the first time. Today, she is happily single and nine weeks pregnant.
Holt, who appears on SBS’ Insight on Tuesday night, says she chose to become a solo parent after relationships with former partners didn’t work out.
“I’ve met so many people in the past who have wanted to have kids, but are now in their 40s and are only just going down the IVF path and are really struggling,” Holt says.
“I didn’t want to become a number in those statistics and I knew that I really wanted a child so, I figured there was no better time to start than now.”
Holt says it was “a little bit daunting” when she first started researching IVF.
“I didn’t think doctors would take me on. But I researched a little bit more and came across stories of women who had done the process and hadn’t regretted it. So I bit the bullet and went to my GP and said, ‘I want to become a mum. I want you to refer me on to someone who can help’.”
LISTEN: Deb Knight did 14 rounds of IVF and then had a baby naturally. Post continues after audio.
The fertility clinic she visited initially thought she was there to freeze her eggs.
“When I told them I was there to have a baby, they were a bit thrown.”
She underwent extensive counselling to ensure she was fully prepared, as well as procedures to check her fertility. Once she was given the all-clear, she first tried intrauterine insemination – which is simpler and cheaper than IVF. She did six rounds, and all failed. So she turned to IVF.
“I’m not going to lie. It’s been, hands down, one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. There have been many highs, many lows. It’s a roller coaster of emotions that you kind of want to get off when it doesn’t work.”