"Take a notepad and pen and write a love letter to yourself," the psychologist told Alice Almeida.
She was at a weekend retreat for women in leadership positions in Bowral in the NSW Southern Highlands.
"Okay. Easy enough," Alice thought to herself, as she wandered off and found a quiet spot.
"I went and sat outside on a bench, and I sat there for an hour and I couldn't write down a single word," she told Mamamia. "I just sobbed, because I was like; I don't love me. I don't love who I have become."
Alice and her husband Sean were two years into their second fertility journey. It had taken three years to conceive their daughter Maya, and they were now in the depths of that familiar cycle of hope followed by crushing disappointment as they attempted to give her a sibling.
Aged 40, Alice had been told by her doctor that time was running out. She'd had six surgeries in 10 years for her endometriosis and he was reluctant to keep operating on her. But she wasn't ready to give up.
It had taken three failed transfers for Alice's mental health to crumble into a place of deep despair during their first fertility journey. In her darkest moment, she tried to end her marriage.
"I told my husband to leave me," she recalled. "I told him to go and find someone who can give him kids. And, you know, I honestly felt like that. I didn't want the burden of not being able to give him a baby the rest of my life."
The mental burden of IVF is like nothing Alice has ever experienced. Not only did the culmination of crushing blows leave her feeling broken, but she felt like there was nowhere to go to get the support and unbiased information she craved.