The author of this story is known to Mamamia but has chosen to remain anonymous for privacy reasons.
My one-year-old daughter results from my ninth pregnancy: one termination, seven miscarriages and, joyfully, one live birth.
My mother, sister and partner aside, no one else knows this.
Watch: A tribute to the babies we've lost and the significance of remembering their names. Post continues after video.
My partner's family, closest friends, and colleagues all think that I just waited a little longer than most and then 'Poof!', got pregnant. Easy.
During the last round of Victorian COVID restrictions, a very brave face of IVF stepped forward - Melanie Swieconek, publicly posting and then going live to camera for several major national morning TV shows, to openly share her plight and struggles. It was a harrowing viewing. Like most people, I thought the best word to describe Melanie, is brave.
However, for me that was also coupled with feelings of, wow – pressure's on. I’m sure I’m not alone in plugging into Google, 'Did Melanie ever end up being successful with IVF?'
Maybe I’m part of the problem? Definitely maybe.
By staying quiet, am I perpetuating the feelings of shame and inadequacy often expressed by women in the IVF community, 'Why doesn’t my body do what it is supposed to do?!'
And boy is it a community, the IVF world once you dip your toes, or entire body in as it were – is filled with IVF sister or IVF warriors – congregating on purpose build message boards, closed Facebook groups and forums. There’s even a specific vernacular comprising extensive use of abbreviations that I am lingual in as well as the best of them. 'Looking for advice during the 2WW, currently 5DP5DT, BFN using FMU – still any chance of a BFP? Sending BD to all'.
Some women create purpose-built IVF Instagram accounts with suitably punny tags #Ivfbeentrying, #ívegotyoubabe, #Ivfgotthis to chart their journeys, including in their bios their key IVF states: 2019, FET: BFN, 2022, BFNx3, 3 x frosties, planned DEIVF cycle 2023.
Although a frequent reader and occasional poster to these forums – am I the only one who still feels uncomfortable charting my fertility journey for all and sundry to see?