Sunshine Coast Weekend Newspaper Article - 27th October 2018
Resilience was born from battle to conceive.
If I could go back and change things so I could have my babies naturally I wouldn’t.
My partner, Ian, & I met when we were both working at a resort in Hastings Street, Noosa Heads. I was 29 at the time and Ian 32. After a couple of years and settling into our first home we purchased together in Tewantin we decided to start trying for a family. To be honest I, like I am sure all women, assumed when we decided to start trying for a baby it would be something that would happen quite quickly and naturally. With Christmas a few months away, I was excited thinking we could possibly make our baby announcement at our family Christmas gathering with both Ian’s and my family around us to share in our joy, however this was not going to be the case for us and this is where our amazing eight-year journey to have our miracle baby - well babies - began.
When I say “miracle” I really mean it. Over the eight years it took to have a family we researched and navigated our way through all other options including IVF, foster care, adoption and finally onto international surrogacy with possibly using a donor. It was not an easy time, however now looking back, if I could go back and change things so I could fall pregnant quickly and naturally I wouldn’t. I believe having resilience in such a situation is the key and I am proud of our resilience and ability to overcome any obstacle that was thrown our way.
Inspirational speaker, journalist and author, Yasmin Mogahed, once said, “Resilience means you experience, you feel, you fail, you hurt. You fall. But you keep going.”
You never really know if you are naturally resilient until you’re faced with a huge challenge. I know I didn’t. Even if you aren’t blessed with the ability to pull out that resilience when you need it or not, most of us aren’t familiar with it, we don’t understand what it means, the importance of it, or how to develop and implement it when we need it most. And we are all going to need it, several times throughout our lives.
The idea that I may never be a mother knocked me completely off my feet. I felt cheated, frustrated and no longer sure of my place within my family or circle of friends. Ian & I were faced with not one, not two, but eight long challenging years of trying to have our long-awaited child. Without digging deep, developing my resilience, drawing upon my resilience, and depending on it—there would have been no way I would have got through the rollercoaster of emotions, set-backs, failures, and disappointments. It was while having the first couple of rounds of IVF that I remembered thinking to myself ‘if I am going to survive this rollercoaster ride both emotionally and physically I need to develop resilience by the bucket load!’.
You have to be resilient to dig deep and keep getting up after each knock down for years and years on end. Anyone struggling to have a family like I did will tell you that. The journey can be soul destroying and heartbreaking—the rollercoaster of emotions can leave you feeling high anxiety, and at your lowest points—a deep despair that has you questioning ‘why me?’, ‘what’s wrong with me?’, ‘what have I done to deserve this?’ But you take more deep breathes, and put your resilience into play, pluck up the courage to be strong, and just do it!
So, over time I decided to write my book, Long-Awaited Child. I have had quite a few people say to me I am very brave for sharing such a personal story. I will not deny it has taken me a few years to get to this point. My insecurities about sharing some of our most private moments were initially there. Back then I was ashamed I was not able to fall pregnant so effortlessly like my sisters and friends around me. But now I do not see it that way and feel sharing my story is my purpose. You see at the time of starting our baby journey and knowing we may have to go down the science path or research other options I never knew anyone who had been through IVF, or had been a foster parent, or tried to adopt or used a surrogate so even though I had plenty of support around me I had no one to talk to who had experienced dealing with infertility or give me the hope that maybe another option could work for us. For anyone going through the months and years of trying to fall pregnant it can be a lonely time. No one understands the processes, the sadness you feel, the anger, the resentment, the frustration and the heartache. These are just some of the emotions you feel. So, for me by sharing my story I hope anyone who is going through their own struggles finds comfort in my words and knows that there are others out there who understand, have been there and have gone on to have their miracle babies. It is said that sometimes we find strength in knowing we are not alone.
Besides all those reasons my book may also resonate with anyone whether they are a mum or not or trying to be a mum. It is our story of resilience and one which took us on quite an adventure. Plus, the afterword of my book has been written by my Mum. I love that she was able to do this. I think it was important to also share a story of someone watching a loved one going through struggles where there is nothing they can do about it but try to be there as much as they can be.
So, at the end I am now proud to say I have learnt not to be ashamed of my story as what I have been through and overcome has made me the person I am today and I hope my story may be the hope, strength and courage that speaks to the heart and inspires someone else’s life.
So, when the tough times come, suck in that deep breathe, draw that resilience card, be courageous, get up & dust yourself off. And tell yourself you have got this.
Article written by Kellie Harriden, author of the new release, Long-Awaited Child. For more information, to buy Kellie’s book or to get support in your pregnancy journey, go to www.longawaitedchild.com
You can also follow Long Awaited Child on Facebook and Instagram.