Solidarity in pineapples – the infertility community
I had planned to write on a different topic this week, but after reading Cathy’s poignant and compelling post on IVF and Suicide last week, I felt I needed to carry on the theme of mental health and infertility as it’s so incredibly real and important to every one of us going through what we’re going through.
This week I met up with my wonderful friend D. We’ve only known each other for just over a year and I can honestly say I don’t know how I would have got through the past year and a half without her.
We met after our acupuncturist put us in touch; having both recently suffered IVF miscarriages, she felt that the support we could give each other might help us get through this horrendous time. I remember the first time we met up, both knowing that the other had experienced the same pain, we clung on to each other straightaway and talked as if we’d known each other for years. Some incredible force had brought us together and we propped each other up for the next few months, contacting each other pretty much daily to check on each other and just be a presence; someone who really understood.
This friendship has been invaluable to me and I don’t know where I’d be if we hadn’t had the fortune to meet each other. I was spiralling fast into a dark abyss – the miscarriage happened just before Christmas, to make matters worse, and the thought of spending it with my new nephew, however much I loved him, was incredibly hard.
Talking was the best remedy for me.
And it needs to be to the right people too – I’d tried counsellors, coaches, family, friends but the conversations you can have with people who’ve been through it, who are living with the same pain as you, are on another level and can pull you out of a dark place if you let them.
I know I was really lucky to meet D and my other fertility friends and I’m well aware that it might not be as easy to meet people if you live in a more remote area but the internet can be your friend too.
Through facebook groups like Fertile Mindset by Sarah Holland, which is a global group with no restrictions to join except for a shared infertility path, I’ve felt less alone than I have in a long time. I’d love to share this group especially with all the people who commented on Cathy’s original post as so many of you were expressing how alone you felt, but just by joining this facebook group, you will be immediately connected with thousands of women in exactly the same position.
You are not alone
These groups bring women together who live miles apart, who lead completely different lives, but who share one common desire to be a mother and who want to meet and listen to other people struggling in the same way.
Solidarity and community is so incredible powerful in all areas of life, and infertility is no different.
I’ve recently fallen across a fab website called ww.ivfbabble.com (also on Instagram under ivfbabble). Its founders are two women; Tracey and Sara who have battled with their own fertility journeys and now have two sets of twins between them! The messages and articles are all relevant and inspiring and like Cathy, Eric and I with this blog, they are hoping that by sharing their own experiences they will help people feel less alone:
IVF Babble was born out of hindsight. It offers people the knowledge and the support that I lacked and so desperately needed. I hope it will help other women and men as they embark on their own personal IVF journeys.
IVF babble opens up a likeminded community to guide and support people struggling with infertility or desperate to begin a family. Infertility is also absolutely nothing to be ashamed of, it seems to be a part of today’s world with 1 in 6 people finding out they are part of this club!
I love the new incentive that they have come up with– the team have created special pineapple pins as solidarity for anyone going through fertility issues. It’s part of the IVF Stronger Together campaign and it’s really caught on in the UK – lots of celebrities have been spotted wearing them and posting about them!
The aim of the pin is to break the silence surrounding fertility struggles and start a conversation as IVF celebrates 40 years since its creation.
Although I immediately fell in love with the idea, I was a bit confused about the pineapple symbol?!
The founders explain:
“The pineapple has been a universal symbol of friendship, warmth and welcome for many centuries all over the world, but recently, it has taken on a new meaning. It has become the globally recognised symbol of good luck in the TTC (trying to conceive) community,”
You can buy your pin here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Pineapple-supporting-fertility-campaign-ivfstrongertogether/dp/3787519092😊
Support, empathy and community IS around, even if you don’t feel it right now. I’d really urge you to look at some of these groups and sites and start your own conversations, even if it’s just with your doctor, to help pull you out of loneliness and despair. So many people are going through the same thing. We’re all here – holding on.
Ps. The picture above is me and D wearing our pineapples with pride 😊