November 18th 2023.
'We're so lucky, it's all been worth it.' Lisa Ashworth, 52, knows this all too well. After 10 years of trying to conceive, Lisa and her husband Rob, 52, were finally able to get their dream of having a baby.
Lisa began trying for a baby when she was 30, during her first marriage. Unfortunately, she soon found out she had unexplained infertility. Meeting her second husband six years later, Lisa still wanted a child, but realized that conceiving naturally wasn't meant to be.
Although around 80% of couples fall pregnant within the first year of trying, around one in seven have difficulties conceiving. It took Lisa 10 years to finally conceive. According to the NHS, couples who have been trying to conceive for more than three years without success only have a 25% chance of getting pregnant in the fourth year.
Wanting to make their dream a reality, Lisa and Rob decided to try IVF — costing £25,000 in total — but by the fourth round, having experienced one miscarriage and three unsuccessful attempts, Lisa nearly gave up.
"You feel like you're walking under a cloud the whole time and you wear a mask a lot of the time, pretending everything is fine," Lisa said. "But deep down, you're just carrying this burden and desperation of trying to get pregnant and not being able to do it... and it's devastating."
Though feeling desperate and depressed, Lisa and Rob decided to do a fifth round, which was going to be their last, when they finally got the news they'd spent so long hoping for. Lisa recalled, "We were lying in bed and I did the test, came back, and I couldn't look at it, so I just gave it to my husband. I was watching him as he was looking at it. Then he just suddenly looked at me and he said, 'pregnant', and I thought, 'what?' I just grabbed it off him and we couldn't believe it. Not only did it work, but one of the embryos randomly split into two, so I ended up having triplets at 41 with identical twin boys, and then a little girl."
Lisa credits the success of the fifth round to a mindset shift — but getting to the point that she could feel truly positive about her fertility journey was an uphill battle.
"It's such a lonely, private experience," she said. "I felt like there was nobody I could talk to about it... and I just felt desperate and depressed. Having to see all my friends have families, going to social events with families there and babies there, and people asking you about it all the time, you just feel so inadequate. You think, 'Why are you not capable of this? Everybody else can do it'. And it's just heartbreaking because you want it so much and it's completely out of your control."
Fortunately, shifting her mindset proved to be the 'missing link' for Lisa. She began working on her mindset by implementing 'tools' in her daily life, such as visualising herself pregnant — and she began to feel differently about things.
"Now, we've got three lovely, happy, healthy children and we're so lucky, it's all been worth it," she said.
Inspired by her own experience, Lisa has written a book called 'Fertility: Mindset And Meltdowns' to provide an insight into her unique journey. She hopes her book will help to give other women the emotional support and tools they need so they do not feel alone or 'suffer in silence' like she did.
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