As someone who studied engineering, I have always been very aware of how STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) is at the heart of everything we do and rely on. The roads we travel, the food we eat and the buildings we live in to name a few. I never imagined that I would call upon this very same science and engineering in the way that I did.
After over 3 years of trying to conceive a baby naturally, my husband and I found ourselves in a place that unfortunately so many couples do. According to the NHS, infertility affects approximately 3.5 million people in the UK. And we were just another number to add to the statistic.
Our entire lives we are taught one version of the science behind creating life (I’m sure you can all recall that awkward biology class). But even as an engineering graduate, I had no idea what science assisted conception would entail and how relatively new a concept it was.
Just under 41 years ago, Louise Joy Brown (born 25 July 1978) was the first human to have been born after conception by in vitro fertilisation (IVF). Since then it’s estimated over 8 million people have been born through this incredible advancement of science, included my very own darling son!
This Mother’s Day I reflect on my challenging journey to motherhood which coincided with the peak of my career and the deep gratitude I have for all the STEM practitioners that helped to engineer motherhood for me.
Through my numerous rounds of treatment, I encountered the physical, mental and emotional struggles of infertility and loss. This was all happening whilst I was trying to progress in my career. It wasn’t something I could leave at the door just because I was at the office.
One in six couples suffer from infertility and regardless of how common fertility issues are, there is still a social stigma attached to them. In the workplace this is amplified. It’s for this reason I want to help shine a light on the subject.
This time last year, I decided it was time to take action and so I shared my story with my personal network in the hope that it would help others in a situation akin to mine and perhaps confront the taboo.
I was shocked at just how many women responded to say that they had gone through something similar but had never discussed it with anyone. Many said after reading my story they felt inspired to talk more openly about the subject and to share their own stories
So here I am sharing it that little bit wider in the hope that it may help some more.
My journey to motherhood was all consuming and tested my strength in ways I couldn’t even imagine. I am so thankful to all those that offered a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on and to all the STEM practitioners that made this amazing feat of science and engineering a possibility.
Happy Mother’s Day to all those celebrating and sending positive vibes to all those whose time has not yet come.
My full story can be found here My journey to Motherhood, the highs, the lows and the super lows – Part 1 Getting Pregnant