Congratulations to Khloe Kardashian, who has just announced her pregnancy after what she referred to as a “fertility struggle”.
It was only earlier this year that Kardashian discovered during an ultrasound that she has fewer follicles than would be expected for a woman of her age.
The now 33-year-old reacted in shock to the news – as seen on an episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians – so fans of the show have been quick to express their delight for the reality star after hearing that she is now expecting a baby with boyfriend Tristan Thompson.
Hearing that Kardashian had been given the news that her follicles weren't “normal” brought back memories of my own fertility struggle, and the shock of hearing that becoming pregnant might not be as easy as I thought.
Most people take it for granted that having a child will just happen, and when it doesn't work out like that, it is difficult to comprehend.
Well done to Khloe for speaking so openly about her journey to become pregnant. Infertility is unfortunately still a taboo subject and something most people keep to themselves, creating a misunderstanding about what it's really like when you’re embroiled in the struggle.
For most of us, IVF isn't something you can access as easily as a Kardashian. It is a last resort for a person – or a couple – who has tried everything else. It is a gruelling, emotionally and physically exhausting endurance test which completely consumes your life.
IVF means daily injections which leave your stomach covered in bruises; it means taking a cocktail of hormones which consume your body like a raging monster making you forget who you are; it means endless internal examinations; it means constantly wondering if it will ever happen, if all this could be for nothing; and most of all it means waiting – putting your life on pause and waiting for the next scan, the next appointment, waiting to take a pregnancy test to see if it’s worked, then waiting for the next appointment to try again when it hasn't.
As everyone around you appears to be falling pregnant, your life stagnates; you’re waiting to move forward to the next chapter but there is no one to turn the page.
Your dreams of a family begin to look very fragile, but you can't comprehend a life without children so you cling onto hope – you will it to happen, and you would give anything to make it happen.
The lack of empathy and understanding towards people suffering with infertility results in many people staying silent about these terrible struggles.
Whenever IVF comes up in the news, there are always dozens of people who are quick to judge, thoughtlessly throwing around comments such as “If it was meant to be, it would be” and “It's nature's way of telling you not to have children”.
As someone who lives her life in the public eye, it's a shame Khloe Kardashian didn't decide to document her IVF journey on television by showing the daily injections, scans and drugs. That would have done a lot of good to dispel the myths; it would have been a true use of her platform for good. She has spoken in interviews about the ordeal, but it’s not often that people are shown the gruelling nature of the regimen.
I consider myself lucky that I managed to conceive via IVF after two tries, and that was hard enough. There are others who spend years, and thousands of pounds, in a desperate attempt to have a baby. Kardashian is, of course, in the fortunate position that means money doesn't even come into it.
For the average person, IVF is an extremely expensive treatment, with each cycle costing thousands of pounds, particularly when NHS-funded IVF is being cut back in many areas, leaving couples with no choice but to self-fund.
I have no doubt that Khloe Kardashian has experienced a struggle – she's spoken in the past about receiving hormone injections, and it must have been a shock to hear that her follicles were not normal for her age. But in comparison to so many others, she is lucky.
Everyone has their own journey, and I would never wish to undermine what Kardashian might have gone through to get pregnant – yet, as someone who has so much power to influence the public, I can’t help but wish she’d done more.
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