Our blogger of the month from our list of Top Infertility Blogs is Jessica Jones of Infertility and Life. Jessica writes about her experience with dual factor infertility. While pursuing multiple rounds of IVF, she is using her blog to wave the infertility flag and let people know that it's OK to struggle to conceive, it's OK to desperately want a baby, and it's definitely OK to talk about it. We can get behind that!
On top of her own blog, she's had a number of infertility-related articles published on other sites. (Including FertilitySmarts! Check out some of her work.) This is what she has to say on the topic of blogging about infertility.
FS: Tell us about yourself
JJ: I have worked for my local council for over a decade now, in the Waste Management section. I am now working part-time, which means that the other half of my week I dedicate to writing and raising awareness of infertility issues. I am a volunteer for Fertility Network UK and I run a closed facebook support group in my area, which is really rewarding. My passions lie in writing now and I would like to be a full-time writer/blogger/author. I also salsa dance with my husband, which we really enjoy.
FS: How did your experience with infertility start and how has the story unfolded?
JJ: It began 18 months after we were married and despite being sure about my timings, we hadn’t conceived. Our initial diagnosis was fairly quick because they found my husbands seamen to contain no sperm (Azoospermia). Genetic tests revealed that he has a very mild version of cystic fibrosis which has led to an absence of his Vas Deferens. This means that the tubes which normally take the sperm outside of the body don’t exist in him, they never grew. We were told he could have a surgical sperm retrieval and then IVF, it all sounded so simple. However, we then discovered that my ovarian reserve isn’t great, my egg quality is poor and I don’t react very well to some of the drugs. I have low absorption rates and poor blood flow to my ovaries. This has meant that it has been—and still is —quite a battle,
FS: Why did you start blogging?
JJ: We did our first two cycles in relative secrecy and after the second fail I just couldn’t cope. I couldn’t keep up the lies and remember what to say and so my husband and I discussed telling people. I’ve always enjoyed writing and had been writing privately, so I spoke with him about the idea of starting a blog. I really felt it was the right path for me and luckily he agreed. My blog is not anonymous because I wanted it to be completely open; I felt this was important to show others that we don’t have to hide.
FS: What are three words that describe your blog?
JJ: Raw, honest, informative
FS: What's the story behind the name?
JJ: At the same time as we were dealing with infertility, my brother had been killed in a car crash and we were coping with everything related to that as well. I suspected that some of it might end up being covered in the blog too, so while I wanted it to be infertility-related, I also wanted it to be wide enough that I could write about other things which may or may not be attached. That’s why I chose Infertility and Life - because it’s about both infertility...and life.
FS: What topic do you find yourself covering most often and why?
JJ: Definitely all things infertility and IVF related. When I’m in a treatment cycle, I write about the actual cycle live, as we go through it. In between these times, I write about anything that has come to my attention, whether it be in the media or a conversation I’ve had with someone, or something that’s in my life, an anniversary for example. The starting point can be anything and then I just go with the flow.
FS: Who is your target reader?
JJ: Anyone! I began the blog really to tell all our friends and family about what we were going through and to give them an idea of what is involved. Now I think I have a good mix of people, some who’ve never known anything about infertility and those going through it themselves, which is wonderful because we can then all support each other.
FS: What's unique about your blog?
JJ: I do try to address what I think are important topics and try to show non-infertility people what IVF warriors go through and deal with. I don’t sugar-coat anything, I say it how it is and hopefully, people appreciate that.
FS: What was your most popular post ever? Why do you think it was popular with readers?
JJ: The result of our treatment cycle 3. It was the first time I was writing live through the treatment and I guess everyone was so hopeful for a positive outcome. People were hugely disappointed for us.
FS: What is the best thing about writing about infertility?
JJ: The support you get from everywhere. Each time someone likes, or comments, or shares my posts, it’s another moment of support that keeps me strong and gives me the power to keep going. The comments that I receive not just about raising awareness of infertility but also about how good my writing is, are all amazing and so gratefully received.
FS: What is the worst thing?
JJ: Having to write another post to tell people that a cycle has failed. Those ones are hard. But I consciously chose to do it that way because then it’s real for people and they understand the highs and crashing lows.
FS: What's the best tip you have to offer someone struggling with fertility issues?
JJ: Find your tribe. Find a support network of people who have been through and are going through fertility issues. They do exist, they’re just sometimes hard to find. Whether it be through blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram; there are thousands of women out there and they can all offer support. Whilst the support you get from others is wonderful and helpful, speaking to someone who ‘gets it’ who knows exactly how you feel is worth its weight in gold. There is no need to be isolated or lonely, search out support as it will really help.
Thanks for sharing, Jessica!