With 100+ episodes under her belt, Natalie Silverman of the Fertility Podcast has built an impressive resource of fertility-related content. We are thrilled to feature her as our podcaster of the month from our list of Top Fertility Blogs.
From her own experience, Natalie knows just how infertility can turn your life upside down. Her podcast brings together fertility experts, support groups, bloggers and people who have been through treatment, with the goal of helping to empower those trying to conceive.
We like her show because she has some serious interviewing skills. It's easy to pick up on just how much she cares about both the topic and the guests she interviews. Bottom line: she packages together informative, interesting content in a professional way. This is what Natalie had to tell us about Podcasting about fertility.
FS: Tell us about yourself
NS: My name is Natalie Silverman, I’m a voiceover artist and podcaster. My background is in radio presenting having spend over a decade working all around the UK for Heart ( which is a commercial radio station ) as a presenter. I spent five years co-presenting a breakfast radio show and getting up at 4.30am which was fun, but I left to have my son. I was already making podcasts of sorts— making audio that I was sharing on SoundCloud and I was keen to make content that was useful to people, I just couldn’t decide on my topic. I knew audio was a powerful way to connect through, having spent over a decade building relationships with audiences on the radio.
My hobbies are yoga, camping, seeing friends, going to music festivals and recently I’ve been getting much better at drinking whiskey, which I’m proud of myself for!
FS: How did your experience with infertility start and how has the story unfolded?
NS: My husband and I met in our mid 30’s ( well I was...he’s a bit younger ) and married when I was 34 and started trying pretty much straight away. By 36 I insisted on us having tests as my best friend had gone through IVF so I knew a bit about it, but I also knew time wasn’t on our side. We were told just on 23rd December 2013 that the ‘problem was with my husband’ who at the time was a personal trainer and health and fitness coach and in the best shape of his life. It was a real blow for him and for the pair of us and it ruined Christmas, but we stood together one New Year’s eve and raised a glass to ‘the plan’ for 2014. We were eligible for NHS funding for our treatment and were planning on going ahead. We had ICSI treatment in May 2014 and it worked the first time. Our journey was straightforward as far as our success with the treatment was concerned and our son Phoenix was born in March 2015. We also had three frozen embryos, but it had a big impact on our relationship.
We struggled to find information or support for my husband about why his sperm wasn’t as he’d hoped, he shut down and didn’t want to talk about anything and visits to the clinic during treatment were always stressful. We looked online to find out what he could do to improve his sperm and he made a number of lifestyle changes such as stopping cycling, reducing any soy in his diet —and not having his phone in his pocket or his laptop on his lap and we both made a point of really looking after ourselves in the run up and during our treatment. But it really affected his confidence and I feel has had a long-lasting effect on him, to the point that he’s changed careers. We’re now at the stage where our son is 3 and we know how blessed we are, we have been dealing with secondary infertility. We’re not really in a position, financially to have further treatment and I’m now 41 and just getting my work life happening again and trying to get my head around whether our family is complete at 3. I’m currently looking at the support available for making these kinds of decisions regarding frozen embryos which I will be sharing along with what we decide to do. It’s hard. Infertility doesn’t go away, even when you’ve been so fortunate to have a child.
FS: Why did you start podcasting?
NS: Whilst looking for information to help us, my default was to look for audio content and I found American podcast along with some content from the BBC and The Guardian talking infertility, but not much so I decided to reach out to people whose books I had read on my journey and experts I had heard of asking them if they’d speak to me and they did. Since then I’ve continued to interview experts around the globe and people sharing their stories.
FS: What are three words that describe your podcast?
NS: Trustworthy, friendly and informative
FS: What's the story behind the name?
NS: Well, I wanted it to be obvious and I also didn’t want it to just be about infertility, so whilst it’s not the most inventive name I felt it worked.
FS: What topic do you find yourself covering most often and why?
NS: I guess I talk about fertility treatment a lot as there is so much to say on the matter. Whether it’s an expert talking about a certain condition they can treat, or a natural fertility expert talking about a programme they are running to help you get pregnant or it’s someone sharing their story — sadly so many of us are affected by infertility and having to have treatment there is a lot to say about it.
FS: Who is your target listener?
NS: Men and Women who want to know more about their fertility, it could be someone who has been trying and it’s taken a while or someone who has started treatment and had failed treatment. I make a point of covering male infertility as it is something so personal to us and I’m working on a series called ‘Men Matter Too’ which will be released later in 2018. I’m also looking to release a series on alternative parenting.
FS: What's unique about your podcast?
NS: I’m an experienced broadcaster and have interviewed a lot of people, so I hope my professionalism comes through in the way I conduct my interviews. Also, my aim is to be a friend to each and every listener and I hope when you listen it sounds like I am speaking directly to you. I’ve been working hard at my production values and always trying to improve how the podcast sounds so I hope the listener experience is great and it’s only going to get better as I want the ‘storytelling’ aspect that is so special to podcasts to come through more.
In my work as a voiceover, I know that I have a voice that people enjoy listening to - this isn’t me being big headed, but it’s how I earn a living, so I hope that helps the listener experience also.
FS: What was your most popular episode ever? Why do you think it was popular with listeners?
NS: The impact of infertility on your mental health has been my most popular episode, sadly because of how many of us struggle as a result of it. I spoke with a lady who approached me - saying she felt in a good enough place to share her journey. She’d had a breakdown as a result of failed treatment and the stress of her work. It was a really emotional episode and I’m still in touch with the lady now as she’s still trying to conceive and has continued to share her journey online.
FS: What is the best thing about podcasting about in/fertility?
NS: I feel extremely privileged to get to speak to the people I do, from the experts to people sharing their stories, I’ve learnt so much and have been able to be involved with a remarkable community of people doing some amazing things to continue to get this topic spoken about and to educate others. I’m constantly in awe of some of the people I come across as there’s such passion and determination in what they are sharing and whilst this is such a sad thing for us to have to deal with - the people in the #TTC community are pretty extraordinary.
FS: What is the worst thing?
NS: The subject matter, fundamentally is sad, and there are times where it gets too much for me when I see the vulnerability people share and also in my own journey — dealing with secondary infertility. I also now feel a certain sense of responsibility to keep up with what I’m doing and funding a podcast takes a lot of effort. It takes a lot of my time as I want to make it good and I don’t think people realize how much work I put into it. That said I’ve been making a conscious effort to improve my digital marketing skills and hopefully have some exciting developments in the pipeline. I have also launched a new fertility directory called The Ulitmate Fertility Guide which is bringing together the fertility industry into one concise place and I’m hosting facebook live interviews with experts, giving people the chance to ask them questions. The aim of it is to be another really useful resource as well as a useful tool for the fertility industry to connect with people seeking information.
FS: What's the best tip you have to offer someone struggling with fertility issues?
NS: Know it is not your fault and you are not alone. Just reading some of the amazing blogs here on FertilitySmarts will prove this to you, plus you’ll hear lots of stories from people who sound like you - in my podcast. I get amazing messages of support from people who tell me that they still haven’t told anyone in their family what they are going through despite having multiple failed cycles, but listening to my podcast has helped them feel less alone.
So if you’re not wanting to talk about it, just reach out in a different way. The beauty of audio is nobody know’s what you are listening to so you can be discreet and if you want to reach out a bit further, I’m so impressed by the #TTC community on Instagram as it seems to be so loving and kind, whereas I know there can be some issues in some of the facebook groups, so please don’t be put off by social media. I didn’t use it at all when we were trying, I didn’t know there was such a community and even if you don’t want to comment or share anything you could just have a look.