Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while may remember that two weeks ago I revealed I’d agreed to do a feature on my IVF story in the Daily Mail. Well, I was right in my prediction of the headline: ‘Addicted to IVF’. But, oh dear, I wasn’t prepared for what came underneath: ‘Jessica’s craving for a baby cost her £50,000, drove her to the brink of insanity – and very nearly killed her’.
Yet, I can’t say it’s not true. We are still paying off our IVF debt (and will be for many years to come). I am a little mad (but then all the best people are). And I did get rushed into hospital to have my ectopic pregnancy removed from my stomach (don’t ask me how it got there).
Frankly though even more mortifying than the headline were my legs in the photograph. I’d been told to wear a dress to the photoshoot but nobody said that I couldn’t wear my black tights. So, I actually had to get my legs out which, let me tell you, was probably the first time in a decade.
And on the subject of ignominy, I confess that although I wrote in my blog that I mustn’t look at the online comments: of course I did. The first one read ‘I want a baby kinda sums her up!’ and I watched in horrified fascination as hundreds of people clicked the arrows ‘up’ or ‘down’ to say whether they agreed or disagreed. By the end of the day the commenting community had passed judgement and decided that there was, in fact, more to me than wanting a baby which I sincerely hope is the right answer.
But I must say that although there were some catty comments, the one that got by far the biggest positive response was truly compassionate. Posted by someone in Dublin, it read: ‘I don’t think unless you’ve had the heartache of infertility you can truly comprehend how it cripples you. There’ll be those who post who say having a baby isn’t a ‘right’ but part of you feels like you’ve failed as a woman, not being able to do something that is so easily achieved by others.’ 884 upward arrows and counting.
Added to this were all the messages of advice and support from people who emailed my website from all over the world. When I woke up at six in the morning and opened my lap top they had already started to come in. From the healing powers of the Peruvian Maca root to Carol Vordeman’s detox diet, I was flooded with words of encouragement and inspiration. It just goes to show that life constantly confounds you. In all the things I thought and said about doing that Daily Mail article, I had never imagined for a moment that it would bring me such kindness from strangers.
So this week’s question comes with all my thanks: when did you last receive the kindness of a stranger?