A Patient's Story | The Evewell London - The Evewell
A Patient's Story

"How trying to conceive and IVF affected my work, relationships, and self-esteem"

One of our amazing patients, Glynnis, reached out to us to share her experience of infertility, and how it affected her life. “I felt compelled to share my truth. I want to support the parents who might be going through something similar or know someone who is.”

We hope if you need to read this today, it helps you in some way.

“How my fertility journey affected absolutely everything.”

by Glynnis Mapp Jacquard

I Googled myself the other day. Hadn’t done that in years, but someone I hadn’t been in touch with in a long time sent me a message to congratulate me on the birth of our daughter. They said they read some bits online about me and were impressed with the beautiful life I had built for myself. Knowing I had purposefully boycotted social media since the summer of 2021, and that I also hadn’t published a single article since, I was curious – what was out there? So, I searched my name and found: an article about my wedding in France, blog posts sharing how to manage anxiety at work, Instagram posts for yoga studios, networking sessions I’d attended, a long-forgotten YouTube channel, and even a few articles I had written on beauty and fashion trends. 

How my fertility changed the way I behaved online

What wasn’t online was my fertility journey: namely, the heartbreaking and stress-laden four years I’d spent trying to conceive. Trying to start a family after our wedding and getting nowhere. Working in senior marketing positions and being mistreated or misunderstood about my fertility journey. SEO hadn’t picked that up at all – and that wasn’t a mistake. I’ve been very private about all of this and off the grid for a while now. Because we had a miscarriage in July 2021.

Photo credit: Elizabeth May Photography

I found out I was pregnant for the first time a week after my birthday. It was the best gift I could have ever received. We had been trying since our wedding in 2019. For the most part, my husband and I consider ourselves to be practical, we’re realists – we were clear on the stats and what was at stake, especially because we started trying to conceive later in life. According to the NHS, “among people who know they’re pregnant, it’s estimated about 1 in 8 pregnancies will end in miscarriage.” The grief of losing a pregnancy surprised us, and affected us more than we expected or realised. It made trying to get pregnant again stressful and scary rather than fun and joyful. We had many tearful conversations with our families abroad who tried to support us from afar. 

How our fertility clinic helped support our TTC journey

After several more months, we went to The Evewell for help and Dr. Taneja was optimistic but very honest with us. The positive news was that I did conceive naturally before so it could happen again, but the risks were there and very real. We decided to go for it anyway. My husband and I went through one round of IVF in December 2021: all of the needle injections, more than half of our savings on the line.

Unfortunately, it didn’t work. We spent that Christmas grieving and facing the hard emotional and financial reality that we wouldn’t be able to do another round. I personally accepted that I couldn’t have children. 

We kept trying, but weren’t sure if it would ever happen. For many more months, it didn’t. Then we went out to a going away party for some close friends: we had been teetotal for more than a year by then, treating the process like training up for the Olympics. We took a multitude of vitamins, ate well, and didn’t drink a drop of alcohol. That night, we decided to let go and enjoy ourselves and had a few cocktails. Somehow, our friends convinced us to get a puppy. Tipsy, we agreed.

In March 2022, a week after we decided to get our dog, I felt like something was different with me. I took a pregnancy test and there it was: two blue lines. It was happening again. We were excited, numb, and terrified. It was hard for us to be happy about it at first. I felt like I had been conditioned to fear getting pregnant again.

Photo credit: Elizabeth May Photography

How my fertility journey affected my career

There was a clear disconnect between my personal life and the life people could see and search for: my ‘Google Life’ as I started calling it. And, as I continued my TTC journey, I saw a lack of genuine empathy and care for my situation from my bosses: some were apologetic and awkward, others were downright discriminatory.

My desire to have a baby and manage my career in my mind were and are two parts of a whole. I didn’t always feel confident enough to be vulnerable with my employers and share the personal stuff that was affecting my professional life. I truly believed – and still believe – that you can do and have both. But some of my work environments weren’t interested in that.

The lovely people at Pregnant Then Screwed are all too familiar with this kind of thing.  Many people trying to conceive experience this kind of workplace discrimination but rarely speak about it, because it’s hard and it’s especially stressful when HR and stakeholders are either oblivious to the mental health implications of trying to conceive or simply see it as a barrier to the bottom line.

The I Am app served this thumb-stopping quote to me last week and gave me the courage to write this piece: to share our story with others after years of not doing exactly that. “I am aware that the strength and knowledge I’ve gained from my experiences can help other people who are on the same path. Sharing my successes lifts others up, and sharing my mistakes protects them.”

Our daughter was born in December last year. Now, about a year later, we are filled with joy and the whole thing feels really surreal. I’m holding our baby girl in my arms as she sleeps, typing this with one hand: bookmarking a four-year fertility journey.

She’s just perfect in every way. Our dog will forever represent the day we decided we wanted a family no matter what that looked like – and then, as corny as this sounds, the universe answered. It really did.

The Evewell was incredibly supportive when the IVF didn’t work, and also when we found out we were pregnant naturally. We did an initial first scan with Dr. Jyoti Taneja at seven weeks and saw that heartbeat with her on screen for the first time.

The Evewell team was supportive and consulted with us in my early days of pregnancy. I remember doing precautionary blood tests with one of the nurses there and she said she had goosebumps hearing our story, she teared up along with me as she listened. I was so grateful for the help that came from the team even though we didn’t actually get pregnant through IVF treatment, the advice for prescriptions and other treatment support was still there.

I sent The Evewell team a birth announcement card, and their emails of congratulations poured in. I sat there, staring at my computer screen, basking in the serendipity of it all.

How trying to conceive changed the way I felt about myself

So, hello from the other side: after years of pretending everything was just great when it really wasn’t, I felt compelled to share my truth. I want to support the parents who might be going through something similar or know someone who is.

Sharing our story helped me reconnect with old friends who cried with me and supported me unconditionally. When I thought they would be hurt or annoyed that I hadn’t told them, they empathised and shared their experiences too. We had more in common than we realised. It’s likely that you have more allies than you realise. It was like that for me.

One thing is true: you don’t know what people are going through and it’s important to remember that whilst their Instagram Stories and TikTok accounts might be showing them going on a sunny holiday, drinking heart-shaped-foam matcha lattes, dancing to Taylor Swift or even if they’re not doing all of that and you haven’t heard from them in a while; there are other things going on.

For your coworker, family member, or friend; things might not be so pretty. Things might even be pretty bad. So it’s important not to assume and to truly connect: ask meaningful questions and listen.

My life, like the lives of many other TTC parents, has and will continue to have utterly beautiful moments. And tough ones too. When negative thoughts start to swirl through my head and drag me into a pool of apathy – be it weird DMs, the world’s dark news, a grumpy commuter, or an employer that just doesn’t understand parenthood in all its stages – I try to take time to remember that every day. 

Photo credit: Elizabeth May Photography
Glynnis Mapp Jacquard is a mum, writer, and senior marketer. She lives in London with her husband, daughter, and doggo.

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