We recently sat down with Amy Maree Campbell, IVF mother and founder of the Bridal Bar to discuss her IVF experience and the challenges she's overcome in the 5 year journey.
Your journey to motherhood going through IVF is an incredibly moving story, and one that has inspired so many women along the way. Can you tell us a little bit about your first pregnancy with your daughter AJ?
It was definitely a longer than expected journey - 5 years, 6 IVF cycles and 8 transfers to conceive AJ in 2019.
We had suffered an ectopic pregnancy in 2017 and a second miscarriage in 2018 - both IVF pregnancies - so my pregnancy with AJ was still an anxious one. I think anyone who has suffered a loss can understand the anxiety attached to pregnancy as you constantly worry that something out of your control could happen to the baby. But we tried to stay positive throughout the 40 weeks and I had very few issues along the way, but in saying that, I didn’t “love” pregnancy. I had morning sickness from week 5-15, severe heartburn and reflux and the usual crazy tiredness for the full 40 weeks (probably comes with running a business full time whilst being pregnant!)
You're incredibly passionate about sharing your story so that other couples feel less alone in their journey. What do you hope to change in generating these discussions?
I truly hope that by opening up about these topics in years to come they become less taboo. I still have followers and friends who reach out saying they are doing this alone and even their family don’t know, and women suffering miscarriages alone and have zero support because no one knew they were pregnant.
I also wish that we lose the ridiculous “12 week rule”. Why should we be forced to keep such incredible news like a pregnancy a secret for 12 weeks just because of some olden day societal unwritten rule. I love seeing couples announce their pregnancies when they find out, although that’s still the minority. I would love to see this happen more and more in the future. I understand people keep it secret until they are in a “safe zone” but shouldn’t we have support if something as devastating as a miscarriage were to happen to us?
Many women have friends going through the challenges of IVF - and the process is different for everyone. Can you share some of the best / most helpful things someone can do or say to a friend facing these struggles?
It is such a tough thing to go through and every individual is different. I think the best advice would be to let your friend know you are there for them if they need anything. Do your own research to get a better understanding of the process and don’t hassle them asking 100 questions as they may be still navigating the process themselves. “Check in” by just by saying “thinking of you let me know if you need anything”
Definitely don’t give advice - saying things like “my friend's brother’s girlfriend's mum did IVF and she ate pineapple cores and it worked for her”. This is definitely not helpful and the process is stressful enough without everyone putting their 2 cents worth in.
Much of our audience are new or expectant parents. What is an absolute 'must have’ item to carry in your baby bag?
A spare nappy and baby wipes is a MUST. I have been caught out many times before and had to drive home! Also a bottle of water and snacks for the toddler Mums - lots of snacks to keep them entertained. An iPad for entertainment and we always carry sunscreen cause AJ has such fair skin. Hence why a big Mumma handbag is always needed!
To follow along with Amy's journey, follow her at @amy_maree_c