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The second in our series of interviews about motherhood, this time we caught up with Izzy Judd, wife to McFly drummer Harry Judd and mama to Lola and new baby Kit.
Izzy was born into a musical family and studied violin first at Chethams School of Music and then The Royal Academy of Music. She was a member of electric string quartet Escala, who took part in Britain's Got Talent in 2008 and went on to release a top-ten album with Simon Cowell's label SYCO. Izzy met Harry Judd on McFly's Wonderland tour in 2005 and they married in 2012.
Having been told by doctors that, due to Izzy's polycystic ovarian syndrome, they would have difficulty in starting a family - and after two years of trying - Izzy and Harry turned to IVF. Izzy has recently shared her journey in her heartfelt memoir Dare to Dream.
In support of our collaboration with Selfish Mother, in aid of Refugee Support Europe, Izzy talked to us about her book and what her IVF journey to conceive Lola was like
Read her story below…
HI IZZY, CONGRATULATIONS ON THE ARRIVAL OF GORGEOUS BABY KIT AND THE LAUNCH OF YOUR BOOK… DID YOU ALWAYS KNOW YOU WANTED TO BE A MOTHER?
Ever since I was a little girl I would dream about becoming a mum, it was always my greatest ambition and I found it difficult to see my life without having a family of my own. I would imagine having 4 children, two boys and two girls. After struggling to conceive Lola I could only hope that we would be able to give her a sister or a brother. I count my lucky stars every day that Lola and Kit are in our lives.
HOW LONG DID YOU TRY NATURALLY BEFORE YOU HAD IVF TO CONCEIVE LOLA?
When we made the decision to start a family I discovered very quickly that it wasn’t going to be straightforward. I was diagnosed with PCOS and found out that although I was having regular cycles, I wasn’t ovulating. What followed were months of medicated cycles that left me feeling every emotion from fear to frustration. I decided to give myself a break and embarked on a mind, body, soul detox before going ahead with IVF two years later.
WHAT WAS THAT TIME LIKE FOR YOU AND HARRY?
Harry was my absolute rock during that time and always made me feel we were a team. I felt it was very important for Harry to write a chapter in Dare to Dream, to acknowledge that fertility issues are very much about the couple. Often the emphasis can be on the woman and actually men need just as much support.
DID YOU TELL FRIENDS AND FAMILY? OR KEEP IT BETWEEN THE TWO OF YOU?
Those closest to us such as immediate family and best friends knew but we did otherwise keep it very much to ourselves. It is incredibly hard to know how to start the conversation about fertility issues but actually looking back, I think being open would have helped me. There still seems to be a silence around the subject and I’m hoping that by sharing my story it will give others the courage and confidence to know they are not alone and start talking.
DID YOU TRY ANYTHING ELSE BEFORE IVF?
Six months before we started IVF I went on a mind, body, soul detox. I completely changed my diet and looked at how nutrition can help symptoms of PCOS and boost fertility. I practiced mindfulness to help ease my anxiety and found regular acupuncture extremely helpful. I enjoyed light exercise such as yoga and swimming but most importantly I made the decision to put myself first and be kind to myself.
AND HOW DID YOU FEEL WHEN YOU DECIDED TO GO AHEAD WITH THE TREATMENT?
For the first time in a long time I felt hope. I was so excited to start IVF and although I was extremely anxious I made the decision to take each step a day at a time. After our initial appointment with the nurse at the fertility clinic I went home and wrote everything down and researched as much as possible about IVF and alternative therapies that could support us. It was during this process I realised how much information there was on the medical side of IVF, specific holistic treatments and nutrition. I struggled to find a book that spoke to me on an emotional level so I hope Dare to Dream gives those going through their own fertility journey comfort and support.
WHAT WAS THE PROCESS LIKE? WAS IT HOW YOU EXPECTED IT TO BE?
IVF was so much more magical than I ever expected it to be. It was the first time in a long time I felt hope. I learnt to put myself first and was the healthiest I had been in body and mind for a very long time.
The moment that took Harry and I by surprise was the day of transfer. Even though we were in a very medical and sterile room, somehow it was just as romantic as I hoped the moment we conceived would be! We saw our little embryo on the screen and then as it was transferred we saw a flash of light on the monitor. Harry and I were in floods of tears, it was one of the most amazing moments of our lives.
DID YOU DO ANY HOLISTIC THERAPIES AT THE SAME TIME? AND IF SO, DO YOU THINK THEY HELPED?
I continued with all the holistic therapies I had found so helpful in my detox during IVF. I felt that the doctors took over my body but it was up to me to look after my mind. I strongly believe these therapies could only have helped and I felt I was being proactive.
HOW DID YOU FEEL WHEN YOU CONCEIVED NATURALLY WITH BABY NUMBER TWO?
It was New Year’s Day morning and Lola was in the bathroom with me (when as a mum do you ever get to go to the loo in private again!) As the line appeared I just kept saying to Lola look there’s a line, there’s a line. I then woke Harry up, said happy New Year and look I’m pregnant. It was so surreal, I just couldn’t believe after all we had been through that it would ever be so simple. People often said “oh it’ll probably happen naturally next time” but I never believed we would be lucky enough. I hope my story gives others hope that miracles can happen.
AND WHAT WAS YOUR PREGNANCY LIKE WITH LOLA? DO YOU THINK HAVING IVF MADE THE EXPERIENCE DIFFERENT FOR YOU?
I absolutely loved my pregnancy with Lola, yes I had the usual morning (all day) sickness and tiredness but I suppose having gone through all our struggles and IVF I never wanted to complain. I just felt so lucky to be pregnant and was anxious to get through each milestone of pregnancy. I don’t think Harry and I truly relaxed until Lola arrived safely into the world. I have often wondered if having IVF makes you a different mum and I honestly feel I would be the same mum however we conceived. I have however experienced guilt for finding things difficult, I have to remind myself that it’s ok to have difficult days, being a mum is overwhelming.
WHAT WAS IT LIKE WHEN SHE FINALLY ARRIVED?
I remember looking at Lola for the first time just moments after she was born and thinking I would wait forever for you. After everything we had been through I thought I wouldn’t change a thing because had we not gone through that struggle we would never have met Lola and I can’t even begin to think about that.
WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO WRITE YOUR BOOK, DARE TO DREAM?
Harry and I made the decision to be honest and open about our fertility struggles when we announced our pregnancy with Lola. I remember how hard I found pregnancy announcements and felt I wanted to be sensitive and respectful to those who may be going through a difficult time. It would have felt wrong if we hadn’t been open, also I feel proud of the way Lola was conceived.
I was amazed at the positive reaction we had not only from friends who were facing fertility issues but also from many couples who got in touch to say how grateful they were that we had spoken out about our difficulties and that our experience had given them hope. It is those people and encouragement from Harry that inspired me to write Dare to Dream. My greatest wish is that Dare to Dream is a companion to others and that by telling my story it will give others comfort and support on their own fertility journey.
AND WHAT HAS THE REACTION BEEN LIKE?
I have been overwhelmed by the reaction I have received for Dare to Dream. All I ever hoped was that by telling my story it would open up the conversation about fertility struggles, miscarriage and IVF. When I read messages telling me that Dare to Dream has given couples courage, hope and helped them to feel less alone this means everything to me. 1 in 7 couples face infertility issues, why should we have to go through this alone and in silence. It is a subject that should be approached with great sensitivity but that doesn’t mean we just shouldn’t talk about it.
AND FINALLY, WHAT WOULD YOUR TOP FIVE TIPS BE FOR ANYONE WHO’S ABOUT TO GO THROUGH IVF?
To read more about Izzy's IVF journey, get a copy of her book 'Dare To Dream' here >
Share your own journey into motherhood stories on Instagram using #MotherMob. And if, like Izzy, you would like to help us support the wonderful work that Refugee Support are doing to help new mothers, then you can buy the jumper and playsuit that Izzy is wearing here >
Money from every sale is going directly to help the charity.
If you don't want to buy a jumper but would still like to help, you can donate straight to the charity here >
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