We’ve often talked about how being a mom is both a wonderful and difficult experience, but getting to that point and actually becoming a mom comes with its own highs and lows too. The reality is, not all women can conceive easily or right away and many women turn to different fertility treatments to make their dreams of becoming a mom come true.
But what exactly is it like for someone to go through one of these treatments? We got in touch with Gladys Lim, mom of seven-year-old Erin, to learn more about her experience with In Vitro Fertilization or IVF, the process of combining a man’s sperm and a woman’s egg outside of the body before bringing them into the woman’s uterus. Find out more about Gladys’ IVF journey below!
Gladys and her husband Erwin had always dreamed of becoming parents and having kids. But after years of trying and being unsuccessful, one of their friends, who had gone through numerous IVF cycles and succeeded in having a baby, suggested that they get tested and explore fertility treatments for themselves. At least this way, Gladys and Erwin could find out if there was anything wrong and what they could do about it to improve their chances.
So, after going through tests, remedies, and failed Intrauterine Inseminations (IUI or the process of placing sperm into the woman’s uterus during the peak of ovulation), IVF was Gladys and Erwin’s last chance to conceive a child of their own. And once they did more of their own research and found a doctor and clinic they were comfortable with, the couple started on their IVF journey.
“We also had to be realistic,” Gladys recalls, “and understand that IVF would increase our chances but by no means guarantee us a positive result.” So Gladys and Erwin made sure to always bring up their concerns with each other and with their doctor to make sure they fully understood exactly what they were getting themselves into.
Once it all started, Gladys found both her and her husband’s mental health getting affected, sharing that “During the process, [I felt] uncertain, anxious, and insecure… [and] my husband shared all my anxieties and fears.” Although the couple was anxious and worried, they reminded themselves constantly that if everything turned out well, all these difficulties would be worth it. If not, then at least she and Erwin did everything they could.
Luckily, the couple’s family and friends were supportive and truly respected their decision to go through IVF. In fact, Gladys notes, “They were mostly curious and wanted to know more about what IVF was and what it entailed. Since we did our research and have been consulting with IVF doctors and other couples who have gone through IVF, we were in a position to enlighten them with what we learned to help them understand and dispel some of their misconceptions.”
Going through IVF definitely turned Gladys’ life around, affecting her lifestyle, body, and health. “I really gained a lot of weight with all the meds and stimulants [and I felt] bloated and fat all the time since all the meds will make your body think ‘Hey you’re getting pregnant soon… So be prepared for it.’”
But more than just these physical changes, Gladys recalls, “I also had to manage my emotions, particularly being envious of anyone getting pregnant easily in the most natural way.”
But focusing on caring for herself and getting in the best health possible throughout her IVF procedure also helped Gladys a lot: “Since the IVF procedure is very taxing to one’s mind and body, you really have to start loving yourself and stop blaming yourself.” And in keeping her and her husband surrounded by loved ones who truly cared, they found the extra support and motivation they needed to get through the hard times.
In the end, this leap of faith and all of Gladys and Erwin’s troubles became so worth it and they welcomed their little girl Erin into the world. Today, the couple has made it their responsibility to pay this success forward by talking to couples who want to learn more about IVF and their journey with the procedure.
“If Erwin’s friend wasn’t open to helping us,” Gladys notes, “we wouldn’t have had this chance to have a child of our own.” That’s why Gladys and Erwin want to do their part to help by letting as many people as they can know that there are different options out there for starting a family. Although IVF is not a 100% guarantee, if you have the means, it can be worth a try!