Big Fat Negative: Tell us about your jourrrrney
I still remember the first time I expressed how I was feeling about infertility. I was on the 37 bus, heading to work and I was crying. I had been convinced I was pregnant – I was 10 days late, for goodness sake, and I definitely had a metallic taste in my mouth, and maybe sore boobs. But alas, two negative tests and period cramps suggested otherwise. I started to write a little blog about it on my phone. Put all the twists and turns, the hopes and dreams, and of course the crushing disappointment. By the end of the bus journey, I wasn’t feeling anywhere near as bad. I felt purged. It was the start of me sharing my journey as a form of therapy. And it wasn’t long before I was doing it behind a microphone with my friend Emma on our podcast Big Fat Negative.
‘there’s a lot of power in sharing these journeys’
We start all of our podcasts by asking people to tell us about their jourrrrrrney – with a tongue in cheek Californian vocal fry. Yes, we are being a bit silly. But as we’ve learned, there’s a lot of power in sharing these journeys. Journeys about infertility, about pain, about hope and love, about loss. There’s healing in there – in articulating something you’ve been keeping to yourself, admitting things and in finding yourself part of a big community you hadn’t realised existed.
Whether you’re doing it on a podcast (like us) or on Instagram, Facebook, a personal blog or in person with a friend, sharing your story is not only refreshing and cathartic, it invites support for others who are in the same boat. It’s not quite the same as family and friends – obviously your loved ones would do anything to support you but as we know they don’t always say the right things and they aren’t able to empathise. There are some things you can only understand when you’ve been through them yourself. So hearing from people who have been there, who get it, is important.
‘We started the Big Fat Negative podcast because we wanted a place to vent.’
Emma talks about the first time she ever posted about her infertility and IVF on Instagram. She was daunted (and after a failed transfer, she was broken) but the love and shared experiences she got back were enough to get her through. It’s a strange thing, that the place that often causes you pain (social media is littered with pregnancy announcements and baby pictures) can become a place where you also find solace and connect with shared experiences. Strangers will rally around you, cheerlead you, help with advice and commiserate.
We started the Big Fat Negative podcast because we wanted a place to vent. We also wanted an excuse to dig into the facts and speak to experts. What I don’t think either of us had quite expected was the rich world of like-minded people we would be embraced by. And I don’t think we expected our podcast to help and support so many people. I can’t think of a better silver lining to our clouds of infertility.
‘hearing someone voice what you’ve been going through can be transformative’
When you’re dealing with a taboo, hearing someone voice what you’ve been going through can be transformative. It’s why we advocate talking and sharing as much as you can or seeking out the stories of others – simply finding one other person to talk to, or indeed, a book or blog that articulates your experience, can become the friendly hug when you need it.
Gabby and Emma’s book Big Fat Negative was released on 20 January 2022.
If you feel sharing your journey could help you too, why not join one of Fertility Network’s online support groups – you can share as much as you want or just listen in. Full details of all our groups at https://fertilitynetworkuk.org/access-support/support-groups/