What’s swimming got to do with telling your story?

I’ve written previously about how being honest and open about my childlessness has changed my life for the better and how it means that for the first time in many years I’m really being me.

I want to share a story about another lady who has recently started ‘standing tall’ in her infertility and what happened when she did that get a room of people who were on her side.

The Pursuit of Motherhood

The lady in question is Jessica Hepburn and she’s recently launched a book called ‘In Pursuit of Motherhood’ which tells her story of ten unsuccessful IVF procedures. Jessica’s story is both heartbreaking and funny and her experiences will be familiar to you if you’ve ever been to a clinic. But that’s not why I’m writing about it. For me there are two things to learn from Jessica;

  • When you own and tell your story, it’s empowering and

  • Having a positive mindset helps you to heal.

I went to the book launch and it was lovely to be in a room with so many people who were either Jessica’s friends and family or involved in childlessness or infertility in some way. Jessica was interviewed by Janet Ellis (yes the Janet Ellis who presented Blue Peter and Sophie Ellis Bextor’s Mother) and they explored what happened when she started telling friends and family about the book, and how she turned round her negative experiences.

Telling your story is like swimming

Jessica explained how telling her story had helped her and how supportive everyone has been.

Swimming and healingThis is where the swimming comes in; Janet compared telling your story to being worried about swimming; you might be nervous about getting in the water, and when you do, you find that you don’t sink or drown, but if you stay calm the water holds you up.

That’s a lovely metaphor don’t you think?  To take it a bit further, it’s been my experience that the more treacherous the water appears and the more you relax into it, the more likely you are to be safe.

I’ve opened up to many people over the last year and on reflection; the more daunting it appeared beforehand, when I relaxed and was honest and genuine the more supportive people were.

Control and gratitude; the keys to a healing mindset

I’ve also written previously about the contributions a positive mindset and gratitude make to healing and Jessica explained how these worked for her;

  • Whether or not she has a child is outside her control; but she can control how she feels about it. Once she realised this, it was a key turning point and marked the start of her healing,
  • There is so much to appreciate about life,

I encourage clients to have a gratitude practice, and Jessica uses the term ‘blessings.’ Here’s an extract from the book where she explains how this helps her.


I’ve recently started a new list book. I call it my Blessings Book. It’s become an important reminder for me that, despite my infertility, there’s still something to bless in every day. Sometimes a day seems so perfect that I have to include every detail. Other days it might be just a great cup of coffee, the colour of spring blossom, or the kindness of a stranger.

Looking back, there are many reasons to bless my infertility. If I had got pregnant when we first started trying I’m not sure I could have carried on doing the job I do now. Peter and I have visited some incredible places that we probably would have never been able to go to if we had children. And I now know so much more about myself than I did before I started this journey. If I’m given the chance, I’m sure that it will make me a better mother.

In the darkest moments, my Blessings Book has become a reminder of all the things in life to be grateful for. If you desperately want a baby but can’t get pregnant, it’s going to be one of the really sad things in your life. But juxtapose it with everything that makes life worth living. We’re not working towards a happy ending. Life is not linear. There will be good times then bad times. Bad times then good. So count your blessings wherever you find them and enjoy the journey wherever it takes you. Because life is a blessing that has been given to us by our parents. Even if we can’t pass it on as parents ourselves.

What stands out for me is ‘..there are many reasons to bless my infertility.’

Powerful isn’t it?

Over to you

What would it take for you to be able to bless your childlessness?

How can/do you have a positive mindset, and how does having a gratitude practice help you to heal?

Please leave your ideas and comments below.

The Pursuit of Motherhood is an excellent book if you want to know what it’s like to go through infertility treatments, or you would like your family/friends to understand what you’ve been through. You can read more about it HERE.

If you find this daunting or you’re not sure what action to take, I’d love to help you. You can book a complimentary session via my online diary or leave a message on my contact page and we can spend 20 to 30 minutes to get clarity on how we can work together to create a life you love.

And if you leave your email at the top of the page you’ll be the first to hear about more articles like this and, as a bonus you’ll get the confidence e-book.


1 thought on “What’s swimming got to do with telling your story?”

  1. What a beautiful story and I love the swimming metaphor.
    My experience is that developing a growth mindset to infertility, is a journey in itself, but not one to frightened of. My life is more rewarding than ever now, but I accept that it has been a long and difficult road.
    I really feel that if I had a supportive community (like yours ), my life would have been easier…with less experience of shame about it. Keep up the fabulous work. I will get the book too 😉


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