The following story has been shared by Natalie Wilkinson, the beautiful mother featured in these photographs. I'm so grateful to Nat for sharing her experience with infertility and IVF. I have no doubt you'll find her story as heart-wrenching and inspirational as I did.
My journey to motherhood began in 2010 when my now husband Terence and I first decided to try for a baby. Sadly we had 6 miscarriages in 5 years. We were told that IVF would be our only way to conceive a healthy baby and so, with that in mind, we decided to get married so that if IVF didn't work for us we would be eligible to adopt a child in the future.
We wanted to be parents more than anything but with the price of IVF our dream was pushed beyond our reach. I would cry constantly. It hurt a lot and there was nothing I could do. I felt alone and it seemed all around me were friends falling pregnant and having babies. I was helpless to the infertility and it consumed me. I felt like a failure as a woman, but Terence was so supportive and helped me through and loved me no matter what.
My sister could see our pain and without us knowing entered our story into a Kyle and Jackie O "give back" competition. To our complete shock we were chosen and they helped fund our IVF treatment! In May 2015 after one cycle and two transfers we learned we were pregnant with twins! I cannot tell you how much we cried tears of joy when we found out. Unfortunately only one twin survived past 8 weeks, but in January 2016 our beautiful daughter Sahara was born.
We named her after our favorite song by The Jezabels as we found the lyrics particularly fitting: "how long it seems I've waited- the seed, the moment of completeness, Sahara Mahala"
Through my experience I've learned that I was made to be a mother, that I am capable of defying odds and loving someone with a force I never dreamed possible. If you are in a similar situation, talk to people, join support groups and share your story/hopes and fears with other women who are going through the same thing. I've made life-long friends through my IVF Journey. Also make peace with yourself, don't blame yourself. Nourish your relationship with your partner and try and make time each day where you don't think about infertility; it can make you bitter and jealous. I needed to consciously decide each day to count my blessings regardless of whether I had a baby in my arms.
Thank you for letting me share the story of our journey to parenthood. We are so thankful to have these amazing photos to cherish forever. They mark the best year of our lives- a year with a child I honestly didn't think we would ever have. The first as a family of 3.
Processed and scanned by Atkins Pro Lab