"Millions of women are reaching their mid-forties without having had a child, and in much greater numbers than their mother’s generation. Although some are childfree by choice, most didn’t choose this and are silently struggling in a life they didn’t foresee." (Jody Day 2016, 'Living the Life Unexpected').
Three years ago, after a year of tests and scans, it was suggested I have investigative surgery to seek answers to my unexplained infertility. It was revealed I had suffered a significant internal infection post emergency appendix surgery aged 32, causing irreparable damage to my reproductive organs. I'd had no idea.
It was devastating news which compounded my sadness at finding myself childless in my forties. And news which removed any hope of having a biological child.
This was only part of my story. Other women I have since met (gateway-women.com) have shared stories of multiple miscarriages, failed rounds of IVF, or failed relationships. In seeking support through my grief, I discovered a tribe of women who felt like I did: isolated, misunderstood, and questioning what life might look like without motherhood.
Fertility Network UK are a charity which offer support, advice and understanding. I am cycling specifically to raise money for their 'More to Life' campaign which is building awareness of the challenges of childlessness, alongside supporting women accept their reality, make meaning of their experience, and refocus their lives on other fulfilling goals.
I took delivery of my road bike in early Feb, and have been navigating 10km laps of Richmond Park before heading out to the Surrey Hills. Next stop clip in pedals! I'm slowly building resilience to the numbness of certain body parts - you can't have too many pairs of padded shorts! (Thank you Clare). Roll on the lighter evening training rides, and achieving each milestone as I count down to pedalling into Paris in September (World Childlessness Week).
Check out some snaps below of my cycling journey so far! I'll post regular updates over the coming months.
Any donations would be so greatly appreciated to raise some cash for this crucial charity dedicated to supporting women through their experience of infertility.
Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving - they'll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they'll send your money directly to the charity. So it's the most efficient way to donate - saving time and cutting costs for the charity.