Mum and author Izzy Judd has battled with infertility, IVF and baby loss, sharing her experiences through her best-selling books. As she prepares to give birth to her third child, we catch up with Izzy on her journey to motherhood, parenting and everything in between.
Congratulations on baby number three! Are Lola and Kit excited to have a new sibling?
Thank you, we are all very excited to meet Lola and Kit’s little brother. I think Lola will be another little mummy for this baby – she is taking her roll of big sister very seriously. Kit is very affectionate with me and often kisses my bump, I’m not sure he is really aware of how much things are about to change!
How are you feeling about motherhood the third time round?
I have days where I’m really excited and others where I’m terrified! It can be tough going through the newborn stage and you don’t quite know what to expect as every baby is unique. I have always found change difficult so I’m doing all I can to prepare myself for the coming months and keeping the mantra “This too shall pass” firmly in my mind. I will also be dipping into the mindfulness techniques from my book Mindfulness for Mums. One of my go-to tips is Take Five where you simply hold your left hand in front of you and with your right hand trace around your handprint. As you move your finger up a finger you breathe in and as you move your finger down you breathe out. Tracing your handprint gives you the chance to take five deep breaths to help calm down the nervous system. This is also a technique I share with Lola & Kit to help them feel calmer at bath time or before bed.
You’ve been very open about your battle with fertility over the years. What struggles did you face?
It’s a very long story and one I have shared in my book Dare to Dream. Looking back, I believe the mental battle of trying for a baby and long-term difficulties with anxiety had a huge impact on the way my body responded physically, perhaps somehow not feeling safe enough. I stopped ovulating and eventually my husband and I decided that we would go down the IVF route (after going down many other holistic and medical paths).
Sadly, we miscarried our first pregnancy. The pain of losing a baby never leaves you, I will always wonder who that little soul was.
We were then fortunate enough to conceive Lola after our second round of IVF. Kit came along naturally very quickly; it was such a shock after years of struggling.
Tell us about your IVF experience. As a couple, how did you find it?
I made the decision to go into IVF as positively as possible. I very much believed that even though my body was being taken over medically I still had the choice of how I was going to handle it mentally. For the first time in so long I felt hope. Of course, it was difficult to find this positivity again after the miscarriage, but I dug deep because I didn’t want to give up believing in myself.
On the day of the embryo transfer we were shown our embryo on the screen, it was beautiful and moved us both to tears. It wasn’t the way we thought we would have conceived but it was every bit as magical to have the chance to see our embryo. An experience we will never forget.
What advice would you give to anyone dealing with fertility issues, or on an IVF journey of their own?
IVF is a huge thing to go through and often with little support as it is difficult to talk openly about it to others. Looking back, I wish I had opened up to more friends and family. Everybody deals with the process in their own way, I would say the best advice I was given was to set my boundaries during the process. Surround yourself with people that make you feel happy and don’t feel you can’t say no. This time is about you.
You’ve been supporting the Joy of Moving campaign – what inspired you to get involved?
As a family getting out and moving is crucial, even more so during recent times. I love the Joy of Moving campaign because the games can be shared with the whole family. Sometimes I struggle with finding things to keep both Lola & Kit entertained. These short, fun games keep everyone happy and we know we’ve got the kids moving which is so important for their physical and mental well-being and development.
We loved your books Dare to Dream & Mindfulness for Mums. What’s next in the pipeline?
Next in the pipeline is slowing down and to focus on baby number three. When Kit was born, I was in the middle of writing Dare to Dream and then went on to write Mindfulness for Mums. I’m looking forward to having a quieter time this time around to enjoy the precious moments that go so fast!
I really enjoy sharing my experiences on my Instagram and have found huge strength and support from the community on there. It’s amazing how many others feel the same and yet so often we can feel lonely in motherhood. I hope that by sharing my experiences it will help others know they are not alone and to keep talking about the reality of life as a mum!