A long, long time ago in a decade called the 90’s, before the invention of Facebook, Instagram and Smart Phones (hard to imagine I know), I was a moody teenager. I was a moody teenager trying to discover who I was and what I wanted to be, in a posh private school where the tweed jackets itched and smelled a bit of wet dog, my woollen skirt was BELOW the knee and where I could never be who I was. But I knew what I wanted to be. In hormonal, teenage mind I wanted to be two things, a holistic therapist and a mum.
In those distant days of 1996, aged 16 years old, I was summoned to the careers adviser, where I declared that I wanted to work in holistic therapies so that I could support others and help them to feel better. He laughed at me and told me to get a ‘proper’ career and signed me up for A’level politics and classics. I didn’t stay.
I went to college, where I started studying another of my passions, education and how to be a good teacher. This bears a lot of similarities to the skills of a therapist. To teach, you must first have a love of people and a willingness to be flexible and creative in your practice to enable them to move forward. I now have two degrees and a diploma in education and yet I still do not ‘fit’ the current system. Instead I run a website and social media pages where I share ideas to inspire children and families to learn together at home.
Moving forward to my twenties, it seemed that my path to my second desire, motherhood, would also not be an easy one. I had my first baby in 2008 after 4 long years of 'trying', fertility treatments, stress. despair and a diagnosis of “unexplained infertility.”
Holding my baby in my arms I finally felt that my prayers had been answered, I had what I'd dreamed of for so long, He was, and is, utterly beautiful and I am eternally grateful that I am a mum.
Years passed, and we revelled in the joy of our son. We watched as he took his first steps, ate his first finger foods and went for his first day at nursery. We loved every second. Gradually over that time I felt that desire returning, the desire for another baby and a sibling for our son.
I hoped that this would be simple and straight forward, I hoped that having my first baby would have somehow cured me, but as the months turned into years, I realised I had another battle on my hands. Now I was experiencing secondary infertility.
One evening in 2011, whilst laying on the couch of my lovely acupuncturist trying to find some help for infertility, I closed my eyes saw colours. I’d always seen bits of colour, but never really questioned it. These were something else, these colours were vivid and moving, like the reflections from oil in a puddle. Peacock blues, lime green, deep purples, then reds and yellows and oranges, the more needles the more colours. I lay still and enjoyed the spectacular show. At the end I told my acupuncturist what I had seen and she asked if I’d ever considered being a holistic therapist.
Yes, I had! Her words stuck with me. I knew what I needed to be.
12 months on, after another round of tests and medical intervention, temperature charting, watching my diet, stress and heartache I was finally ‘allowed’ a very small dose of Clomid. These were handed to me with the helpful words from the doctor: “I will give you these for 6 months. If you don’t fall pregnant, you need to consider if you really want any more children.”
See my stress levels shoot through the roof! If I didn’t really want more children I would not have put myself through the endless tests and humiliation. I would not have sat in the early pregnancy unit with an ectopic pregnancy whilst everyone around me cooed at scan pictures of babies they would get to hold in their arms and I would not have been the emotionally exhausted woman who sat in front of him. OF COURSE I bloody wanted more children.
Off I went with a mountain of stress and pressure and a box of ‘last chance saloon Clomid.’
My best friend, who had been at my side through all of these ups and downs, and who would have given me a baby in an instant if she could, phoned me one day shortly after this, to say that a mutual friend was studying to be a reflexologist and was looking for case studies with fertility issues. The lady she was going to work with had got pregnant! I contacted her immediately and was signed up to what I now know was a life changing experience.
Like many people, I had no real understanding of what reflexology was, but I’d always been interested in it and so I went with an open mind and slight desperation.
My reflexologist took a detailed medical history of my journey to her and worked with me in every session balancing hormones, relieving stress and most importantly listening to me rambling on.
4 weeks in my first Clomid cycle had failed and I had the standard devastation that I had become used to. I so wanted reflexology to be the thing that helped me. My reflexologist supported me through this, she persisted, she believed in me and I had an overwhelming sense that she wanted me to succeed as much as I did.
We finished our 10 sessions over the next 4 weeks. We worked around my cycle, she followed my body and then we finished. I went on my way feeling much better and calmer in myself.
A week on, it was 5th November I believe, I did a pregnancy test. I watched in amazement as not one, but two lines appeared almost instantly! Of course I didn’t believe it, so I did several more tests. (Anyone who struggles with fertility will know that you always need a stash of sticks to wee on!)
Every test was positive!! Obviously what I did next was to photograph these and send a picture to my best friend and my mum, before I told my husband!
They phoned me, we cried and laughed all at the same time and a weight lifted off my shoulders that had been there for almost a decade.
After a very enjoyable pregnancy the summer became very hot! My reflexologist had started training in maternity reflexology and wanted some pregnant feet to practice on. My hand shot up!
I was convinced all the way through my pregnancy that I would have a boy. But at 38 weeks she came along and blew my mind. She took one look at my feet and said, “That’s a girl and she will be here within the week.”
A lovely treatment and two long hot days later my beautiful daughter arrived in a matter of a few hours of labour. I was amazed and the most content I’d ever been. After I’d recovered and adjusted to being the mum of two, I began training as a reflexologist.
10 short months later, after being told that I ‘probably couldn’t have any more children’ by my doctor, I discovered I was pregnant again! But that’s a whole other story for another day.