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Finding support for infertility and reproductive anxiety

I’m a big believer in opening up channels of communication in the community, so we can all feel and speak openly about our concerns, whatever they may be.

Reproductive anxiety, trauma, and infertility are just some of the many subjects we need to start speaking more about, but where to start right? It’s a big conversation. And if we’re going to start somewhere with this conversation I thought I would introduce you to one of the experts in this area, Lucy Kemp, who is supporting men and women in this space every single day.

Before we launch full force though, let me introduce you to Lucy and her story and then in the next few weeks we’ll move more in depth into the conversation.

Lucy tell us how you began working and supporting individuals in this area of health?

After 10 years practising as a lawyer I retrained as a counsellor before having children.  After a five year motherhood hiatus when my first son was born, I returned to the workforce feeling very passionate about this new beginning helping people in an area I believe to be of such need in our community.  

Could you share with us some of your personal story surrounding fertility?

My second-born son was the happy ending to a long struggle to conceive which involved a complicated miscarriage and subsequent IVF treatment.  During this long road through secondary infertility, I experienced a range of emotions – anxiety, lack of self-esteem, sadness, anger, jealousy, loneliness and isolation.  I searched for somewhere to turn for emotional support, and relied heavily on amazing friends who had been through IVF. 

After my son was born, and probably as a result of a serious thyroid illness during my pregnancy and a difficult delivery, I suffered post-natal anxiety.  Like so many women, I tried to keep wearing that “mask” of pretending everything is fine when I was really struggling to cope and adjust.  Eventually I decided to take that mask off, be vulnerable and reach out for help which had a huge impact not just on me but my entire family.

How have things progressed from there for you?

Going through that experience gave me a unique insight into what so many women of our generation are going through in their quest to become a mother.  And for so many, including myself, having the right support in a safe environment can make the journey that little bit more bearable.  After my own experience and knowing how much the support I sought meant to me, I was determined to “pay it forward”.  I have been privileged to witness this firsthand as I have helped so many women around me through their own often difficult journey to motherhood. 

How can we open up this important conversation?

Seeing a real void in the counselling industry in this area, for the past 5 years I have specialised in helping women who are experiencing infertility and pregnancy loss as well as the myriad of emotional challenges we face both before, during and after pregnancy.  I offer home visit counselling sessions for new mothers who are coping with post-natal anxiety, birth trauma and the general adjustment to motherhood.

I am a huge believer in the power of empathy; the difference it makes to a woman when they feel heard and not judged.  When a woman does not have to censor how she is feeling but can feel validated by somebody who can help to normalise a range of emotions as well as providing practical strategies to make life that little bit easier.

+ You can find Lucy Kemp and her services via www.lucykemp.com.au

 

Jacqueline Alwill

Jacqueline is an Accredited Nutritional Medicine Practitioner specialising in family and early childhood nutrition and gut health. She writes for several media publications, hosts a regular nutrition segment on Channel 7 and in 2016 published her first book, "Seasons to Share" (Murdoch Books). Jacqueline is passionate about working with corporations and brands to support and educate their community and audience and is currently a media spokesperson and ambassador for Remedy Drinks, Eimele Australia, Woolworths, Kitchenaid and Nutrition Director at Bondi Bubs Wholefoods. She is mum to Jet and outside her working hours you'll find her with her family in the surf, on the beach, or out and about in nature.

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