My name is Kellie Harriden, and I am mum to gorgeous twins, Bane and Daya. Every day with them I feel truly blessed, however on certain days, like Mother’s Day, even more so. You see becoming a mum was not so easy for me. I went through an eight-year journey struggling with infertility. The uncertainty of not knowing if it is ever going to happen is not an easy thing to deal with. As often said by those dealing with infertility “There is a unique pain that comes from preparing a place in your heart for a child that may never come”
Seeing social media posts on Mother’s Day felt relentless! They were so innocently posted by my friends and sisters, but seeing them being spoilt by their children with breakfast, cute gifts plus lots of hugs used to tear at my heartstrings. However, during those years of trying to become a mum myself, I would put on a brave face as I have the most wonderful mum, who I wanted to celebrate and spoil.
Even though I now have my own children giving me gifts they make at school or buy at the school mother’s day stall there is a part of me who will never forget the “yearning to be a mum” feeling I used to dread on mothers day, and for this reason I keep my mother’s day as a quiet and private time to share with just my family. I know what it feels like to be on the “other side” with your heart being ripped apart, so am very aware of how others may be secretly feeling.
So to make a very long story short, my journey to motherhood started when I was 31. After buying our first home together, my partner Ian and I excitedly decided to start trying for a family. I naively thought after a few months we would soon be announcing our pregnancy. How wrong I was! Instead, we embarked on what would be a long, expensive, frustrating and extremely emotional roller coaster ride. From the beginning of our journey I found it all very overwhelming and lonely. My body was not doing what it was naturally supposed to, and this made me feel very ashamed. During the next eight years I only let certain close family and friends in on what we were going through at the time.
Overall we went through six IVF cycles. Every cycle ended in a devastating negative pregnancy test result. IVF never worked for us and I was popped in the frustrating category of unexplained infertility. Ian and I also went down the path of looking into foster care and adoption, however we never felt they were the right paths for us. Eventually, with what was to be our last chance of hope, we looked into international surrogacy. This is how we finally became parents. We are so grateful to have our twins and not a day goes by where I do not think of our surrogate mother and how she gave us a bigger gift than what we could ever thank her for.
A couple of years ago my first book was published; Long-Awaited Child is my story of hope and resilience through infertility. My second soon to be released book, Achieving Parenthood, is a collaboration of stories from others who have been through their own fertility struggles and heartbreak. It really is something special, and I know will resonate with and comfort many. I like to do all I can to support the trying to conceive community and have also founded, Pineapple Boxes, which are fertility boxes to help you through your journey.
I know it can sound clique, but I believe this path was destined for me. I often say if I could go back and change things so I could have my babies naturally, I wouldn’t. Everything I have been through, the resilience I had to find along the way has shaped me into the person I am today. I still get emotional talking about my own struggles, and I now know that is okay. So even though I get so much out of supporting others, it has also helped me heal from my own infertility trauma, and from this I believe I have truly found my purpose and passion in life.
So if you are finding yourself in the infertility arena, I will share with you some advice. This is your journey. It is okay to be a little selfish. Share what you feel comfortable in sharing, but please know you do not need to do this alone. Your friends, your family, whoever is in your tribe, will understand. Then go for it and do whatever it takes to make all your Mother’s Day dreams come true.
And for those who have their own gorgeous babies, whether they are here with you, away or are angels looking over you, “Happy Mother’s Day’
(this image, although not professional is very special, as it is of the day we first met and held our twin babies)