Izzy Judd’s message of hope to would-be parents after revealing how she and McFly’s Harry Judd overcame miscarriage heartbreak and fertility problems
- Credit: Archant
To many people, Izzy Judd has what seems like the perfect life – fame, a successful career, a popstar husband and a beautiful baby girl, with another child on the way.
But behind the scenes of her fairytale marriage to McFly’s Harry Judd is the story of a struggle which many couples face but often feel unable to talk about – the battle against fertility problems to start a family.
After marrying the love of her life, the Harpenden born and bred former Escala violinist naturally wanted to start a family.
Like many couples, the 33-year-old assumed she would get pregnant after a few months of trying.
However when the pair found it difficult to conceive, it triggered feelings of self-doubt and depression.
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When she did finally get pregnant following IVF treatment, she miscarried – leaving Mr and Mrs Judd devastated.
At one point the couple feared they may never fulfil their dream of having children, with Mr Judd taking his wife by the hand and saying: “If it’s just you and me, that’s okay.”
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Yet she got pregnant again through IVF in May 2015, giving birth to daughter Lola in January last year.
Earlier this year the couple announced they are expecting their second child after Mrs Judd fell pregnant naturally, proving there is light at end of the tunnel for couples experiencing fertility issues.
She has now given what she described as an “honest and open personal story of my struggles to become a mum” in her new book Dare to Dream, designed to reassure and be a guide to others facing similar issues.
“I want to share my experiences and what I’ve learned through going through those struggles,” she explained.
She also hopes to break the taboo of talking about fertility problems and encourage people to seek and support.
“One in seven women are going through fertility struggles and it’s still not talked about,” she said.
“Most people don’t even tell their parents.
“I was trying to figure out what was going on, so to then try and explain it to other people when you’re stuck in torment yourself – it never seemed the right time to talk about it.
“I’d love to start more of a conversation about it and for couples to feel they can speak about it and not feel ashamed.”
Mr and Mrs Judd began trying for a baby after marrying in December 2012.
“We started to realise there were problems in May 2013,” Mrs Judd said.
As soon as she realised there were difficulties, she said she “panicked and immediately went for medical intervention”.
But the medication she took “didn’t work and the side effects were very bad”.
She added: “I began to feel very depressed and lost a lot of confidence.
“As a woman, you feel like it should be the most natural thing in the world. You feel like you’re failing if it’s something your body isn’t doing.
“I remember at the time it was as if my whole life was focusing on this one thing and it was almost as if I was neglecting my relationship.
“I decided that I’ve got to change.”
She embarked on a six-month detox and stopped taking medication, did acupuncture and adjusted her diet to keep her blood sugar levels steady.
“If your body is constantly in an anxious state and producing too much adrenaline, it doesn’t help with your hormones,” she explained.
She had another round of IVF and became pregnant in November 2014.
At Christmas that year she miscarried, which she described as “awful”.
However she hopes giving birth to Lola, now aged 17 months, shows there is hope for couples experiencing similar issues.
“Living with that fear of will you ever be a mum, it’s terrifying,” Mrs Judd said.
“People are very quick to ask if you’d like to have children and it just feels awful.
“IVF was my helping hand and I hope it’s that helping hand to others too.
“I’m really fortunate that I was lucky enough to have Lola and then fall pregnant naturally. It shows there’s possibility and hope.
“Some people have said that by writing the book, you’ve given me the courage to speak out. That makes it all worthwhile.
“There’s something empowering you’re in it together, all feeling the same thing and can support each other.”
Dare to Dream: My Struggle to Become a Mum – A Story of Heartache and Hope is published by Bantam Press. It is available from bookshops, online or as an e-book.
What is IVF?
In vitro fertilisation, or IVF, is used to help people with fertility problems have children.
The treatment works by removing an egg from the woman’s ovaries and fertilising it with sperm in a laboratory, either their partner’s sperm or sperm from donors.
The fertilised egg, called an embryo, is then returned to the womb to grow and develop.
IVF can be available on the NHS but the decision about who has it is made by clinical commissioning groups (CCGs).
Those not eligible for IVF on the NHS can have treatment at a private clinic, although one cycle of treatment can cost £5,000 or more.
Success rates vary depending on the age of the woman but can be around 30pc for women aged in their 30s, although they are much lower for women in their 40s.