If you’re a fan of ‘Emily in Paris’, the popular Netflix series about an aspiring American marketing executive who moves to France, you might have binge watched the latest series to discover a nail-biting cliff hanger where Emily discovers the love of her life, chef Gabriel, has got another woman pregnant.
It’s a shocking revelation which left us all stunned at the end of the third season. He had been dreaming of living with Emily, having a successful restaurant and becoming a father, but now faces a much more complicated existence having to share a child with another woman. How will Emily cope with having step children? And will the confessed workaholic be inspired to try for her own?
In real life the actress Lily Collins, daughter of pop legend Phil Collins, suffered from an eating disorder in her teens, a medical battle which can often leave women with fertility issues and trouble conceiving.
Anorexia leaves the sufferer believing they are fat when they’re usually a healthy weight, and encourages them to eat very little or completely miss meals. The exact causes are unknown, however the condition can run in families and is more likely to develop if a parent or sibling has an eating disorder.
Lily Collins has admitted to being abandoned by her father and suffering from emotional trauma because of it.
It’s common knowledge that eating fewer calories causes a patient’s body weight to decrease. When a woman loses too much weight, she will often stop having menstrual periods and ovulating. Without ovulation, a woman cannot conceive. Some studies show that about one out of five women who seek treatment for infertility have suffered from an eating disorder.
Fortunately it is unlikely to affect fertility if weight is restored to normal. So Lily Collins in real life, who recently got married, should hopefully have no lasting damage.
In the show however, her life is going to be more complicated thanks to being a potential step parent. There is the associated complications of juggling responsibility for the children – not just the timing of where they stay, but also the emotions of putting your relationship second to their needs.
For those women in new relationships who decide to try for their own baby, if they conceive easily then great, but if you have to try IVF (more common as men and women get older with sperm and egg quality decreasing) your partners children from their previous
relationship become a daily reminder of your inability to conceive.
Our IVF warrior Jessica Lester, whose fertility journey ‘Baby SOS‘ you can watch on our website, struggled with these emotions as she went through seven rounds of IVF at the Instituto Bernabeu in Alicante, Spain. Fortunately for her she has a wonderful relationship with her two step children, who supported her efforts to have her own baby and looked forward to the prospect of a new sibling.
When her fertility journey however failed they were all disappointed and shared her sense of loss:“Getting married this year has helped me heal from the trauma of my fertility journey” says Jessica. “It was one of the toughest periods of my life, made especially difficult as part of the journey involved travelling abroad during covid lockdown restrictions. It’s a testimony to the strength of my relationship with my partner Ian that we got through it all and are now stronger than ever”.
Jessica and Ian really appreciate the time they spend with his children, with Jessica enjoying girlie shopping trips and days out with her step daughter: “It’s never going to be quite the same as having my own baby” admits Jessica, but it is a special relationship which makes us all very happy”.
What frustrated Jessica who lives in the UKwas the discovery that she wasn’t eligible for IVF on the NHS and had to pay privately. NHS rules in her area stated that women who have a partner with children from a previous relationship, are not eligible for free treatment.
According to rules set by the governing body NICE, women under 40 should be offered three rounds of IVF treatment if they’ve been trying unsuccessfully for two or more years. But unfortunately it depends on different areas how these are interpreted. NICE set the guidelines to decide who should be eligible for funded treatment, but the individual NHS integrated care boards (ICBs) have the final say in your local area.
Around half of all IVF journeys are now privately funded, and are due to problems where a partner has difficulty conceiving again, otherwise known as secondary infertility.
A high profile case recently was with Kourtney Kardashians public struggle to have a baby with new partner, the 47-year-old ‘Blink-182’ drummer, Travis Barker. He already has two children from a previous relationship, and Kourtney had three with ex partner Scott Disick. Despite being multi millionaires their money sadly couldn’t buy them a successful pregnancy.
Instead of dwelling on her IVF disappointment we congratulate Kourtney on hitting 2023 with passion by putting her energies into her new business venture with her lifestyle website called ‘Poosh’, which was launched in 2019.
So what inspiration can we take from these families as we start a new year? Simply that if you have a solid relationship you can survive anything. Life is still fulfilling.
But remember to give yourself time to grieve and to heal, then when you are ready, dust yourself down and enjoy the special love and relationship which inspired the desire to make a baby in the first place, and remember it’s something to be treasured and never taken for granted.
A big love can inspire you to achieve all sorts of great things and lead a fulfilling life. Check out the inspiring interview we did with the incredible Jessica Hepburn who went through eleven rounds of IVF.
After these failed she threw herself into all sorts of amazing challenges including climbing Mount Everest. She has also written a book called ‘21 miles‘ available through Amazon.
Sending luck and love for 2023 to all our fertility warriors.
Hope this inspires you to keep enjoying life whatever the outcome.