Before you begin

Hello and welcome to The Cuckoo Mama. I’m Caro, an IVF survivor, freelance writer and infertility advocate. I’ve been married to Hugh since 2011, we have our miracle boy, Samuel, and our four-legged best pup, Pepper Corn. Together we’ve battled male factor infertility, miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy, standing hand in hand against the fertile masses, whilst trying to make sense of, and accept it all.

I’ve set out my blog so that those battling infertility will find a safety net of support, care and shared experience, without having to plough through those possibly hard to read posts about parenting after IVF. To get straight to the infertility pieces I’d suggest starting here and following the links at the end of each article. There are also specific category tabs (to the right if you’re reading on a desk top and at the bottom if you’re scrolling on a mobile) clicking on these takes you directly to all posts relating to infertility and IVF.

the cuckoo mama and I

I’ve always had a love of words and writing and am a self-confessed pedant. At age seven I began my writing career with typewriter written tomes about ‘Jane of Lilac Grove’, (insert ‘carbon copy of Anne of Green Gables set on a 1980’s cul-de-sac’ here) and went on to study Journalism at University. During my degree I fell head over heels for the column pieces, finding a joy in the freedom to write about anything from my point of view. Obviously, in the early 2000s, when the internet was new and slow and actually had a dial tone to connect (!) blogging wasn’t even a twinkle in my eye. I knew that I didn’t want to write unless it was for me so, upon graduating, decided not to pursue a journalistic career and somehow ended up in the world of Private Equity via teacher training.

I moved to London, married my neighbour and we eventually set forth for commuterville, for a bigger house, a garden and a plan; we were going to have a family.

We then discovered that medical science was a requirement.

Four heart-breaking and very difficult years later, we were finally able to create and carry and bring our miracle boy home. During that time, I glossed over my previous suffering and heaped pressure upon myself to be the most impeccable mother in existence; in the throws of infertility I’d promised my unborn child I’d be perfect, and felt I had to live up to that vow. I ended up feeling like a failure. I was still harbouring the worthlessness which infertility had inflicted, and hadn’t realised that no one is flawless in their mothering. Or anything else, for that matter, either.

In my role of trying to be super-human mother, I decided to return to my writing roots, creating a blog stuffed full of creative play ideas, nutritious recipes and veritable Mary Poppins-esque-ness. I was NEVER going to write about infertility.

And then it all changed.

One day I felt hugely compelled to write about our story, and that’s where my words have taken me. Finding my voice didn’t happen overnight, I tried out various styles until I realised I just needed to be me and tell my story. Which is hopefully what I’m doing. I felt isolated for years and it’s hugely important to me that no one ever has to feel that way because they are living with infertility. Our journeys may all be unique and we will all cope in so many differing ways, but I hope my words resonate and offer support. I’d also like to educate and inform others too, about infertility and all it encompasses, helping our family and friends to understand just a little of what we go through physically and emotionally. Instead of hiding from my past, I’ve come to embrace it, to hold my head high, raise my voice and shout from the rooftops that infertility is real and cruel, that IVF is brutal and miscarriage is heart-breaking. But most importantly, that there is no shame.

Since beginning to blog, I’ve been award nominated and also recognised as a top ten UK fertility blog in both 2018 and 2019. I write for the Huff Post UK and have been featured in Fertility Smarts, picking up some truly interesting fertility freelance work along the way. I volunteer for Fertility Network UK, working with the inspirational team there to raise awareness about all things infertility; all feats truly surpassing any imaginings I had when I first tapped away on my keyboard during a nap time.

I’m not perfect, in my mothering or every day life, but know I don’t need to be. On some days I still struggle with the deep scars infertility left behind, but I’m learning to process what happened and find a peace and acceptance in our situation. And for someone who never wanted to be defined by infertility, I find that these days I do. I’m proud that I’m helping to change perceptions and break taboos and know I keep excellent company in doing so too.

So I’ll keep on speaking out, I’ll, hopefully, keep on healing but am aware there is still so much more for me to learn on this journey called my life. I’ll fail at some things and thrive with others, yet these days I’m not scared of life; I’ve started to trust in it again and have faith.

As Louisa May Alcott, so beautifully puts it: “I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship”

And that’s exactly what I’m doing, so why not come and sail yours with me too!

Caro x

why the cuckoo mama?

The village where I live is named after the cuckoos who, apparently, still come and visit! As I initially set up as a parenting blogger I wanted something which would convey my bonkerness, my motherhood and love of the outdoors; The Cuckoo Mama did that. When my writing became predominantly infertility related, I did wonder whether it needed changing, but actually like the connotation of the cuckoo laying eggs in different nests; it somehow seems to echo how my son was incubated in his petri dish “nest”. It also feels resonant of how medical science helps to create families in so many differing and wonderful ways. We don’t all have to be conventional in conception. Although please note: I don’t advocate throwing eggs out of trees!

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Looking for cuckoos with Sam, Pepper and Hugh