We initially got referred to the fertility clinic last year, but the appointment came about after I had my gastric band and so it wasn't the best time to start anything, especially as I needed to lose weight to improve my health. The last year I have pushed myself, learned to love exercise and have lost just shy of eight stone while dropping from a size 26 to a size 14.
When the year anniversary of getting my band had passed, I did as I was told and went to the GP to see if we could re-referred to the clinic to start our fertility treatment. I was told that everything looked great and that we could indeed make a start on the next stage, so I got the appointment and had to wait five weeks to get to the clinic.
Unfortunately, despite the GP's assurances that we were on track, it turns out I haven't quite lost enough weight to be able to start treatment, which was absolutely devastating. Despite losing so much weight, dropping I don't know how many inches and generally drastically improving my health, I don't quite qualify for treatment due to my body mass index (BMI) not quite being where it needs to be.
While my BMI has changed so much in the last year, it still isn't enough and what this made me think was that I hadn't done enough, worked hard enough or pushed myself enough. I left the appointment feeling so disheartened and angry at myself because I was the one who was failing and pushing our treatment back even further after years of trying for a baby and trying to lose weight.
Being told that everything I had done and put my body through wasn't enough was effectively like a sledge hammer to the self-confidence I have been painstakingly building. It completely undid all the pride I had in myself for getting so far already.
On top of this, it put a concrete target on my weight loss, which is something I have refused to do so far, as I have wanted to celebrate each little victory rather than have it in the back of my mind that I still had a long way to go. The lack of a target is how I have managed to lose weight in a healthy way without getting hung up on what the scale says. It is what has made me happy when I've lost inches, but not pounds and when I've stayed the same weight but have built muscle.
Following our appointment, I spent days feeling like an absolute failure. I felt like I had let my husband and my family down and like the work I had put in wasn't good enough. I haven't felt like this since before my operation, when I was trying every diet I could and getting more and more depressed when nothing had worked. It was feelings like this that made me develop such an unhealthy relationship with food in the first place and behaviours that I have been trying to undo for the last two years.
Despite my husband and everyone trying to drive home the point that it isn't my fault, that I couldn't have done more than I have and that I've done well and have improved my health, I have struggled to get passed the feeling of failure. This has meant that I've actually found it hard to get myself too the gym or get out of bed early enough to walk into work, which isn't going to help me achieve the target I have now been set, making me feel like I'm failing even more.
However, this week, I got into a size 14 dress quite comfortably for the first time, found that a pair of small size 7 Irregular Choice shoes now fit - even if they are still a little tight - and made some before and after photos for myself, all of which showed me how far I've come. Not only has the last 14 months seen me lose weight and learn to love the gym, during this time I have been happier, more comfortable in myself and have never felt like I am not doing well enough until now.
What this tells me is that I have achieved a lot and I've put myself through a lot, but I've come out of it feeling good about myself and without making myself ill trying to shed pounds. There are far more positives to focus on and I'm really trying to do that now rather than let this set back affect my mental health and start me feeling negative about my body again.
If I have come this far in a reasonably short amount of time, then I can definitely make it to where I need to be for fertility treatment. I am not going to try and rush the process or take risks with my health because that won't achieve anything except undoing all the good habits I've been trying to stick to. We have waited this long to start a family and I can wait a little bit longer if I need to in order to make sure I am as healthy as I need to be to go through everything I may have to.
While those feelings of failure are still hanging on, I'm trying my best to ignore them and get passed them by focusing on exactly what I have achieved. I may have a doctor-set target now, but I'm determined to carry on celebrating the little victories and improving the relationship I have with my body, as to me these, this is a lot more important than ticking a box. I know this isn't going to be as easy now as I'm going to have that target in the back of my mind all the time, but I'm going to do my best and that is all I think anyone can expect.