IMG_8723 RET
27 Mar

Jedi mind games do not work in conception

As Yoda said, “Try not. Do or do not. There is no try, “ which leads me to believe that he never attempted to conceive a baby Jedi with Mrs Yoda.

Because we really tried. For three years, trying to conceive was one of our foremost hobbies. I saw reflexologists; James went to acupuncture. The NHS did all the fertility tests on both of us.  There were some minor issues with the swimmers, but nothing a little cutting back on alcohol and stopping his brown asthma inhaler wouldn’t fix. The good news was that the NHS put us onto the Assisted Conception waiting list; the bad news was that the list was two years long. So we kept trying.

We women spend so much of our lives concentrating on not getting pregnant that when we can’t get pregnant, it’s a complete shock. I’ve always been athletic and healthy. My whole life I’ve joked about how I have the perfect hips for childbearing. All I wanted was that stupid sperm to do its job and locate an egg – just like it happened in my copy of Where Did I Come From?

Women who have been in my position know what it’s like. Every month you pee on your little stick, only to end up wiping your tears away with toilet paper. After three years of this, I’d cried a lot and had pretty much given up hope of conceiving naturally.

Our time on the NHS finally arrived. We went for all the meetings and got our prescriptions for all the drugs. We had tried ICSI privately the previous year, but the cycle had to be abandoned due to over-stimulation, so the NHS were going to put me on a longer protocol – meaning more injections and more drugs. James and I decided to go to Egypt for a last minute holiday and, conveniently, during my fertile time.

Now, when you’re trying for a baby and people know you’re trying for a baby, there is no end of advice coming your way. We had it all, the most memorable of which was a suggestion to dip James’ scrotum in ice water before sex (didn’t work). However, if one more person told me that all I needed to do was go on holiday and relax and a baby would happen, then I would probably have strangled her. We’d been on holiday: Italy, France, Wales, America…nothing ever happened. So I wasn’t expecting a miracle in Egypt.

My husband, James, and I run an award-winning photography studio in Wimbledon. We work together, play together, and stress together. Lots of stress. We both knew that stress was probably our biggest barrier to conception. Relaxing, however, is easier said than done. I’m a serial entrepreneur and my brain in always buzzing with ideas.

When we went to Egypt, a miracle did happen. We both actually managed to relax. I had gotten to the point with the studio where it could have burned down while I was away and I’d probably have danced a jig on the ashes. It’s not that I didn’t love photography anymore; I was just a little tired of the personal sacrifices I’d had to make to run such a successful business. I didn’t check my emails, Facebook, or Twitter. I drank cocktails. I read Eat Pray Love on the beach, followed by a stack of other books. I lay like a starfish in the water with the sun on my skin. And I didn’t give a crap about anything.

One month later, we found out that maybe Yoda was right after all.



  1. 04 Apr

    Jo Belfield

    Great that you got to relax and great that relaxation worked – so much more pleasant for James than an iced scrotum too I imagine! So excited for you both!

  2. 13 Apr

    Gemma Schipani

    Its so beautiful that you are able share your conception story.

    I found out I was pregnant in Egypt :) best holiday ever!

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