‘Don’t mention the war. I mentioned it once but I think I got away with it.’ Basil Fawlty, Fawlty Towers, Episode 6 – The Germans
Next month it will be a year since I officially came out about my infertility. When I was recently asked to speak at the Fertility Show at Olympia which is taking place on 1– 2 November there was no better marker of how far I had come.
Last year I attended the show for the first time. For years, I used to look at the adverts for it on the tube but I never dared go, too afraid of rubbing shoulders with someone who knew me (or even someone who didn’t) and exposing the shameful secret that I couldn’t conceive. But last year I persuaded myself that I might make some good contacts for the marketing of my book and off I went.
For anyone who hasn’t been, it’s like a wedding fayre but for babies. There is no better evidence of how big a business fertility has become and how many people are affected by it. It offers unparalleled access to some of the top experts in the field and is an amazing source of information and inspiration. I highly recommend it.
A year later and now I’m speaking at it. How did that happen? My talk is entitled ‘Managing your fertility clinic – a user guide’. Having been to nearly a dozen fertility clinics and experts in my time, I do feel I know a lot about the subject and it’s great to have an opportunity to share some of what I’ve learnt. But at the same time I do feel a bit of a fraud because the truth is I clearly haven’t managed my fertility clinics that well because they haven’t given me the ultimate. They haven’t given me a baby.
Sometimes I wonder how it came to pass that I became a spokesperson on the subject of fertility even though I’m not yet a mother. But on a good day it makes me smile and think of that classic comedy moment in Fawlty Towers between Basil and the Germans. Except the line I’m saying (goose-step optional) is: ‘Don’t mention there isn’t a baby. I mentioned it once but I think I got away with it! ‘