The Wait

by | 31 Aug 2015

When I started my Channel Challenge I didn’t realise how many parallels there were going to be with going through IVF. Maybe if I did, I’d never have done it. There’s the physical and mental toughness of the training; there are all the things about succeeding that are out of your control; and now I’ve realised there is also The Wait.

In IVF it’s officially called the Two-Week-Wait – the interminable fourteen days after a round of treatment when you have to wait to see whether it worked and you got pregnant. It’s an intensely difficult time when Hope and Disappointment stand together on a precipice and you have no idea which of them is going to fall. In my case, Hope has always fallen and anyone who has read my book or been through IVF themselves will know not just how disappointing but how devastating it can be.

In Channel Swimming it’s the One-Week-Wait. On Friday 21st August my tidal window opened and I had seven days in which to swim. But the weather had other ideas, the sea has been un-swimmable, and I have been sat in Dover, waiting. Just like the Two-Week-Wait of IVF when you become obsessed with every tiny twinge, I have become obsessed with wind speeds, even the smallest change. But just like IVF, I’ve had to accept that nature will ultimately decide my fate, not me.

For those of you who follow my blog regularly you’ll know that I usually post on a Sunday. Last time I looked it had turned into Monday and that’s because, after a week of waiting, late yesterday afternoon I got a call to say that my boat pilot had found a slot for me in his next tidal window if I could be ready to set off at 8am the following morning (ie. today). Just before I went to bed I planned to write a blog and tell you. But at 10pm there was a major storm and at midnight he texted to say that the Channel was un-crossable. Again.

So my One-Week-Wait now becomes Two. It feels a bit like deadly déjà vu. My Channel Challenge has become as big as my Pursuit of Motherhood and I still have no idea whether this test is going to be positive.

For my JustGiving page for Infertility Network UK click here

For my JustGiving page for the Lyric Hammersmith click here


  1. allymcleod72

    Hope you’re managing to make some good use of the time?! Sounds really difficult! Wishing you a quick and safe crossing.

    • thepursuitofmotherhood

      I don’t know about good use but I’ve been pretty much ok. Trying to say focused but the uncertainty is getting difficult now! Jessica x

  2. kiftsgate

    hope the wait is over soon. I this case much better to wait as it’s a matter of security. Best of luck!!

    • thepursuitofmotherhood

      Me too but you’re right, got to be safe and also give myself the best chance of success. It looks near but is so hard getting over to where you are! Jessica x

  3. EJM

    Hi Jessica. I have been following your story. Your IVF journey is very similar to mine. I totally admire your efforts to take such a great challenge in crossing the channel. I know I will not be strong enough. You are a reall inspiration. May the triumph happen for you soon. God knows you deserve it. All the best Jessica.

    • thepursuitofmotherhood

      Thank you so much for your message. It means a lot. I really hope this story’s going to have a happy ending but gosh I do pick em! Jessica x

  4. Pamela

    So in awe of you. Thinking all kinds of good thoughts!! May the seas be calm … xo

      • Mali

        Wow! You’re amazing. Congratulations!! I hope you’re having a well-deserved rest, and plenty of treats.

        • thepursuitofmotherhood

          Thank you! I’ve definitely been having lots of treats but have done NO exercise since I finished the swim so it’s going to have to stop soon. Either that or I better start swimming again…..Jessica x

  5. Ettienne

    Many Congratulations on your swim!! 😀
    Hope you manage to have a good rest now.. You must be extremely proud!
    Well done Jessica!!
    Ettienne xx

    • thepursuitofmotherhood

      Thanks Ettienne. Thank you! I haven’t stopped since I returned but at least I’m not having to fit training in as well. I’m going to give myself at least a week before I do anymore swimming or indeed any form of exercise. But it definitely feels good to be a Channel Swimmer! Jessica x

  6. AnotherForty

    Congratulations! I have been following your journey and am so impressed that you’ve “channeled” your energy into this pursuit. I just did my first 2-mile open water swim in July and it felt like it took forever, I can’t imagine what swimming the Channel must have felt like!

    I also appreciate your charities, it is so helpful to have compassion for all sides of this battle. As someone who has faced similar struggles with fertility, I appreciate you sharing your journey with us, in life and in swimming! Congrats again!

    • thepursuitofmotherhood

      Thank you so much for your comment – and sorry for my slow reply – I’ve just posted my post swim blog so hope you see that too. A two mile open water swim is great, no open water swim is easy. I swam for ten minutes in the Serpentine in Hyde Park on Saturday and even that felt like forever! Thanks so much again for writing, and for your congratulations, do stay in touch! Jessica x