"One problem after another, my life seemed to be spiralling out of control."
In November 2007, at the age of 18, I was struck by a vehicle while crossing the street. The driver fled the scene. I sustained several injuries and became depressed.
Two years later, unrelated to my accident, I was diagnosed with Premature Ovarian Failure (POF) and told that, not only was I experiencing premature menopause symptoms, but I'd never bear biological children. Again, depression ensued.
The following year, it was discovered that, in addition to my POF, I carry an extra chromosome--a small supernumerary marker chromosome (sSMC). It's rarity meant that, at the time, I had no information on how my future may or may not be impacted.
One problem after another, my life seemed to be spiralling out of control. As a person, I questioned what I was being punished for, and as a woman, I felt defeminised. My body was failing me.
As my depression worsened, my family begged me to seek professional help. Although I refused, my mother was insistent, so she dialled a number and pressed the phone to my ear.
With no fight left in me to argue, I went through the motions of the call and agreed to meet with a social worker.
...as a woman, I felt defeminised. My body was failing me.
Just two sessions in, I was ready to make some changes. I began using my adversity as fuel and listening to my gut and intuition to make decisions.
I dropped out of college, landed an entry-level position in my field, took up bodybuilding, ended a toxic relationship and found new love in an unexpected place--St. Lucia.
By 2012, I had lost over 60lbs and competed in an IDFA bodybuilding competition, placing 2nd in the women's fitness model, tall division.
A few days later, I uprooted my life, packing up my condo and moving to St. Lucia for the foreseeable future.
From High to Low
I lived on the island for two years before my life came crashing down again--my partner decided that my infertility was insurmountable, and so he pursued other women.
With nothing but two suitcases of clothes, I returned to my parents' house in Toronto, crippled by heartache. I felt rejected, insignificant and purposeless.
Reliving the pain of my POF diagnosis, I wondered if I'd ever truly find love again as an infertile woman.
After feeling sorry for myself for a few weeks, I dug deep and decided to do something philanthropic instead of wallow--I arranged to volunteer at a Kenyan orphanage.
It seemed like a win-win; I'd help teach and care for the children, and they would, in turn, help me redefine motherhood for myself--something I desperately needed to do.
I wondered if I'd ever truly find love again as an infertile woman.
A New Journey
On 21st June, 2014 my mother dropped me off at Toronto Pearson Airport in tears.
Still struggling with the demise of my relationship, as well as with the notion that it had ended because of my infertility, I wrote a journal entry at the gate.
"...So while I sit here, anxious about being able to make an impact in the lives of these Kenyan orphans, I find myself simultaneously trying to mend. My heart is bruised, my mind is bruised and my faith in the human race is badly bruised. I really and truly hope that this trip will enlighten me, because right now, more than ever, I need something real to believe in."
Just hours later, while waiting for my delayed plane to finally board, I met an English man who was travelling home from a trip around America. That man became my husband.
Today I live in England with my husband--I moved just 4 short months after meeting him. In 2016, we married and, with the help of my sister (our donor), we embarked on donor egg IVF treatment.
In May 2017, I became pregnant, but sadly miscarried at 9 weeks. Though the IVF process had been gruelling and the result devastating, we picked ourselves up and transferred more embryos that August.
By September 2017, I was pregnant again--with twins!
Born 4 weeks premature, our beautiful boys, Kai Pearson (yes, after the airport) and Mason David, entered the world on April 10th 2018 after a challenging pregnancy and a not-so-smooth c-section delivery.
Over the past decade, I've questioned my purpose, worthwhileness and strength on several occasions. And while I've experienced some of the highest of highs, it's those low points that've taught me the most valuable lessons about self-love, acceptance, overcoming adversity and getting the most out of life.
Today, I'm on a mission to not only share what I've learned about these things, but to also help educate and empower those who are dealing with infertility, pregnancy loss and fertility treatment--some of the harder hurdles I've had to overcome.
By leading candid conversations about these tough topics, and opening up about my own struggles, I hope to abolish the feeling of isolation that so many of us endure when we're thrown some of life's cruellest curveballs.