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Ever Wondered What It’s Like To Have IVF?

336 Hours: The Quest To Become A Mother

Ever wondered what it’s like to have IVF? We spoke to Rachel Cathan, author of 336 Hours, about her experience of IVF treatment. 336 Hours is a humorous and honest diary about Rachel’s quest to become a mother.

Rachel Cathan is one brave lady! Baring her soul through a five-year fertility struggle, she has produced a book that is as poignant as it is witty. In fact, so laugh out loud in places that often you lose track of the seriousness of the issue. Being honest about life, love, and relationships takes guts and it doesn’t work unless it’s 100% truthful.

336 Hours: The Quest To Become A Mother

Radiating from every page, Rachel’s honesty and insight makes 336 Hours (the two-week wait from embryo transfer to pregnancy test) a must read for anyone undergoing, or considering IVF treatment – and especially anyone who needs the reassurance that, rather than being alone, what they are going through is an experience shared by one in six couples who have difficulty getting pregnant.

We caught up with Rachel to ask her about her experience of writing 336 Hours and why raising awareness of how infertility issues affect people behind closed doors is important to her.

Ever Wondered What It’s Like To Have IVF?

Rachel knows too well the sense of isolation, desperation and mental exhaustion that comes from wanting a baby that never arrives. In 336 Hours she explains:

“It would really help if I could take a mental holiday from this torture and pass the responsibility of trying to get pregnant onto someone else for a while…”

Throughout the IVF treatments and highs and lows, she kept a journal, finally taking a leap of faith by writing the book from the contents to share with the world so that she could help others feel less alone. You see, whilst IVF clinics take care of the medical side of having a baby, who takes care of your mind? What takes place behind closed doors? Is this unrecognisable female really you? Over and again the book confirms that it’s ok to deal with things in your own way. It’s ok to lose the plot, get upset, become irrational and question everything and everyone.

As Rachel says herself; “the emotional aspect of IVF is consistently overlooked”. Undoubtedly, there are some great face-to-face meetings and online forums offering support, but 336 Hours allows you to indulge in a spot of IVF rubbernecking. The fact that it explores, without prejudice, the effect of IVF on everyday life is what makes it a must read. Whether you are going through IVF or you know someone who is (and most of us know someone, if not many), this book makes it easier for everyone to understand the human aspect of infertility and treatment.

Ever Wondered What It’s Like To Have IVF?

Above all else, 336 Hours offers some kind of catharsis, or at least a moment to exhale. As Rachel, herself, puts it: “Like most women and couples I speak to, I’d always carried the feeling that, somehow, I ‘should have’ handled it better or ‘shouldn’t have’ let it take over my life – but now I know that I was simply doing my best in a very tough situation, and there’s something freeing about being so honest about how that felt.”

336 Hours will have you laughing, crying and questioning whilst it charts an unputdownable journey through the depths of despair, where there is laughter as well as pain. By ordering her experiences and validating her own struggle, Rachel Cathan has given us a truly relatable and inspiring account of IVF.

Excerpt from 336 Hours:

“The most terrifying realisation is the fact that I am a woman entirely out of options now. If DH were to be revealed as a serial gambler, a serial philanderer, or probably even a serial killer, I worry I’d just have to sigh, ruffle his hair as though he were a badly trained puppy, and go back to reading about the latest fertility breakthroughs on my iPad. Because how would I doggedly pursue my fertility treatment without a dutiful husband in tow? And how long would it take me to find a suitable replacement? Many years, I’m guessing. Or, more likely, forever. Either way, I’d be menopausal before it happened.

“How I wish I had something life-affirming and poignant to say; some sort of powerful epiphany to share about not wasting any more of my precious time on this earth … But I would be the worst kind of liar if I were to spin anyone that kind of a line … The truth is there are four words that pull me from my sleep each morning, four words I whisper into my pillow each night and four words that play on a loop in my brain for every minute and every second that pass in between.

I want a baby. I want a baby. I. Want. A. Baby.”

Buy a copy of 336 Hours by Rachel Cathan here.

Related article: What To Expect When You Have IVF


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