TV presenter Nadine Reid writes about her fertility journey and her goal to become a mother as a single woman in her 40s.

Going into my motherhood journey as a single woman in her forties, I definitely came in from a cupcakes and rainbows perspective. That's what I do: I am a glass half full, positive thinking person.

However, recently, my journey has left me feeling angry and frustrated. Despite all the research, all the personal preparation and hoping, it has been an absolute sh*t show of disappointment and unexplainable waiting.

It has taken six weeks to move to the next part of this process, and so much of it has been tedious. During that time, I tried another clinic that moved faster but did not work out. I had an initial 30-minute phone consultation with the second clinic, completed numerous online forms, watched video tutorials, flew to Liverpool for a physical internal scan, had a virtual appointment with a doctor and then a phone call with another doctor just before Christmas.

This was the moment they chose to tell me that the company would not do my procedure until my BMI was lowered to 35. I was devastated. Just when I thought my goal of being inseminated by my birthday in January was going to happen, my dream crashed and burned.

I was angry this was brought up after I'd spent money on flights, hotel and €300 in initial fees. I had given my personal details including my weight and height in the first forms I completed, so why did they leave it until four steps into the process to tell me this?

I would rather not have had a cold lubed probe pushed into my vagina, for absolutely no reason, thank you kindly.

Photo: Nadine Reid / Kevin Dooher

Rejection and condescension
This unforgettable conversation of rejection and condescension lasted over 30 minutes, but the straw that broke the camel's back was the doctor suggesting ways in which I can lose weight. She even offered reasons why I cannot lose weight.

I did not expect the conversation to move into this place of triggering conversation. And I admit, I lost it. Every negative comment, every word I have been told or read for almost a year from medical professionals – telling me I’m too fat, I’m too old, that I have bad veins – felt like a Karate Kid-style crane kick to the face.

After a few deep breaths, I calmed myself down and asked the doctor some questions.

Why does the rule of not helping women with high BMI exist? She said she couldn’t give me accurate statistics. She didn't even dispute the fact that women with high BMI’s can become pregnant – but added that some women with high BMI miscarry and she could lose her license.

Sadly, I think we have all known women who have heartbreakingly miscarried with the "perfect BMI". This conversation had my blood boiling and left me feeling guilty. Guilty that I would purposely choose to have a difficult pregnancy or even risk miscarrying to become a mother.

All pregnancies are a risk. All parents don’t really know the full health of baby. Sadly, any number of things can go wrong with no reason or warning.

I had made my peace with that before I even made an appointment.

Delivery
My emotions were interrupted by the sound of a lorry reversing into my drive, delivering a freezer I had ordered just in time for Christmas. The most wonderful time of the year was used to cover up my hurt, disappointment, and now my guilt.

Like many others during yet another pandemic Christmas, I buried myself in recipes, decorations and as many rounds of charades I could with my guests. The food was excellent, the fun was had, but it only covered the pains for a short while – albeit in a sparkly, beautiful, over-feeder kind of way.

My inner saboteur was whispering: "No more roast potatoes and gravy Nadine, do you want to be become a Mom or not?"

Happy New Year!
Then, suddenly, a turn around. In a week, the first clinic (the slow moving one), confirmed the next three parts of the process. Were the Gods listening all along?

After all the waiting and the heartache and the worry, I finally have dates for the required counselling sessions and all the information I need to buy my chosen sperm donor samples. That will most likely be nitrogen-packed and posted over to Liverpool from California.

I just a few days time, I have a virtual meeting with the consultant. I believe he will then give me dates as to when I can have my IUI procedure, which will simply depend on my ovulation times. It may sound cliché but, finally, some light in this dark time. I am finally back on track with my dreams.

Cupcakes and rainbows
Truthfully, my journey to becoming a single mother has pushed my soul, crushed my confidence and made me question every sexual experience and relationship decision I have ever made in my life. It's not, as it turns out, all cupcakes and rainbows.

Luckily, I have found ways to pick myself up. Conversations with supportive friends and family have helped remind me that I am deserving of motherhood and a child to love.

I had to remind myself that I am not less of a person without becoming a mother, but more importantly, that I l believe in myself and I certainly do not believe in racial, cultural and body size bias statistics. I believe in myself first. I truly believe that every person deserves, if they wish, to become a parent.

Whatever goal or dream you have, please continue and keep believing it is possible. This is my journey and I’m choosing to live out my adventure as the leading lady who regrets nothing.

In some good news, I am now a puppy mom. Her name is Missy-Grá. I bought her from a local farming family who have agreed to join me for dog walks with Missy's parents their family dogs in the springtime. I am now a family.

If you have been affected by issues raised in this story, please visit: www.rte.ie/helplines.

The views expressed here are those of the author and do not represent or reflect the views of RTÉ.