Izzy Judd, the violinist and author on her battle with fertility, falling pregnant naturally and writing her first book
You’re mum to 18-month-old Lola with your second baby due in a few months’ time, have you always wanted a family?
Ever since I was a little girl I would dream about becoming a mum, and I found it difficult to see my life without having children of my own. I would imagine having four children – two boys and two girls. After struggling to conceive Lola I could only hope we would be able to give her a sister or a brother. I count my lucky stars every day.
You’ve spoken very honestly about your IVF journey in your new book, Dare to Dream. How did you find opening up about such a personal subject?
Harry and I made the decision to be open about our fertility struggles when we announced our pregnancy with Lola. I remember how hard I found other people’s pregnancy announcements and felt I wanted to be respectful to those who may be going through a difficult time.
I also feel proud of the way Lola was conceived. I was amazed at the positive reaction we had, not only from friends who were facing similar issues, but also from couples who got in touch to say how grateful they were that we had spoken out about our difficulties. It was those people and encouragement from Harry that inspired me to write Dare to Dream.
How did you find the time to put pen to paper?
Lola and I are lucky to have such a wonderful dad and husband in Harry! I would also write when Lola was napping, or head to a café while Harry and Lola were in the playground.
Can you describe how you felt when you found out you had fallen pregnant naturally?
It was New Year’s Day morning and Lola was in the bathroom with me. As the line appeared, I just kept saying to Lola, “Look, there’s a line, there’s a line!” Then I woke Harry up. It was so surreal – I just couldn’t believe after all we had been through that it would ever be that simple.
How are you finding pregnancy this time around?
This pregnancy has been tougher than my first – I’ve felt more nauseous and a lot more tired. I do feel guilty for admitting that though. I think having gone through so much to have Lola, I don’t feel it’s fair to complain as I feel so lucky to be pregnant.
I have to remind myself that it’s OK to have tougher days and allow myself the odd moan. Poor Harry has basically been living with a hormonal wife for the best part of four years!
Have you found out the sex?
No. We didn’t know with Lola and the moment Harry told me she was a girl was one of the most magical moments of my life. It’s funny because I love to plan, so not finding out goes against my character completely.
Perhaps because so many other things surrounding our fertility have been planned, this is the one thing we can leave up to nature.
What products or essentials have proved invaluable so far?
My pregnancy essential has to be my Bravado bras – they are so comfortable! Also, a good pregnancy pillow does wonders to help you get comfy at night. Other than that, this pregnancy has been all about sparkling water, I can’t get enough of it!
In terms of baby essentials, I found Clare Byam-Cook’s book, What to Expect When You’re Breastfeeding… incredibly helpful. Another great read was Your Baby Week by Week by Simone Cave and Dr Caroline Fertleman.
Practical baby products that I loved with Lola were her Caboo baby carrier, SnüzPod crib, BabyBjörn bouncer, Shnuggle bath and Ewan the Dream Sheep.
If we looked in your changing bag, what would we find?
I love the Tiba + Marl changing bags – we chose a black rucksack. Inside, you would probably find heaps of nappies, Water Wipes, nappy bags, Weleda nappy cream, Nurofen and Lola’s health record book. Then for me, lip balm, hairbands, chewing gum and a phone charger.
Where do you and Harry like to go on date night?
Harry and I would always choose to go for brunch over dinner. There is nothing we love more than a lazy breakfast with coffee, newspapers and magazines. There’s a cute café near us that does great food.
If we do go out for a date in the evening, it’s usually to a musical – they’ve always been our guilty pleasure!
There is a chapter from Harry in your book, what was the thought behind that?
It’s vital to acknowledge that fertility is very much about the couple. Often the emphasis can be on the woman and actually men need just as much support. I wanted Harry to tell his side of the story in the hope it helps other men to feel less alone.
What advice would you give to anyone going through their own fertility problems?
Going through fertility issues is an isolating experience, so take time to do the things that make you happy with the people who make you happy. Look after yourself mentally and physically and discover your own space where you can find peace from your busy mind and begin to think positively. Always believe amazing things can happen.