My step children are the reason I can’t have IVF on the NHS and it hurts

Dear IVF babble. I am writing to you today because I want to both take comfort and offer comfort to women who might be in the same boat as me….

Let me begin with a statement that I don’t like saying out loud (which is why I am emailing it to you rather than calling!) I don’t like being a Step Mother –  there – i’ve said it. I don’t like being a step mother. It’s hard, and thankless, and painful. It is painful because all I have ever wanted in life is to have my own children. I want to be pregnant. I want to feel my baby growing inside me. I want to plan my birth, and buy nappies, and watch my baby grow up. I want to name my baby, and be responsible for my baby. I want to plan it’s future, and choose its school. I want to be the one who my child turns to first. I want to mean the world to my child. I want to be needed.

But instead, I am sitting here on the periphery of my step children’s world. I am married to their daddy but they are not my children. They have their own real mummy. I am just the reserve. This wouldn’t be so hard if me and my husband had our own children too, or if in fact I didn’t want children, but I do – I desperately want children, my own children, with my husband.

My step children have never really welcomed me into their world which has made life difficult, despite me really trying so hard. The problem is, that as the years pass by, I am becoming more and more resentful, because they are the reason the NHS won’t let me and my husband have a free round of IVF. I know it is absolutely NOT their fault, but because they don’t make any effort to allow me in, I have started to blame them. (obviously I internalise this blame).

It is the most cruel and unfair rule. I am struggling with infertility – a disease, and yet the NHS won’t help me because my husband already has children. That’s right, I am being denied the chance to be a mother because he and his ex wife made babies….this is like a stab to my heart every time I say it. How can this be fair? I am the one with an infertility cause, so why can’t I be treated?

According to the World Health Organisation:

“Infertility is a disease of the male or female reproductive system defined by the failure to achieve a pregnancy after 12 months or more of regular unprotected sexual intercourse. Infertility affects millions of people – and has an impact on their families and communities.”

And yet ICBs (An integrated care board is a statutory NHS organisation) have criteria you need to meet before you can have IVF on the NHS:

“Not having any children already, from both your current and any previous relationships”.

We can’t even afford to have IVF because my step children are at private school and there is no spare cash. What I want to scream out loud is “go and get jobs and stop taking money off your father so that we can save some money for an IVF round!!!!” but of course I can’t do that because I would look like the wicked witch of the west.

No one seems to care. My husband is sympathetic but not nearly as much as I need him to be. How could he be? He has never yearned to be a father. He and his ex wife got pregnant really quickly. (That makes me hate her even more than I do by the way – sorry, I know hate is a strong word, but please, I am sure you can feel my pain).He doesn’t know what it feels like to have an empty my heart – a heart with a hole that can only be filled with the love of your own child.

I am sure there are some wonderful step children out there who have wonderful relationships with their step mothers, and I am really happy for them, but for me, this just isn’t the case. I am sad and heartbroken and I feel like I am watching other people live their life as I watch mine stand still.

If anyone in Government happens to be reading this and you have any sway of the CCG laws, PLEASE can you do something to help. Infertility is a disease and I need help to become a mother. Having step children does not replace my need to be a mother. If I had any other disease you would help me, so why throw me aside like this?

If anyone feels the same as I do, if you are a step mother in emotional turmoil, please do share your story too, so that people like me don’t feel so alone.

Thank you for listening.

A frustrated and heartbroken step mother. X

If you would like to share your story, drop us a line to [email protected].

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