My name is Virginie Vast – my story which I will share with you today is a story of hope for all women going through fertility issues. I have myself been through 6 years of infertility treatment to finally have the joy to hold my little girl in my arms. Having openly talked about my story at work after the birth of my daughter, I realised how many women were going through the same journey… in silence. This is probably the worst thing we do to ourselves as women, to carry on in silence, feeling ashamed, not asking for help… and I am hoping through sharing my story and offering my support will make women fertility journey a little easier to cope with.
So here is my story…
As a child, I grew up in a very loving family, my mum was my dad’ first love, they got married in their 20’s and right away became parents. Few years later, three girls came to complete our family and my mum made the choice to dedicate her life to us. My parents were so strong together, at team no matter what the circumstances of life were. I grew up with this very idyllic family picture… you fall in love, you marry the love of your life, you have children and you live happily ever after.
6 years ago, it felt like destiny repeating; I saw him, his name is Laurens. At first sight, I knew he was the one and he will be the father of my children. One year later we said ‘yes’ to each other in this most beautiful wedding day, so excited to make our dream of having our own family come true…but then the story didn’t go on like in my childhood dreams as we faced fertility issues.
Nothing prepared us, as a couple, to this infertility journey and the thought that our dream of being parents might never be. We realised we were not alone on that journey as infertility is becoming an increasingly common issue. Did you know that 1 of 6 couples are facing fertility issues and to date, more than 8 million babies were born from in vitro fertilisation (IVF) since the world’s first in 1978.
We stood up strong as a team, more determined and positive than ever to make it happen, however the journey undeniably put relationships into pressure. Our couple life became a calendar of medical events, punctuated by periods of wait, hope and deep grief. And as infertility hits you hard as a couple, it either makes you stronger together or it pulls you apart – in our case, it made us stronger than ever, even if the outcome of that journey was to turn towards adoption.
Every day I woke up with the same thought ‘Will I be a mum one day? Will our dream ever come true?’, and carried on in silence. People would keep asking us ‘Don’t you want to have children?’, if only they knew and after 6 years of restlessly trying to be parents, we came out of excuses to be able to answer. The norm is to get married and to have children. People have expectations and we did not want to let them down.
Every day was a challenge – torn between growing my career, fighting to become a mum, dealing with deep grief of battles lost on the way and at the same time, protecting my couple and myself. To plan my days, I had to take into consideration so many variables, depending on workload, priority changes, last minute travel required and the planning of all medical appointments. Both of us having demanding jobs, some IVF cycles were real puzzle of logistical tricks to make it happen while at the same time ensuring we perform at work and we remain happy as a couple. Hope gave us the strength to carry on.
In life, I am a very passionate person; I love to drive initiatives that can make a difference. I have the chance to have new challenges at work that really excited me, and this passion and excitement without any doubt kept me going. I put a smile on my face, I put all my energy in what I love doing as I did not want people to find out or worse to feel sorry. One day, one of my colleague asked me ‘Don’t you want to start a family, you are now married and you would be a fantastic mother?’, this sentence was too much to handle to remain silent so I told her my story, the same story I am telling you today. I felt so relief and touched how understanding and supportive she was.
If I was not so worried about what people would think and the impact it may have on my career, I would have actually talked about it openly much earlier to create awareness on fertility issues, on what it takes and on ways to get the support and space to persevere. I would have advised younger women at work not to wait to start a family over their career, I would have shared my experience to support those turning towards adoption.
After 6 years of battle against infertility, my story is one of hope. The journey might be long, frustrating and painful but my message to all of women is to not give up, to be strong, to seek for help and to try over and over again because it is worth it… today, my dream of having a family with the man I love became reality and I am the luckiest mum of a little girl Chloe, she is 14 months today.
Good luck everyone and please feel free to reach out to me. As women, we are here to support for each other.
About the author
Virginie Vast is a citizen of the world, she studied in the USA and Sweden, worked across 7 countries in Germany, France, Spain… to end up 10 years ago in beautiful Luxembourg – the place she calls home. This is where she met and married the love of her life, Laurens and after many years of trying to be parents, they are now a family with little Chloe who just turned 1 year. Virginie comes from Normandy in France, and she is a senior business executive in Supply Chain at Vodafone.
Virginie is passionate in life and loves to do things that make a difference to the world. Last year, she has created and is now heading the Vodafone Foundation in Luxembourg where she has the ambition to change the life of 5,000 people per year in the Grand Duche. She focuses on inclusion on disfavored communities, STEM education for girls and integration of disable people through sport… a partnership with Ministry of Education, Script and the sponsorship from Princess Tessy De Nassau.
To help women going through the same challenges of infertility, she has created a support group in her workplace where she offers her support and advice to other women on the same journey or about to embark on it..share experience or simply offer a shoulder to lie on in tough times. The group now counts 7 women, they are no alone anymore and can hold on each other to go through this journey. She is also an active member on Luxmama.