Izzy Judd talks ‘isolating and lonely’ IVF journey: ‘I didn’t know who to speak to’
Harry Judd and his wife Izzy have always been hugely open about their conception struggles and IVF journey.
After being diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome in her twenties, violinist Izzy, now 38, and McFly drummer Harry, 36, believed that starting a family without fertility treatment would be almost impossible.
Izzy suffered a heartbreaking miscarriage after their first round of IVF, before joyfully welcoming daughter Lola who is now six. Less than a year later, against all odds, Izzy fell pregnant naturally with their son Kit, now four.
And last year, after six months of trying to conceive a third child, Izzy discovered she was pregnant once again with their son Lockie, who they welcomed in October.
When the couple sit down for a chat with us, it’s clear to see they’re thriving as a family of five – and they certainly don’t take it for granted.
“There were moments where we thought we wouldn’t even be able to have one child, so to have three now, I feel as though we’re very lucky,” Izzy tells us.
But despite being in a positive place now, the couple – who first met in 2005 at a McFly rehearsal in a church hall in Bristol and tied the knot in 2012 – reveal that trying for a family was one of the most emotionally trying periods of their marriage.
“It took us to a place where we had to try to learn patience,” Harry says. “I kept myself busy doing other things that I enjoyed, which made it slightly easier for me, but it involved a lot of emotional responsibility.”
Izzy also recalls, “When I was going through IVF, there weren’t the same social media outlets as there are now. It was incredibly isolating and lonely. I didn’t know who to talk to.
“But somebody advised me to make sure I know when to say no to things – social events I didn’t feel comfortable with, or if I thought I might be taking on too much.”
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When it comes to sharing her advice with other parents going through similar situations, Izzy says, “Put yourself first. This is the time in your life when you can be selfish – you’re going through something really enormous. And keep the trust. I tried to believe with every inch of my being that it would eventually happen.
“What I went through really prepared me for life as a mother. I now appreciate that you can’t control anything and you have to go with the flow and trust the process.”
Harry adds, “We were lucky and very, very blessed. But at the same time, we are conscious of the journey that we have been on and are grateful for all of it. We’re trying to find that balance between sharing some of the positives of family life, but also the realities of everything we went through.”
When asked about the possibility of more children in the future, Izzy looks at her husband before he lets out a giggle.
“I used to say I wanted two, but Izzy has always said she wanted four, so we had to meet in the middle,” he says. Izzy adds, “We have one more frozen embryo and I often think how that could be another Lola. But now that we’ve had our boys, I think we’re done now.”
On his decision to compromise with Izzy, Harry further explains, “Whenever Lola would cry and Kit would kick off, I was like, ‘Do you really want another one?!’ And then just one day, I remember we were talking about Kit going to school and I said, ‘I just can’t believe he’s going to school!’ I was just like, ‘Yeah, we’ve got to do it – we’ve got to at least try.’
“And to be honest with you, without sounding smug because Kit was not easy, but so far Lockie – touch wood – has been an easy baby, so I’m already thinking, ‘Have another one!’”
Despite both Lola and Kit’s labours being “smooth-sailing”, Izzy admits that Lockie’s birth was filled with an unprecedented amount of anxiety.
“I felt very detached and overwhelmed,” she says. “After an hour, I said to the midwife, ‘I’m sure he’s coming!’ and she agreed. I became very dilated, very quickly. He was also back-to-back, so it took a long time to get him out.”
Having taken an interest in lifestyle and wellness following her IVF experience, Izzy was inspired to write her own self-help novel, Mindfulness for Mums, which is filled with simple and practical exercises designed to help clear your mind and connect with children.
Izzy relied on many of these techniques during Lockie’s birth, but admits, “I tried to do all my resources of mindfulness, but something just took over.”
For many couples, one of the hardest things can be naming their baby. But Izzy and Harry reveal they instantly fell in love with the name Lockie – and tell us the hilarious moment they decided on the moniker.
“We had another name for Lockie for quite a long time but we just weren’t quite 100 per cent on it,” Izzy explains. “We were watching cricket because Harry is obviously a massive cricket fan. And then I heard the name of a cricketer called Lockie Ferguson, and I was like ‘Lockie is nice.”
Harry then clarified, “No, I said Lockie Ferguson. And then I was like, ‘That’s a really cool name. I like that.’ Then it kind of developed. He’s not my favourite cricketer or anything, but that’s the reason!”
Opening up about the adjustment of having another baby in the house, the couple tell us Lola and Kit are besotted with their little brother.
“They love hugging Lockie,” Harry says. “And whenever I’m holding Lockie, Kit comes over and starts hugging me.” Izzy also admits, “I think because Lola and Kit are so close, it has perhaps helped the adjustment with having another. They’ve just merged in throughout.”
Reflecting on the milestones their children have hit recently, Izzy says, “Lola lost her first tooth!” before Harry adds, “And at the same time Lockie got a tooth!”
It seems their two older children are already following in their parents’ footsteps, with Kit attending drumming lessons and Lola learning the violin.
“I think Lola is very much like Izzy. She loves to play the violin, to dance and sing and put on show,” Harry explains. “She’s also quite studious. She says she wants to be a scientist. She likes sports as well. She’s very much an all-rounder.”
Speaking about Kit’s interests, Harry tells us he’s his dad’s biggest fan. “He does love music,” he says. “Whenever we get in the car he just wants McFly. I mean, I’m getting sick of our new album, which is not released yet!”
With a busy family life and baby Lockie approaching six months old, the Judds have been collaborating with formula milk brand Aptamil to emphasise the importance of shared responsibility when feeding their tot.
Izzy explains, “It’s our third baby, so we know now that it’s all about teamwork. With Harry being able to do some of the feeds and having that moment to bond with the baby, it gives me time to be with Lola and Kit, and vice versa.
“It’s all about trying to be as present as we can with the kids because life can get so busy and hectic when there’s so much going on.”
Harry and Izzy Judd join Aptamil Advanced Follow On Milk’s ‘Share the Moments that Matter’ campaign to highlight the powerful and emotional connection made between parent and child when feeding. To find out more visit aptaclub.co.uk
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