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Pocketmags Digital Magazines
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Agata Szymanowicz reveals her struggle to start a family and how she is helping women share their stories through photography.

When I think about how I spent my twenties trying not to get pregnant, I want to laugh or cry. It’s funny how these two often got mixed up during my fertility journey.

It really is true that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I met my husband when I was twenty-nine and after almost two years of dating, partying, late nights out and adventurous holidays in exotic locations we decided it was time to start a family.

Those four long years of trying to have a baby nearly killed me – emotionally but also literally, as at one point I ended up in a hospital with ovarian hyperstimulation. Within two days I looked six months pregnant, as litres of fluid collected in my abdomen. Apparently my case was rare and bad enough to merit sending a medical student to interview me. That was a funny bit – I can still remember that polite young man, his embarrassed face glowing red as he was asking me about my sex life and periods.

There were more funny (laugh-throughtears kind of funny but still) moments. Feeling up my boobs in the office and being caught by a colleague. Bursting into tears when watching ‘Shrek the Third’ when it turned out Fiona was pregnant. Wondering if a cold, a toothache or bad stomach could be signs of pregnancy (I was educated in sciences and bloody well knew they couldn’t but that knowledge didn’t stop me from obsessing and hoping). There were times when, after yet another unsuccessful IVF, I offloaded all my frustration and disappointment onto an unsuspecting colleague who simply asked me how I was. Or at my wedding dress fitting with a pillow stuffed underneath to check if it will accommodate a bump “in case I am pregnant by then”.

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