For some women, pregnancy marks the most beautiful time in their lives, while for some, it comes with unprecedented challenges. Ola Farahat has experienced both, as she steps into her second in vitro fertilization (IVF) pregnancy after suffering a miscarriage. Ahead of welcoming her child into the world, the Dubai-based blogger shares her journey with Vogue Arabia.
After being engaged for two years, my partner and I both knew that we wanted to have kids shortly after we were married. It was the easiest decision, to want to start a family, but it took us four years until I got pregnant this year.
After attempting to conceive naturally for two and a half years, we looked to IVF, however, my first attempt in 2020 ended in miscarriage. I never knew how awful it would feel to miscarry. The emotions were so overwhelming—they send your brain down a really negative space, especially with your hormones in an imbalanced state. From the euphoric feeling of first receiving a positive pregnancy test, and starting to dream of becoming a mother, to then suddenly being hit with the low of an unexpected miscarriage—it was definitely a very dark time for me. And so, it took me more than a year to decide that I wanted to try again.
Choosing to undergo another round of IVF was difficult, more so since the doctors told me that I had a high risk of having another miscarriage. I didn’t know if I could handle going through that again, and it took a lot for me to start the process. IVF can be very stressful from the moment you start with your first injection. It is a long process and definitely very nerve-wracking even without society’s judgment and prejudice. I remember being at the IVF clinic and running into one of my Instagram followers who recognized me. At that time, I wasn’t ready to share my story and I remember being strangely embarrassed. Looking back now, I regret feeling that way, and I wish I was more open about it. I guess I knew that as an Arab woman, this topic is still seen as some type of taboo.
Being a public figure, I can’t recall a single week in my life where I didn’t get asked by a follower if I was pregnant, or why I have not had a baby yet. It was constant and did not stop even during the deepest lows of my miscarriage. Occasionally, women would attack me for “caring more about work than having kids”. I really hope our society starts respecting women and their choices more. I think women should do whatever it is that they want with their bodies—it is absolutely fine to not want kids and it is also fine to want them. The same goes for marriage too. Women should be left alone.
This journey also opened my eyes to a lot that goes on in the fashion world. For the longest time, I thought that the notion behind women’s empowerment and the industry I work in was the strongest it has ever been. Sadly today, I feel it is probably more of a marketing strategy than it is reality. I’ve had a few shoots get canceled because ‘my bump didn’t suit the image’ of the campaign, and I’ve noticed that a few brands who I regularly worked with before my body changed had a different direction with me after my bump.
What got me through it all was hope, and it is my advice to the women who may share my experience. IVF and infertility, in general, can also take a toll on a relationship, and my partner and I were there for each other by being patient and understanding. Working hard and staying busy was our escape. I had a journal that helped me get through things when I had zero hope. In it, I wrote about the life I wanted, and the kind of mother I would be. I imagined my dreams into reality. Sometimes against all odds, magic happens and that’s what we should focus on the most. To my daughter, I want you to know that you made me believe in this magic of hope.
As told to Naheed Ifteqar