It's not often that a book has a profound impact on your life, but Jessica Hepurn's Book "21 Miles - swimming in search of the meaning of motherhood" did just that.
I first became aware of Jessica's work when she published her first book "The Pursuit of Motherhood" at the time I struggled to find something I could relate to, something to help me process my feelings and to feel less alone in the daunting world of infertility and fertility treatments. Jessica helped to break the stigma and silence surrounding infertility when I needed it most. So you could say I became an avid "fan" of Jessica's work from then on and would look forward to receiving her newsletters in my inbox and reading about Jessica's plans to swim the English Channel. Never imagining that one day I would be given the incredible opportunity to meet her in person.
When I first started reading "21 Miles" I was pregnant but with in a week of starting to read the book I went through my third miscarriage, this time a missed miscarriage and I was completely broken. Reading Jessica's trials and tribulations of training to and then attempting to swim the Channel (I wont give away any more) alongside meeting inspirational women, some of who were mothers, some not, had a profound impact on me.
Jessica has been through so much in her "pursuit of motherhood" and instead of letting that break her she channeled her emotions in to swimming the English Channel. I knew I didn't have the option to hide in bed refusing to move (as much as I wanted to) because I had to continue being a mum to our daughter. I didn't know how I could or if I would ever get back to being "me" again but I knew I had to do something because my daughter (who we fought so hard to have) deserved me to try my very hardest. I knew swimming wasn't likely to be for me as I hate getting water in my eyes (yes I am that lady who swims with her head firmly above the water and comes out of the swimming pool with dry hair) but I felt I needed to set myself my own challenge to process and come to terms with all that had happened in my own "pursuit of motherhood".
I felt so compelled to do something that I downloaded the couch to 5K app and started to run, with some encouragement from my sister I signed up to run the London Landmarks Half Marathon for Tommy's in March of this year. I found that running helped me so much to feel like me again that I wanted to use my new found passion to help other women going through infertility and baby loss.
So you could say in a lot less words and waffle that Jessica inspired me to create the Rainbow Running Club and had I not read "21 Miles" then I am very sure the Rainbow Running Club wouldn't be here today. So I have so much to thank Jessica for both for her honesty and bravery at sharing her own experiences through her writing but also through her work as a fertility advocate and through Fertility Fest.
Jessica is currently training to climb Mount Everest and if she is successful she will be the first women to achieve the Pond and Peak Challenge. An extraordinary feat requiring incredible bravery and determination. Jessica's has likened both challenges and their many parallels to fertility treatment in that mother nature ultimately decides if she will allow you to cross the Channel/ Climb Mount Everest no matter how much you train or how prepared you think you are. Much in the same way that mother nature ultimately decides if you are going to become pregnant and maintain the pregnancy.
So when I planned to run 5K with a different inspirational woman each Friday in January I knew from the start I really wanted Jessica to be one of them so you can imagine my delight and excitement when Jessica responded to say yes she would love to join me to run and eat cake. So this morning I am traveling to London to run with Jessica and I couldn't be more excited to be finally meeting her...... (to be continued post run!)
To read more about Jessica and the incredible work she does please head over to her website: