It was as if we were completely alone.
Or maybe that’s how I felt when I said we couldn’t have a baby on our own.
We were the first to go down this road of uncertainty.
Did I do something wrong?
At the time, I worked in HR Management, and it was internally so hard to assist people on their maternity and paternity leaves (many more than once), and yet, I seemed to never be a candidate for it, at all.
Until we were advised to try IVF.
With less than 1% chance of conceiving naturally without medical assistance, in vitro fertilization would be our best “shot” at a pregnancy (wink wink).
- 1 round of IVF.
- Two embryos suitable to transfer.
- One miscarriage.
So when my transfer of my last positive, genetically tested embryo became a positive, full-term pregnancy and resulted in a healthy baby boy, I knew my career priorities suddenly were different, and my outlook on what I wanted to do, alongside being a mama, was pointing to entrepreneurship.
But what did the world need that I could uniquely provide and be passionate about?
And that’s when my book, I’m Very Ferris, a child’s story about in vitro fertilization was created.
I wanted a book to help tell my baby how he was given life…and there was nothing on the market that told the story through his perspective so he could understand this special process at a young age.
I knew I had the tools to bring a story, pen-to-paper, coming from a child’s perspective at a picture book level to talk about a topic that many struggle with explaining. Who says this is too much for a little one to understand, or it’s embarrassing, or it’s not appropriate? IVF is real life, and this doesn’t have to be stressful if we take it page-by-page and gently bring a complicated subject to a simple level at which a child can comprehend.
And maybe even an adult.
I’m Very Ferris (I V F being the first letters in each of the words in the title) allow a family to tell their personal story about how their baby came to be by reading rhyming words and seeing colorful pictures about a boy named Ferris who’s parents went through this thing called in vitro fertilization to have him.
And he is completely normal.
He looks like the other babies.
He plays like the other babies.
Because he is like other babies: unique, pure, and beautiful.
I then decided to take things a step further and make the book a series, with the second book, I’m Very Ferris Takes a Bubble Bath published in April 2020. Yes, during a pandemic and very difficult and uncertain times with infertility and pregnancy, I wanted to bring some joy and comfort and lightheartedness with the timing of the second book. It allows families and children of all backgrounds to come together and follow baby Ferris on a new adventure: taking a bubble bath!
All-the-while giving respect to IVF through the rhyming words and bold pictures.
This is what I now do for a living and giving people a moment of understanding, gratitude, and feeling inclusive in a topic that generally cannot be found in a children’s book is why I write and advocate. I believe that by giving people a voice and a chance to tell their story is an irreplaceable moment in time. Infertility is not saying “no” to having a baby.
It’s about finding a new way to say, “yes” to becoming a parent.
And IVF is one of those possible ways.
Every time Ferris picks up “Mama’s books” for me to read, and I see him pointing at the characters, saying “baby napping” or “baby bath,” I can only image what moments my books bring to other families, all around the globe. Coming together to tell a special story about one way to form a life, and including little minds in the process of it, well for me, that’s about as good as work gets.
I’m Very Ferris, a child’s story about in vitro fertilization and I’m Very Ferris Takes a Bubble Bath can be found at www.tesskossow.com and Amazon.com.
Available in paperback and hardcover.
Because life is not supposed to be cookie cutter. It’s supposed to be humbling, challenging, and deeply rewarding. No two stories are alike. Becoming a mama has been that way for me and the story of how I got there is something 1 in 8 of us can connect with, through every turn of the page.
So let’s celebrate the journey of in vitro fertilization together, and include in the conversation the little miracles we tried so hard for.
~ Tess Kossow