Hoards of women across the globe are intimately familiar with Canna Campbell. They know her as the female financial guru, the minimalist with a wardrobe to kill for, or the woman who is bringing mindfulness to money (her new book Mindful Money just launched!)...
What many of them may not be aware of is the story behind the conception of Canna’s two beautiful children – Rocco (6) and Francesca (brand new!). We wanted to dive into Canna’s world to find out a little bit about her journey through IVF, what her life looks like now with Frankie in tow, and what tips she has for women staring down the path of fertility treatments.
With her signature honesty, elegance and inspiration, Canna didn’t disappoint, with wisdom for parents, no matter where along their parenting path they may be. “For me the most daunting part of going through IVF was, “Am I strong enough to do this and will it work?”. You invest a lot emotionally going through this journey, with a lot of ups and downs, patiently waiting, questioning everything you or your body does, it can be incredibly exhausting at times. But behind all of this, is amazing personal growth, deep insights and resilient strength and faith, as you focus on the big picture and know that you are doing your best, and that is more than enough,” she says.
Here’s the tale of Canna, Rocco and Francesa.
Photography: Grace Alyssa Kyo
Talk us through the decision to go through IVF?
My son Rocco was conceived through IVF six years ago. At the time, I was told that I couldn’t conceive naturally and it didn’t come to me as a surprise as I always had this gut feeling that something wasn’t right and my body wouldn’t be able to do this the natural way. I think a lot of women underestimate their intuition in this area when something doesn’t feel right. I am so glad and proud of myself for listening to my inner voice and doing something about it sooner rather than later, because after speaking with my IVF specialist and running lots of tests and trying different approaches, he confirmed this inner suspicion was correct and I felt an instant sense of relief, as I knew that IVF was my next logical step to start.
So when my partner Tom and I decided we were ready to have a baby, we wanted to put ourselves in the best hands possible, where we knew we would get the best advice and level of care but also start straight away, so my first call was to see my fertility specialist again.
Talk us through the actual process of IVF?
Once Tom and I agreed to proceed with IVF, our Fertility Specialist put us in touch with the clinic. There were regular phone calls from the nurses with our updates and results, lots of checking in us, a clear line of communication and most importantly, compassionate hearts.
What was the hardest part of IVF and what was the most wonderful?
This may sound silly, insecure or even ridiculous, but the hardest part for me was the shame. I felt like not being able to conceive a baby naturally was the universe questioning my ability to be a good enough mother. That I had to prove to myself that I was worthy of this passage. Of course, that is crazy to think like that, but when you are struggling to do something that your body was built to do, you can find some really challenging questions arise within you, which need to be dealt with in a loving and kind way, so you can focus on giving yourself everything you need for the IVF journey.
When I watched my Fertility Specialist plant our embryo into my uterus, I was lost for words and felt an overwhelming sense of honour and respect for my body and the advancement of modern medicine. There is something so special about being able to watch potential life be planted into your body that you would not have the luxury of witnessing when falling pregnant the traditional way. Watching the embryo go into my body via a special screen as my doctor counted backwards, felt like time stood still as tears swelled up in my eyes. That one moment, made it all worth it.
Frankie swaddled in a Mama Maya wrap
Did going through IVF affect your relationships?
Tom and I were very open and transparent about doing IVF, which included Rocco being part of the journey. We were comfortable sharing what were doing and why. By sharing our hopes and wishes, we were taken aback my people’s support, care and understanding. From having to alter work commitments for specialist appointments, to helping take care of my son during treatments to giving the emotional support throughout the process. In a way, our community of family and friends, along with the doctors and nurses, helped make this happen.
When did you conceive and tell us about the pregnancy? Were there any challenges with your pregnancy?
I was very lucky and conceived first time with Rocco and Francesca. Both pregnancies were smooth sailing until the later stages. With Rocco, my placenta ruptured during the night and he came at 36 weeks. The labour was just over an hour, so it was too quick for any pain relief or interventions.
With Frankie, my body started to really struggle around 33 weeks. My iron levels were so low, I needed an iron infusion, but I picked up a virus where I couldn’t have the infusion, and it would impact my immune system, making me sicker. I then went into premature labour numerous times, got gestational diabetes, was throwing up with constant pain in my back and down my legs. My GP realised I was walking around 5cm dilated and fortunately gave birth shortly after making it to 37 weeks. Another speedy birth, again no time for pain relief, but so worth it, as I held each of my babies in my arms, on my chest for the first time. No words can explain this incredible moment.
Can you tell us about your birth?
After being in and out of labour numerous times, when the contractions came on again I was completely calm, but with a sense of “not again, I don’t have time for this.” I jumped into the bath again, thinking after a few hours it would subside. But in the middle of the night, I was bleeding and the contractions were returning. I was torn between turning up to the hospital again with another false start or tidying my house. Like a neurotic nutcase, I tided the house. Tom came downstairs to find me cleaning our kitchen at 3am, and realised I needed to go to the hospital. Fortunately, I listened to him and as we walked through the doors, my waters broke and I delivered Frankie 50 minutes later, whilst I groaned like a cow with my head buried in Tom’s stomach.
How has the change from one to two children been?
Having a six year gap between Rocco and Frankie is a lot easier. Rocco is a very empowered brother and is great at helping and working like a team. However, I am still always mindful of his growing needs. I do find it hard to make sure that everyone is happy and balanced and getting everything they need from the family unit. I try to make sure that I have open communication with Rocco.
What advice do you have for women going through IVF?
Be kind to yourself. Not only will your body be taking on a lot, but so will your headspace. Take comfort in knowing you are doing your best and that you are in the best hands possible. It may take time, it may not, but look for the blessings of IVF.
Talk us through your new book Mindful Money?
Mindful Money is focused around building yourself long term passive income sources for true financial freedom. I help the reader work out what they need to do to make this happen. From where and how to start, what are your priorities, where you can be more efficient and of course how to invest and actually grow that passive income overtime through making educated financial decisions. I use case studies to show different ways of achieving this and share the investments and products that I like, as well as my own personal money hacks.
What are some practical tips for managing your money mindfully?
Everyone should have some financial goals, otherwise we end up drifting financially through life, living from pay cheque to pay cheque, then one day looking back, wondering where all our hard earnt money went. When you get set yourself meaningful and exciting goals (even small simple ones), it is amazing the shift that is created in our attitude towards money.
You run two businesses - what are your top time management tips?
I believe in working smarter not harder and always try to look for the most efficient way of getting things done. So at the start of each day, I invest in a few minutes to literally stop, to then allow me to go faster.
I ask myself, “What will I be most proud of getting done today? What is the best use of my time in getting this done? How can I get things done properly so that I can then move on to my other responsibilities?”. Reframing things so that instead of getting overwhelmed, I am able to just “get on with it”. This also helps turn down the noise and create the space for me to focus.
On top of this, simple habits have allowed me to improve the efficiency of my routine, to delegate, re-prioritise and to buckle down and get things done when I need to. It isn’t always easy, but simple things like getting up early before anyone can distract you, ensure the right mix of different exercise, writing my list of things to do before going to bed, so that I can hit the ground running the next day with a sense of clarity and direction and of course, time out to reconnect and refresh with my family and friends hugely helps in managing my workload and commitments.