Much loved actress, Mary Coustas, talks candidly with Mumma Mia’s Mia
Freedman about the psychological minefield, paralysing fear, and unimaginable
love in her fertility journey ending with the birth of her beautiful daughter, Jamie
Mary Coustas is well known to Australian audiences as the much loved Effie,
from Wogs Out of Work, Acropolis Now and her own show Effie, Just Quietly.
She is also known for her brave and liberating telling of her struggle with
infertility, her miscarriages, death of her newborn baby girl, Stevie, along with
the deaths of her father and grandmother, in her memoir “All That I Know.”
Recently in the podcast “No Filter” with Mia Freedman, Mary spoke about her
years of infertility and 23 cycles of IVF. She referred to the fears, anxiety,
depression, hopes, and brutal terror as a “psychological minefield”. It is
incredible how she is able to put words to an indescribable journey.
As women we are sold a lot of myths; myths about having it all, a beautiful body
will deliver whatever you need or want, marriage is forever, being just a few that
lure us into thinking whatever we need will just happen. However for 1 in 6
couples the myth - ‘becoming a parent is as easy as having sex’ - is proven exactly
that – a myth. We may see Mary, a celebrity, as having it all, everything at her
fingertips. Little do we realise that she took 10 years out of her career to focus
on starting her much longed for family.
While Mary says “there is no better time in history to have children if you
struggle having them naturally,” for many IVF is not successful.
One of the major turning points for Mary was after 15 unsuccessful IVF cycles,
when one of her doctors bluntly told her “you want a baby in a cot? Donor eggs.”
She believes there is something “liberating” in facing the fact that “I can do this,
with a little help,” something she wished she had been told about earlier in her
journey. She also acknowledges the beauty and generosity when someone is
willing to offer you something as priceless as their egg or their sperm so that you
too can fulfil a dream. It is often said, that “it takes a village to raise a child,”
Mary says for some “it takes a village to produce a child” thanks to her egg donor.
We are so honoured at Positive Mind Body Australia to have the privilege of
facilitating the Mind Body Program for Fertility, which offers the support that
Mary expresses is so badly needed by women on this journey.
Mary spoke about her mother wanting her to keep things private. Mary reflects
that the loneliness and isolation of secrecy, was for her, actually worse than
experiencing the infertility. Over our 10-week program, we are able to offer a
safe space, where women can talk about their journeys with others who share
similar pains and heartache, a space where they don’t have to suffer quietly and
put on a public brave face.