Cover Feiping Chang talks to Tatler about her pregnancy journey. (Photo courtesy of @xoxofei/Instagram)

Feiping Chang, who is expecting her first child, offers candid anecdotes on what she has learnt so far on her journey to motherhood—from overcoming the stigma attached to IVF to appreciating the power of the human body.

You can count on Feiping Chang to speak her mind. The Hong Kong-based style influencer is famously vocal about things she cares about, from fashion and food to Asian representation in media. More recently, Chang has opened up about her deeply personal battle with fertility. Using her growing social media platform to share her story and experiences, Chang reveals her long and painful path to pregnancy to inspire and provide comfort to those who are on a similar journey.

A month after the glamorous mother-to-be announced on Instagram that she and her husband Lincoln Li were expecting their first child together, Chang shared a video chronicling her experience with in vitro fertilisation (IVF). “We tried to conceive naturally for a while but when that didn’t happen we both went to the doctors to see if everything was OK. There was nothing medically wrong with either of us,” she says.

After a “draining” eight months of traditional Chinese medicinal therapies, which produced no result, the couple began IVF in autumn 2019. After the onset of Covid-19 last year, Chang and Li decided to pause their baby plans before resuming the IVF process in August. As she shares the difficult journey with her fans, Chang opens up about the mental and physical toll it took on her.

“In Asia, IVF or receiving any medical help to get pregnant still has a stigma attached to it. I don’t think there is anything to be ashamed about. We are so lucky that today, technology is available to us, so why not use it?” she says. 

Here, Chang shares the five most significant lessons she has learnt during her path to motherhood so far:

See also: Inside Feiping Chang & Lincoln Li's Wedding

1. Pregnancy isn’t always a straightforward path

While our journey was by no means an arduous one compared to many couples out there, it did take us a few years of trying different methods before going down the road of IVF. Pregnancy isn’t always simple and easy but whatever path you have to take is one worthy of being proud of, as it takes so much physical and emotional strength to be a parent and there shouldn’t be any stigma attached to seeking help. 

See also: 9 Of Meghan Markle's Best Maternity Fashion Moments

2. It’s okay to be vulnerable

Initially, I had my doubts about sharing my experience publicly, but I’m glad I did as I’ve been so touched and overwhelmed by the outpouring of support after I posted the video about my fertility journey. There are so many people out there who have either been in similar situations or are planning for a baby and looking for honest information. It has been so encouraging to know that by sharing my story, it helps in a small way to normalise pregnancy struggles and encourage other women going through the process.

3. Sisterhood is everything

One of the best things I’ve experienced is the bond I’ve felt with other women—both friends and strangers alike. Knowing how challenging it can be for a first time mother, so many friends have offered their advice and help, and I’m so glad I can lean on them when I feel clueless and confused. The bond you share with women who have had similar experiences is a special one, as only when you’ve been through [pregnancy] can you truly understand the constant inner battle between uncertainty and hope. At the end of the day, mothers are truly the bravest and strongest people in the world.

4. Love and embrace your body

Before pregnancy, I never fully appreciated how miraculous our bodies are. Now it’s no longer just a vehicle that has to function in order to carry out my personal endeavours; it has to stay strong and I have to be in tune with its every need in order for my child to be healthy and safe. It’s a complete change in perspective on how I view health and vanity.

5. Everyone’s experience is unique

You can ask ten different mothers and there’ll be ten different experiences of the pregnancy journey: from symptoms to the size of your belly to the birthing story. While I’ve loved listening and sharing all of our experiences, it’s also important to remember that no two pregnancies are the same. I’ve learnt not to be alarmed if I have a different take on things. This was especially true for me in the beginning when I wasn’t sure what I was ‘supposed’ to feel or look like each week. Now I’m just focusing on enjoying my own journey.

See also: 5 Key Nutrients For A Healthy Pregnancy

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