Cressida Bonas grew "overwhelmed" by her "obsession" with getting pregnant.
The 33-year-old actress and her husband Harry Wentworth-Stanley welcomed their first son into the world last month after undergoing fertility treatment, but the 'Tulip Fever' star has opened up about the "frustrating" two-year period they endured when trying desperately to work out why she was unable to conceive.
She wrote in an essay for The Sunday Times newspaper: "Looking back on those two long years of trying to conceive, I wish I had been kinder to myself and understood that I didn’t need fixing.
"After endless tests, my husband, Harry, and I were told that the only explanation was that there wasn’t one...
"It became frustrating when we were told by specialists that there was nothing fundamentally wrong. I wanted something to blame.
"After receiving the all-clear from an HSG test (where dye is flushed into your fallopian tubes to see if they are blocked), we tried a couple of rounds of IUI (where the sperm is injected into the uterus). But they failed. Why? Was it because I ran to that meeting after the procedure? Was I overstressing about learning lines for an audition? Was I doing too much exercise? Maybe I wasn’t doing enough exercise?
"My mind was on a constant worry loop and my obsession with getting pregnant became overwhelming. I considered everything I ate and drank — no sugar, gluten, alcohol or caffeine. I’d wake up at 3am worrying about my dairy intake. I was tired and hungry."
The "desperate" star - who previously dated Prince Harry - splurged on alternative therapies and even psychics and "healers" in her bid to get pregnant.
She wrote: "I wrote a diary. I can see from this how desperate I was. I spent time and money on reflexology, nutritionists, acupuncture and psychics … Even a German healer who speaks to angels.
"I read books that said if I listened carefully, the spirit of my unborn baby would visit me in my dreams — I heard nothing, not a squeak.
"I was told to get drunk on champagne, to smell a baby’s head (creepy, I know) and to go on the paleo diet.
"But no matter how many Mystic Megs I saw or expensive supplements I took, nothing was working, and I felt as if my body was failing me. Out of ideas and without answers, we turned to IVF."
Cressida will always be thankful for the support she received from others going through similar experiences.
She wrote: "I realise I’m very lucky — I gave birth to a baby boy in November.
"Very often, though, the path to pregnancy is a silent struggle, but through my experience I have learnt the importance of community. Whatever the shape or form of that community — online forum, WhatsApp group or creative cohort — having a space to unravel and share is perhaps where we can regain our confidence and power."