SAMANTHA JOHNSON has opened up about her decision to put starting a family on hold and the struggles black women face every day in pursuit of their business ambition.
The successful TV personality, originally from Birmingham is currently residing in Istanbul, Turkey since moving there in 2015.
She is currently the sports anchor for TRT World.
With her dream job in the bag, Samantha expresses that it was not down to her career why she put off having children; it was simply down to the fact that she just wasn’t ready.
“It was not my number one priority and I wanted to focus on my career.
“I wanted what I wanted for me – I know how selfish that sounds,” she said.
“It’s not that I don’t want a family, it’s just never been at the forefront – I’ve always been very ambitious.
“I like the idea of the fairytale, but there was something blocking me and I just wasn’t ready for it. I wanted my career, especially being a black woman – I wanted to give it 100 per cent.”
Little is known by many about egg freezing, and it is not often a subject spoken about openly.
“If there’s one thing I’ve noticed, it’s not really spoken about,” she said.
“They’re not giving this to us as an option.
“Unless you’re a middle class white woman with a load of money then you’re in that bracket, but anyone else, or if you’ve got underlying health issues, then it’s not flagged up and it shouldn’t be front and centre. ”
Urged to freeze her eggs, Samantha admitted that she only started to consider egg freezing when she was prompted by her gynaecologist who explained that at the age of 36, her eggs would start to decrease with age.
“If it wasn’t for her saying it so loudly I wouldn’t have taken it so seriously or think of it as an option”.
Having decided to go ahead with the procedure after a moment of clarity, Samantha began to do her own research.
“COVID makes you think about what you really want – I love my life the way it is now.
“I had to ask myself what it is I want – I would love to have a partner who has my back and wants to build together.
“It’s hard to rely on the authorities in the UK. Statistics show that black women are more likely to die during childbirth than white women, that’s why we have to take care of ourselves. If you’re a black woman go to the best gynaecologist.”
Johnson decided not to have the procedure done in Turkey as you are only allowed to go ahead with the procedure if you are married, so opted to head to Cyprus in November 2020, where she began the process at the Dunya IVF Clinic.
Recalling the emotional process, Samantha talks of hitting a brick wall and wanting to give up.
“I had been injecting for 10 days, and the sixth day I hit a wall – injecting in the same place everyday and trying to find an area, I was done with it!
“Your brain’s telling you that you know you have to do it because that’s the process, but at the same time you’re saying, ‘Why are you stabbing yourself?’
“I got my friend to do it the first time for me. The irony of it all was that I was at work presenting – a surreal moment.”
COVID-19 made the process an even more anxious time, reliant on a negative test result to fly to Cyprus for the retrieval led to high emotions.
“Bearing in mind I was halfway through the process… imagine spending all of this money, putting your body through so much and then not being able to go ahead – I cried, it was a tough moment and very emotional.”
Samantha was grateful for all the support she received from her friends and family who helped her remain positive.
“You can’t go into it feeling deflated or defeated,” she said.
“My self-care routine really helped, I was working out everyday – doing things to keep my spirits up, affirmations and letting my body do what it needed to do. You have to be kind to yourself, you can’t go into this negatively, it is an intense procedure.”
Samantha felt very blessed, privileged and lucky to have had a smooth process.
“I understand the frustration of doing a cycle and then something could happen and that sets you back.”
The procedure was done under local anaesthetic and Samantha admits to feeling scared at that moment – but was not in too much discomfort.
Some of the more noticeable side effects of the drugs were the fluctuation in hormones, some more troublesome than others.
“Everything gets super sensitive and I was super horny, my boobs got more curvy.”
However, the process was a success and Samantha, in total retrieved 22 viable eggs.
After a great result, Samantha urges more women her age to look into egg freezing and to start the process.
“I did it because I know I wanted peace of mind, for me it was, that’s done now – I needed that.
“If you’re going to do it, go into it with a positive state of mind.”