British Labour MP Alex Davies-Jones gave a passionate speech about fertility and IVF this week to mark International Women’s Day
For many women who might struggle with fertility issues, the road to pregnancy and parenting can be long, physically and emotionally draining and costly.
IVF is something we're talking about more and more openly in Ireland. It's important to keep having the conversation; to talk of the highs and lows, to let other women know that others have been through the same – to normalise the conversation around fertility.
Related: The reality of a decade of IVF: 'I felt like a little light had gone out in me'
"I wouldn't wish the anxiety and sheer dread on anyone"
“To every woman who has walked past a glowing bump in the street… who has been asked ‘when are you having children?'… while suppressing mixed emotions of envy, sadness and self-loathing
"You are not alone”
— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) March 5, 2020
"Sometimes, as a woman struggling with fertility issues, you feel like a complete failure"
Here is her speech in full:
“The primary inspiration for my comments around International Women’s Day comes from a very important man in my life: my son, [Sullivan]. Sully will be celebrating his first birthday in just a few short weeks and I’m thrilled to be spending this International Women’s Day with him by my side.
“I’m sure I will face some stern opposition from the members when I say Sully really is the most precious child in the world. Before I’m hit with comments from aggrieved parents everywhere: like many people before us, my husband and I knew that the road to pregnancy would be an extremely tough one.
“Yet, in the grand scheme of things, we were very, very lucky. After just one round of IVF, and against all the odds, my only surviving embryo, my one in a million, arrived. Sadly, he was quickly whisked away to the neonatal intensive care unit where he spent the first two weeks of his life. I can hand-on-heart say that they truly were the most difficult weeks of my life and I wouldn’t wish the anxiety and sheer dread on anyone.
“My fertility story has a happy ending, but I know for many this isn’t the case. At the end of this month, I’ll also be spending my first proper Mother’s Day with Sully. Traditionally, this is a day for the past few years that has filled me with sadness and emptiness.
“Seeing the joy of so many faces on social media, of mams up and down the country celebrating their children, has always pulled a part of me that has been desperate for a child, while always knowing that without help I wouldn’t be able to have one.
“This International Women’s Day, I want to shout out to every woman who has looked at a celebratory pregnancy social media announcement. To every woman who has walked past a glowing bump in the street. To every woman who has been asked: ‘When are you having children?’ To every woman who has sympathetically listened to a friend moan [about] how tired she is after looking after her children, always suppressing the mixed emotions of envy, sadness and self-loathing.
"Sometimes, as a woman struggling with fertility issues, you feel like a complete failure. You can’t talk about it with mams without seeming bitter. Without having stigma surrounding you, that your body has let you down, and has prevented you from becoming the mother you always dreamed of being, but know potentially you can never be.
“I want to say to these women that you are not alone."
Main photograph: Pexels
Read more: 14 Frequently Asked Questions About Undergoing IVF