This year marks my 12th Mother’s Day.
That is nothing short of a miracle for me. I mean motherhood itself is often thought of as miraculous and wonderful, and a little bit magical sometimes too. But when you wait, and struggle and pass through the sad hallways of infertility hoping and banking on science, faith, community services like Children’s Aid, and friends to help you through to the other side well, then you know that when you get the honour of actually being a mother, it will be magnificent.
Twelve years ago I had my own mother to share Mother’s Day with, but I was missing a piece. I’d been married for nine years and we’d been through a lot. I had health care issues due to Crohn’s Disease and we dealt with infertility and fertility treatments and then we were approved to adopt. Adoption was never second choice for us. It was simply the only way in which our family was going to happen and for me, being a mother was not optional. I had a great mother myself and a great mother-in-law and most of our friends had already been handily given their children, without much trying at all. Of course, hindsight, means that now I know the horrible toll infertility took on one of our closest friends and her husband. At the time we knew nothing about their struggle.
I wanted to be a mother and my biological clock was clearly indicating the time was fast running out. I remember clearly the toll every Mother’s Day and Christmas took on me when we waited, when we struggled to conceive, or form a family any way we could. I remember celebrating with my Mom, and feeling still that a piece of my heart was absent. Each holiday that passed was a bitter reminder – I mean messaging then wasn’t even as omnipresent as it is now – with Twitter not even in existence in 2000.
This year, because of the recent death of my Mom, because I am an infertility survivor, because I have told countless stories of people who battled so hard to become family, I want to share a special wish for Mother’s Day with all my readers.
For those who have lost their Mom, as I recently have, I offer you an ear now too because I also need one. I wish for you memories of her that are happy and comforting on Mother’s Day. I wish that you could see her in some small moment shared with your children. I hope that you find peace. I pray you recall the impression she left on your heart.
For those who are waiting to become family I hope this year brings you hope and faith. I hope it brings public funding as well, because organizations like Generations of Hope and Conceivable Dreams have been advocating tirelessly for years now.
Family is an incredible joy. Unfortunately this year Mother’s Day will be a sad reminder for many struggling with the complex health issue of infertility (That’s one in six couples!) of all they cannot have. There is little sadder than that. We know 67 % of Alberta residents support public funding for in vitro fertilization. We know an overwhelming number of people are struggling to become parents. We know too that in vitro fertilization is often the most effective treatment for infertility. In fact, it is often the medically prescribed course of action. But when couples in Alberta and Ontario and BC. are faced with the choice of spending $13,000 to $15,000 on a single round of in vitro fertilization (not covered in any province other than Quebec) they often ask to transfer multiple embryos because of the cost. We know single embryo transfer is the best possible practice to ensure good health outcomes for both mothers and babies. We know too that multiples carry a far greater lifetime cost in terms of health care and social services required due to lifelong health issues that can result when you give birth to twins or triplets. That cost often fails to factor in learning disabilities and educational supports as well. Premature babies often have greater health care issues. That’s a fact.
When IVF is funded or cost shared by government, single embryo transfer is the standard. In jurisdictions and countries around the world where funding is available for families needing IVF, the birth rate for multiples has fallen to single digits. In Canada, our rates are very high still. (With the exception of Quebec where in vitro is paid for by the government and costly multiple births have decreased to somewhere near 5 %.) BC has the highest rate of multiples for all the provinces. It has been proven that public funding tied to single embryo transfer could reduce the rate of multiple births in Alberta from 25 % to under 10 %. Alberta has some amazing assets and programs and strengths. Building healthy Families should be at the top of the list. Happy Mother’s Day for all. For those who are waiting consider this a pledge that we will keep fighting for healthy families.
There are multiple reasons why public funding for IVF makes sense. Some of those reasons are human and basic and biological. Others are clearly economic. If you want to get involved sign the Generations of Hope petition to MLAs.
If you agree that funding should be available for couples and families struggling to conceive, please follow our discussion on Twitter. We are http://www.twitter.com/gensofhope/
I am community manager for the amazing group called Generations of Hope, and as such I have been compensated. My opinion is all my own and I believe 100 % in strong healthy families for all the provinces.