With Mother's Day fast approaching, the founder of a fertility group has said many women approach it with mixed emotions.
Barbara Nestor of Connect Fertility says that for those who are bereaved or struggling to have a child, then the day can sadly be a difficult one.
“I like Mother’s Day,” Barbara explained to The Anton Savage Show.
“It’s an opportunity to celebrate my Mum and she’s the most special person in my life. But I think Mother’s Day can be triggering for many people; for women who have lost their Mum, for women who have lost a child and - particularly in my case - for women who struggle with fertility.
“And it is a stark reminder of all those things and it can be triggering and it’s very individual in terms of the emotion that comes with that as a result.
“And I suppose it’s just really important for people out there to know that they’re not alone and sometimes you can feel quite isolated.
“You feel like you’re the only person in the world going through that but you’re not!
“Every single woman out there knows and understands has probably been impacted by one of those three.”
Barbara says that one thing she would like to see from people is more awareness about the issue of fertility and that there are a myriad of reasons why an individual might not be a parent:
“I remember I was at a work event four or five years ago,” she recalled.
“And I was about to go on and do a TV3 interview and just before it a woman that I know said, ‘On my God, you look amazing!’
“And the woman beside her said, ‘Of course she does, she doesn’t have kids.’
“Now it was like a punch in the stomach right because at the time I was actually going through fertility treatment myself and I remember being literally in shock… and she knew she had just put her foot in it.
“I spoke to her afterwards and said, ‘I know you didn’t mean anything by that. Just be aware, don’t make assumptions about people. Don’t assume because women don’t have kids that it’s because of their career or because they decided not to.’
“There’s lots of reasons. Some people decide not to have kids; for others it is a challenge for them.”
Barbara began IVF treatment nearly a decade ago and went into it not knowing much about the process. She felt she would have benefited from more support and so decided to set up Connect Fertility as a result:
“I set up Connect Fertility with a friend of mine, I think about five years ago,” she said.
“The reason we did it was to raise awareness around fertility because I went into it eight years ago very blind. Didn’t ask questions, didn’t know what IVF was.
“Genuinely, it was all, ‘Oh, we’ll do it and we’ll follow whatever we’re being told.’
“But I think it’s really, really important for people starting out… that they talk to people who’ve gone through it before and they ask the right questions before they into IVF.”
Main image: A child with his mother walking along the road to sunrise. Picture by: Andrey Deryabin / Alamy Stock Photo