This morning, I got up at 4.30am. Not because my baby was crying, but because I had to go abroad for work (when I say abroad I mean Brussels, but “abroad” sounds more glamorous). I felt like I did going to work on a Monday when I was 25 – way too tired, not rested, and looking like a zombie. Meanwhile, my girl was fast asleep dreaming of Iggle Piggle and Peppa Pig, having spent the evening before tearing around the living room as if it was some kind of baby/toddler/army training course. A real baby, doing real things, just as she is supposed to. “Mumma”, meanwhile, like many other working mothers, just had to get on with it!
I digress. About a month ago I read the furore about synthetic babies and Dolce and Gabanna and how Dolce (not that there is anything “dolce” about him) thought that babies born through IVF were synthetic and how homosexual couples shouldn’t have children. I was on holiday and had had a wonderful day with my family, but it made me cry. Now I know that’s a bit of a paraphrasing frenzy and that I am “prone to emotion” but if he doesn’t feel the need to be careful about his choice of words then neither do I. So I say, the man is an *rsehole. I know that his main point was about same-sex couples but, though I think that point was in itself ridiculous, he also belittled the love and purity that all IVF families share. The broader point I want to make is that babies who are born through IVF or whatever means are still babies, and that parents are still parents, in whatever form they take – 2 Dads, 1 Mum, an older brother, an Auntie, a step mum and a Dad, a Grandma (obviously not all IVF – it would be a bit odd if your IVF Mum was actually your sister)…. who cares what the formulation is as long as the child is loved and cared for?
That has, so far, been the only ever time that someone in society has ever tried to make Hannah different because of the way that she came into the world. The only time. When I was pregnant I was worried what the Church would think. All the Church cared about was how wonderful it was that a baby was about to be welcomed into the world. I was worried about what my friends would think. All my friends thought was how wonderful it was that I was finally carrying a baby to term. I was worried about what my family would think. All they cared about was that it would actually work. Noone cares now about how Hannah came in to the world because it isn’t relevant. So Dolce and Gabbana will never be relevant to me.
Let me be clear. IVF is hard. It’s hard and it’s hard for anyone doing it. You don’t choose IVF to be fashionable – you generally choose it because you are desperate and because you have a primal urge to be a parent and to love a child that is your own. For the lucky ones, you get a baby at the end of it. And that baby will puke. It will wee, it will poo, it will eat, it will sometimes sleep. It will make you feel like a crushed snail one moment and like you are on top of the world the next. It is a real baby and it will have real parents who will sort all of that stuff out because they love it.
Hannah might be our only child. I hope we have more but for us and thousands of other people “natural conception” isn’t an option. That doesn’t mean we and they shouldn’t be parents and it certainly doesn’t mean that IVF babies are lesser people in some way. Thank Goodness – thank God (and I don’t say that lightly) – for IVF. Thank God that there are parents in the world who will bring children up with love and care irrespective of their gender preferences. I will never be able to afford Dolce and Gabbana and though it sounds cliche to say it I don’t care because I have all the riches in the world already. And, for the record, I know that I have probably spelled Dolce and Gabbana incorrectly, but since they don’t care about me, out of spite I didn’t check the spelling of Gabbana. We’re blessed. My perfect little little girl, fast asleep in her bed. She’ll be awake at 6.30am, smiling and wanting some banana and a cuddle. Nothing synthetic about that. Nothing synthetic at all.