Whether it’s the luxury of breakfast in bed or the homemade card you receive from your kids, Mother’s Day is a poignant occasion for all mums. But for some women this year’s celebration holds even more importance.
Lynsey Hartley, 37, from Cheshire, started trying to conceive with her partner Daniel Hartley, 35, in January 2012. After a year of trying for a child with no luck, they sought help. They had six round of IVF in two years. In their first cycle, they failed to get any eggs fertilised, “I felt utterly devastated and cheated,” says Lynsey. “Our second and third cycles failed, then on my fourth cycle I got pregnant and miscarried, I felt like maybe it really wasn’t going to work for us.”
Lynsey says even after the fourth cycle of IVF, she didn’t feel ready to give up and decided with Daniel they would try for as long as they mentally and financially could. Their fifth cycle failed but on their sixth cycle Lynsey became pregnant. “We felt extremely excited but still very nervous and scared it would be taken away again,” says the mum. “On one scan, doctors saw a large mass of blood and they called it a ‘threatened miscarriage’ so it was very frightening, although at my 13 week scan it had absorbed. I still loved every single day and every kick and sick was worth it.”
When she went into labour, Lynsey felt as if she was in denial about the fact she was about to become a mother because she never stopped worrying that something may go wrong. But her daughter, Bo, was born in October 2017. “To hear the doctor say she was fine and to see her for the first time was totally overwhelming and just literally the best moment of my life, I’ll never forget it,” says Lynsey.
For her first Mother’s Day, Lynsey is looking forward to a surprise planned by her husband, adding that she knows it’ll be special: “Milestones and occasions have become very special after infertility and to be able to join in this one, specifically this year, is very lovely. However I’ll never forget those years waiting and will be thinking of all my friends still hoping to celebrate themselves next year.”
For Fenella Lancaster, 36, from Essex, who has a six-year-old daughter, this Mother’s Day is the first one in three years she won’t be dreading.
Three years ago, Fenella miscarried for the first time, shortly after Mother’s Day. She went on to lose two more babies. “For the past three years I have not been able to reach a Mother’s Day without feeling so much sadness because I didn’t have other children with me and my daughter was missing a sibling,” she says. “Each Mother’s Day I have had two faces; one where I put on a brave face and the other I felt so much pain and sadness. I was so grateful for having my little girl with me but another part of me just kept asking why are my other babies not with me?” In those low moments, Fenella felt as if she was the only person in the world feeling as she did.
This year things are a bit better for Fenella as she decided to take positive action. “I have taken control of all the pain and sadness and projected it into trying to help others by sharing my story and encouraging others to do so too,” say says. Feneela has recently created a support group for mums – Maternal Minds – which she hopes will help towards breaking taboos surrounding miscarriage and postnatal depression. “I’m trying to turn my difficult times into something positive,” she says.
The journey hasn’t been easy, as Fenella’s daughter asks for a sibling “almost every single day”. But now she realises any day dedicated to celebrating a woman is important. “We go through so much, and so do men of course, but we go through the actual physical pain of giving birth,” she explains. “I am happy I was able to do that.
“I do really feel for all the mothers out there that never got to hold their babies or the wonderful women that try so hard to have children but cannot. I think we have to recognise those silent mothers too.”
This year, the most important thing for Fenella is just spending the day with her daughter and her family. She doesn’t have plans, but will enjoying feeling grateful for the family she has.
For another mum, Fiona Duffelen, 41, from London, this Mother’s Day is a reminder of how happy she is to be a parent, despite it not being her first Mother’s Day. Fiona is mum to 20-month-old Primrose. She tried for eight years to conceive, enduring seven rounds of IVF and travelling abroad to India for surrogacy before finally being introduced to Surrogacy UK. Primrose was born at the end of 2016. Fiona’s first Mother’s Day was intense, emotional, wonderful and overwhelming. On her second, she is looking forward to taking in the day.
“When you suffer from infertility, every Mother’s Day becomes a poignant reminder of all the things you’re missing out on,” says Fiona. “Yes it’s my second Mother’s Day, but when you’ve been through what we’ve been through, every one is so incredibly special – one no more or less than the other as each one carries equal significance and importance to me. I will never ever forget all the Mother’s Days I’ve spent sobbing my heart out.
“As the mother of a surrogate baby I’ll be reflecting on just how lucky we have been to become parents. Surrogacy is such an incredible selfless act.”
Fiona says she often hears the role of a mum being described as the “best job in the world”, but says this doesn’t come close to how she feels about motherhood, “The hours are always a pleasure, never a chore and no matter how many noughts you add to the pay packet, there’s no salary on earth that can remunerate us for the wealth and good fortune our daughter now brings to our lives.”
This Mother’s Day, Fiona and her husband David, have a special day planned out. They are going to have cake for breakfast from the Primrose Bakery, enjoy an evening primrose body wrap treatment at a local spa, before embarking on a brisk family walk on Primrose Hill.
Sounds like the perfect baby-name-themed day to us.