A few weeks ago I gave birth to a baby boy. This is me holding him.
He was perfect- a screaming newborn mess, lifted off my stomach and put gently into his Mother’s loving arms.
Those arms were not mine. She’s next to me in this picture.
I’m a surrogate, and he was the second baby I placed in another mother's arms.
Being a woman is so much more than having children. But for many women, being a mother is the most important and satisfying role that they will ever get to play.
Mothers are often expected to do it all and make it look easy. But it's not easy.
I've learned it’s not always simple to become a mother. 1 in 5 couples have some issues with their fertility.
I fell pregnant with my children easily. It never occurred to me that it might not be so easy for everyone. While working as a nurse, one day I came across a woman in tears. She was devastated after yet another round of failed IVF. All I wanted to do was fix it for her.
I first donated my eggs to a woman who had been trying to conceive for 13 years.
18 children have now been born using my donated eggs.
Last week I sat through a university lecture on feminism. Perfect timing. A bra burning crash course on the incredible things we women can achieve when we come together.
While supporting women through infertility, I am constantly amazed at the strength, resilience and determination of these women. Most of all, their endless capacity to love and care for their sisterhood.
I now understand how similar we all are.
Just everyday women, who love other women. I see the fear, the sadness and yet the hope and excitement etched on their faces as we make plans- often after a long journey of multiple miscarriages and repeated IVF attempts. Their dreams of cuddling their child seemingly closer. Knowledge that joining a mother's group or doing the school run could soon be a part of their story.
They are fierce and bold and determined to keep trying, even when they are scared and feel let down- over and over. For many, their perseverance paid off. Now they're Mums who get a rainbow macaroni necklace on Mother’s Day just like I do. But it wasn't easy.
In all these women, donors, recipients, those who never conceived... I found the meaning of strength. Resilience. And love.
Maybe you can't change the world. But you can give the world to someone, and change their life.