It disturbs me to see so many people making personal comments about the wonderful news coming out of Nashville this week. Really, it does. You should be ashamed people.
Poor Nicole Kidman. I really feel for her situation. What should be such a happy time for her and the entire Kidman-Urban family and people feel they have the right to make incredibly personal statements about what a fake she is and how having a baby via surrogate is a complete joke. How she shouldn't have waited to have kids. It's all over the interwebs in comments on articles and blogs and Facebook (well, certainly my news feed). It's a disgrace.
Agreed - the choice of the descriptor "gestational carrier" to describe their surrogate was, perhaps, a little unfortunate, but infertility is really no laughing matter. It's not a joke and it's just not funny, people. It's not a matter for public derision, speculation and scorn. People like Nicole Kidman should be celebrated for their strength in going through this time consuming and emotional process to become a parent, not ridiculed and mocked. After seeing the public response I don't blame them for keeping it a secret for this long.
Infertility is incredibly hurtful and painful. It can, for some, be soul destroying. For many of us, the desire to have a baby is all consuming. If Nicole Kidman could have had this baby herself I have no doubt she would have. She looks like she's a fantastic mum to little Sunday and she really loves her. I can only imagine that being pregnant is one of the most beautiful things a woman can go through and I don't think it's something that would be often given up by choice. I don't think many women are honestly that vain.
Unfortunately, for many people IVF is not a choice. It's expensive (even more so now, thanks to Nicola Roxon's changes to the Medicare benefits payable), emotional, tiring, painful and time consuming. It's hours spent filling out forms, waiting in doctors surgeries, injecting yourself with hormones and waiting for test results, often after years of trying naturally. It's oceans of tears cried every month when the prospect of having your own baby gets just that little further away.
The emotional and physical cost of infertility can breakdown relationships and marriages. Anyone who hasn't faced the uncertainty of infertility can't begin to imagine the horrific prospect of not being able to have a child. On a good day it's almost bearable, on a bad one the pain can be so bad it defies description. And often there is no explanation as to why it has happened.
And to top it all off, the NSW Government recently legislated to make it a criminal offense to engage in a surrogacy agreement whereby the gestational carrier is paid. I get that it's about protecting people from exploitation but really? A criminal offense? One you can go to jail for? Please. Ridiculous much? And not only are they trying to stop it happening in NSW but the law also applies to overseas surrogacies in territories where the NSW Government has no jurisdiction.
With more and more people resorting to IVF and fertility treatment as a last resort to fall pregnant, should we not be trying to think of a better way to help rather than hinder the process? I don't think a jail term is an appropriate response to a couple desperately wanting to have children who have no other choice. It seems completely disproportionate. And some might even say that it's blatantly morally wrong. I can't imagine people who pay for a surrogate have exploitation on their mind (just the end result frankly), but don't people who go through the process of carrying someone else's baby to term deserve to be rewarded for their labour? Not all of us have a string of sisters and best friends who are lining up to carry our babies thankyouverymuch. I know it's not an option for me.
Surrogacy happens in Australia but it's not a common thing - estimates put the number of attempted pregnancies in the 30-50 per year range locally and a similar number from overseas arrangements. Senator Stephen Conroy and his wife had a baby via surrogacy in 2006. It's more common in the US where financial agreements for surrogacy are accepted. I think that regulation is probably important but not to this extent. Formalise the process, regulate it by all means, but don't put desperate parents in jail.
And for Nicole, Keith, Sunday and Faith - I just hope this time is joyous and special for them all. I know that if I ever get the chance to hold my baby in my arms, I won't care how it got there - or what other people might think of me.
Back to our usual programming tomorrow. Perhaps something dress related...