Just when we thought British politics couldn’t get much worse, a tactless comment by Tory leadership contender Andrea Leadsom has turned the subject of infertility into a very public spat. When I first heard that her opponent, Theresa May, had referred to her involuntary childlessness, I thought it might lead to a healthy airing of the issue. Now however, Leadsom’s remark that motherhood would make her a better leader has rightly caused public outrage.
For those people who face infertility the row will probably stir up very hurtful emotions. The experience of finding conception difficult, the uncertainty of treatment and then, for some, a future without children, is emotionally very challenging. It can be the most distressing experience of one’s life and it can last many years.
And what can compound this experience is the reaction of other people. From regular questioning about ‘when are you going to have children?’, to comments that ‘it will happen’, to having to share negative results, family conversations and social gatherings can be dreaded.
Guilt and blame are damaging yet common emotions, both in oneself and between a couple. So when such a comment in a high profile public arena is made, even with the opprobrium that has been unleashed, these emotions can resurface. And many people will also feel anger. This is possible even if, as with Theresa May, the experience is many years in the past.
It is important to work through these harmful emotions. Talk with helpful people close to you, or contact me for specialist fertility counselling.