Alex Davies-Jones on her guilt for not being able to conceive a child without IVF – Wales Online

Pontypridd's first female MP Alex Davies-Jones has shared her moving account of undergoing IVF treatment and the "guilt" of being unable to conceive a child naturally.

The newly-elected MP, and new mum, took to the floor of the House of Commons to share her experience with the world to mark International Women's Day.

At the time of the General Election on December 12, 2019, Alex was still on maternity leave with her eight-month-old son Sulley.

As the first female MP to representPontypridd, her priorities for her time as MP include maternity rights and being a breastfeeding champion.

You can read more about Alex's journey from working in her local bowling alley to Westminster here.

Now, she has shared the "sadness and emptiness" that Mother's Day once brought, and the "most difficult" weeks of her life when her son was rushed to intensive care.

Speaking on Thursday, Alex said: "Ive known I wanted a child for as long as I can remember, and I wouldnt change a thing about Sulley except maybe his sleeping habits.

"But nothing can prepare you for the guilt that you feel as a working mum who is often away from home.

"The guilt is truly all-consuming.

"Before Sulley came along I felt guilt for depriving my family from a child that would be so welcomed and loved.

"I internalised guilt for not being able to conceive a child without medical intervention.

"The guilt doesnt end once the child arrives though it follows you from sunrise to sunset.

"Whether youre having to stay late at work, are out socialising with friends, or sat in this very Chamber, the guilt carries on.

"In a world where were infiltrated on social media with images of supposed perfection I regularly feel the pressure and guilt that comes with feeling like Im not good enough.

"I know how lucky I am to have had access to fertility treatment.

"I also know that most people are aware of the broad science behind IVF so I wont indulge colleagues on too much of the detail today.

"I do however believe that on this International Womens Day is the perfect opportunity for us to all reflect and carefully consider our policies around fertility and the rights of both parents on what is clearly a very sensitive topic."

During the debate Alex criticised the current 10-year limit for women who chose to freeze their eggs for "placing unnecessary pressure on women everywhere".

The Labour MP also called for more support for breastfeeding parents and to improve paternity leave legislation.

Sharing her own experience of IVF, she said: "Sulley will be celebrating his first birthday in just a few short weeks and Im thrilled to be spending this International Womens Day with him by my side.

"Im sure I will face some stern opposition from Members when I say that Sulley really is the most precious child in the world.

"Before I am hit with comments from aggrieved parents everywhere, like many people before us, my husband and I knew that the road to pregnancy would be an extremely tough one.

"Yet in the grand scheme of things, we were very lucky.

"After just one round of IVF, and against all the odds, my only surviving embryo, my one in a million arrived.

"Sadly, he was quickly whisked away to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit where he spent two weeks fighting for his life.

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"I can hand on heart say that they truly were the most difficult weeks of my life, and I wouldnt wish the anxiety and sheer dread on anyone.

"My fertility story has a happy ending but I know for many that this isnt the case.

"At the end of this month Ill also be spending my first proper Mothers Day with Sulley.

"Traditionally this is a day that for the past few years has filled me with sadness and emptiness.

"Seeing the joy on so many faces on social media of Mams up and down the country celebrating their children has always pulled at the part of me that has been desperate for a child while always knowing that without help I wouldnt be able to have one."

Alex added: "While I am extremely proud to be able to produce a photo of Sulley as a 3-day old embryo consisting of just 8 cells at any opportunity, I know that both infertility and breastfeeding present real struggles for families across the world.

"I do hope that one day soon we wont need a specific day to commemorate women and all of the issues Ive outlined today.

"I have faith that instead, in the world that Sulley will grow up in, true gender equality will be the norm.

"We need to be championing new parents and do all that we can to remove the guilt and stigma that is attached to parenthood.

"Its okay to be a little selfish every now and then, and I hope that any parent who is struggling feels able to reach out and speak about the issues Ive raised today.

"Until then, I will be doing that I can from these green benches to be a loud and proud voice for all those who feel they have had their voice silenced."

In response to Alex's speech, Hull North MP Diana Johnson said on Twitter: "In the International Women's Day 2020 Debate in Parliament Alex Davies Jones made the most powerful, passionate and deeply personal speech about the choices women make in having a child or choosing not to have a child. A fantastic MP and great addition to the Parliamentary."

Jess Phillips, MP for Birmingham Yardley, added: "She certainly did, it was very moving about how women's bodies and our fertility are used to make us feel constantly unworthy or guilty. Alex Davies Jones is an absolute asset, a great MP and a great mom."

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Alex Davies-Jones on her guilt for not being able to conceive a child without IVF - Wales Online

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