Thursday, March 31, 2011

John's TV debut

As I mentioned last month, John made his debut on live TV today extolling the virtues of surfing on RTE's Daily Show. Here's the link, John's bit starts around 1.54. We had a really enjoyable day, and we got to meet not only the Daily Show team (Dáithi O Sé being a not so secret crush of mine!), but also the presenter of our favourite morning radio show, Ian Dempsey. John was a wee bit nervous, since the show was going out live, but all in all he did really well and I was very proud of him.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

A mother of none

Something has been bugging me for quite some time now, and I have been trying to find the words to blog about it. It's the way adults are defined in the news in terms of their parental status. A father of four was stabbed in Limerick. A mother of two was killed in a car crash. Mention of their number of children always thrown in to further compound the tragic effect.

A number of months ago, two women and two children were stabbed to death in a town in County Limerick. One of the women was the mother of the two children, the assailant was her ex partner. The other deceased woman was a friend of hers. I can't remember the names of the victims, but as I was driving home one evening, the tragic events were reported like this on the radio. "Jane Bloggs, aged 25, her two children John and Conor, and her friend were stabbed to death in the house in the town in County Limerick". Yes you read correctly, the mother and two children were named in the report, but the other victim, a twenty year old woman, didn't warrant being mentioned by name, it would seem because she was neither a mother nor a child. What the fuck is that all about?

If I was killed in a pile up on my way to work the news would read "A forty one year old woman was killed this morning on the M7". But if it was one of my friends who happens to be a mammy it would be "A forty two year old mother of three was killed this morning on the N17". Not nearly as tragic for the loss of a non mom. It wouldn't take account that I am a wife of one (an ex wife of another, but we won't go there!), a daughter of two, a sister of six, a sister in law of nine, an aunt of nineteen (or 23 if you count in the four on John's side), a niece of four, a cousin of too many to count, a colleague and friend of many. But a mother of none, so hey, it wouldn't really count as a tragic loss, would it?

My husband lost his sister to a brain tumour ten years ago. She passed away at the age of thirty six, an indescribably huge loss to the family she left behind. She was married, but didn't have any children, due to infertility. She left behind a husband, two parents, three brothers, a sister, parents in law, sisters and brothers in law, cousins, colleagues, pupils and countless friends. People who still feel her loss acutely to this day. When her name comes up in conversation, most people ask me was she married and did she have kids? When I say no, she didn't have kids, people don't quite know what to say then, but the implication is that her passing was somehow less of a tragedy than if she had children. Tell that to an eighty year old woman who stands at her beloved daughter's grave, a woman who will never get over that loss until the day she dies. Now that's heartbreaking.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


I happened to come across this story last week on the net. Further googling yielded much the same story, a plethora of headlines proclaiming "Lesbian couple conceive quintuplets without IVF", with further text claiming that the chances of this happening without IVF were one in sixty million. The article I linked to here claims that the couple conceived quintuplets without using fertility treatment. So did a bright star guide three wise dudes to the maternity hospital where they rocked up weighed down with enough gold, frankincense and myrrh for the five new arrivals?

Is everyone missing something obvious here? The couple had IUI to conceive their babies, which carries just as much, if not more risk of multiple births, if managed poorly. It appears that the babies are all non identical, which would point to super ovulation, often an occurrence in IUI. Why didn't their fertility specialist spot that the mother had five or more ripe follicles before he carried out the insemination? Was this treatment of the pee on a stick, inseminate and fingers crossed school of IUI?

Am I the only one who thinks that there is a huge amount of misinformation regarding fertility treatment in the way this story has been reported? Surely IVF quintuplets are an extreme rarity these days. It really pisses me off the way IVF and high order multiple births are seen to go hand in hand.