Superheroes: Bel Messer (ENG)
#NL Soms kan je het gevoel hebben dat Social media je teveel wordt en dat je er wel klaar mee bent. Maar daarnaast kan het ook mooie dingen brengen, zoals een netwerk en mooie vriendschappen. Ik heb onlangs het voorrecht gehad om Bel Messer te leren kennen. We hebben elkaar nog nooit persoonlijk ontmoet en ik vraag me ook af of dat ooit gaat gebeuren. Bel woont namelijk aan de andere kant van de wereld in Australië. Dat heeft ons er niet van weerhouden contact te hebben. Bel vertelde me onder andere dat ze samen met haar vriendin Rosie een kinderboek heeft geschreven over IVF. Dit is een onderwerp wat nog vaak wordt vermeden in verband met schaamte en de impact die het heeft op je leven. Ik vond dit een mooi onderwerp om op in te gaan en ik heb Bel en Rosie geïnterviewd voor iGlossy. Het interview is in het Engels.
#ENG Sometimes Social media can be too much for one day, but it also brings beautiful things like a network and beautiful friendships. Recently I had the privilege of meeting Bel Messer. We have never met in person and I wonder if that ever happens. Bel lives across the world in Australia. But this distance didn’t held us back from keeping contact. One of the things Bel told me was that she wrote a children’s book with her friend Rosie about IVF. Most people try to avoid this subject due to shame or the impact it has on their lives. I found it a beautiful subject to write about, so I interviewed Bel and Rosie about it. The interview will be in English.
Bel, can you tell us about yourself and Rosie?
#BEL: I love anything artistic. Whether it be painting, writing, reading or creating, I am into it. I have three gorgeous children and a lovable and supportive husband. I live in a city called Brisbane, Australia and it is very far from the Netherlands.
#ROSIE: I am a 30 year old self-confessed One Direction MEGA GEEK, I love everything to do with the music, perfume, t-shirts, whatever I love it, much to my family’s amusement. I have four wonderful children who unfortunately don’t share my love of One Direction and I have and amazing husband who I adore.
How did you two meet?
#BEL: Rosie and I met when our daughters started their first day of grade 1. We were both pregnant with our last children and it was friendship at first sight. Our two families get along really well and we always have a tonne of fun together.
Who came up the idea to write ‘special’ children’s books?
#ROSIE: The idea came to us one day when we were having coffee one morning in early 2014. Bel suggested we write a children’s book about IVF as we had been through differing journeys conceiving babies this way. The idea of writing a series of books dedicated to educating young children about tricky topics developed over time.
Can you tell us more about the books you have written?
#BEL: Our first book is called an IVF Story, it is a lovely book about a young child’s conception using IVF, it explains the IVF process in a child friendly dialog with beautiful illustrations. After releasing this book we had a tonne of requests to write a second book that was suitable for other family dynamics, for instance, Donor, Surrogacy, same sex families etc. We created “the 21st Century Guide to the birds and the Bees” to cover up all types of conception through pregnancy and also birth. Our books are for young children, as we find its important to start the conversation at an early age.
Why did you choose to write the books? Is there a personal story involved?
#ROSIE: I felt that although I have a personal story because I carried twins girls as a surrogate for my best friend , I felt it was important for children to know and understand that there is more than one way to create a baby.
#BEL: My daughters were conceived naturally and my son was IVF. The conversation I have had with my girls who are now 13 and 9 are very different than the conversation he will need.
Incredibly, he was harvested as an egg and sperm, created in a laboratory and then frozen, defrosted and placed back inside of his mother. This conversation needs pictures and an explanation.
You are both from Australia, is it difficult to talk about IVF in your country and do you see a difference in other countries?
#BEL: Great question… Yes actually I have found there can be a certain stigma aligned with IVF, unfortunately some people have the belief that those who are suffering infertility should adopt or foster needy children.
However, I have found that those opinions usually come from women who have already created their own family and have no experience with trouble conceiving.
The more IVF is spoken about, the more comfortable people are becoming. I find it easy to work my son’s IVF into a conversation, and have found that many mums that I didn’t know went through IVF in the past to conceive their children. 1 in 15 Australian children are created using IVF in Australia.
#ROSIE: I have read that IVF in the US is almost out of reach for the average family due to the high financial costs. We are so lucky here in Australia that when we used IVF, our Medical system has a brilliant rebate available. If one round of IVF in Australia costs $14,000 we are likely to receive around $6,000 back from the government. It is much more affordable nowadays.
Are there already plans for another book?
#BEL: Yes! We have a number of books up our sleeve that we would like to create. “An IVF Story” took 6 months in the making, and “The 21st Century Guide to the Birds and the Bees” was around 12 months til completion.
Are there books sold outside Australia yet or are you looking for Publishers in Europe.
#BEL: Our books are sold through our website www.iamextraspecial.com and are shipped worldwide. We love “The 21st Century Guide to the Birds and the Bees” to become the musthave book for all families who want to start the conversation all over the world.
Much love Germaine xoxo