3 minute read
In her own words Fiona Moriarty tells her story
The experience I want to talk about today started in 2020 when I realised after many losses that I couldn’t carry a baby, so my husband and I were looking for alternative routes to have our own biological child. Our eventual chosen outcome was to pursue surrogacy.
Our surrogate lives in Ukraine and at the start of the war was 5 months pregnant – and when the war broke out, we had no idea what was going to happen. She lived in an occupied territory and anyone trying to leave was turned back, so it was an incredibly intense and horrible time. For a long time, we didn’t know where she was because our clinic had lost contact but luckily after lots of searching, we managed to get in contact with her directly.
I had kept this journey very private at work and only told my manager when I had to and needed to discuss maternity leave. There was no policy or procedure in place to support my surrogacy journey. Legally I knew I was entitled to full parental leave, but the details were a little cloudy.
What impressed me from the start, when I first told NPL and my line manager at the time, was the support I received across the organisation. Our HR policies were out of date, but I was immediately told that I didn’t have to worry and that I’d be entitled to maternity leave. By the time I was back to work from my maternity leave, there was a maternity adoption and surrogacy policy in place. I’m proud to have been part of breaking that barrier down.
Throughout this entire experience I have felt so supported. My line manager and some close colleagues were really open and asked lots of questions and even came up with ideas and actions. I needed that support system – and coming to work was a temporary break from the constant worries and stresses of the Ukraine war and if our unborn child would end up being born in Russian occupied territory with no safe way out.
The height of our experience came when we were trying to get our surrogate out of occupied territory. There were obvious expectations on me at work. I’m in a senior role and was leading on a major programme at that time, but my team found someone to take over and that everyday support was invaluable.
When my personal life was really horrendous, coming to work helped to cope as it was a great distraction but knowing there is a team and back up structure in place so if I had to suddenly take annual leave, my work projects weren’t impacted.
For me during this experience, NPL came into its own on a personal and supportive perspective. If I hadn’t of received the support I did, I would have had to stop working because I wouldn’t have been able to cope.
My advice to anyone experiencing a big issue in their personal life is to talk to your colleagues. Even a small circle of people because it will make everyday life and coming to work much easier.
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