There are, unquestionably, huge societal pressures on women to become mothers – and this can often create rifts and divisions between them. Many find themselves challenged over their reproductive choices, questioned about things which are deeply, deeply personal, and forced to defend their fertility status.
Which is probably why this surrogate mother’s Facebook post has touched so many people on social media.
Sharing a photograph of herself alongside another woman and a newborn baby to the official Love What Matters page on Facebook, Holman writes: “A few weeks ago, I gave birth to a baby boy. This is me holding him.
She explains that, although she gave birth to the child, she is not his mother – that would be the blonde woman standing next to her. “I’m a surrogate,” she says, “and [this] was the second baby I placed in another mother’s arms.”
Holman continues: “Being a woman is so much more than having children. But for many women, being a mother is the most important and satisfying role that they will ever get to play.”
She then goes on to explain that one in five couples have some issues with their fertility – and, while it was “easy” for her to fall pregnant, it never occurred to her that it could be difficult for other women. Until one day, while working her shift as a nurse at the hospital, she came across a patient in floods of tears.
“She was devastated after yet another round of failed IVF,” writes Holman. “All I wanted to do was fix it for her.”
Since that day, Holman has donated her eggs to women trying to conceive – and 18 children have been born as a result. She has also acted as a surrogate twice. But, while there is no denying that it is empathy that drives her to do what she does, Holman adds that she also views surrogacy as a feminist issues, too.
“Last week I sat through a university lecture on feminism,” she writes. “Perfect timing. A bra burning crash course on the incredible things we women can achieve when we come together.”
Holman continues: “While supporting women through infertility, I am constantly amazed at the strength, resilience and determination of these women. Most of all, their endless capacity to love and care for their sisterhood.
“I now understand how similar we all are. [We are all] just everyday women, who love other women.”
She finishes by saying: “[These women] are fierce and bold and determined to keep trying, even when they are scared and feel let down – over and over. In all these women, donors, recipients, those who never conceived, I [have] found the meaning of strength. Resilience. And love.
“Maybe you can't change the world. But you can give the world to someone, and change their life.”
Images: Facebook / Love What Matters