25 september 2011

The story of a child wish without a uterus

Her name is Musetta Blaauw. On Twitter she is known as @musjes. Born in 1983 and currently living in The Hague. She is in love with @hotzki and they have three kids together. On September the 12th the organization of TEDxDelft happily announced Musetta as a speaker on their event this November the 7th in the mensa of the TU Delft. See the image below.

What? Uterus removed? Trying for a fourth child? What happened to this woman? Why was her uterus removed? And more peculiarly, how will she be giving birth to a child without a uterus? Will this be the topic of her TED-talk? All these (and more) questions came to my mind when I read this tweet. And I guess similar questions probably popped up in your mind as well.  

On April the 23rd of 2010 Musetta experienced a personal tragedy. Eight days after giving birth to her third child she lost her uterus in a surgery trying to save her life. Subsequently, Musetta and her husband were in grief for the large family they would never have. However, their shattered dream unexpectedly became real again when a friend offered to be a surrogate mother for their fourth child. Musetta and her husband gratefully accepted this proposal and decided to jump in and start a new adventure to have another child to complete their family.

I started following Musetta via Twitter and discovered that she is a very active online personality. She is the owner of several blogs and web shops aimed at (future) mothers. One of the blogs that specifically caught my eye is 'Draagmoederschap' which tells "the story of a child wish without a uterus". This blog functions as a diary for Musetta, her husband, and the surrogate mother. Via this personal blog these three persons shared their exceptionally intimate story online.

The blog of these three persons started in August 2010 with a short blog post to announce the beginning of their journey. It takes you through the entire process that these three persons have gone trough. A process full of hospital visits, research into juridical aspects (Musetta and her husband even got divorced to be able to eventually get custody of the child when it is born!), dealing with judgments of others (even doctors), disappointments when hospitals decline to help (no Dutch hospitals were willing to help, and they eventually ended up in Riga for the procedure), periods of waiting on doctors to give answers, and alternating emotions of grief and frustration but also of joy and love. The blog ended exactly one year later in August 2011 with the announcement that the process of gestational surrogacy had not been successful and it would not be continued due to personal disagreement between Musetta and the surrogate mother.

It struck me that the blog posts about this sensitive process of gestational surrogacy were written so openly, despite the fact that this is a taboo subject for many people. I would like to express my respect for both Musetta and the surrogate mother for telling their exceptional story in the open. This was probably not always an easy path to follow. Both intended mother as well as the prospective surrogate mother indeed indicated in separate blog posts (here and here) that almost everybody seems to feel the need to express a judgment about their situation. Not only people from their direct environment but also complete strangers who come across their story and also a doctor from a Dutch hospital who does not want to treat them because they already have three children. Therefore they explicitly displayed the wish to be addressed respectfully by others, although they might not understand their choices, to prevent more hurt and confusion in the already delicate situation they are in.

Already curious to listen to Musetta’s talk at TEDxDelft? I can tell you for sure that I am! What will she be speaking about in the short time (only 12 minutes) that she has for her talk? Will it be as personal and intimate as her blog? Will it make you understand her choices or the sudden ending of the journey they started last year? Come and find out and register here for TEDxDelft! Read here already some thoughts of Musetta about her TED-talk. 

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