Joy | Mt Eden
“Joy, and I live in Mt Eden. I’m on maternity leave at the moment, so I’m thinking a lot more in terms of being at home, and childcare. So, I think probably the person that’s given me the most boost, has been a very close friend who’s called Honor, and she used to be a colleague, but a working colleague, but she is also a very wise woman that’s got a really spiritual side to her, and she’s just been really helpful to me, as I’ve been negotiating being a mum.
I haven’t had a child for 19 years. My daughter is 19, and this pregnancy was very complicated, because I needed to use a surrogate. So I’ve had to go through quite a difficult long pregnancy journey, and in fact, just at the library this morning I found out that we’ve finally got our court hearing date for me to be able to adopt the baby that is actually my baby, but we still have to go through adoption. Honor’s been really helpful to me, to make me feel like I am Noah’s mum, even though legally I haven’t been his mum, and I’ve struggled a little bit I think with Christmas and the whole story about you know, Jesus and the virgin mother, and things like that. It really made me think a lot more about how Noah had come to be, because we used traditionally surrogacy, and so I’m not genetically related to Noah. So, there was quite a lot of spiritual, religious conundrums that I needed to really work through, and Honor sent me some really, really heartening messages, and actually some Biblical references that I found really relevant for the journey that I’ve been on.
I am originally, as you can probably hear, from England. I grew up in the Midlands, and I went to university to study medicine, in Sheffield, which is in the North of England. That you probably know as the city for making stainless steel and cutlery and all that sort of thing, but actually a beautiful city with the Peak District National Park and my upbringing was very traditional. My parents were a lot older, and I think for me, home very quickly became Sheffield because it was where I became a young adult, and learned all those things about life. So I think from the nature of being involved in, what I like to think of as medicine as a caring profession. I mean it’s academic, but it’s caring ultimately. I came to it from a love of caring. I did nursing in nursing homes from the age of 15, and I loved being responsible for people in their health and wellbeing. I think that’s probably what I value, nurturing people, I mean, I’ve been a doctor now 20 years. I think originally probably nurturing people more from a physical health, but as I’m getting older, I think I’m more interested in nurturing mentally and spiritually, and part of my job, as well as being an obstetrics and gynae doctor, is being a lecturer at the university, and I really enjoy nurturing the young medical students that are starting doing obstetrics and gynae, in women’s health for the very first time, and seeing them grow from not having a clue about how to approach pregnant women and babies, and to actually, at the end of their five, six week attachment, having a lot more understanding not just about what the academic syllabus is, but just being able to relate to pregnant women, and that whole amazing journey of life to creating a new person. That’s challenging, because our students are 20/21, and they don’t have, not all of them, but a huge majority still don’t have life experience, and some of them are from very different cultures and they don’t have families where pregnancy and babies is really obvious to them. So, it’s quite a cultural introduction and journey that I have to sort of guide them through, and I really enjoy that challenge.
I think for me, that’s really important, because I come from the UK. I used to rely a lot more on family, but sadly my mum and dad passed away three years ago, so I don’t have that same connection with family. I’ve got a younger family in New Zealand. Cousins, but they don’t necessarily understand the complexities of being a parent, in particular to me, working in a professional role, and I find that friends from all walks of life, I get a lot of friends that are doctors from certain aspects of needing support, but actually, some of my friends are primary schools teachers, counsellors. I’ve got a very close midwife friend. I really, really enjoy just I suppose the breadth of understanding about just what is normal for life, and what is normal in terms of life struggles and life’s joys and just being able to share some of those most joyous moments but also just having obviously the support. Like the support of my friends when my mum and dad died within four months of each other, very unexpectedly over in the UK, and I was making trips to the UK, and I was actually getting married in the middle of those two deaths and I think having the support of the community of New Zealand friends that I’ve made over the last seven/eight years. Which is not a tremendously long period of time, but I would now say that New Zealand, well it’s felt my home for a long time but I have as many friends now here, no, more friends here that are really, really close, and just there for me, than I now do in the UK, which given that I’m in my early-40s I think is quite impressive.”