Once a ‘previously an uptight sales development manager’, Not a Fictional Mum is now a ‘full-time (even more uptight) mother to the most wonderful mini human who just happens to be adopted’. A blogger and campaigner who fights for equality and acceptance for all families on her blog and beyond, NAFM welcomed her son, affectionately known as Nemo, into her family back in 2019. Joining Gi to chat about adoption, alternative routes to parenthood, fertility treatment and discrimination, Not a Fictional Mum is honest, frank and determined to share her story and improve the lives of adopted children and families everywhere.
Not a Fictional Mum (who keeps her name under wraps for privacy reasons) never thought about being a Mum but always remembers wanting the responsibility of being a parent. It wasn’t until she was married and “settled down” that she seriously started to consider it. She and her husband began “accidentally on purpose” trying to start their family after getting married. It soon became obvious things weren’t going to be easy for them.
A year of trying
She recalls: “We noticed that a lot of friends around us were getting pregnant or they’d mention that they were trying and then the next time we saw them they were pregnant. This sort of thing started happening a lot. We started to talk to each other and say ‘do you think there might be a problem?’ but we still didn’t think there really was.” After a year of trying, they were sent for medical tests and told that it wasn’t going to happen naturally. Suddenly they found themselves in the world of IVF. They had one round of treatment on the NHS and then spent £25,000 on further treatments to try and conceive. Eventually, they realised that it wasn’t going to work and NAFM had to grieve for the fact she would never see a child that was a piece of her and her husband.
But after that grieving process, she and her husband sat down to consider their options. Adoption was put on the table. She explains: “We sat down one night we said ‘why the hell did we start this in the first place? What was it that we wanted to do in the first place?’ For us it was like why did we want to do this? Was it because we just wanted to love and nurture a child and be a big influence in their life? To ultimately help them to become the best adult they can be? Was it that? We realised – oh yeah. Yeah. That’s what this was all about.”
Suddenly, NAFM felt more hopeful. “I just knew that I wanted to do it and it felt hopeful because there was a thought that actually if we can get approved and we go to panel and they turn around to us and say ‘yes, you can be parents’ then it will happen for us. There will be no more weeing on sticks and negatives, there will be no more losses.” And so began their journey to Nemo.
Not only did NAFM get a son when she adopted Nemo, but she also gained a new perspective and a cause to advocate for. Recently, she’s been campaigning for equality within the financial support that adoptive parents get when they bring home their baby. When you go through the adoption process and you bring that child home, you’re given statutory adoption pay if you’re employed and have adopted but if you’re self-employed and you’re adopting you get no statutory support from the government.
NAFM explains: “we’ve had a response to a minister saying because adoptive parents don’t give birth or breastfeed or need recovery time after birth that they don’t see how the money is as needed”. Over 15k people have signed a petition calling for parity on this issue. It was debated by MPs on 21st March 2022. Feedback on the campaign from many MPs has been that they were totally unaware of this piece of legislation. She’s continuing to push for more awareness of this discrimination faced by adoptive parents.
To hear more of Gi’s incredible chat with Not a Fictional Mum (it’s so worth it), find the episode on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and Spotify. You can watch the full discussion on the YouTube video below too. Missed an episode of Happy Mum Happy Baby? Catch up on every episode of Series Nine so far here.