I lost one baby through miscarriage – our little girl Bo. It was, and is, the worst thing that has ever happened to me and to this day, over three years later, I can get very upset when I think about it. I suspect that this reaction will never go away.

It was only after we lost her that I came to realise how many other families had experienced the same fate. For many, there is a positive story that follows and that is wonderful, but unfortunately there is no fairytale ending in many cases.

Mammy, are you going to be sad forever?

For me, I took comfort in the two fabulous little girls that I already had. It was actually my youngest, Dia, who helped me come back to the world from the black place I found myself. I remember her asking me: “Mammy, are you going to be sad forever?”

She was only three and her little face was worried. I knew that I needed to get off the couch and start living for her, for both of them.

When I spoke with Cathy and Gillian, two mothers who have gone down the route of surrogacy who are our cover feature this week, my own grief washed over me again.

Gillian, David and Hugh Lynch on their farm in Laois. Baby Hugh was conceived via surrogacy. \ Claire Nash

Having listened to their stories I am in absolute awe of their resilience and strength. And further strength has been needed, as even now the battle continues for their young children. This time for recognition as being their mothers and to secure equal status for their children.

When their solicitor Annette Hickey first called me and explained how Cathy and Gillian’s children did not have the same legal rights in terms of inheritance as other children, I kept repeating myself saying: “But surely that cannot be right!”

Cathy and Keith Wheatley with their twins Ted and Elsie from Lorrug, Co Wicklow. \ Patrick Browne

These are farmers’ children, but under the current rules, in certain circumstances, these kids would inherit a tax burden that no other farmer’s child would. And realistically it would most likely see the family farm sold.

In Irish Country Living we discuss succession, inheritance and the importance of making a will on numerous occasions in any given year. People’s situations are constantly changing and these things become relevant to a new reader every day. Our Money Mentor Margaret Nolan answers some reader’s queries on this topic this week. Tragically, there are a number of instances every year where tax, inheritance and the presence or absence of a will become relevant to a family all too quickly and unexpectedly through death.

Every year the annual Embrace Farm remembrance service reminds us of this. And tragically the number of people remembered continues to grow. At this year’s service, Embrace Farm founder, Brian Rohan read out the names of 228 farm accident victims from the island of Ireland going back to 1945.

Brian Rohan, founder of Embrace Farm on the altar of the Most Holy Rosary Church, Abbeyleix on Sunday 27 June 2021 with photos of 105 deceased farmers who died in tragic accidents on the island of Ireland.

If you missed it, you can watch the service on the Embrace Farm website or it is available on catch up on the RTÉ player.

Aside from the inheritance issue, there are many other ways that mothers whose children are born through surrogacy are not supported. The fact that a mother with a newborn baby, who has paid her taxes to the State throughout her working career, is not entitled to maternity leave is an insult. I sincerely hope that the Government will respond proactively to the calls by the Irish Families Through Surrogacy advocacy group to change legislation that will give equal status to their children and to them as mothers.

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