‘Sad inside’: PM’s wife’s 14-year struggle
Prime Minister Scott Morrison's wife Jenny Morrison, has opened up about their struggles with infertility and the 14 long years it took the couple to have their first child.
The Australian leader and his wife Jenny have two daughters, Abbey and Lily, but for a long time the couple were told they would never have children of their own.
Speaking at a panel alongside Nine News presenter Peter Overton and actor and comedian Mary Coustas, Mrs Morrison spoke about the toll years of IVF had on her and Mr Morrison's relationship.
Mrs Morrison met her future husband through church when they were both 12 years old. The couple started dating a few years later and married in 1990.
About two years into their marriage the pair decided to start trying to have a family but soon found out it wasn't going to happen as quickly as they had thought, she told the Australian Jewish Fertility Network event on Wednesday evening.
"Just before that I had stopped contraception and I thought I was being really clever and not falling pregnant but when we actually started [trying for a baby] it wasn't happening," Ms Morrison said.
"I saw a doctor and they found I had extensive endometriosis. That was devastating."
About one in three women who have endometriosis struggle with fertility and find it difficult to get pregnant.
Like many couples who are faced with fertility trouble they decided to start IVF.
They went through this gruelling process for about ten years with no results, with Ms Morrison saying the memories from that time are "awful".
"It is difficult because so many of our friends and family are having babies. There are babies everywhere," she said.
"It was really really hard every single time you did an IVF and it didn't work."
She revealed at times she felt like Mr Morrison could cope with it better than her because he could throw himself into work as a distraction, but she could see he was "still sad inside".
"It framed an awful lot of my life. I found the hormones really affected me and made me feel very sick," Mrs Morrison revealed.
"Sometimes you can get quite depressed and people around you are well meaning but they don't know what to say. Unless you have been in it yourself you just cannot understand what they are going through."
Even though the years numerous rounds of IVF were having toll on the couple, Mrs Morrison said her husband was "gorgeous" and would tell her that, while of course he wanted children, she was enough for him.
"Scott and I are very close couple. We grew up together and we rely on each other," she said.
"There were some times that were really hard and you lash out and get angry. But we got by and we made it to the other side."
Almost ten years went by with the couple trying IVF until someone suggested to Mrs Morrison she should get a second opinion.
After going to see a different doctor, Ms Morrison was told again that she had severe endometriosis that needed to be treated, so she was sent back to her previous doctor.
"I went back to that doctor and was told to give up. He said you are not going to have children and you should start think about adopting or whatever you want to do," she said.
Two years passed until one of Mrs Morrison's friends urged her to go and see another doctor and after getting another opinion she finally underwent micro-surgery to treat her endometriosis.
The surgery took five hours, with doctors noting it had spread all the way to her liver.
About three weeks later Ms Morrison fell pregnant with their first child, Abbey.
The couple were in the Blue Mountains when they found out, with Mrs Morrison remembering she felt very agitated and couldn't figure out why.
She bought a pregnancy test just to check, something she had done countless times before.
"I could not believe it and when saw those double lines. I was absolute shock. I walked out to Scott and said 'I don't think we are going to Rwanda in January'," Ms Morrison recalled.
She showed him the test and Mr Morrison asked "What does it mean?"
"I said I think I'm pregnant," Mrs Morrison said.
The couple went on to have two healthy baby girls, with Mrs Morrison saying every part of the incredibly difficult journey was worth it.
This isn't the first time the prime minister and his wife have spoken about their experience with infertility.
During a video shown at the Liberal election campaign launch in on Mother's Day in Melbourne this year, the couple briefly opened up about their 14 years of trying to have children.
"You don't assume that you're going to have problems with having kids," Mr Morrison said in the video.
"(We tried) for years, absolute years, all up about 14 years."
Though they have spoken about the subject previously, this one of the first times Mrs Morrison has publicly spoken about their experiences in depth.