The service will take place at 4pm on Sunday, March 31, at St John the Evangelist Church, 1a Upper St Michael’s Grove, in Fareham. For more information go to stjohnsfareham.org.uk When Vicky Duboc awakes on Mother’s Day, she wakes up with a sense of loss having been unable to have her own family and experience the joy of becoming a mother.
Whereas many of us spend the day celebrating the amazing contribution mothers make to our lives, Vicky has felt for many years a sense of emptiness as she has been unable to become a mother herself. Vicky Duboc from Fareham, who is organising the Mother’s Day Runaways service which will take place on Sunday, March 31 at St John the Evangelist Church in Fareham at 4pm. But now the 34-year-old, from Fareham, has decided to turn a negative into a positive and give something back to her community.
This Sunday Vicky will be supporting anyone who finds Mother’s Day difficult at St John’s Church, Fareham, on Sunday by holding a special service for those unable to have children, those who have lost children, and even children who have a difficult relationship with their mothers.
Vicky was born with Turner Syndrome – a chromosome related condition that affects development in females and often leaves them infertile because their ovaries do not function as they should. Her parents found out she had the condition shortly after she was born.
Vicky and Jean-Remy Duboc, who have organised the Mothers Day Runaways service
‘For a lot of people, it’s diagnosed a bit later,’ says Vicky. ‘My mum has always been amazing about it. When I started playing happy families, she would slip in the odd comment like “sometimes people don’t have children for lots of reasons”. It’s always been something I have known.’
Vicky met her husband Jean-Remy in Reims, France, when she was studying there. The couple married in 2005 and moved to Fareham in 2012. Having known that Vicky was unable to have children, they decided to start looking into adoption.
‘I told Jean-Remy right at the beginning,’ Vicky says. ‘We knew we wouldn’t be able to have our own children. But I always thought we would adopt.’ The couple were approved as adoptive parents in 2015. They got their home ready and prepared their spare room with furniture and a wardrobe full of clothes and lots of toys – but things didn’t work out. ‘We were matched with a child and we had the home ready,’ she says.
‘We were due to meet a little girl but delays in the system at the 11th hour meant it wasn’t going to go ahead. It happened a couple of times and that was a step too much. So we decided that it wasn’t to be.’
It was difficult for her to deal with. Vicky had already started her adoption leave from her then-job as a school teaching assistant. She looked into having IVF treatment but was advised against it on medical grounds. She was left bereft after the heartbreak of two failed adoptions and was too upset to go back to her old job
‘The second time it happened I remember saying to my social worker that it was like someone who had suffered a miscarriage and being told it might happen again,’
Vicky regularly attends Sunday service at St John’s Church in Upper St Michael’s Grove, including the Mother’s Day services. But she admits she found it difficult as the ladies in the congregation are given flowers, and she felt like she didn’t deserve them.
‘On Mother’s Day, I always coped pretty well, but it is difficult. Last year, for the first time, I didn’t go to church on Mother’s Day. ‘I was processing what it would be like to never be a mum. It was all a bit much. ‘Having been through something like this, it’s helpful to feel that something has come out of it and we have been able to make a difference. ‘Perhaps I might be able to offer some comfort to somebody else. ‘Grief and miscarriage are taboo subjects in our society today so if a little help can be shed on that, it’s a good thing. ‘I am glad to be able to create a space where that can be acknowledged. Maybe people will feel like their story matters. There is power in sharing stories where there isn’t a happy ending.’
Vicky was helped by a blog called Saltwater and Honey, which supports people who are suffering from issues such as infertility and miscarriage. It’s where the idea for the service came from.
‘It’s a reminder that life isn’t perfect and the world isn’t perfect and there is pain, but there are stories that come out and they are the honey to that salt water.’ She adds: ‘It’s for people who find Mother’s Day difficult. There are people who have lost their mothers or for who their relationship with their mother is difficult. ‘There are a whole host of reasons people can find the day difficult. It’s a space to take a minute and acknowledge that, for some, there is grief and pain.’
With the support of Rev Bruce Deans and Rev Sally Davenport, Vicky Duboc has used resources from saltwaterandhoney.org to organise an hour-long service – Mother’s Day Runaways. There will be poetry, prayer, music and stories that will acknowledge the emotions surrounding the day.
‘Something that has brought me great comfort is when friends have simply acknowledged our situation. It does not change our reality, but it helps. ‘I pray this service will offer us all the space to grieve, teach us how to lament, and invite the God who loves us into our stories of struggle.’
Mothering Sunday originated in medieval times. It became popular in the Victorian era when servants were given the day off to return to the villages, churches and families where they had grown up. They would pick wild flowers and present them to their mothers. In the 20th century it became Mother’s Day, when people would thank their mothers.
The service will take place at 4pm on Sunday, March 31, at St John the Evangelist Church, 1a Upper St Michael’s Grove, in Fareham.
For more information go to stjohnsfareham.org.uk
Written By: Ruth Scammell