Louise Brown on ‘my silk Kimono’

When I was less than eight months old I was taken on a tour of Japan.

Obviously I can’t remember anything about that trip but some photographs and some bits of film of television appearances were kept by my parents and now belong to me.

The trip included appearing on Japanese television in front of a panel of 100 women  who were asked to vote on their views on IVF, meeting a Sumo Wrestler and being mobbed by the media at the airport.

At some point I was given a silk kimono. It is mostly white with the most beautiful needlework patterns on it and there is film of my dad wrapping it around me.

It came complete with a parasol and some Japanese clogs and it has always been a possession that I enjoyed getting out of its box and looking at. For years it lived in the bottom of my mother’s wardrobe, along with other things given to me as a baby.

It wasn’t a kimono for a baby and it was some years before it was my size – and today I’m rather too big for it! I guess it was designed for a petite Japanese woman.

As a young woman I used to dream of the time that I might allow my own daughter to wear the kimono and I could tell her the story of how I received it and about the adventures that surrounded being born as the first IVF baby.

Recently I have been putting some of the items gathered over the years into safe keeping and at first I parcelled up the kimono with everything else. For some reason it played on my mind and I started thinking about how special it was to me.

Eventually I decided not to put it into store but to keep it close – just in case I have a daughter to add to my two sons!

Having two boys, the eldest of which enjoys his rugby, means the house is very male dominated and interest in my silk kimono is pretty low!

I am sure there are many women going through IVF who have a little item of baby clothes they have bought that they hope one day they will be able to use. There are so many nice things in the shops that it is hard to resist sometimes.

Those items give us all hope for the future that procedures will work and a child will come along.

I’ve been lucky to have the two boys naturally and if that completes my family then I am content, but I will still sneak a peek at the silk kimono from time to time.

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