Local girl represents Dorset in International Pageant

Mrs Dorset – Maria Parker – Harris attributes pageant journey to helping her overcome long-term infertility.

Bournemouth, Dorset, January 24th, 2018: Bournemouth charity supporter Maria Parker-Harris will be representing Dorset at the Mrs Enchanting World Pageant on Saturday 10th March 2018 in South Wales. The pageant features representatives from across the globe and finalists were selected from hundreds of entries.Mrs Enchanting World focuses on a contestant’s contribution to their community, their charitable endeavours and their dedication to a cause they wish to champion. Maria has chosen to campaign for better understanding of long-term infertility, a debilitating condition that has caused Maria and her husband great personal sadness.

According to the NHS, long-term infertility affects 1 in 7 couples, which is around 3.5million couples each year. Fertility Network UK states that around 90% of couples facing long-term infertility have experienced depression, 70% have reported strain on their relationships and 42% have considered suicide. The statistics are staggering and yet very little support and information is available to couples that are struggling with a difficult journey. Maria found that conflicting and dismissive advice from medical professionals only added to her anxiety until she had nearly given up on her dream of becoming a parent.

Maria’s long-term infertility had isolated her from her friends and family. Like many couples, her condition made her feel ashamed and desperately lonely. Society does not openly talk about infertility and the resulting childlessness, which many studies have suggested can cause the sufferer to experience feelings of grief. Having been advised to focus her energy on another avenue, she decided to research pageant systems that would allow her to raise awareness of the pain caused by long-term infertility. Mrs Enchanting World encouraged Maria to utilise her title to share her story and support other couples that are experiencing the same destructive journey.

During the process of conducting her pageant community and charitable work, it dawned on Maria that her vulnerability and plummeting self esteem was largely due to the inability to share her experience with those closest to her, as you would with any other major life event. Maria finally reached out to her closest network for support and was overwhelmed by the response, with many couples sharing their story for the first time and couples on the journey stating the relief they felt at being able to share their burden at last. Maria strongly believes that no couple should ever have to face this battle alone and that long-term infertility should not be a source of shame. Maria vows to continue to raise awareness of long-term infertility, the resources available to couples and to encourage society to talk more openly about one of the final taboos.

As Maria threw herself into attending local community events and campaigning for infertility understanding on social media, a miracle happened. In October 2017 and after being told that it was possible that pregnancy would not be an option for her, Maria was delighted to find out that she was pregnant. She is expecting her blessing on the 26thJune 2018 and will be competing in Mrs enchanting World heavily pregnant and proud to be blooming. She wishes to be a beacon of hope to other couples and encourages couples to look after each other, focusing their sadness into something positive like charity work, which can notably improve mental wellbeing.

Maria Parker-Harris said,

“I am honoured to be representing my beautiful country of Dorset in this prestigious, international contest. I am eternally grateful for the opportunity to speak openly about a cause that has caused me so much pain, in the hope that other couples can enjoy a more positive journey to parenthood. I have also loved celebrating the unique culture that makes Dorset so special and hope that I have encourage people to come and enjoy our unbeatable sights.”

If you have been affected by the issues discussed in this article the following resources may be of interest:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/infertility/

https://fertilitynetworkuk.org/

https://mrsenchantingdorset.blogspot.co.uk/