When Margo Bereska met Ian Sheldon, she knew deep down that she had found her person: the man who would help fulfill her lifelong dream of becoming a mother.
“I realized, this is the daddy of my children,” Margo said. “It was quite automatic actually. We talked about that before we had even moved in together.”
She didn’t anticipate, however, that so many obstacles would be in their way. The couple endured six miscarriages and in 2017, Margo delivered a full-term stillborn baby boy, Olivier.
“That kind of catapulted a crisis for us,” Ian said.
The following year, Margo became pregnant again but lost the baby while with family at a cottage in the Shuswap. She said she was in the process of miscarrying while doing the dishes when her foster sister, Meena Buckham, gave her with a life-changing offer.
“(I was telling her) I think I’m done; I can’t do this again,” Margo said.
“She just ever so casually turned around and said, ‘I would carry a baby for you. I would love to do that.'”
In an email to Global News, Buckham wrote, “I was heartbroken they can’t have their own family and since I’m healthy, why wouldn’t I offer to carry the child for my sister?”
Over 2019, the couple visited a fertility clinic in Victoria to bank embryos for surrogacy. By October, Buckham was implanted with an embryo and the couple decided to go south of the border for a celebratory break.
“We took off to Mexico just to relax and enjoy ourselves,” Ian said. “We’ve survived the year — all the IVF. So, relaxing in Mexico and Tequila and sunshine and — BINGO — Margo got pregnant too!”
“Tequila,” Margo added, laughing. “Much cheaper than fertility meds.”
While the news was joyful, the couple was nervous after experiencing so many losses in the past. Each time they visited the doctor in the coming months Margo immediately asked to hear the baby’s heartbeat. The true relief came in mid-June when the couple’s babies were born just four days apart. Buckham delivered baby girl Sophia Grace on June 14 at a hospital in Victoria. Margo gave birth to baby boy Austin via c-section just four days later.
“I was there to witness the birth. It was just such an incredibly touching moment,” Margo said.
“I can’t even describe what the feeling was. It was a sense of relief and love and finally here — it just was surreal in a sense. And then coming out of the hospital, I was just choked up.”
The couple is playing with all sorts of names for their babies, calling them “moon twins” because they come from different wombs but were born under the same moon. They’re also calling them their rainbow babies because they were born after so many personal storms. The experience has given Ian a deep sense of gratitude for their surrogate and all surrogates.
“I can’t imagine a more profound and beautiful gift that a woman can give another woman or to anyone.”
They’ve also cultivated profound empathy for other couples experiencing fertility issues. They hope their story serves to show others there is no shame in their own experiences trying to build a family.
“As people in the spiritual/healing community, we can reach out and support people who have gone through this journey,” Ian said. “For a lot of people, there’s so much shame, embarrassment about fertility, loss, miscarriage, stillbirth. It’s still so under wraps so we would like to normalize it a bit.”