KUANTAN, Jan 31 — The courage and determination shown by the new Raja Permaisuri Agong, Tunku Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah Almarhum Sultan Iskandar in her efforts to conceive has become the ultimate inspiration for many women in the country.
Not just once, but six painful miscarriages that Her Majesty had to experience through 16 fertility treatments, including in vitro fertilisation (IVF) and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), and she had to wait for a long 10 years to conceive.
Saerah Ali, 85, who has served Tunku Azizah from 1986 until now, said although Tunku Azizah was facing difficulties to conceive, she never saw Her Majesty in despair.
“The first miscarriage took place when the pregnancy was just two or three months old. I remember Her Majesty being so strong that we, who worked with her, were worried and wondering how to cheer her up.
“She kept herself busy and refused to sit around doing nothing while in confinement. As she wasn’t allowed to move around a lot, Tuanku Azizah ordered the work that needed to be done, be brought to her in bed,” Saerah told Bernama recently.
Saerah, who is the only one who has remained out of three of Tunku Azizah’s assistants known as the ‘golden girls’, said it was not strange to see Her Majesty work like that as she was known as an active person.
Her struggles to conceive and the experience of going through a series of fertility treatments, has inspired Her Majesty to establish the Tunku Azizah Fertility Foundation (TAFF) in August 2004 to help other women who face the same predicament.
TAFF secretary-general, Datuk Hamimah Abdul Karim, 69, said thus far, TAFF had ‘delivered’ 115 babies whom Her Majesty called her ‘grandchildren’.
“(When) Her Majesty started collecting materials for her cookbook in 2003, she asked if she were to sell the books, where would the money go. From there, she was inspired to set up TAFF.
“TAFF is proof of Her Majesty’s empathy towards women who face similar predicament, and now she is also grandmother, ‘ninda’, ‘popo’ and ‘amma’ to all 115 children born via TAFF’s assistance which is given to all regardless of race,” she said.
Hamimah also shared that Tunku Azizah once made a promise to give her heart and soul in carrying out welfare activities to assist the people of Pahang if she succeeded in her efforts to conceive, and soon after she was pregnant with her son, the Tengku Mahkota of Pahang, Tengku Hassanal Ibrahim Alam Shah Al-Sultan Abdullah, in 1995.
Hamimah said Tunku Azizah, after giving birth to twins — Tengku Ahmad Ismail Muadzam Shah and Tengku Puteri Afzan Aminah Hafizatullah — in 2000, was determined to carry out more welfare work for the people.
Tunku Azizah, who was proclaimed as Tengku Ampuan Pahang on Tuesday, married the sixth Sultan of Pahang, Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah on March 6, 1986, and they are blessed with nine children.
Today, Malaysians witnessed Sultan Abdullah take his oath of office as the 16th Yang di-Pertuan Agong at a ceremony steeped in tradition at Istana Negara. — Bernama