Monday, February 14, 2011


Today I'm going to share a section of chapter 8 from my book that is getting chopped.

For a while now, I have thought that it stems the flow of the narrative. Last night, when I received chapter 6-10 back from the editor, it seemed he agreed. So out it goes.

Rather than lose it forever, I thought I would put it here. For safe keeping :) It's not that these few paragraphs are irrelevant - they most certainly are - but it is a bit clumsy in the scheme of the story either side of it. It's completely unedited and very raw, so please look past the strange paragraph breaks and long-windedness (which I am sooooo good at!).

See what you think and, as always, please feel free to comment or share your own similar experiences (from either side of the fertility fence).

   “I miss my baby, she’s only eight months old and I’ve never been away from her for this long before,” cried one of the bridesmaids. We were at my aunt’s house getting dressed for her wedding. I was surprised when tears sprang in my eyes for this new mum who was crying because she missed her baby so much. I was really struck by the emotion in this woman whom I’d met on only a few other occasions. But I had never thought she would openly cry and now I saw a softening in her that wasn’t noticeable to me before she’d had her baby girl. It intrigued me further, this wondrous and as yet unattainable role of motherhood. That it could change a person so much beyond their control that it caused them to ruin their makeup when they were getting ready to be in a wedding. It was as if she could not help the tears. And it wasn’t that anything was wrong – her healthy baby was at home with her grandparents. It was just the simple fact that she missed her daughter so terribly much; I found it very touching. 
   Aunty Jo and her partner had a beautiful wedding. It was lovely to see them so emotional with each other and Steve and I were greatly honoured to play such an important part in their public commitment to one another. Towards the end of the night, I remember looking across the room and seeing the bridesmaid who had missed her baby so much. She was still there but was making moves to leave with her husband and I could tell from where I was standing that she really wanted to go home.
   All of a sudden, surprising me, I felt a sudden surge of jealousy and anger towards this girl. I don’t know where it came from and it was certainly not intentional, but the emotions of the day and the realisation that we had witnessed another couple coming together - no doubt also marking the beginning of the end of our friendship with them as we knew it - had taken its toll. 
   For this was how it was starting to take shape: our long-time friends and family were getting married and starting families. It was the natural progression of things, Steve and I were well aware of this. But because our family could not get started, we felt as though we were remaining the same “dual income, no kids”, perpetually socially available couple. Others around us were settling down, which was what we were so desperately yearning to do ourselves. 
   I sat at an empty seat at one of the beautifully decorated reception tables and mentally counted the number of years that Steve and I had been together. We had just celebrated our third wedding anniversary, having been a couple for over five years before that. I was suddenly gripped with fear that my previously single but newly wedded aunt and friend was probably going to beat me and have a baby first. 
   Was this what I had become? The stereotypical bitter, twisted childless woman? It was wearing me down, the weight of not being able to bear a baby I knew was surely out there for us because of some as yet still mysterious genetic factor in Steve’s chromosomal makeup. And I knew it was far more than feeling “beaten” to the post – it was the desperate fear of being left behind and not being able to completely share friendships with people once they had had babies. I felt lonely, like a perpetually little kid in an increasingly grown-up world.
   I suddenly wanted to go home. Why had my thoughts turned to babies? I had had such a great day with Aunty Jo and her family. I felt so guilty, standing there in my gorgeous dress with my perfect hair and makeup all intact, hiding my dark thoughts. After all, they were unfounded fears anyway. Jo hadn’t even mentioned wanting a family. It was a tiny glimmer of hope that perhaps, just perhaps, we could at least have our first baby at the same time as them, if not sooner. So I stood tall and shook off my sadness, this wasn’t the time or place to be thinking of myself.
   We waited to hug the newlyweds goodbye, bidding them farewell and safe travels on their honeymoon.
   Aunty Jo’s wedding triggered the onset of thoughts that had not previously surfaced but had obviously been there for a while, just simmering. It sparked a new awareness in me of noticing just how many couples had begun not only their relationships in the time since Steve and I had been together, but were now having babies as well. 
   It seemed nobody was safe from my critical observation. I envied celebrities in magazines right through to people in my office building. A young girl from one of the offices where I worked became pregnant to her boyfriend of five months and I felt like she was parading her blossoming belly and glowing pride and happiness in front of me whenever I saw her. Of course she wasn’t. But why did she have to rub her belly so often? It was like watching a walking glamour magazine ad. “How To Be Enviably Pregnant.” She was perfectly shaped, poised, absolutely stunning. And some days I wanted to gouge her eyes out.

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