It’s the fifth of February. I’m laying on my back, thighs parted and held apart. And I am trying to steady my breathing; I feel as though my lungs are leaking. There is something about this position that makes me feel small, that reminds me of the frogs that Persephone and Magnus used to startle from the detritus around the pond, the frogs that would lay prone and still upon their backs like little, breathing corpses. I am trying to remind myself that this is consensual, that I was excited for this; I am telling myself the story of it as though I am a small child, the way that my heart thudded like horses racing as the bus took me from the stop by the Dorchester Hotel all the way to the Lister, how just ten minutes ago the embryologists beamed like children receiving a commendation in assembly as I took the photograph of the blastocyst on the screen and immortalised the before-you-were-human forever. The doctor between my legs is explaining what she is doing, she is apologising, I can feel my lips mouthing ‘fuck’ over again and just as my body begins to twist away from the pain it is over and she is retreating, with a scraping sensation and a platitude that I barely hear. My body feels like a bruised apple. It feels like an apple that has been thrown against the wall until the skin has split and the flesh is mashed.  I replace my… View Post

I am pregnant. The baby is three weeks and four days old and smaller than a full stop at the end of a sentence.  It is such early days; it was only on Monday that the baby was transferred from cryopreservation to my womb, and we found out yesterday that I was expecting.  My head is a mess of emotion; this baby was (obviously) so planned and is so wanted, and yet I am feeling everything right now.  Enormous joy, what-have-we-done terror, sadness for those friends to whom babies don’t come so easily and for whom my news might feel like a knife in the heart.  And this pregnancy feels like a bit of a shock; we made a whirlwind decision in mid-January to bring forward our planned frozen embryo transfer, which was originally planned for March, and to see that beautiful double line on a test so soon… my own heart is so full. All week long, the boys have been talking about Baby Winter.  In fact on Wednesday, as the snowflakes began to topple from the sky, Balthazar turned to Kirsty and he said “Yook, Mummy – it’s snowing for Baby Winter!”.  Kirsty texted me immediately, because it seemed such a strange connection for a three-year-old to make.  I should have taken it as a sign.  Of course, these are such early days and there are no guarantees of a baby to welcome home at the end of this – but we are full of hope.  And whatever the outcome,… View Post

Tuesday, CD5. On the table, I think about the meat under my skin; the yellow blubber into which I’ve pressed the needles, the throb of arteries and swoosh of blood and the jumble of organs inside of me. I am worlds away from the susurrus of consultation between my thighs. The rise and fall of my breaths are tsunamis and my being is displaced. So I build a boat for my mind and float away on the water. I am untouchable until they speak my name. This will all be worth it for the baby: approximately one-hundred-and-fifty cells of human potential whom the embryologist graded ‘perfect’ one October, just as the leaves were turning golden, before tucking it away for its long Winter. I have given up coffee and I decline champagne in the boardroom, laughing when when a colleague asks me pointedly if I am pregnant again. But I feel contaminated by the memories, the body-that-was-not-my-body that will belong, for a time, if it sticks, to this perfect new human. How can I convince an embryo to make a home of this toxic wasteland? I don’t know how to be habitable. But oh, beautiful tiny human, I want you. When I picture our future I can see you; the boys and their sisters are exploring the beach together, they are investigating the rock pools, gentle hands cupping tiny crabs, running strands of seaweed through their fingers, displaying to each other tiny treasures and then bringing them to you, our… View Post

I’ve been calling it my Thirties Eve. Birthdays don’t tend to hit me hard. Sixteen was interesting; my headteacher at the time gave me a card that said a more diplomatic version of ‘golly, we thought you might have snuffed it by now’. Twenty-one surprised me, even I suspected that I might have pegged it by then. But ever since that time, the passing of years has been a joy. My twenties have brought me so much happiness; a reunion with the love of my life, children that make my heart beat a little faster whenever I look at them. My twenties brought stability and financial security, my twenties brought wonder. Twenty-nine feels like the beginning of the end of something beautiful.  And whilst I have such high hopes for what thirty will bring, I feel nervous. I guess it’s a good thing that I have a year to prepare. Tell me what your thirties have been like for you..?

On Christmas night, we walked the mile between your Grandy’s home and ours.  It was brilliantly cold; the ice made the town look sugar-glazed and we puffed our breath into the air like dragons.  I had worried about how you would cope with walking a mile after bedtime at the end of an exhausting day, whether it would try your enormous hearts and you would end up puddled and crying on the pavement whilst we stood helpless, your baby sisters strapped to our bodies.  But you navigated the mile’s walk by fairylight, running from house to house, exclaiming over the beauty of the decorations.  You stopped at the roadsides and gripped our hands; yours felt so cold and small in mine.  I wish that I had the words to describe how much you mean to me, how I didn’t know that love could start in my chest but encompass my whole body, that I could feel love in my fingertips, until I became your mother.  I looked down at your shining little faces, little white moons in the darkness of night, and I felt so happy and proud that you were mine. You have been calling the festive period ‘my Christmas’.  You have taken possession of this stressful, emotionally overwhelming season and you have turned it into something wonderful.  I think that my favourite thing about being a mother is in discovering all of the beauty in the world through your eyes; the way that you can take something as ordinary as a walk… View Post