With our twins now on the cusp of becoming teenagers, it seems a lifetime gone since their very existence was in question.
It wasn’t that long ago, though. Latter part of the nineties, turn of the millennium, to be precise. While couples worldwide were daily adding millions to Generation Next, we were trying – and failing – to supply just one.
Difficulty having a child was not something I’d ever imagined. Not in high school (all too easy to get a girl knocked up); not in university (I’m never having kids anyway); not when my beautiful wife and I married (let’s have some fun first), not as a school teacher (I’m not ready to have one of these jokers). Not even when we decided to give it a go, see what happened.
I didn’t have to imagine difficulty because, by then, difficulty was our reality. Thermometers, charts, acupuncture, herbs, drugs, injections, wank jars, ultrasounds, pain, tears, blood, bills, bills, bills…We drove the pot-holed fertility road, hoping with all our compromised reproductive might we would find a ‘Baby on Board’ sticker and avoid the final ‘STOP’ sign at the end.
We prevailed. We found a way off the road, took an exit ramp to Twin City. But warm fuzzy finale aside, it was a desperately hard journey, one I wouldn’t wish on anybody. Anybody in real life, that is – I was more than willing to rain misery down on a couple named Adam and Maddy. They grew out of cuttings from our own experience (potions, modified bed-rest, spotting incidents) and from my fertile imagination (miscarriage, arsehole doctors). They lived in fear and confusion and false bravado. I tried to ease their burden, surrounding them with distracting characters and comedic complications. I even gave Adam an unheard of connection: the ability to exchange emails with his unborn ‘B’. It was no use. Their story was borne of a need to come to grips with my own, the one I never saw coming. They suffered for my sake.
I hope you find a seed of satisfaction in my third novel, originally published in 2008 as The Umbilical Word, now made-over as The Articulate Conception by Exciting Press.
It is the the harvest of an unforgiving truth and a fertile imagination.