Personal Interlude. For Alec.

I don’t, as a rule, write about personal issues on here. I’m a very private person and I try to keep things separate. But today is a sad day for me; the second anniversary of the day my second son might have been born.

I’ve written extensively about my experiences with multiple miscarriage and unexplained infertility on other platforms, and it has been a recurring theme in my poetry, but this is probably the most explicitly personal piece I’ve written. It is not long. It is not harrowing, I’ve done all of that over many times. It is my end point. The final thing I need to say on the matter.


Not all only children are planned that way.

Some are. That’s fine and not what I’m going to talk about. I respect everyone’s rights to choose how they organise their families. But some people carry a lot of prejudice against the parents of single children and indeed against the cliché of the spoilt only child. In reality, the only real choice you have when it comes to having children is to prevent conception or not. And even that doesn’t always work out as you planned. If you are fortunate enough to conceive a child around the time you want to, that is still never a guarantee. There are no definites in life. Parenthood is a very good way of learning that.

The children we have teach us a lot about ourselves, but probably the best lesson they can teach is how to let go. Whether they are leaving home at eighteen to become big important life-living adults or whether they are fleeting glimpses of a life that might have been, picked out in two blue lines on an indicator strip, washed away on a tide of grief. Or whether they are any of the myriad of possibles that float between those two extremes.

There are only two pieces of advice I give anyone about the job of a parent.

Love your children.

Be the grown-up in the relationship.

And somewhere along the way they’ll teach you it’s ok to accept you’re not in control.


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