We had friends to stay over the weekend. They arrived early, so we were still frantically stashing things in the cupboard under the stairs in the vain hope of making the house seem bigger/tidier. After Mr H and his friend M had had one of those pointless male conversations about which route they had taken - the A1 or the M1 - M & P looked at each other expectantly. 'You tell them.' 'No, you tell them.' I've been in this situation enough times to know what is coming, and so I begin trying to arrange my features into what I hope is an expression of pleased excitement, for yes - M & P have some news to tell us; they are going to have a baby. Of course I am happy for them, but there is a part of me that thinks, 'why can't we have our own announcement to make? why did this have to happen to us?'
I manage not to cry in front of M & P, but save my tears for bedtime, when it seems that a long, empty and childless future stretches out before me. Perhaps we will find a way of coming to terms with not having children - I will focus on my career; I may even write the novel that has been rattling around the back of my mind all the time I've been supposed to be writing up my PhD. But then another image flashes into my mind - we will be invited to other people's children's birthday parties, which will serve as a constant reminder to us of what we could have had, and my plans for a childfree future collapse around me. 'Everyone we know is having babies,' I wail. 'We're going to be the only ones without a child. People will invite us to their kid's parties just to feel sorry for us.'
At this point, Mr H kindly points out to me that not everyone we know is pregnant. He goes on to list every single one of our acquaintances who does not have a baby.
I do love him, but there are times when I want to smack him.