Empathy for Kate and William (But Mostly Kate)

December 5, 2012

I’ve been thinking a lot about pregnancy for a while, and not just because of my own hoped for baby. Even before I started seriously considering whether or not I wanted to become a mother, I’ve been living with a character who is trying to figure out what to do about her unplanned pregnancy.

I should probably explain. People ask how I decide what to write (by which, of course, I mean when I’m writing fiction). I usually respond with the somewhat disturbing answer of “I write what the voices in my head tell me to write.” And I admit that it really does sound crazy, but that’s my process. A character starts talking to me, starts telling me her story, and I am compelled to write that down. (They’re usually women who talk to me.) Perhaps these are the Greek muses, or perhaps I am, like most artists, a wee bit mad. At any rate, what this means is that I live with my characters for a while. Sometimes they talk to me for months before I finally know how to put their stories to paper. I’ve been listening to the character above for years.

One thing I know about her is that she doesn’t want anyone to know that she’s pregnant because she doesn’t want to admit what that means about her life. (I don’t want to go into too much detail because that will give away the story, and it is something I hope to publish one day.) I know that her secret is revealed when she is hospitalized, but I don’t know why that is. It’s one of three reasons: miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, or hyperemesis.

I can only imagine the misery that is hyperemesis. At least most bouts of gastroenteritis resolve in 24 hours. But with hyperemesis there is no end in sight. And to have that misery be the reason you are forced to announce your pregnancy to the world when you are still early enough that miscarriage remains a strong possibility just adds insult to injury. (You will recall that the reason you are reading my blog posts with a three-month lag is so that I can decide when to announce that I’m pregnant, god willing.)

I do wish Kate (and William) well. I hope that she makes it through her first trimester with no other problems and that they have a healthy baby when all is said and done.

I’m sorry you couldn’t be miserable in private. I’m sorry that you were forced to share your news before you were ready.

And, of course, congratulations.

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