The Voice

Here’s another passage of the internal monologue I started to call The Voice when we were trying, unsuccessfully, to start a family.

So there’s you. And there’s her. And there’s You & Her. And you thought it was going to be downhill from now on did you? The struggle was over, the battle was won. You’d found someone. All you had to do is produce the goods every couple of days and wait for the brood to grow. And wait. And wait. Tell me, when was it that you felt the chink of the first ice-pick as doubt started to scale the north face of your ego. Three months in? Six months? Surely you must have been twitching by then?

Of course, you were expecting it to happen straightaway. Of course you were. Of course. First month, just like that. You’re a healthy guy, you exercise hard, eat well, look after yourself. Sure, you were humble and circumspect on the outside  – ‘let’s just see how it goes’, haha, you were fooling no-one – but inside you were expecting some pretty speedy developments, eh stud? Feel a bit daft now? Ok, ok, I won’t keep pressing you. I’m just teasing. You acted humble on the outside at least, I’ll give you that. But we both know don’t we. We both know that you weren’t humble on the inside. On the inside you just expected.

Talking of expecting, I’m sure you’re enjoying the fun of hearing others talk about getting pregnant.. The accidental way they describe it landing, quite literally, in their lap. ‘Oh, we started trying, didn’t think about it, and then we were expecting. Hooray!’ It all seems to happen so quickly and easily, an absolute piece of the proverbial. The entire process an unbroken boulevard of green lights. Not even a process, more like a procession. From carefree singletons to a carefree parenthood – how could it possibly have gone wrong in any way? This breezy, incidental narrative to their actual lives. An added extra, a bonus to enjoy when they’re getting on with the business of the everyday. It’s starting to wear you down, eh?

Well, let me ask you, do you believe that spiel? Do you? Really? The discourse of the happy, not accident… how to put it…. incident. The discourse of The Happy Incident.. It’s not an accident, no no, because they were trying, remember. They were trying but they just wanted to put a bit of extra spin on it. Make it sound effortless, and pretend they were barely even bothering. The Effortless Conception. Let me ask you again. Do you believe that happens? In every case…? Do you? …? Well, there we are. Exactly.

When things didn’t happen as quickly as you thought they would, you were still relaxed. Maybe you weren’t even worried about your part in the proceedings? Hell, you have past evidence that you’ve been blessed by the Gods of Fertility, no? Way back when you were a carefree student. No problem with the equipment then was there? Wow, such slim odds of success but you succeeded alright. Impressive. One occasion, and you’d taken precautions too. (‘Taken precautions’. Taken precautions. Roll that phrase around in your mouth. How does it feel to you now? Precautions. Against something you want more than anything else in your life..?) One occasion and you hit the jackpot. What potency! You’re a fertility machine! You were a fertility machine. Sorry.

But just imagine if you hadn’t had that life raft to cling to throughout all this? If there is a problem, you’ve been telling yourself, it can’t be you, because you got someone pregnant well over 15, 16, 17 years….. when was it again? You’ve been using this threadbare old security blanket from years ago – frankly back when you were still a child yourself – to ward off the awful possibility that it might be your potency that was lacking. Still, turns out the tattered old talisman must have worked as I hear all the tests have come up trumps right? (‘Within the normal range’ – go get ‘em stud!) For both of you? And there’s no problem? You’re sure. On the NHS? Didn’t want a second opinion? Happy to accept their diagnosis. Fine. You’re both fine and there are no problems on paper. In the test tube. Under the microscope. Well that’s good. Surely. But then you’ve been trying for two years. So… what’s going wrong?

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