” A week after the D&C… I went to visit Alice in the hospital to see her new baby girl. Of course, Alice said I didn;t need to go, and Ben said he didn’t want me to go, but I went.  I don;t know why but I was determined to do everything as I normally would.

I went to the newsagent and chose a card frosted with pink glitter saying ‘congratulations on your darling little girl’. I went to Pumpkin Patch and bought  a tiny yellow dress with embroidered butterflies all over it. ‘It just makes you long to have a baby girl, doesn’t it!’  cooed the saleslady.

I wrapped up the dress in pink tissue paper and wrote on the card and I drove to the hospital and found a parking spot and walked through the corridors with the present under one arm…

The whole time, I floated along beside myself, impressed. ‘You’re doing fine. Well done. It will all be over soon, and you can be home watching television.’

“Oh look at her!”I said to Alice, ready to begin the new-baby panter.

I’m so good at it these days. Just last week, I went to visit a friend who had just given birth to her third child, and even if I say so myself, my performance was flawless. ‘Look at his tiny hands! Oh, her eyes/nose/mouth is just like yours!’ ‘Of course I’d love to hold him!’ And breathe. And, chat. And. smile. Don’t think about it. Don’t think about it. There should be an Oscar for that sort of thing.

But Alice didn’t let me get started on the act.

As soon as she saw me, she held out the arm that wasn’t holding the baby and her face crumpled and she said “I wish it was me visiting you.”

I sat on the bed and let her hug me.