Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Guest Post & Giveaway - Chances by Sue Shepherd - Chances Fortnight

An interesting title. There are many ways we can take a chance. We can try something we wouldn’t normally choose, ‘I’ll take a chance and try the curry, please.’ ‘I’ve never read this author before, but I took a chance because I loved the blurb.’ ‘I don’t normally wear bright orange trousers, but they called out to me to take a chance.’ You get the idea. 

We also take chances when we stretch ourselves. When we apply for a job that’s a level up from our present one, but we think it’s worth a shot. Or when we approach someone in a bar even though they’re a little out of our league. (Do people still approach others in bars?)

Anyway, today, I thought I’d share with you one of the biggest chances I’ve taken. 

 I was fast approaching the age of 43, married, and a proud mum to 2 sons. One day, out of the blue, my husband and I had a very unexpected conversation. We were sitting in the doctor’s waiting room and we both looked at a new-born baby in a car seat. We remarked on how quickly the baby stage flies by. Our children were 6 and 9; we had no further need for baby seats. My husband said something like, ‘Do you think we’ve left it too late to have one more?’ I replied, ‘I’m over 40, of course we have.’ We both stared at the baby.

Once home, I googled the chances of a woman having a baby at 42, and happened upon a site called Mumsnet. It was a whole new world. I found a group of women in their forties, all trying to get pregnant. I was amazed. It hadn’t occurred to me that people chose to have babies that late. Suddenly, from nowhere, came the overwhelming desire for a third child. I went from “My family is complete.” To “I really want another baby.” From 0-60 in a matter of seconds. 

We discussed it and agreed we’d give it a go. The odds weren’t great. My eggs were old. We had to face the possibility of birth defects and our chances of miscarriage were high. At any point we could’ve said, ‘This is madness, let’s forget it.’ But we both wanted to try.

We were successful within six months. Naively, we told the boys. They were very excited. Our friends and family were pleased, although many thought we were nuts. To one friend, I said, ‘By the way, it was planned.’ She replied, ‘Oh God, I know that. No one our age has sex unless they have to!’

Just before my twelve week scan I began to bleed. Even now, I can remember the feeling of cold hard fear clutching at my heart. A scan revealed that the baby had stopped developing at about 8 weeks. I felt like a fraud. I’d been under the impression that I was still pregnant for the last month and actually the baby had no heartbeat. It’s called a missed miscarriage. It’s one of life’s cruelest tricks. 
Our mistake had been to tell the boys before twelve weeks, we now had the heartache of telling them the baby was gone. I stupidly used the term, ‘We’ve lost the baby.’ This confused the heck out of our six-year-old, who figured it was blatantly obvious where the baby was. 
I had a procedure to remove the failed pregnancy. I was crying, and the nurse told me not to worry, she said that there would be other chances. I sobbed, ‘But, I’m 43!’ Her face fell a little.

I was pregnant again within 3 months. Far more wary that time, there was no telling the boys. No assumptions were made. 

Sadly, I miscarried at 6 weeks. I still mark the date, along with the first loss. 

Some people might have given up at that point, but I knew many 40+ women on Mumsnet who were successfully having babies. So, determined, we carried on trying.

I wish I could tell you that the third time was a charm, or that persistence paid off. But, you only have to look at my profile to see how many children I have. Two. Two sons. The same two sons I had that day when I sat in the doctor’s and looked at the new-born baby. 

There were no more pregnancies for me. Each year into my forties the possibility became less and less likely. Until the day when I finally accepted it was never going to happen. 

Am I sorry that I took that chance? Absolutely not! If I had never tried, there would always be a part of me that wondered what might have been. I would’ve assumed that success would’ve been a given. I think I had to take that chance, in order to learn that a third child wasn’t a possibility for us. 

I look back now and I realise that my life would be so different if I had a six-year-old. Maybe it would be better, but I love being an author and I very much doubt I’d have had the time to finish my first book with a baby in my life. 

When my first book was published, it was like a baby for me. (As was my second.) I’m aware that might sound crazy, but I put so much into them and I’m so proud of them. There’s a reason authors call them book babies, you know. Plus, two years ago, we got our gorgeous standard poodle, Forrest and he’s my darling fur baby. 

I will never forget our two tiny lost babies, but, I can honestly say I’m at peace with the outcome of the chance I took.

Thank you so much Sue, for opening up and sharing your chance with us. That must have been hard to write and I'm glad you have got through to the other end.

About Sue Shepherd

Sue Shepherd writes contemporary romance and enjoys creating novels with heart, laughs and naughtiness. She doesn’t pull any punches when choosing her subjects, but manages to handle her characters’ challenging situations with sensitivity and humour.

Her debut novel 'Doesn't Everyone Have a Secret?' was published by Corazon Books in March 2015.  It reached the top 10 UK Kindle chart, and also topped the romantic comedy, contemporary romance and humour charts. It became available in paperback on Amazon.UK in November 2015. 

Sue’s second novel ‘Love Them and Leave Them’ was published in September 2016.

Sue lives on the picturesque Isle of Wight with her husband, two sons and a standard poodle.  Her passions in life are: her family, writing, the sea-side and all the beautiful purple things her sons have bought her over the years.  Ask Sue to plan too far in advance and you'll give her the heebie-jeebies and she'd prefer you not to mention Christmas until at least November!

Twitter - @thatsueshepherd
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Giveaway to Win a £5 Amazon Voucher (UK Only)

Ian at Corazon Books, Sue Shepherd's publisher,  has kindly offered my readers a chance to win a £5 Amazon voucher. He would like to urge you to use it to take a chance on some authors new to you, and possibly take a look at Sue Shepherd's books too! 

Giveaway open to the UK onlu, all options are voluntary, but please do what they ask, as I will be verifying the winner. Giveaway closes 23:59 14/06/2017. Winner will be announced on twitter and emailed, and they will need to reply within 7 days, or forfeit the prize, and I will re-draw for a new winner.  Good luck everyone.

Win a £5 Amazon Voucher (UK Only)

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