Just the Two of Us is a story about love, in particular, the pursuit of love. Romantic love, yes, the kind of all-consuming, passionate love so adored by Hollywood, but also a deeper kind of love: the unconditional love that a mother has for her child.
While some women never experience the latter, I have always been intrigued by it and hoped that one day I might be lucky enough to experience a mother’s love myself. This kind of love is a unique and intriguing emotion, a primal instinct to nurture and protect that is not easily come by in any other aspect of life. At certain stages in my life, I have also experienced the worry and uncertainty that many women feel that, for whatever reason, this may not be a possibility for me. That I may never be able to conceive a child of my own and experience this incredible gift for myself. After all, there are no guarantees: it all relies on such a fine balance of biology, luck and chance that it is not unreasonable to fear that it may never happen.
Romantic love comes and goes. We are part of a society that is deeply ingrained with an ideal of a mysterious ‘the one’ who will come into our lives and sweep us off our feet. We will storm off into the sunset with our knight in shining armour ready to start our happily ever after. We wait for this person to come along with eager anticipation, some of us waiting far longer than others, even doubting their appearance at times but, usually, expecting and hoping for their arrival.
This is the kind of love that Lucy (the protagonist in Just the Two of Us) is searching for, but at the same time she is also desperate to experience the love of a mother for her child. Motherhood is never far from her mind, and she longs desperately for a baby. The problem is time. Time is running away from her. She is thirty-five. Each year that passes by she gets closer to her forties, her biological clock is pounding in her ears. The pressure to conceive a child by this so-called “deadline” is both real and intense, much discussed in the media and an inescapable fact to face.
As a writer, I was intrigued to explore how a woman in Lucy’s circumstances might react to this pressure, imposed as much by herself as by society and her body’s own set time-frame.
As a woman in my early thirties I have spent many an evening with friends discussing the options we have before us when it comes to starting a family. Whether single or happily in relationships my financially stable, independent female friends are aware that they no longer need to resign themselves to the hands of fate. They can afford to freeze their eggs, to pursue fertility treatments…options which simply did not exist a generation ago. Those in relationships talk about waiting for the “right” time to have children, wishing to focus on their careers instead of embarking on family life. Those who are single want to keep their options open until they meet the right man. Others are open to the idea of using donor sperm to get pregnant and have a baby by themselves, unwilling to play roulette with their fertility, to gamble on meeting a man perfect enough to be the father of their child within nature’s allotted timeframe.
With Lucy’s story, Just the Two of Us, we follow her through her journey as she searches for both these kinds of love: romantic and maternal. I wrote her story to allow myself to experience life through Lucy’s eyes. I put myself in her shoes and explored the ‘what if’ scenarios that may have occurred to me had I not been lucky enough to meet my husband, Tom, four years ago, diverting me from the path that Lucy has found herself on: single and in her mid-thirties…her future unknown but her intentions crystal clear. To have a family and to find love – though her journey may take her down many an unexpected path along the way…