In the early days we didn’t tell our parents about our plans to conjur up a baby using regular sex.  What kind of parent wants to be haunted by the image of their children banging away on the kitchen table they bought as a house warming present last year?

Instead, we simply looked to our parents, and their respective parents, as the providers of the information we would need in order to calculate our own chances of conception.  Here are the basic facts:

Paternal grandmother: Grannie B was so cavalier about her fertile stock of embryos that she claimed to have flushed one down the loo at The Caprice when high as a fairy on Champagne Cocktails.  But all was not lost on that Summer evening in 1940 because one embryo was still clinging on to that champagne soaked placenta for dear life and its name was My Dad. This story has never been confirmed or denied and comes from a side of the family given to high drama so make of it what you will.

Paternal grandfather:  Enjoyed a physically and mentally satisfying relationship with triple litre bottles of scotch but still managed to father two children.

Maternal grandmother:  Birthed two girls in a mining village in North Yorkshire, pre-World War II when lard and dripping were around.

Beloved Husband’s Paternal grandmother and father: Ditto but on a farm.  Post World War II when lard and  dripping were rationed but still eaten all the same.

My mother:  Gave birth to me at 40 and my sister at 42.  No problems conceiving, or so the early reports led me to believe.  More on this later.

Beloved Husband’s mother:  Gave birth to two boys in quick succession and followed it up with a girl a few years later.  In her own words, she only had to drop her knickers and stand near the bed post for pregnancy to occur.

So, in the days when we were mentally preparing for conception, it’s fair to say that expectations were high.  From our familial histories, we deduced that we could expect zero fertility problems and that in an era of plenty we might have a good chance of conceiving twins if we stood near the bed post drinking whiskey and eating lard.  Right?  Not quite.

As the months have passed  it’s become obvious that the ease with which our families faced reproduction, does not necessarily apply to us.   As the sand has trickled through the egg timer, I have felt compelled to go to our parents and ask why?  what? how? Did your mother really only eat rations of lard during her fertile window?  Did it really only take you five seconds to conceive while drinking a vodka martini?  Why, when I replace lard with broccoli and a billion vitamins a day, why, when I run round the park and force my husband to do the same, why, oh parents, HAVE WE NOT CONCEIVED YET (and, more to the point, what posesses anyone to eat dripping)?

So, in the past few weeks I have told both my mother and mother-in-law that we are trying for a baby and, far from getting the advice I so yearned for,  I have merely watched their expressions turn from horror (as they try to run from the image of their children having sex) to sheer joy (as they start to plan their knitting). 

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