So on Saturday night there were two generations of best friends; me and mine, and our shared Mother-in-Law, and hers. All of them are proud parents and grandparents to various five week old babies and can’t wait for me to join the party. So far, so predictable.

MIL’s best friend is a chatty, bubbly, lovely and entirely indiscreet woman. She tells me things I feel dirty just knowing like exactly when her daughter started trying to conceive, how long it took and what shape her son- in-law’s sperm were when they finally hit the jackpot. We were seated next to each other at dinner – something I usually enjoy – but this time, I was feeling nervous surrounded by this coven of baby-endowed women.

But by the time the cheesecake arrived my guard was down and I was enjoying myself, so confident was I that I’d avoided any hint, comment and suggestion relating to my current, un-endowed state. Then BANG! MIL’s best friend laid it right out there on the table next to the cheese plate; had I been tracking my mucus? Had I been on holiday recently? It always happens on holiday. Was I aware of what to do at various points in my cycle? Damn, it was if she knew everything about my current conception plans. Of course she knew my plans! Best friends tell each other everything and adults just love to give their unsolicited advice. Predictable-city!

But then, in a lovely, unpredictable plot twist that uncovered all these grown-ups and their well meaning / interfering advice she said I should really read a particular book, she couldn’t remember the title, but I should borrow it from her daughter as it had definitely helped them to conceive. Book? Owned by your daughter? I said. You mean, “Controlling Fertility”? Yes! She said. That’s the one! How on earth did you know?

Know? Oh, I know. It’s etched on my brain. About nine months ago, on hearing that I was trying to make her a grandchild, my MIL went round to her best friend’s daughter’s house, collected up the book and hid it in a brown paper bag (like you might a cheap bottle of scotch you intend to drink on the bus, or the evidence from a recent murder). She then handed it to my Father in Law to despatch, by hand, to the front door of my office. Then, as if the whole debacle hadn’t been designed to seem anything less than completely interfering, my FIL, in a complete over-egging of the situation, totally denied what was in the paper bag which a) underlined quite how contrived the whole situation was. Of course he knew what was in the bag! Husbands and wives tell each other everything! And b) only served to make himself look like an unsuspecting drugs mule.

It would have been as sweet as the cheesecake if I’d had the gumption to point out that MIL’s best friend’s recommendation had been delivered to me some months before, disguised as if it were fifteen kgs of crack cocaine. Only I didn’t say a word, because that would have uncovered her, my MIL and my FIL as the perpetrators of interference. So, being a good daughter-in-law, I kept my mouth shut, downed a tankard of wine along with the bitter pill of unsolicited advice, and tried to steer the conversation onto something less incendiary like religion, politics or the erupting volcano in Iceland.

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