What I’ve learnt about hope
This isn’t going to be one of those ‘don’t give up’ stories.
When it came to having our second son, our beautiful, beautiful Jacob, I gave up lots of times. Every single failed pregnancy was followed by an intensive period of rationalised giving up, giving away and getting on with.
The past five-and-a-half years have been a bittersweet blend of infinitesimal adoration for the son we have, combined with hidden grief for the child we couldn’t seem to have.
Which brings me to hope. I tried to kill it before it killed me. But here’s what I’ve learnt: you cannot get rid of it. Like a cockroach infestation in an inner city flat, like a blackberry thicket in a gully, like a bad Bali tramp stamp, hope ain’t going anywhere.
I tried to abandon it, and it would come straight back like an expertly thrown boomerang, smacking me upside the head. Every time two blue lines appeared on a pregnancy test, hope would be lurking, waiting to jump me again.
Emily Dickinson called hope ‘the thing with feathers that perches in the soul’. Apologies Emily, but that’s not my experience. Hope is not some fluttering creature. It’s a junkyard Komodo dragon; a dinosaur survival expert. It eats logic for breakfast. It crushes reasonable doubt in its festy jaws. It holds you hostage until it gets what it wants.
Obama talked about the audacity of hope but it’s the tenacity of hope that gets things done.
As I write this, my brand new son is next to me in his bassinet. This impossible baby is here. Hope put us through the wringer but thank god it did.
So this is actually a ‘can’t give up’ story. Hope doesn’t give you choices. It perseveres until it gives you back what you thought you’d lost.