Jane Doucet never thought she’d write a book—working as a freelance journalist suited her fine. But when she couldn’t find any books on motherhood she could relate to as a 34-year-old woman without children, she decided to write one.
“I felt I had to write it,” she says. The Pregnant Pause is a fictional story that follows 37-year-old Rose Ainsworth’s journey as a married woman dealing with her first attack of baby fever.
She’s married to a younger man who isn’t interested in having children yet. She feels she is “watching the window of opportunity for procreation grow smaller” as she nears 40. The book covers topics like infertility, abortion, postpartum depression, adoption, and miscarriage.
Doucet tries to use humour to keep the mood light, but admits that some of these topics were hard to write because she didn’t have personal experiences to draw from.
“What I tried to do was cover as many different women’s stories as possible,” she says. “Even though it was foreign to me and uncomfortable for me, I still felt it was important.”
She hopes that anyone who reads her book will walk away with respect for why someone may or may not decide to have children and understand that for some, it might not be a choice they were able to make.
“Just don’t judge someone’s path to becoming a parent, or not becoming a parent, because it’s different from your own,” she says. “There’s so much judgement and I just hope that people can let go of that a little and be respectful of different paths.”
Doucet wrote the story 14 years ago but put it away after a literary agent pushed her to change her ending to something she believed would have changed the integrity of the book. It sat in a drawer for over a decade until a friend persuaded her to revisit the project last fall.
This time, Doucet is self-publishing the book. She picked a team of Halifax-based editors and spent time tweaking the story, making sure to keep the message the same.
“This book came from my heart. It’s loosely based on my personal experiences, but also, observations I made watching other women, and conversations I’ve had,” she says. “People will say, ‘well are you Rose?’ Rose is many women. And her husband many men. It’s universal.”
The Pregnant Pause is scheduled to launch on June 24 at the Halifax Central Library. Jane Doucet is an occasional contributor to Halifax Magazine.
CORRECTION: Due to a fact-checking lapse, an earlier version of this story misstated Doucet’s age. The story above has been corrected. Halifax Magazine regrets the error.