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The Least Likely Surrogate

S.P. Donovan

When my husband, Bill, and I began trying to become pregnant, I wanted nothing more than to be normal.

After years of not getting pregnant the “normal” way, we tried assisted fertility treatments. Through IVF, we became pregnant with twin boys. Five and a half months into the pregnancy, I went into premature labor and delivered the babies stillborn. Normal was not to be.

Six weeks later, my mother and I drove to a national park to hike—or walk gingerly, in my case. At some point we veered off the trail and found ourselves in a cave. My feet sunk into its sandy bottom. Concentric circles rose seven stories high to an open skylight through which sunlight poured onto our heads. We looked on the park map for the name of the place, but found nothing.

“It looks…,” my mother said. “Womblike,” I responded.

I emerged from our walk feeling, if not better, at least less ravaged.

We both went home to our respective quests: mine to start a family; hers to find a calling in retirement. Strangely enough, it was a comment from my mom's neighbor that changed our lives. The comment referred to a news story about a postmenopausal woman who'd become pregnant.