At its heart, my March 2024 novel, The Accident, is the impact on two women’s lives when a car slams into a tree. Of course they are changed irrevocably by grief and trauma, and they start questioning everything they ever believed about each other and those they love. But that's only the start.
In the 2020s, do women really have a choice to become mothers? Societal expectations are huge, as are the politics of the day, which is very pro women having children. Women who choose to be childfree are accused of being selfish, unnatural, uncaring and even witches. Former Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, was accused of all these things. Ironically, these child-free women are often caring for other members of their extended family. Women without children are subject to the rule ‘you don’t have kids so you can’t have an opinion about anything to do with them,’ which is ridiculous as they have siblings and nieces and nephews.
What I find fascinating is the reaction of women with children to the ones who are choosing to be childfree. These mothers often feel offended, as if their own decision to have a child was somehow wrong. Or they are convinced the woman will change her mind.
And what of the women who struggle to conceive? The automatic response to this problem is the suggestion of IVF, but reproductive technology is not an easy road from the costs to the many ethical dilemmas that women/couples are forced to grapple with that other parents never need to consider. The current ‘brave new world’ version of IVF is post-humous sperm retrieval, which on the surface seems a wonderful thing, but it comes with so many complications and the more people who are involved in a decision, the more fraught it can become.
Like all my novels, at its heart, [book:The Accident|198427542] is about flawed characters facing real world dilemmas and trying their hardest to live their best lives. I hope you join Hannah and Freya, Ryan and Jamie as they muddle through trying to make sense of this messy, modern life we live.