You see the same plastic, hard-backed chairs in any other waiting room, but the tension here is palpable, and the atmosphere rarified. The room is full of couples – the occasional same-sex pair, the odd lone female, but mostly couples; holding hands as though this show of solidarity alone is enough to beat the odds. The walls are plastered with baby photos that no-one wants to see, and a collection of toys grows dusty in the corner. For today’s waiting room is in the fertility clinic, where doctors hold in their hands your happiness and your legacy.
The magazines are carefully chosen not to cause upset, scattered amongst the leaflets offering counselling, and help living ‘child free’. Written across the faces of the waiting women is a plethora of emotions; hope, despair, uncertainty… They are the waiting women; the women born to be mothers, hurtling towards a future with empty arms. The women who offer due congratulations to a pregnant friend, then replace the handset and sink slowly to the floor, sobbing for the baby they so desperately want for themselves.
The fertility clinic is inaptly situated above the maternity unit; the cries of newborn babies follow you up the corridor as you pray that one day soon, you will be able to turn your back on the lift up to level six, and walk through the double doors to delivery suite. But for now you are simply waiting; waiting for another negative pregnancy test, another cycle of treatment, another chance to hold your own baby. Waiting to finally become a mother.