top of page
  • Writer's picturearekidsforme

Season 3 #4 Wild Egg Review

Welcome to mini book club! Today, myself and previous guest, Julie Cobbe, are discussing the novel 'Wild Egg' by Jennifer Flint. We talk about the themes raised in the book and our experiences of reading a book which focuses on the parenthood decision.

I spoke to Julie in season 2 about her own experience of deciding to have children or not. I do recommend you listen to that if you haven't already. I want to thank Jennifer Flint for sending me on copies of her book and to thank Julie for volunteering to read it and take part in this episode.

I refer to another podcast in this episode which discusses the book, Jennifer's own story and process of reading the book. Please see Anna Olson's excellent episodes of the 'We're Not Kidding' Podcast here -

Please Julies website here -

Episode Transcript:

Mgt O Connor 0:09

Hi and welcome to the Are Kids For Me podcast with me, Margaret O Connor. Today I am speaking to Julie Cobbe. I spoke to Julie in season two of the podcast around her own experience of deciding to have children or not. I highly recommend you listen to that episode if you haven't already. For this episode, we are doing a mini book club on the novel called 'Wild Egg', by author Jennifer Flint. And I want to thank Jennifer for sending me on copies of her book and for Julie who volunteered to read it and discuss it with me. We talked about the themes raised in the book and our experiences of reading it. And we are both delighted to have the chance to read a book which focuses on the childfree decision as these are pretty rare still these days. I refer to another podcast called 'We're Not Kidding', hosted by Anna Olson in this episode. She recorded two great episodes with Jennifer where they discuss the book, Jennifer's life, and the process of writing the book in more detail than I get into here. I'll include those links and recommend those if you like the sound of what we talk about here. Thanks so much and I hope you enjoy this episode.

So welcome back to the podcast, Julie. First time I get to say that, you're my first returning guest.

Julie Cobbe 1:24

Thank you very much for having me back.

Mgt O Connor 1:26

No problem. We were just reminiscing or trying to reminisce a little bit there. So we spoke back in April 2021. Which technically is only two years ago, but feels like about 10..we were all in lockdown and life is very different now. So it's very nice to speak to you again.

Julie Cobbe 1:46

It is yeah, that felt like about five years ago. Yeah, thankfully (laughter).

Mgt O Connor 1:52

Yes. Yes. Yes, we're out and about now. And things are things are better, which was hard to imagine at that point. But that's nice to know that's possible. And yeah, so we are here today to talk about Jennifer Flint's book 'Wild Egg'. So we've both taken some time to read it and just basically just gonna have a chat. And it's lovely to be able to talk about a book which centers on a childfree character and the decision around that. So thank you for volunteering to be be part of the mini book club.

Julie Cobbe 2:26

No worries at all. I was totally happy to read the book. Yeah, I'm I'm it's just so lovely to see the topic in a book. And we're seeing it more so it's yeah, it's lovely.

Mgt O Connor 2:39

I might just read for anyone who doesn't know and I suppose to warn people in the introduction there will be some spoilers so if you hadn't hadn't read the book, don't listen to this yet! But just looking at the cover of the book. So the book is called Wild egg. The tagline is a story of one woman's search for her childfree life and just reading a little bit from the back... So the main character is Holly Hardwick. She's a successful childfree woman who at age 41 finally feels as though she has it all figured out. Then just as her biological clock is about to strike 12, her husband releases a wrecking ball into their lives when he unexpectedly confesses I really want to baby. Assuming her answer will be a polite no thank you, Holly is disturbed to find a seed of doubt when she thinks about the choice ahead of her. Determined to leave no unturned stone of regret and conscious the shutter or her biological egg shop may be about to close, Holly quickly descends into a murky emotional underworld where she finds more questions than answers bubbling in the cauldron of midlife. So that's what that's what the book is (laughter).

Actually, because I'm literally her age now. 41. So it's, yeah. I guess it's a good time to read the book. Yeah, it's that it's that age where everything starts to fall off the cliff and you're faced with it. You're really faced with the question, I guess.

Yes, absolutely. Yeah. I think that it is referred to... I suppose there's three parts to the book. The first part is where we are introduced to Holly and her husband and the situation. And I'd made a note of that it's something she had talked about or they had talked about, but not in a whole lot of detail. So it was kind of this move from I suppose I had written down a kind of passive maybe more passive decision or you know, we can talk about that later, to no I actually have to actively make a decision about this now so yeah, age can can obviously play a factor there and I see that with a lot of clients who come to me as well they feel that time pressure and now I have to decide either way. Yeah, so that can that can lead to some pressure. What was it like to read the book? So you know, as we said, It's probably really the second novel or the second childfree novel that I've read. So we had 'Olive' by Emma Gannon which came out a few years ago as well. But yeah, what was it like to read the book?

Julie Cobbe 5:10

Yeah, I did enjoy the book. As we said, it's just so lovely to see this topic represented, you know, by a real person and the story written about. So from that perspective, I love it. I have every childfree journey book, I think, on my bookshelf, because I think when you're faced with the topic, as we are, as women, you know, it's you.. have to face it, and you have to face it, you have to read all sides of people's stories and kind of not be afraid to kind of read the books where they end up having kids or they don't end up having kids. So I really enjoyed the book. And I felt that the character Holly was really sure of herself, you know, she, she felt very centered to me the whole way through the book, But at the same time, it really shows that the weight of this question, whether it's your husband putting it to you, or you have it internally yourself, or you feel it from society, no matter how strong you are, it's a topic that causes so many kind of internal feelings of confusion. And I think that that's perfectly normal. And so for me, the book was, she came across really strong and centered, which show really showed that you have to take the time to examine this topic. Whatever side of the fence you're on.

Mgt O Connor 6:45

Okay. Yeah, yeah, there was no ignoring it in this situation. Yeah, absolutely. You know even reading the first few pages because it's really establishing that like, she's where she wants to be. She's worked really hard in her job and they're married, they done up the house, you know, she's finally kind of going okay, I'm here and you just know, you're like, oh, no (laughter)

Julie Cobbe 7:08

You know what's coming!

Mgt O Connor 7:11

It's not gonna last. But so this really sideswipes her because she, she's not expecting it. She she kind of thought well, we talked about that, you know, I thought the decision was made. So it really knocks her when her husband does say that this is something he now really wants.

Julie Cobbe 7:28

But in a way it kind of, you know, it is just the thing that helps her to start examining her her life generally, isn't it? You know, it the book is is about her examining what she wants from life. Yes. And that's what comes from it. And I think, you know, when you hit 40, that happens, whether it's the childfree childfree question or not. And I think this is how she went on that journey. Because she didn't end up the same person, you know, at the end of the book.

Mgt O Connor 8:02

Yeah absolutely. I think that's a really good point. Yeah. So it's not just, she didn't just make this decision, and nothing else changed in her life. Yeah, yeah.

Julie Cobbe 8:09

Yeah. I think that that's important, really, because it's, it just goes to show that, you know, these moments come along in our lives as women and something instigates them. It's usually age and, you know, and something else big but nobody stays the same, or wants the same things that they did when they were 30, when they're 45. So, yeah, I just think that that's an interesting exploration through the book as well.

Mgt O Connor 8:43

Absolutely. And you're right to say it is it is normal, because we tend to think, you know, you turn 18 or 20, you're an adult, and you just carry on through your life, like the same, like that's not how it should work. We're always developing you know, from a psychological point of view, and it is a very normal thing to do to take stock and reflect and look back and look forward. And I suppose kind of make sure that you are going in the direction you want to go in because you know even that point of in your 20s and 30s, you can be so busy trying to get to particular points, whatever they are, you can lose sight, I suppose of the overall is it's actually where I want to be now that I'm here. So yeah, it is...

Julie Cobbe 9:24

Yeah I know, it's quite scary, really, because you, you think, in your late 20s or mid 30s, you know, you do think you're the person you're going to be and I guess you know, it's it's hard because there that's the time you kind of make the decision about the baby and you do change so much I think between 35 and 45.

Mgt O Connor 9:47

(laughter) In any yeah... could you expand on that?

Julie Cobbe 9:56

Ok, well, maybe it's just me, I don't know, but I I don't think so. I mean, you know, all my friends go through whether they have kids or not go through kind of reflecting on their careers and having worked, you know, 15 years in a particular career and you start, you think, well, do I really want to be doing this until I'm 65? Or is, you know, so it's, it's a general exploration I feel around your life. And what feels important to you. Yeah, of which this is a huge part.

Mgt O Connor 10:29

Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, and I suppose it's interesting...she talks...and I think that first chapter, or that first part, it's relatively short, but a lot happens, you know. This question comes up and she's trying to figure out, like, how does she figure out what she wants, as opposed to even what her husband wants? Or what society is telling her she wants? And like, is, that is the question, that is the project and how to figure that.

Julie Cobbe 11:00

That is the really hard part. It's how much of it is is it me? Do I do I really want this or is it all the external reasons we do things and subconsciously, a lot of the time, and it's unpicking that can be so difficult. I think.

Mgt O Connor 11:19

I really liked so that the character does the pro and con list. I thought that was such a good way of kind..

Julie Cobbe 11:24

Where we all start (laughter)

Mgt O Connor 11:25

Yeah, yeah, (laughter) look, that's fine. It serves a purpose. But it was like, it was a great way by the author just to get a lot of that stuff in there. You know, to get like, these are the things people talk about, or think about. And you know, she worked her way through them, and some balance each other out, and you're trying to weigh up, like which feels more important or which, you know, which seems more important now, but you know, in 10 years time, would that be important? I just thought I thought that was a really good and quite objective. You know, she did put in the pros and cons. Yeah. And yeah, just, this was a clever way of including that content for people who may not have thought of all of those things already. Yeah. And I suppose a big theme of the book as well, is that Holly is quite an analytical, logical person, she would really like the pro and con list to work but it doesn't.

Julie Cobbe 12:20

That's very true. Yeah. And that's funny, you know, it's kind of it's true. She just her logical brain just wants to know the answer. And she realizes it's not that simple.

Mgt O Connor 12:31

Yes. Which I think is a very common thing. It's certainly something I would experience a lot with clients. And, you know, I do ask people to do do pro and con lists, but it's, it's to explore. I mean, I don't think it ever answers the question, but it is about exploring what feels like pros and cons for each person, or what does feel like the thing like oh, I could get past that. But I can't get past that. Like that feels too sticky at the moment. So yeah, it's not the magical answer. But it's it's a useful starting point, I think.

Julie Cobbe 13:00

Yeah, I agree.

Mgt O Connor 13:01

So that kind of leads her on then. Yeah, she's talking to people. And I suppose she, she, she starts reflecting on the people around her like her work colleagues, her mother, her sister, and I suppose trying to see what does it look like like, what what is this experience of parenting? Or what else does it bring? And something.. it is referred to kind of throughout the book really is her husband, you know, says this and then kind of seems to seems to continue on with his like, he's not like..

Julie Cobbe 13:37

Very true, actually. She's the one left with the big bombshell to work through.

Mgt O Connor 13:45

Because I made a note of this. And I'm aware that this is something that just annoys me. But I because every so often, he says like, oh, either way is fine. Just just let me know what you decide. And she's like, how can you say, like, how can you say this is really important to you but then either way is fine. And I suppose it is. It's an interesting dynamic, I think.

Julie Cobbe 14:06

Yeah, I mean, I guess for me, he's, he's not really an important character in the book, I guess (laughter). You know, he's kind of just yeah, he's not really in the book that much. But that in itself was kind of interesting, because it just reflects how you know, this comes back to being mainly like, men sail along and it'll happen or it won't, but you know, it's it's our, it's our choice. So, I thought, yeah, it has a message in there as well.

Mgt O Connor 14:37

Yeah, definitely. And I I do understand, obviously, we wouldn't be happy if he was forcing her or say you she had to but it was just.. I was very struck by that that yeah, he he just kind of checks in or it's like oh, are you still trying to make up your mind about that, like every so often, you know. It was kind of like why is it why has it caused this huge shift for her. And I suppose she she feels quite excluded, generally, and this was in in that relationship as well, which is unfortunate. It's not a nice experience. So she's trying to figure this out. It's not helpful to her.

Julie Cobbe 15:14

I know, and I think as well, you know, he has a son, which we discover in the book, and, you know, and he doesn't have a good relationship or any relationship with him. I think that that's interesting as well, you know, he's not..well, we don't hear that he's trying to do a whole lot to resolve that relationship. And Holly even kind of feels maybe this baby idea is, you know, a kind of a plaster, he wants to do the parenting thing, right. But yet, it's, you know, it's the, it's Holly who does all the self examining and, you know, transforms as a person and talks to people and buys the books and goes on the journey and all of that. And, again, I just think it reflects what what happens and how, you know, well and thankfully women are examining the question more, I guess, but also, we're very hard on ourselves. So, um, and yeah, I think that that's, that's also kind of a thing that comes through in the book.

Mgt O Connor 16:21

Yeah. Because it really goes against her sense of self that she should be able to find the right answer. Like, she knows how to do research. She knows how to reflect, she's done personal development courses, and it really frustrates her that she can't figure this out, or she can't do it quicker or more easily.

Julie Cobbe 16:40

Yeah. And she beats herself up and all of that.

Mgt O Connor 16:45

So yeah I suppose there is this, I suppose phase of the book where she's she's very actively seeking out information. She's talking to people, she talks to her friends, she, she goes, then for some bodywork therapy, she goes to a psychotherapist. So there's a lot of searching and a lot of really active searching on her behalf. Again, we're not aware that he was doing any of this, maybe he is, but we don't hear about it. And she is, I suppose, looking to whatever resources can help her along the way. And then she comes to a decision around coming off the pill. So she's still not really sure. What are you sure if she wants to have a child or not but it's kind of framed in this, like, intuition or the sense of letting go. So letting go of the decision and taking some action to see what might happen then. But she's still quite unsure. Yeah. And then I suppose she does again, spoiler alert, but she does become pregnant. But quite quickly has a miscarriage. So it's, I think that's a really well written section of the book. It's quite emotional.

Yeah because we weren't expecting it.

Yeah, I definitely wasn't because I remember even being a bit jarred when she decided to come off the pill. I was like, oh, okay. But you're still like, not sure...why are you doing that?

Julie Cobbe 18:18

It was surprising. She just decided to throw the cards in the air. And, you know, which happens and that's, that's what happens. Yeah.

Mgt O Connor 18:32

And remains kind of, as she says, emotionally neutral, even, you know, discovering she's pregnant, you know, having this scans and even having the miscarriage, she's feels quite disconnected, really, from the whole experience. And then shortly after that, kind of having a physical sense that she wants to go back on the pill. And without that much thought, you know, it feels like quite a, again, an intuitive move that that is it, that's her decision made. And I've just, there's a quote there's like "just a full body sensation of a crystal clear insight landing in her body that motherhood was not her path". Yeah. And that happens relatively early in the book. I was a bit like oh, okay. There's still a lot of pages to go (laughter). What's the rest of the book going to be about, but it's, yeah, it's a lot happens, I suppose in a short space of time. How how did you feel about that?

Julie Cobbe 19:33

Yeah, I think that as you say, I was surprised that that happened, but I think it was very real. You know, I think this is the nuance. And this is real life. And you know, I think her experience really showed.. really gave her unfortunately, it was a horrible experience to go through but she she could be a mum now. Just like she could have and did miscarry. And so these are the fine margins of life is kind of mainly what I thought, you know how a decision you make, can just change your life forever. You know, and she could have had that baby and you know, you reflect on the fact that I'm sure she would have been an amazing mom and she would have been, you know, she just she, she would have probably enjoyed lots of motherhood and probably found other parts of it challenging, you know. She probably would have said, well, I'd never give back my child, and she would love the baby. So I just think that it really shows how decisions we make, obviously change the course of our life, and you have to make the best of what happens, whatever course you choose. And I think for her, you know, it was the thing that gave her the clarity, more clarity of this did not feel right for me. And yeah, unfortunately, you know, or whatever way you look at it, you know, it led her down a different path.

Mgt O Connor 21:12

Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, I think you're absolutely right. And as well, sometimes I think people do find the fact that they want or need to make a very conscious decision. I suppose if, if something happens, you respond to it. And it's not really anyone's fault, or it's not specifically your fault. If you make a decision, and something happens as a result of that, the responsibility stays with you. And that's hard, you know, especially if you're unsure. So I can see that there's a comfort in kind of letting things happen, or just responding to things as they happen. It's harder to make a conscious choice and follow through on that, knowing that that is your responsibility, then because, you've made it.

Julie Cobbe 21:58

Yeah, but I also think it shows generally in the book, but I guess, at this point, that, you know, she's looking as we all do for logical answers to life's questions. And in so many cases, there isn't logic to it, you know, it is a feeling it is a, it is something you have to tune into within yourself, it's an intuition. And that it's hard to reach that place when you're you when you think about things logically. All of us, it's hard to reach that place of real intuition of what feels good for me. And that's, I think, something that maybe helped her reach that intuition.

Mgt O Connor 22:42

Absolutely. And, you know, at the same time that all of this is going on, she's, you know, she's recently been promoted, she's in a really high pressure job, she's still doing all of life, it's not like you get to take off, you know, you don't pause everything else, while you do this, usually. And so there's a lot going on. And yeah, I think that's a really, really good point, because I suppose the rest of the book is a lot about her finding her intuition and trusting it most importantly. And there isn't always time or space to do that, depending on your situation.

Julie Cobbe 23:16

It sets her on a lovely path of intuition, I guess, you know, because it's from that point that she starts going on the trip, she goes on, on as you're coming on to and the different kind of people, the psychotherapist, the counselor that she goes to, so you just need one switch, and then it kind of goes, okay, I'm gonna, I'm opening up to this. And I'm going to see what comes from looking at it this way.

Mgt O Connor 23:43

Which I suppose really is the theme, isn't it? It's all about opening up to experience and to whatever comes with that uncertainty. You know, which, which is absolutely what she does. But I thought was very interesting. So part two of the book then is like, okay, well, I've made this decision, what the hell do I do now? Basically, you know, it was very good. It's not like oh, well just because you made that decision everything's crystal clear and you just carry on you know. Maybe it can be for some people, but for a lot of people that can be yeah, what do I do with this now and, and she speaks about, you know, parenthood being this route that is really clearly mapped out and we know what it looks like. And route b is just blank. And this is where this this idea of the the departure lounge, you know, she's ready to go somewhere, but she has no idea where, where that is or what the options are. So I thought that was really good.

Julie Cobbe 24:36

Yeah, I think that's possibly my favorite theme in the book, actually, you know, it's real again. It's like, if you don't have children, there is no map and it just can feel like you do have to figure.. it feels like you should know or this should be like this great revelation of oh I don't have kids and wow, every day, my my life feels so authentic and amazing. And the reality is whether you have them or you don't there's going to be days where you think, oh, what would life look like if I had done that? Or, you know, or days where, you know, it's just not as clear cut on either side of the fence. And I thought that was very real in the book.

Mgt O Connor 25:21

Yeah, absolutely. And, and that doesn't necessarily mean you've made the wrong decision. But it's just, I mean, sometimes it can be like, you have too many options. You know, there can be this sense whether you can do anything, really, but what is it again, that you want to do?

Julie Cobbe 25:39

And it's the idea that society tells us, if you're a mother, you have a purpose, you're given that purpose. That's, that's what you know, you can go to your grave, having had a purpose that the world tells you is really the best purpose. And I think she says in the book, you know, if I'm not a mother, what am I for? And that's what she's searching for peace around, you know, how do I look at this? So if I don't have this thing in my life? How do I how do I just feel centered in myself with that decision? And you know, find what makes me happy? Yeah. And is there a thing like, is there a thing in everybody's life that, you know, if whether you have kids or not, you know, what you're looking for the thing that is the ultimate purpose or goal, but again, life is sticky. And I think there's lots of things along the way, and you just have to live life, don't you..which she explores.

Mgt O Connor 26:43

Absolutely, yeah, I listened to a podcast with the with the author, which is really interesting. And she was kind of wondering out loud as such, like, do do mothers go through this when their kids grow up? She's like, is that what the empty nest syndrome is..that if your children are adults, and have grown up, like they haven't gone completely, but if they're, if they're gone out of your daily life, is that something they do, and childfree people or childless people just need to do that earlier? thought was very interesting. I hadn't heard that.

Julie Cobbe 27:15

That's really true. I love that. It's yeah, that feels possible. I mean, doesn't it?

Mgt O Connor 27:23

Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I thought that just made sense when she said that I was like, yeah, that feels quite similar. Yeah.

Julie Cobbe 27:32

Yeah it does feel quite similar. Yeah, I think that that's a really good analogy, I must say. Yeah.

Mgt O Connor 27:39

So she joins a mindfulness group. And through that, there is a series of connections, somebody gives her a card, and there's a photograph of this island that she goes to. So I know I said earlier, we don't often get to just go and completely focus on thinking but she does. She goes on a retreat, to this island, it's a Buddhist retreat. And it's what she does, she makes a lot of connections there, she meets people, she does a lot of reflection. And this is the start of a really important part of her process, I suppose of seeing that there's other ways of being, there's other things that can be important. And really trying to be less less harsh on yourself, because there's a lot, a lot of harsh inner talk. On the island in particular. Yeah. Yeah, I thought yeah, I liked I liked that part. I thought it was just it it really encouraged just that idea of intuition and connection to other people.

Julie Cobbe 28:47

Yeah, I know. And, again, I thought it was interesting, you know, she was happy throughout that journey. We never, although she was grieving motherhood, I guess. She was definitely grieving motherhood and wanted to find a way to let go of the idea of being a mum. But, you know, from the moment she went on to that island and was meeting that lovely girl that she made a friend with and the groups that she did, she seemed happy in those moments. And I think that she's on this journey to letting go of being a mum, while not quite recognizing yet that the happiness is in those little moments. Like she's looking for it at a future point. But actually, if you look stand back from the book and look at her, she's actually happy just exploring and doing this more creative side of herself. And you know, and I think that that's, that's a part of accepting and letting go, but you don't quite see it when you're in the middle of it. You know?

Mgt O Connor 29:59

That's a lovely point. I don't know if I thought of that myself. But yeah, I suppose there's those, because they're very genuine connections she makes with with lots of different people. So yeah, that's really nice. Actually, it doesn't have to be this one big..

Julie Cobbe 30:13

moment she's working towards or a future point of happiness. Yeah.

Mgt O Connor 30:18

Yeah I like that. And then I suppose there's a kind of a, well, a few external things happen. So her father becomes sick and dies, quite suddenly, Brexit happens. And I suppose there's a lot of a lot of uncertainty. So she's still uncertain to a degree herself about what her life is going to look like. But then these external things, obviously have have an impact as well. And she kind of comes into this concept of not just wanting to be happy, but wanting to have joy. So she's trying to figure out what that means and what that looks like. And I suppose there's, there's other decisions to be made. Yeah, so it's this kind of a culmination of a decision, her husband suggests that they move to Australia.

Julie Cobbe 31:11

I know (laughter). He's great, he's great with throwing in the questions. The big life bomb isn't he?

Mgt O Connor 31:19

(laughter) he is great at these off the cuff, let's do this huge decision.

Julie Cobbe 31:24

Let's just move to the other side of the world.

Mgt O Connor 31:26

He's not happy about Brexit and his business, they've had to sell their business or whatever. So I do think that's interesting, because it's like, okay..I know, I'm being judgmental here but it's fiction so it's alright.. (laughter) you know, like, there's there's loss or it feels like there's loss for him, like he is the loss of the relationship with his son, he loses the business, loses kind of his sense of identity in Britain. And like, yeah, his response is, instead of looking inward, to just do this big thing, it's almost like a distraction, like, oh, let's have a baby, let's go to Australia. You know, and, and she's in such a different place. She's not looking for these big, external things. So I think it was through the book, really, they're really moving in different directions.

Julie Cobbe 32:11

Yeah, that is true. I think that that does really come across, doesn't it? She just begins to go slowly down this other path away from her career, away from, you know, needing kind of material things around her, you know, she just becomes different. Whereas he stays the same. And there's nothing wrong with that. But it's clear they're growing apart.

Mgt O Connor 32:39

Yeah. And it's not that that is automatically going to happen, just for anyone who's worried. That's not you know, that's not as I said, it's not automatic that if you're trying to make this decision, it's going to lead to that but it was it just it feels like that pattern is already there. So I suppose she does agree to go to Australia at the beginning. And she she does want to try and kind of commit to the relationship and to that plan, but in the end she she decides it's not for her and he does go and she stays behind and I suppose she's quite accepting. I think she she she does get to a place of acceptance around yeah, around what she wants.

Julie Cobbe 33:32

I think she does.. not without the dramatic airport scene, of course. I mean, it's all very last minute.

Mgt O Connor 33:39

Oh, yeah. Sorry. Yes, they are at the airport, ready to go (laughter).

Julie Cobbe 33:46

But again, it's kind of you know, it's amazing. Like, I think didn't she have a meltdown in the bathroom? And she kind of had a an out of body experience, I mean everything in her body was telling her don't you know, this isn't the right thing for you. So it's quite amazing when you start tuning into your yourself and your body how you know the answers, the answer is rise off but I guess eventually. But yeah, she was in the airport loo (laughter).

Mgt O Connor 34:13

Where all good life decisions are made (laughter). Yeah. And yeah, I suppose. Yeah, I'm gonna come back to that actually. At the end of the book, then you do see, I suppose that she she is in a place of acceptance. She she's not too I don't think she's left with kind of any bitterness even towards towards her husband. She kind of recognizes he needed to do what he needed to do and, and she made her decision and you see that she's able to have kind of a better relationship with her mother. They weren't really communicating very well before that. And there's just a sense of contentment. She has planned to write a book and yeah, I think contentment is the word at the end of the book. She just kind of understands where she is and why she's there. Would you agree?

Julie Cobbe 35:06

Yeah, I do. And I thought the relationship with the mum was interesting as well. I mean, I know it was explored just a little bit, but don't you think that you know her mom..well, I felt it was nearly Holly, you know, she was different to her mum and her sister had chosen, her sister had children, I'm pretty sure didn't she? And Holly felt you know, her mom just didn't really understand her or they just were kind of different. And then realized at the end, you know, actually, my mum just wants me to be happy, it kind of, you know, came about and it makes you reflect on... She saw that when she was more sure about herself. Yes. And it makes you think well, her mum always wanted her to be happy. But sometimes it's hard to see these things, because you're kind of reflecting back on yourself, your own judgments. I'm not good enough because I can't make this decision, or I'm unsure or I need I should want to be a mum and I'm not sure. And it's just again, it's the beating yourself up and everybody else must see me as some monster.

Mgt O Connor 36:18

Absolutely. Yeah, I think that's a really great point. I suppose. If somebody says something or asks something that, you know, is a sore point or a trigger point for us..whereas they were able to have a really honest, open conversation. And I suppose when her mother saw that she was happy, then that is, she was happy with that. But I suppose before that she didn't seem happy. So yeah, I think again, that's a really good point. Yeah. It's easy to..I'm going to say misinterpret that when when you're quite heightened about what's happening.

Julie Cobbe 36:53

Exactly, when you're not feeling yourself, and you're feeling down on yourself. It's hard to.. you just read into things, don't you?

Mgt O Connor 37:03

Absolutely. So yeah. And what I was going to say, and I mentioned this to you before. I started reading the book, and I can't remember exactly at what point, I think it was into the middle of the book, I took a break from reading it for maybe two or three weeks. And I went back to it again obviously, but I found a kind of hard going, and I could recognize that that was because of her uncertainty. And that uncertain place is really uncomfortable. It's an uncomfortable place to be. But it's also I suppose kind of an uncomfortable place to see somebody be in as well. I just thought that was interesting. And I obviously went back and read it again, for this. And I think I got a lot more out of it this time. I think the first time I was probably obviously looking at it through my own experience or interest

Julie Cobbe 37:57

I could imagine that. Yeah.

Mgt O Connor 37:59

But I just thought that was really interesting. So I suppose I'm wondering, for anybody who's maybe coming to this as a new, you know, if they're just maybe starting to explore the story. I'm wondering, would it feel quite overwhelming. There's, there's a lot going on, it's quite emotional. As you said, there's different phases. Did you feel that or was that was me?

Julie Cobbe 38:26

I do know what you mean, but I guess I mainly felt, I guess validated because you realize, when you read other people's stories, that, again, it's just not a linear journey. And it's not you just come to a decision. And you know, and unless it just feels right, and you just close the door, and then you move into this new life and everything's, you know, wonderful. And I think we all know, life is not that easy. And so for me, the book, just was really lovely for showing that, you know, you just have to put one foot in front of the other and you have to follow your gut, and you have to put yourself out there and you know, go to counseling, speak to somebody, seek out your neighbor who decided not to have kids who's 65 and ask her about it. You have to do, you know, because sometimes when you're just in your thoughts, it just gets you nowhere, you have to do and I think Holly really did. And that was just lovely for me. I guess I really felt yeah, that's that's that's what I did. And you know, it's not one thing that's going to lead you to the right answer or to feeling better about your decision. But I think a culmination of lots of things over time is what helps and what gets you there. So I loved it from that perspective.

Mgt O Connor 39:59

Oh, yeah, no, I did as I say, I really I do like to book as well. And I think it is very well, it's real and it's obviously it's quite closely written, I suppose on Jennifer's own life. Now, it's not entirely the same, but elements of it are similar. So yeah, and I suppose what am I trying to say? I completely agree. And it's absolutely necessary. And I suppose it just, I hope people wouldn't... Oh, yeah, I suppose what I think it does..let me phrase this better... It does show the hard work. And it shows how scary it can be to think I'm going a different path. You know, and I think that's really important. Because it is. So yeah, it doesn't shy away from the work involved. Yeah.

Julie Cobbe 40:50

No, that's really true. Yeah, no, I agree with that. And, yeah, and it does show that at each point, it's a difficult step for her to take.. going into the room with a group of women who she would never have stepped into and difficult steps to take but at no point did she kind of regret them or..

Mgt O Connor 41:12

That's true.

Julie Cobbe 41:15

Yeah, it's but it is, it is a it is a journey that has a lot of steps in it. And I think that's very real.

Mgt O Connor 41:24

Yes, absolutely. And I really liked how things lead to each other. Like, you know, one person referred her somewhere else, and they suggested this, and then she you know, it...

Julie Cobbe 41:34

Yeah just doing one thing is the first seed that you're sowing.

Mgt O Connor 41:38

Yeah. And you kind of find your way after that, then if you're open to the, to the nudges. Yeah, absolutely brilliant. Is there anything about it, you think we haven't covered?

Julie Cobbe 41:53

Um, I guess I, one thing I loved in the theme, I guess, was just how they portrayed how her her character was portrayed, she spoke about her controlling self and her creative self. Again, I guess I really resonated with that. We all have two different selves, you know, we probably have a work self or whatever way, whatever two sides were, you know, we're not just one thing. And, you know, the controlling self was the part that wanted the answer and wanted the safe life choices. And but something in her was telling her that was not right. And it was this other part of herself. And I think just the fact that she, she chose slowly over time, she recognized she had this other part of herself, she didn't quite know what it looked like, or what the answer was, but she explored it. And I think that that's a good reflection for anyone really facing this decision, you know, rather than thinking, you know, you are just the sum of this, you know, one thing or you're looking at, you look at yourself in one way. Can you look at yourself a different way, what's another part of yourself that you could explore that might help you get to the answer, or bring you down a different path? I thought that was lovely in the book.

Mgt O Connor 43:23

Absolutely. And I've heard her speak. And I will put the links in for those, those podcasts. And, you know, she speaks really beautifully about self compassion. Because, you know, Holly, or any of us can't force ourselves into finding the right decision. You can't berate yourself or criticize yourself into suddenly knowing. But sometimes, you know, we still try. And she was saying, in her own life, how she's really had to work so hard to understand what self compassion is, and how it's okay. You know, that she was even saying that writing the book, like, you know, she said, she wrote a first draft and she left it for a while, and she came back and she thought it was brilliant. And when she read it, she wanted to put it in fire. She said it was awful. She was so harsh on herself and she said she really had to work to to be nicer, like that wasn't going to achieve anything saying it was rubbish or putting it in the fire wasn't going to achieve anything. Whereas to actually go back and say it's okay, is your first draft, you tried. It's not actually all that bad. We can just fix these bits. And how hard it is to because it feels like giving in or it feels like oh, you can't achieve anything by being nice to yourself. I think a lot of us have this very unhelpful belief that everything has to be very harsh and hard and strict. And I think the way she described that is really lovely. But I think you see that throughout the book, I suppose. It does soften, like Holly softens in her view of herself and of other people. It's really nice.

Julie Cobbe 45:01

Very true. Yeah, very true. And you're right. And we're just so hard on ourselves when we face any decision, big decision in life, or make a change, or even just going about your day to day life, you know, it's so hard to not come at it from a point of beating yourself up, or I should have done or I should have thought or. Yeah, so I'd be interested in those podcasts. It sounds lovely to hear her speak about the book herself. Yeah.

Mgt O Connor 45:29

Yeah. Yeah, I think I found it really helpful. She's really down to earth.

Julie Cobbe 45:35

She is English is she?

Mgt O Connor 45:36

She is yeah, She has a lovely accent. I'm not sure exactly where she's from. But everything sounds very soothing when she says it. So I like that (laughter). Yeah, so um, yeah, I think we would be recommending the book. So you know, it's, it is a great resource. It's a particular set of experiences. Not everybody might relate to all of it but I think those overall themes are strong enough that everyone could take something from it.

Julie Cobbe 46:07

Yeah I agree with that. Yeah. I mean, it's not a book for everybody. But I think it there's a lot to be gotten from the book, if you're on this journey, I feel.

Mgt O Connor 46:18

And as well, I know I'm robbing all the other podcast content. But she was saying as well, even for, you know, parents, I suppose to understand the process if you maybe you know, if somebody's mother themselves, but you have friends or your own, you know, future adult children, trying to understand what it's like for somebody who isn't as sure as you might have been, I think it could be quite a good insight into that as well. So yeah, I think I know, I certainly would kind of pigeon hole it in oh, but only people who are interested in this particular, you no question would would read it but, I suppose it would be lovely to think that a wider audience would access it as well.

Julie Cobbe 46:54

I think that's really true. And I guess isn't that the thing here? You know, we're trying as a society to generally get women to you know, that it is something you can choose or not choose. And I think about my own little nieces, and you want them to feel like, okay, well, there is a choice to be made here. It isn't just a done deal. So I think yeah, I think that that's very true.

Mgt O Connor 47:22

They are all Jennifer's ideas, now, I won't rob them as my own but (laughter)...brilliant. Well, so lovely. This is as near to being in a book club as I've come so far. That was lovely, thank you.

Julie Cobbe 47:38

It was lovely, thank you. And thank you so much for sending me the book. I did really enjoy it.

Mgt O Connor 47:43

No problem and thanks to Jennifer for sending us both the copies and thanks for taking the time, really lovely to catch back up with you again and have this discussion. So yeah, have a lovely day and we will chat soon.

Julie Cobbe 47:58

Thank you very much. See you soon. Bye bye.

Mgt O Connor 48:07

Thank you to my guests for taking part and to you for listening. Please check out Are Kids For Me on Facebook and Instagram for more content.

Transcribed by

48 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page