Of all the ways I ever thought I’d feel about us having a child, it was never this.

I don’t want the baby I don’t care about the baby that’s a terrible thing to say but it’s true I don’t not at all.

I only care about her and what happens to her and her being alive and if they can’t do the treatment because of the baby then there shouldn’t be a baby. What good is any of it if she isn’t going to make it through this and be alive and be with me, my wife, my love, the woman I married and swore I would protect and care for and mind and now at the first and the biggest hurdle we face I can do nothing to help. I sit beside her in the appointments and listen with her and try and ask the questions I know we need the answers to – ‘how long and what and how much and when and where and what if?’ – and I feel so useless and terrified and it’s her who is comforting me and minding me and not the other way around as it should be. After those terrible meetings it’s her who tells me what the consultant said and reminds me that the outcome is good that we need to be strong and we’ll get through this.

Maybe if we’d known about the baby before we knew about the cancer it would be different and I would feel more for it but we didn’t. The news came together, the cancer first and then almost immediately the pregnancy because they had to test to know when they could begin the treatment and when it turned out they couldn’t do anything for nearly three months and the cancer is growing all the time then I knew what I wanted. And God help me it felt like there were two alien things in her growing and taking her from me. I wanted the pregnancy gone so she could be safe. I wanted her to come first, to be put first, because for me she is first and everything – everything – else is second.

I told her there could be more pregnancies and that the main thing was for her to be well and be here. And I knew even as I said it that she wouldn’t agree and she didn’t. There’s time she said. Even though we both know there isn’t. Not enough of it anyway.

And of all the things I ever thought we’d fight about it was never this. And of all the ways I ever thought I’d feel about us having a child, it was never this.

‘We had wanted children together. We had had children together.’

Sandra’s story

‘The nights and the bottles and the feeding and changing. I did it too.’

Denis’s story

‘I used to know exactly how I felt and now I don’t?’

Bríd’s story

‘I can’t not trust another woman to know her own mind, her own body and her own life.’

Agnes’s story

‘I chose to do something that you didn’t have any choice about’

Jennifer’s story