There was once a girl who had a big stone in her tummy. The stone was Sadness. Sometimes it was hard and heavy and dragged her right down. Other times it was gooey and gravy-like and sloshed around inside making her feel sick. Sometimes it was a coloured silk handkerchief, the sort that magicians use, and she could stuff it into her fist and it would seem to disappear.
She very rarely talked about the Sadness. It was far too big to talk about, and she was certain it would crush her. When she did mention it, she talked in a detached way, as if about someone else’s life. She was very good at putting the Sadness away in a carefully crafted box that locked in several ways. Mostly, this worked very well, and she could experience much joy and happiness elsewhere in her life. But occasionally the box itself turned to gravy, or to stone. Or she pulled at the corner of one of the pretty silk handkerchiefs and the lot of them came streaming out of her closed fist, just like a magician.
The girl could not be a mother in the conventional way. This was the Sadness. The girl had desperately wanted to be a mother her entire life. As a child she cared greatly for her many dolls, and was a proficient nappy changer of her beloved Tiny Tears and later, her Timmy Tears. The girl had always known she would one day be a mother, and she very much looked forward to that day. She’d planned motherhood and dreamed of her future children and excitedly filled her personal library with children’s books in preparation. Peter Rabbit was waiting to be read.