Mary is not in a good place. Aged 34, her relationship with Mark has fallen apart. Her career in human resources is in free fall, and having allowed Mark to dominate her social life for so many years, she has no real friends left to turn to.
There was a form stuffed into my daughter's book-bag when she came home last month. I signed without reading and swiftly forgot about it. A few days later I got an email: "Thanks for offering your help with the summer fair. We'd love it if you would man the bouncy castle for an hour from 1.30pm". This was exactly the opportunity I'd been waiting for: a chance to bond with other mums at the three-year-old's new school while demonstrating my parenting prowess.
I never got to ponder the question "Am I ready to have a baby?" before the event. Had it ever occurred to me to think about it around the time that I first became pregnant, at the age of 26, the answer would have been instant: "Not on yer nelly."