Reading Group Guide for The Baby Trail
1) Why do you think Emma wants to have a baby? She resolves to get pregnant at New Years saying, "It was high time I had a baby. I was thirty-three and although I may have felt--and, truth be told, behaved--like I was twenty-five, it was time to knuckle down and get up the duff" (3). It sounds as though she wants to have a baby because she feels as though she should, and that's not hard to believe, given the incredible amount of pressure to have kids she picks up from her social circle. Still, there are other moments, holding her goddaughter, for instance, when even observers can tell she's feeling "broody." What compels her to undergo all the painful medical treatments and devote her life to baby making?
2) How does Emma's character change over the course of the novel? She says herself, "I had been a thoughtful person before I had become an obsessive psychotic" (296). Do you think Emma's appraisal of her behavior is fair? While her Mum thinks she's been tough to take, James doesn't seem to think she's lost her character. He says, "But you are you. You've just had a really difficult time lately" (301). Do you think Emma's behavior crosses the line during her treatments, or would any woman who wants a baby that badly act similarly?
3) Were you surprised when Emma decided not to continue with IVF? What do you think the final straw was? Had she lost her faith in modern medicine? Was she tired of waiting? Did she