‘The Waiting Game: one woman’s bumpy road to birth’ is a work of creative
nonfiction dealing with political and social issues surrounding birth and the
empowerment of women, but also explores the lives of women as mothers and
workers, the importance of love and friendship, and the impact of family. Based on
my own experiences, research, and interviews with midwives and homebirth /
hospital-birth mothers, I have chronicled the details of pregnancy and birth within a
The action of ‘The Waiting Game’ is carried relentlessly forward by the
growth of a new life and its journey into the world and the responses of five main
characters (apart from myself) add depth and complexity to the narrative. Karin, my
midwife, grapples with the issue of control in birth. My mother questions whether I
really need any more children, which mirrors my own confusion about having another
baby. My friend Rowena offers me her woman-to-woman support and nurtures me
with food and love throughout the pregnancy. My son Jack, a teenager embroiled in
the tumult of puberty, causes considerable tension in the family. And John, my
husband, squabbles over money and misplaced affection in the lead-up to the birth.
Their reactions reflect different aspects of myself (my worries, my age, my health, my
failure as a mother, my relationship with my husband) and convey to the reader some
of the interrelated aspects of the homebirth experience.
As the story unfolds, my belly and familial relationships stretched to their very
limits, I discover that birth, just like many things in life, is a waiting game, and that
there is no one right way, only the choices we make.
The accompanying critical essay uses my own experience of writing ‘The
Waiting Game’ to examine creative nonfiction as a genre. The essay discusses the
historical antecedents of the genre and also demonstrates that creative nonfiction is an
appropriate genre for the subject matter of my creative project. The essay draws on
the work of practitioners and theorists of creative nonfiction in order to identify the
characteristics of the genre using excerpts from the creative project to illustrate the
ways in which my own work exhibits these characteristics.