Cradled Dreams
Cradled Dreams
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As her family gathers for Thanksgiving, Georgie’s heartbreak is hard to conceal. After years of pursuing her dreams of motherhood, she has recently learned that her last option to conceive has failed. Grim amid the festive holiday celebrations, Georgie feels that she has little reason to give thanks.

Her sister-in-law, Robin, desperate to ease Georgie’s suffering, struggles for a way to help. On loving impulse, she offers a solution—surrogacy.

Flush with excitement, neither woman can predict how her life will change. But each is comforted by the knowledge that her love for the other will guide the way. Soon, after in vitro using a relative’s sperm and her own egg, Robin shares the joyous news that she is pregnant. Every conversation sparkles with her private joy at the gift she could give her sister-in-law. But she encounters unexpected criticism when discussing the plan with others. She must now deal with judgment and questions about ethics. Relationships are strained. Both must pay emotional costs they never anticipated. Soon, questions they never asked begin to haunt them both.

Where do boundaries of possibility meet long-term responsibility? Under what circumstances does science need to pause to consider moral outcomes? When organs and tiny bones grow in spite of circumstances never seen in nature, where does motherhood begin and end?

And most haunting of all is the question Robin couldn’t ask herself on that first day: Will she really be able to give up the child for the sake of Georgie’s dream?

She looked up at him, her face etched with tight lines. She didn’t want to speak. She didn’t want to face him. She looked down and whispered, “Stephen, I offered to carry a baby for your sister.” She watched his eyebrows arch, his unspoken question whether she was teasing. She kept her stare steady. “You’re serious? Something that big...without talking to me about it?” he asked. His eyes darkened. “Robin, this isn’t like you. What’s going on?” “I know that something deep inside me feels it’s right to carry a baby for them.” He wrapped his fingers around his other wrist. He pushed back in the stool, his back solid against the laddered wrought iron. He was silent. She waited for him to speak. The coffee maker spewed its final burst of steam just before the “ready” light came on. She heard laughter in the great room as Chance and Gram clicked the marbles across the wooden board. She rubbed her hand over the granite. The diamond in her ring glistened and then as the sun brightened the kitchen, the sparkle dulled and seemed to fade. “This isn’t the way we do things, Robin. We talk through big decisions. Together. We’ve only mentioned this idea one time. More in a wish-we-could-help them way. We think through ramifications. We try to determine the fair approach. You’ve done none of that.” Palms outward, he backed his hands against his chest, a gesture she’d never seen before and one that seemed to protect himself from her. She needed him. His support. She dropped her head. Her intention had been good, even if she had spoken too quickly. Her mind reeled. Was she being honest? Stepping over the line? Putting her desire over Chance’s needs? She needed his approval, his agreement that her offer was right. She didn’t want to think that she had overreached her decision. She tilted her head, not wanting her husband to tell her what to do. It was really a question of a woman reaching out to another woman. She cleared her throat and leaned forward. “That’s true. But, Stephen, I do want to have a baby for them. I know that.”
Beverly Hoffman spent her childhood in Texas eating barbeque and drinking Big Reds. After college, she and her husband, Marty, moved to Panama, where she taught English for for twenty-six years. They retired to Sequim, Washington, where they enjoy the bounty of fresh Dungeness crab, Washington wines, and family.

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