You may have seen the news already – my first novel, Maternal Instinct, will be published in October 2019 by Story Addict Publishing.
BUT first I need to raise the funds to pay for editing, design, printing and distribution. So I’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign. As I write it’s been 5 days and the campaign is already 35% funded, so thank you so much to everyone who has pledged.
You can pledge $10 to be rewarded with an ebook of Maternal Instinct, or $20 to be rewarded with a paperback copy. To find out more, or to make a pledge, head over to the Kickstarter website.
Listen to a scene from Maternal Instinct
The scene I read to you in this episode is one of my favourites from Maternal Instinct. I have no idea if something like this has happened in real life, but I would love to hear from you if it has!
Listen here or wherever you listen to podcasts.
Prefer to read the excerpt? Here’s the transcript
The background to the scene
The characters I want to introduce you to today are Alice and Monica, the main stars of the story. They are mother and daughter. Alice was forced to give up Monica when she was 6 months old, to be raised by professional parents, as all babies must be in the near-future world of Maternal Instinct. She’s kept her daughter at arms-length ever since, trying to keep the overwhelming feelings jammed down inside so she can get on with the rest of her life. She has, however, kept in touch, visiting Monica every Sunday until she turned 18.
Monica is now a mother herself, having given birth to the gorgeous little Oscar a few months ago – her first child, which she will also have to give up when he turns 6 months.
Monica is not maternal in any way. She was very annoyed about having to get pregnant at all and sees it as an inconvenience that is getting in the way of her starting her career.
Since Oscar was born, though, her opinion has started to change. She’s started to fall in love with her own baby.
The scene I want to read you is one of my favourites from Maternal Instinct. I have no idea if something like this has happened in real life, but I would love to hear from you if it has!
Alice is turning 40 and she’s taken Monica out of the Birthing Home for the day so they can have a mother/daughter day getting ready and then go to the party together. This is Monica’s first time away from baby Oscar since he was born. Here’s what happened at the hairdressers.
The scene in Maternal Instinct where Monica accidentally sprays Alice in the face with breast milk
Monica settled into the chair and watched in the mirror as Connie sectioned off a line of copper hairs, pasted them with white goo then wrapped them in a piece of baking foil and folded it back up onto her scalp where it stayed suspended, as if by magic.
‘How old’s your little one, then?’ asked Connie, kick-starting the stream of small talk hairdressers were famous for.
‘Boy or girl?’
Connie paused. Monica shut her eyes, hoping to shut down the chatter and enjoy the pseudo head massage in silence.
‘Boobs hurting yet?’
‘What?’ Monica’s eyes snapped open.
‘Yer boobs, love. First time away from a three-month-old, they’re likely to be full and leaky by now.’
Monica discreetly pressed her upper arms into her breasts underneath her cape. Oh yes, they were bursting and painful alright.
‘They’re a bit tender,’ she said.
‘You’ll be wanting to express a bit before too long. Take some of the pressure off. When we’re done with the colour here you can nip out the back and use the sink if you like. Plenty of privacy in there.’ Connie expertly flicked up four layers of silver foil hair packages with the end of her comb and inspected them. They cascaded back down like an aluminium waterfall.
‘Um, thanks,’ said Monica, feeling bewildered.
‘Did you bring a hand pump?’ asked Alice softly, opening her eyes and reaching over to put a reassuring hand on Monica’s arm.
Monica shook her head.
‘I’ll come and show you how to express manually. It’s not hard when you’re full. Ask someone to show you how to use a hand pump when you get back to the Birthing Home. It’ll help… later.’
‘Just like milkin’ a cow!’ Connie shrieked with laughter.
Monica blushed, wishing she could sink through the floor. Motherhood had put the spotlight on her body, which she much preferred to keep to herself. Life had been so much simpler as a high school student when she could focus on her books and ignore the crowds. Irritated, she reached up under the cape and carefully touched her breasts. They were sore and lumpy around the edges. It seemed that wherever she went, she would still be a mother, baby or not.
Monica watched Connie scrape the last of the goo out and paste it over her hair.
‘Alrighty then, that’s you all wrapped up,’ she said, spinning the dial on a timer and setting it on the bench. ‘Just need to cook for a bit. You okay for drinks? Want another coffee?’
Monica peered into the mug which Rita had snuck onto the table in front of her. It was almost full. She shook her head at Connie.
‘No, I’m fine, thanks.’
‘Lovely. Just sing out if you need anything.’ Connie wheeled her trolley around to the other side of the salon where an older lady sat, her short hair in wet clumps, watching a projected video.
Monica picked up her coffee and sipped slowly, savouring the smooth richness of freshly brewed. No bitter after taste. No weird chemical kick. Just beautiful, velvety coffee. She made a note to tell Joe and smiled as she pictured his wistful jealousy. Maybe she would bring him into the city next Sunday to get his caffeine fix.
She wondered how Oscar was going. Suddenly her arms felt empty, light, as though she’d forgotten something. There was a sharp twinge deep in her left breast and she felt the pad against her nipple start to soak with milk. She looked down in annoyance to check it hadn’t come through her top. All dry, for the moment.
Monica glanced over at Alice, who seemed to have drifted off to sleep in her chair, feet propped up on a purpose-built metal rack. She tapped her earpiece lightly and smiled as she read a message from Maddy:
Proof of life attached. Figured you’d be freaking out by now. He’s fine. Have fun. xxx.
Attached was a photo, date stamped fifteen minutes ago, of Oscar sleeping soundly in Maddy’s lap, his arms crossed over his chest and his mouth wide open. Maddy had clearly taken the picture herself. Her naked breast had managed to protrude its way into the shot. Monica laughed to herself. At least she knew Oscar was being well fed, though she felt mixed emotions – at best – that he hadn’t been fed by her.
‘Do you want me to show you how to hand express now?’ asked Alice.
‘Oh, um, I guess so,’ said Monica, nervous but eager for some relief from the pressure building up in her breasts.
The two women made a strange parade of black capes and tin-foiled heads as they headed into the back room. It was a jumble of boxes and jars, a seat and a small shelf which housed three handbags. A stark contrast to the minimalist luxury of the salon proper.
Alice found the sink and summoned Monica with a sideways nod.
‘Okay, so Connie wasn’t far wrong. It is actually pretty much the same as milking a cow, except horizontal instead of vertical. Have you ever milked a cow?’
Monica shook her head, feeling like she might cry.
‘Ever seen one milked?’ Alice asked, more gently.
‘Okay, so you get the general gist. You need to start at the base of your nipple and firmly brush outward, sort of pulling as you go. You’ll get a feel for it after a while.’
Monica stood, looking at the sink helplessly, not sure where to start.
‘Do you want me to go and wait in the salon?’ asked Alice, turning to leave and give her daughter some privacy.
Monica grabbed her arm. ‘No. Stay. Please.’
The young mother lifted her shirt and unhooked the cup of her maternity bra, wincing as her rock-hard breast was released. She squeezed the base of her nipple but didn’t move her fingers forwards fast enough. The nipple flicked upwards and squirted the mirror with a fine spray of milk. Mortified, she looked to Alice for further instructions. Alice stood in front of her, shaking with silent laughter as several drops of breast milk dripped down her face.
‘Oh no, oh no, I’m so sorry Mum. Oh, let me get you a tissue.’
Monica grabbed a handful of tissues from a nearby box and tried to dab at Alice’s face but found herself facing the top of her mother’s head. A terrible wheezing sound emitted from Alice as she doubled over.
‘Are you okay, Mum?’ Monica put a hand on her shoulder.
Alice’s whole body shook as the built-up laughter finally came out in great gusts of sound. Alice threw her head back, the tears rolling down her face as Connie stuck her head around the curtain.
‘How are you girls going in here?’ she asked.
Monica stood, petrified, forgetting she had one breast hanging out of her top.
Connie looked from one to the other and grinned. ‘I’ll have a latte while you’re back there, hon. Plenty of milk, couple of sugars.’ She winked at her and headed into the salon, letting the heavy black curtain drop back into place.
Alice had seated herself on the chair and was coughing, trying to stop laughing and get her breath back.
Monica relaxed a little and smiled. ‘Okay, let’s try that again. You might want to stand a bit further back this time.’
Like what you’ve read? Want to read more?