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British playwright’s life goes wildly off-script, surprise baby born with syndrome

August 3, 2009

It’s a story I almost didn’t read, being less interested in fertility than other topics: “It wasn’t the menopause, it was a miracle”.  But wow – what a story it is.  Told she could never conceive, Alice Eve Cohen adopts a little girl. Years later, after divorcing and remarrying – and importantly, resigned to having an only child, at the age of 44, Cohen discovers she is pregnant.

Without giving away too much more, just a few comments. It’s the kind of story that just doesn’t fit into a neat little box. The disability community might bristle against this mom’s  initial (and fleeting) instincts to place her baby for adoption. Fellow pro-lifers may be uncomfortable that this “would-be”  Tiller client, turned committed mom to a child with disabilities just doesn’t “get it” about us. Still, I think these stories have a capacity to reach all kinds of people – they are valuable. They show us that we don’t really know what we are made of, we underestimate what we can handle. We are contrarian even unto ourselves. And in the end, love really can prevail:  “I love my two beautiful daughters more than anything in the world: the one I desperately wanted and the one I desperately didn’t want.”

Oh and my goodness, on a side note to one of the author’s comments – can someone this educated still not know what immaculate conception means? At any rate – please do read this story and tell me what you thought!


From the story:

When I was 30, I was told I was infertile. I had a deformed uterus, caused by exposure to DES, a form of synthetic oestrogen, which my mother had taken to prevent miscarriage when she was pregnant with me.

but later. . . 

On our holiday, I followed doctor’s orders and drank lots of the local red wine. On the last day of our trip, unable to sleep, I ran my hand over my abdomen. The swelling was getting bigger. ‘Either I’m pregnant,’ I said to Michael. ‘Or this is a tumour.’

Back home in New York, I bought an over-the-counter pregnancy test. Negative.

On Friday, September 10, 1999, I saw another doctor. She suspected a large uterine or ovarian tumour and sent me for an emergency CAT scan. Afterwards, I fell asleep in the waiting area. ‘Mrs Cohen.’ Someone was shaking my shoulder.

‘Mrs Cohen. We did find something in you. We found a baby.’ Read the rest



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