Claire, who had three children from a past relationship, explains: “I met David eleven years ago, he was a recruit fire-fighter and I worked at the fire service in admin.
“I was just coming to the end of my marriage and he was in a similar situation with his wife. He was looking for somewhere to go.
“We became quite close, but we were both raw from what we had been through.
“David had gone through a lot as child and his parents had split up, which gave him a huge fear of commitment. And being a fella, he didn’t deal with things that well.
“He fell into his previous marriage. It was an abusive relationship. She became quite psychotic and she abused him.
“So we took it slowly, we didn't live together. He got his own house, and I'd moved into my house with my children.
A fear of commitment
“David made it clear from the way he was with my children, that he adored kids. He said on a number of occasions that he would like children. If anybody had children, he was there. But he would go quiet afterwards; he just couldn't discuss the possibility of having kids with me.
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“A friend once asked us if we'd both be godparents. After we left her house, David drove straight out on to a main road and we had a horrendous crash. His mind was on this little baby we'd just seen.
“I thought if he did want kids then we'd have to talk about it, so one day I sat him down and we talked. I told him my period was late and that I thought I was pregnant. At the end of that conversation, he was gone. He disappeared.
“He was frightened, because he's not a talker. We had been together seven years and he had never talked about feelings or anything like that.
“He said 'I can't go on like this, we want different things, this is not what I want’. The pregnancy turned out to be a false alarm. I was alone and absolutely devastated.
“We had about 12 months apart. He had come out of an abusive relationship and got straight into one with me, and he needed some time alone.
“When we eventually got back together I was fast approaching 40. I told him if he wanted a child with me, I was not going to do it after the age of 40 in the hope I could force his decision. I knew deep down it was his commitment issues that were the stumbling block.
“He didn't say anything but I had laid my cards on the table.
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Going behind his back
“I tuned 40 and the fear started to grip me, he hadn't said anything and I desperately wanted another child.
“You go through that stage of picturing what the child you would make together is going to look like. To me, the best thing you can do for somebody you love is to make them a dad. I knew that he wanted it too but that he couldn't talk about it.
“I’d told my best friend Gillian all about it and she sympathised. One day, she arrived at my house and told me she had a surprise for me.
“I got in her car, only to find her driving me to the clinic. ‘You’re getting your Marina coil removed,’ she declared. ‘It’s the right thing to do, you just need a push.’“It was the kick up the backside I needed.
“So David and I were trying and he didn't have a clue. There was no guilt there, I was excited. I was imagining his reaction in my head.
I knew it was his crippling fear of commitment that got in the way of an underlying desire to have a child. I was thinking of all the ways I could tell him that he was going to be a dad. And the look on his face.
“After 18 months nothing was happening. I was approaching 42 and my family told me that my father had cancer.
“While I was visiting him I had a funny turn, but put it down to not eating and the worry. I didn't think anything about it and in January, my dad died.
“I went to my calendar and realised I was a month late.
“The pregnancy test came up positive. I was devastated that our happy time had been taken away from both of us and decided not to tell David, who was as upset as I was, until after the funeral.
“One day he was standing in the kitchen crying. I hugged him and then pushed him away from me and said ‘It's probably not the right time to tell you this with everything that is going on…’ His face was getting whiter. I got test stick out of my back pocket and said 'I'm pregnant'.
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Our happy ending
“He took the stick off me, looked at me and just fell to the floor with his head in his hands. He was struck dumb.
“Then he just had his stupid grin on his face, a grin that wouldn't go away for another eight months.
He was over the moon. I don't think I have ever seen anybody that happy.
“He was planning who we were going to tell, how we were going to tell them.
“But six hours after Jay was born, the paediatrician came told us he had down syndrome.
“David was absolutely wonderful. He had a brief wobble but he phoned everybody and said ‘At the end of the day he is still our baby’.
“If you saw them now, they’re like two peas in a pod. They're the spitting image of each other and their personalities are so alike.
“Yes, I did kick him into it, but he thanks me. He knows he would never have come to me and asked if we could have a baby.
“It has changed him as a person. He actually proposed last Christmas. In front of everybody he got down on one knee and we are getting married next July.”
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