And Then There Were Three

29th April 2005 at 01:00
AND THEN THERE WERE THREE. By Ian Mucklejohn. Gibson Square pound;10.99. 15 Gibson Square, London N1 0RD

Caring for elderly and increasingly dependent parents while trying to make a living, all the time aware that family life is a distant dream: this used to be the lot of many women who remained single into middle age.

Ian Mucklejohn wasn't content to settle for a life that seemed to him connected with the "lonely spinster" stereotype. He desperately wanted children and decided to try the surrogacy route to parenthood. He ended up with three sons -triplets - who have brought him delight and contentment.

The hurdles along the way were formidable. The legal and official complexities were one thing. The emotional tugs were something else as, despite all the assurances, he feared the scenario of a birth mother unable to give up her children. "Until the babies were in my home, in my care, I could not give way to my feelings for them; could not yet bring myself to consider them mine."

In the end, all's as well as it can be for a single parent of triplets who's had to endure a blaze of unwanted publicity. His determination to be frank with his children about their parentage is both brave and probably right. Mucklejohn's learned a great deal, too, not just about child care but about the way adults react to anything they can't grasp.

"All through this journey, the children - my own and the many others I have come to know - have been great. It is with some of the adults that I have issues that I find hard to resolve."

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