“Every time I set eyes upon a squishy, beaming little infant, I am instantaneously possessed by a primal urge to procreate. A deep, aching longing sets in such that it’s all I can do not to grab the thing and run.”
Five years have passed since Melbourne writer Katie Horneshaw penned those words on her blog.
That ache, that longing has eased now that she has three-year-old Ollie, a little boy who came into her life in a way no one could have predicted.
Though Ollie calls the 32-year-old Mummy, though he calls her partner Dad, though he is their son in the eyes of their family and the law, biologically speaking, he is their nephew.
Katie’s sister Anna gave birth to him just six months after being jailed for murdering her elderly flatmate during an argument in 2015.
(For more about Anna’s story, read this extract of her mother Mary K. Pershall’s book, and listen to her interview on No Filter below.)
As soon as the family learned of Anna’s pregnancy, there were concerns. She suffered with mental health issues, had struggled with addiction to ice and had displayed violence toward her own father.
Even in those early weeks, Katie knew what it meant – she was going to become a mother, just not in the way she and her partner had hoped. The thought of raising a potentially compromised baby frightened her. She even urged her parents to convince Anna to terminate the pregnancy.
But once Anna was imprisoned and the time for that had passed, Katie changed her mind. She knew there’s was no Plan B, not even external adoption.
“Anna was already having to go through so much, she was already having to face the prospect of her child being removed from her at birth,” she told Mamamia‘s No Filter podcast. “The last thing that she needed to go through was then the prospect of having him adopted out by somebody she didn’t even know and potentially getting very little contact with him.”
Three days before Ollie was born, it was confirmed Katie would become his guardian. Three days was all she had to prepare to become a mum.