Apr 10 2014 3:30pm

Oh, Baby!: Pregnancy in Romance Novels, Part 2

Newborn Baby for Christmas by Fiona LoweIn the first pregnancy in romance novels post, I talked a little bit about unplanned pregnancy in romance, but there are so many different scenarios evolving pregnancy, such as an already pregnant by another man heroine, a heroine who is just looking for an anonymous sperm donor, or a heroine who has asked a friend to be her baby’s father.

While any type of pregnancy changes a story of boy meets girl to something so much more complex, the above scenarios can be even more complicated.
In best friends to parents together, there has to be a conflict or there is no story. So how does an author create that conflict but still have the reader believe in the strength of their friendship? Fiona Lowe took on the challenge with Newborn Baby for Christmas. Dr. Georgina Lambert wants more than anything in the world to have a baby, but her latest boyfriend bolts when she brought up having a family. Desperate, she turns one of her best mates, Dr. Hamish Pettigrew, and he is thrown for a loop to say the least:

He tried to head off this crazy request by going straight to the heart of the matter. “Georgie, something like this could ruin our friendship.”

Her straight-shooting gaze hooked him, filled with honesty. “It won’t. Another reason I’m asking you is because I know you don’t want a child.”

He had a moment of feeling like he was fighting quicksand. “I don’t understand how me not wanting a child makes you ask me.”

“You’ll leave me in peace to raise him or her alone and do things my way. This is my baby, my new-start family…”

“I’m sorry, Georgie…I don’t think I can help you.”

Her shoulders slumped for a moment and then her chocolate-brown eyes hooked his gaze, filled with everything they’d every shared. “I’ve never asked you for anything, Hamish, and I never will again, but right now I’m asking you my closest friend in the whole world, not to make a hasty decision not to say yes or no. All I’m asking is that you think about it. Sleep on it . . .”

A book with an already pregnant heroine can be a tough sell to romance readers. I have to admit that it is hard for me to believe that the hero fantasizes about making love to a seven month pregnant heroine. You also have to accept that the heroine is ready for a new relationship fewer than nine months since her relationship with the baby’s father ended. Of course, when the author demonizes the baby’s father, showing that he is cruel or abusive, then it is easy to accept.

Second Chance Pass by Robyn CarrIn Second Chance Pass by Robyn Carr, the heroine, Vanessa Rutledge had a wonderful husband. He was killed in action when she was seven months pregnant. Now six weeks after her son’s birth, she is ready to move on. The man she has grown to love was her rock during her pregnancy as well as after her husband’s death. He was there for the birth of her son. But he is not someone new in her life; he is her deceased husband’s best friend—the one her husband asked to take care of her, if anything happened to him.

“Matt’s only been dead a few months, but he’s been gone almost a year… Mel, he wasn’t on a business trip. He was in combat, out of touch. I talked to him a total of three times, saw his face once on live video cam. The letters were short and sparse. It’s been a really long time since—-“

Mel touched Vanni’s knee. ”There’s no rule of thumb on this, Vanessa. Everything I’ve read and I’ve read a lot about widowhood, says that when people enter new relationships relatively soon after losing a spouse, it indicates they had happiness in their marriage. Being married was a good experience for them.”

She smiled.

In Nora Roberts’s trilogy In the Garden, a romance develops between Hayley Phillips and Harper Ashby but it doesn’t really get off the ground until after Hayley has her baby. Ms. Roberts isn’t afraid to have a heroine fall prey to good old pregnancy hormones, and the blues over a bloated body, which in turn doesn’t make her the easiest person to be around, as Harper discovers:

Harper skirted the car to get to Hayley’s side. His hair curled damply from under his ball cap, and his shirt showed stains from grass and dirt. “Need some help?”

She couldn’t get her feet back in her shoes. They felt hot and swollen and no longer hers. Cranky tears flooded her throat. I’m pregnant, she snapped, “not handicapped.”

Nobody's Baby But Mine by Susan Elizabeth PhillipsIf you have been reading romance for a while, then you probably already read, or at least heard of, Susan Elizabeth Phillips’s take on a heroine looking for a sperm donor in Nobody's Baby But Mine. Ms. Phillips loves pushing the envelope—in fact, I don’t think anyone does it better.

“How are you living with yourself?” he sneered. “Or is that genius brain of yours so big it’s taken over the place where your heart should be? Did you think I wouldn’t care, or were you just counting on me never finding out?”

“Finding out?” Her voice was barely a whisper. She bumped into the chalkboard as dread slithered down her spine.

“I care, Professor. I care a lot.”

Her skin felt hot and clammy at the same time. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Bull. You’re a liar.”

He purposefully advanced on her, and she felt as if she were trying to swallow great lumps of cotton. “I want you to leave.”

“I’ll just bet you do.” He drew so close his arm brushed her own. She caught the scent of soap, wool,and fury. “I’m talking about the baby, Professor. The fact that you set out to get yourself pregnant with my kid. And I hear you hit the jackpot.”

What is your take on a pregnant heroine? Do you tend to shy away from these type of stories, or do you embrace them? Share your favorite stories, and plots!


Leigh Davis, blogger

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1. Kareni
One of my longtime favorite books is Morning Glory by LaVyrle Spencer. This features an already pregnant heroine and an ex-convict.
2. carmenlire
I'm not too fond of these types of stories but I absolutely love SEP's Nobody's Baby But Mine. It's one of my favorite books by her! She does it so well, the emotions for both protagonists and just the overall story/romance.
3. scarlettleigh
@Kareni - It has been way too long since I read LaVyrle Spencer. I sort of remember that one, and then wasn't ther another where the heroine's husband is unable to impregnant her, so he gets his brother to do so? As I said, it has been a long long time.

@carmenlire- In Nobody's Baby but Mine, the cereal scene is hilarious. I still have a difficult understanding the heroine's motivation but I do enjoy the rest of the book.
Maggie Boyd
4. maggieboyd66
I love Morning Glory too. One of the things that attracted the hero to the heroine was what a good mother she was. In that particular story it worked for me. Normally the whole pregnancy thing doesn't. Especially like in Second Chance Pass, where the heroine acts like it is no big deal to be married a year after her husband dies in combat.
Lee Brewer
5. LeeB.
I'm not a huge pregnancy fan but if done right I'll read the stories. But definitely not the "oh I forgot to tell you" kind of books.
6. Scarlettleigh
@Maggieboyd66 - I am with you on Second Chance Pass with Vanni moving on so quickly. I don't really remember many details about Morning Glory. I know I really liked her books at the time, but as of now I have no desire to re-read them.

@LeeB. I think that is one reason that I have an issue with Nobody's Baby But Mind. The heroine never planned to tell him. That would be like us going in for a procedure (like an appendectomy) and the doctor harvesting our eggs, and then giving them to another woman to use. Still there are so great parts in the book.
7. Kareni
Leigh, the other LaVyrle Spencer book you remembered is
The Fulfillment. I remember being quite shocked when I first read it in 1979 since the heroine was a married woman and the hero was her husband's brother. But you're quite correct in that the husband was the one who asked his brother to impregnate his wife as he was sterile due to mumps (if I recall correctly).
8. Wendy W Durden
I have to disagree about Second Chance Pass. I understand what Vanni was saying when she said he'd been gone longer than he'd been dead. The ties that bound them had already been stretched so thin that when he did get KIA, yes there was mourning, but not for the strong, close relationship there once was. I think she had already started the mourning process when he left the last time, regardless of why. That he left her, and she was already pregnant, I think that kickstarted her process. It wasn't that they didn't love each other, but he had physically and emotionally left her in the first trimester. (Not laying blame, soldiers don't get choices) If he had returned at the end of his service, there would have had to be a relearning process between them.
And let's not leave out that the new man wasn't so new. He had been in love with her all along, and not only was her husband's best friend, but was hers as well. How painful is that to grieve your friend and the probability that you won't get the girl now, either?
There was another "pregnant by someone else" story, I don't remember the name, but it went like this. Girl is paid companion to older, somewhat unhealthy man. Man decides to marry girl and attempt to get heir because his current heir is (insert any derogatory term here). Man finds out his illness is probably hereditary and would be passed on to his natural child. Man seeks appropriate surrogate to father child, and finds man who loved girl before. They manage to create a unique triad that succeeds over time in many ways. And shows that love comes in many forms and can create wonderful things.
11. hanako
please someone, there is this novel i read when i was like 15, which i couldnt find. The heroine and her husbands plan to have a baby with anonymous sperm donor, ut before they go through the process the husbands dies. Turns out the sperm donor was not so anonymous and he was none other than her late husbands bestfriend whom she is not very fond of. but by the time this dude came to terminate the process, she has already gone through it and is already pregnant.
some one please find me this book.
12. Scarlettleigh
@hanako -- I sure don't remember any info about this book -- can you give a time frame of when it was published? Is it a series book like a Harlequin?
Jennifer Proffitt
13. JenniferProffitt
@hanako and @Scarlettleigh,
We can also throw it out to our community and see if it jogs anyone else's memory!
14. Scarlettleigh
@JenniferProffitt -- I hoped that you could! Although, I think we're still batting zero for Megan Frampton's book . . .
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