Alicia Young is pretty much the worst pseudonym I could have chosen. I didn't even google it. I was walking through the fog of infertility treatment and probably not thinking clearly. I wrote a short series about undergoing IVF and having a miscarriage, and it was published on The Spinoff under Alicia's name.
Alicia came out again recently when our PM revealed that she is expecting and I knew that a certain group of women (and their partners) would be juggling some mixed feelings about the announcement. The piece must have tapped into some kind of zeitgeist as it was picked up by The Herald Online and was printed in The Herald the next day.
It felt weird and exposing and a bit self-indulgent to share such personal feelings, but the comments I received made me feel as though I did the right thing.
"It was refreshing piece you wrote and I just wanted to say thanks. You helped me."
"Thank you for putting some of this into words. Know that you are not alone there are many of us feeling as you do, and we are grateful that you have had the courage to write this."
"Oh god, yes it hurts. I think she'll be due around the week as I was."
"Thank you for writing this."
2023 Burns fellow Kathryn van Beek has an MA from Victoria University Wellington - Te Herenga Waka’s International Institute of Modern Letters. She is a winner of the Mindfood Short Story Competition and the Headland Prize. Her collection of short stories, Pet, is available as a podcast, and her work has also appeared in Overland, takahē, Newsroom, and the Sunday Star-Times. She lives in UNESCO City of Literature Ōtepoti Dunedin with her two rescue cats.