This week, my guest is the writer Francesca Segal whose recently published memoir, Mother Ship, details the birth of her twin daughters 10 weeks prematurely. Her first failure is, in Segal's own words, her failure 'to stay pregnant' and the feeling of shame that came from not having managed to provide the requisite 40-week gestation period. 'I felt I had failed at my first ever task of motherhood,' she explains. 'That my body could not be a safe space for them felt a spectacular failure.'
She and her husband, Gabriel, were pitched into a nightmarish situation where they did not know whether their baby girls would survive. When they were born they weighed only 2lbs each. The girls could not do anything on their own and they suffered harrowing, life-threatening infections. Segal joins me to discuss what happened next.
Even if you are not one of the 100,000 women in the UK who, every year, give birth to premature babies and even if, like me, you are not a parent at all, I promise that you will find Segal's insightful eloquence both enlightening and moving.
We also talk about her failure to be a rebellious teenager, her conflicted attitude to social media and how, as a writer, she deals with the eternal nagging of her fractious internal critic. Listen, be moved and then order her wonderful book via the link below.
I am thrilled to be taking How To Fail on tour around the UK in October, sharing my failure manifesto with the help of some very special guests. These events are not recorded as podcasts so the only way to be there is to book tickets via www.faneproductions.com/howtofail
The Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling book of the podcast, How To Fail: Everything I've Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong by Elizabeth Day, is out now and is available here.
Francesca Segal's memoir, Mother Ship, is out now and available to order here
If you were affected by any of the issues raised in this podcast, help is available via Bliss, the charity for babies born premature or sick.
Elizabeth Day @elizabday
Francesca Segal @francescasegal
Chris Sharp @chrissharpaudio
Naomi Mantin @naomimantin