"The rule is, jam to-morrow and jam yesterday - but never jam to-day," the Queen tells Alice in Through the Looking Glass. The rule hints at what is too widely accepted: good always belongs to some other time.
That might be how one in six Australian couples of reproductive age feel. That is the percentage affected by infertility, which is still an unthinkable prospect for many.
Various treatments are available these days, including medication, surgery, sperm/egg/embryo donors and IVF treatment.
Apart from the cost and undergoing rigorous physical regimens, some treatments come with uncomfortable physical side effects, health risks, invasive methods and monthly emotional trauma when success is not readily apparent.
In all these ways, "good" does indeed seem to belong to some other time for many young couples.
I can empathise with that feeling. That was the case for me, too. I felt I'd never enjoy what everyone else seemed to be enjoying "today."
I had several nieces and nephews and many of my friends were starting to have babies. Yet it just didn't seem to be happening for my husband and me over several years.
IVF was still in its infancy at the time and drug-based methods of treating infertility seemed dicey when the side-effects were still unknown. Adoption had not only crossed my mind - I had even acquired the papers.
However, throughout those years I had already adopted something else of great meaning to me - a spiritual practice that included learning about my deeper, spiritual identity as the outcome of an infinitely loving Creator or divine Mind.
Investigating what this might have to offer in relation to our childlessness brought this statement from a favourite book to light: "creation is ever appearing and must ever continue to appear from the nature of its inexhaustible source" (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures).
Scientific views have been shifting over the past few centuries. Physicists now ask whether materialism is reality or whether it is merely how we interpret what we observe. As one of the founders of quantum physics, Sir James Jeans, wrote, "The universe can best be pictured … as consisting of pure thought."
In my case, I started questioning the accepted stance that reproduction is purely physical. I read the Biblical accounts of Sarah, Hannah and Elisabeth who had healings of infertility. Were those healings for real or not?
I became convinced they were - that their prayers had made a difference. Actual physical change must have occurred for them to have conceived. Could it be that the change in each of them followed their realisation, their mental insistence, that neither the Creator nor genetics could have a hand in their infertility?
Well, it was for me. I'd been seeing things in a different light as I discussed the ideas with a spiritual thinker, called a Christian Science practitioner, and started to practice reasoning from the basis of the constant perfection of God's creation, including me.…I began to see that I was replete already, having all that I needed for happiness and harmony supplied by an all-good Creator.
A few weeks after so clearly seeing that spiritual fact about myself I discovered I was pregnant. Some might argue that was just a coincidence, but that is not how it felt to me. I still remember with joy how natural it felt to be expecting a baby.
Instead of "jam to-morrow and jam yesterday - but never jam to-day," here's a better rule I've learned - from that book on spirituality and health - "Each successive stage of experience unfolds new views of divine goodness and love."
With this idea in our hearts, we can meet each new challenge with a deep sense of hope.
Kay Stroud writes about the connection between consciousness, spirituality and health. Because her own spiritual practice of Christian Science healing has helped her so much, including as a spokesperson in media and government relations in Australia, she's curious to see how the elements involved are being recognised and implemented in society. For instance, science is increasingly exploring the impact consciousness has on medical outcomes www.health4thinkers.com