Troubador The Baby Box

Released: 28/02/2019

ISBN: 9781789016871

eISBN: 9781789019353

Format: Paperback/eBook

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The Baby Box

A True Story


It is December 1964. Jane’s mother is preparing for Christmas while Jane is refusing to take a do-it-yourself abortion pill from her school chum Rita. Persuading the father of the child, Nick, to be with her on Christmas Eve, Jane announces to her parents she is pregnant. Her mother wishes she’d dug the baby out with knitting needles. Jane’s father threatens Nick, throwing him out of the house. Nick leaves without saying ‘Good-bye’. 

Jane’s summer of love has presented her with an appalling dilemma: to marry a man she now knows is a coward or to face the future as an outcast with a child to care for. It is vital for her respectable mother to keep her daughter’s shame secret. Any love is smothered as she berates Jane for bringing disgrace into the family. Imprisoned in the house, Jane waits in vain for Nick to give her some kind of support, but he cannot even keep a job. While her mother turns to an old friend from the war, Fiona, for comfort, Jane is consigned to the care of a moral welfare officer. Fiona has the answer to Jane’s mother’s predicament. The following spring, Jane is banished to a mother-and-baby home.

Perhaps the first of its kind, The Baby Box is a frank memoir, set in the 1960s, of a pregnant schoolgirl, written in a compelling first person account. The book highlights the prejudices of the day with some distressing, sometimes disturbing, truths. But this is not a misery memoir. Moving into the mother-and-baby home brings tales of the other girls, maintaining an upbeat story. Those who enjoy memoirs, especially those reminiscent of an era, as well as readers who are looking for a true story with depth, will be engrossed in this tale of lies, deceptions and hidden shame, but ending in redemption.

The May edition of Writing Magazine is running an article about my writing life and The Baby Box in their regular feature Subscriber Spotlight. Do buy it if you can.

The Baby Box is still selling, Ebooks well. I'm glad I had that set up. It was worth it.
The cover seems popular and the book itself is a chunky 'hold'.

New blog: Writers' Block in the Lockdown
7/3/20 Blog - The Respectable Face of Self-Publishing. See my website; page 'Blog'.

Wednesday 18 March at the University of Chichester on their Self-Publishing Panel. 4-5pm.

Have made 2 podcasts - links on the website and had 2 articles/reviews published on line.

Just to add that a reader has told me she 'cannot put the book down.' That's nice.

The Baby Box now has twelve 5* Reviews on Amazon. Go there and see for yourself.

Here's a review from a fellow writer. Only 1 of the many I have received.

I was awake well past 1am this morning finishing The Baby Box. I want to congratulate you on your book which truly moved me. It was beautifully written and painfully honest. I shall be recommending it to anyone who wants to understand how our society has thankfully moved on from some of the less attractive aspects of the 1960s. Stephanie

Writing Magazine

That's Books

Women Writers, Women's Books

Radio Gorgeous

Chiswick W4

The Mechanics Institute Review

London Post

The Baby Box is a beautifully written story from a young woman’s point of view about her unplanned pregnancy in the sixties, and time spent in a mother and baby home.

Jane Hayward cleverly captures the life of a teen during the ‘Permissive Society’, the essence of which has clearly not reached her family home. This true story charts her difficult relationship with her parents, particularly her mother and the obstacles she faces from those around her who fail to listen to her and ask her opinions of the future she wants.

It was a book I couldn’t put down. The writer pulls no punches, yet the prose , though sometimes upsetting, is peppered with humour. It is difficult to understand now how pregnant young girls in the sixties were treated as outcasts of society, yet the writer never blames anyone for the way she is treated-indeed at the end of the story there is a beautifully written chapter about her mother which answers many questions.

I loved this book, and as Jane Hayward suggests, she hopes the book will help those children who have been adopted to see things form their mother’s point of view.

by Clare Brown

The Baby Box is a poignant memoir...inspiring and insightful. The book is bravely and movingly written, and the writer's uncompromising prose captured and then held my attention throughout.

by Anne Thomson

Jane Hayward

I have been writing since I was 13 yrs old - with a break when I wanted to be a painter! I have had some small successes, a genre novel published by Robert Hale, and winner of a short story prize. This memoir has taken me almost 20 years to write and is the story of a secret I've kept from everyone except my husband and children for 50 years. I found it difficult to write honestly while my mother was alive. The truth seemed disloyal. Having cancer brought the facts of life home to me - that I will not live for ever and if I wanted to publish this story I had to get on with it.

I have an MA in Creative Writing from Chichester University. A short story of mine won the inaugural Lightship Prize and was publised in the Lightship Anthology 1 by Alma Books Ltd. I have been published online by MIROnline (Birkbeck University) and @BirdsThumb. Short stories have been short-listed by Comma Press and Liars' League. I live in West London and am looking forward to setting up a card-table in bookshops in my area to sell The Baby Box.

I blog on

Can be found on Twitter: @jane_hayward

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The Baby Box on sale at Waterstone's Chiswick.

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