Janet Hoggarth had been a single parent for a year, mother to children aged five, three and one, and she was floundering: “The adrenaline had gone and I was hit by the forever-ness. I was struggling with the heartbreak, with being replaced. I was living a half-life,” she recalls.

Then her friend Vicky called. Vicky’s relationship had also broken down, leaving her with a 10-month-old daughter, a house that was up for sale, and rent she couldn’t afford. As a temporary measure, Janet invited Vicky and her daughter Daisy to move into her spare room.

Not long afterwards, Janet met Nicola, a woman she recognised from the baby-group circuit, who was living nearby in south London. They chatted and swapped numbers, agreeing that a coffee might be nice. When Nicola mentioned that weekends would be good, Janet rightly deduced that she, too, was a newly single mother.

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Vijay Nanda

The author Vijay Nanda

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