During that time, their home becomes a center of family activity. David's parents are divorced and remarried so both couples attend the various celebrations as does Harriet's mother and other family members.
Then, Harriet becomes pregnant for the fifth time. This baby was difficult even during Harriet's pregnancy. They decide to name him Ben. Even when he was first born, he never cried and he ate vociferously. In addition, he had a frightful look that even his own siblings didn't want to be near him.
Doris Lessing admitted in an interview in the "New York Times" that she had written a "horror story." She wrote it once, she stated, and felt that the original story was too soft so she rewrote it.
There may be symbolism in the story about the pain a woman might go through in the birth process and in raising a large family but given that, I found the second part of the story, once Ben was born, to be distasteful.