Even after all these years, I still find it strange that people feel the need to express their feelings about the fact that I’m at my age, been married for a while and still childless. “You’re still young enough to have a baby!” they exclaim. “Don’t you want to have children?” “Surely you want to pass on your genes-!”
Now, I’ve never displayed any tendencies towards maternalism, I’ve never even tried to fake it – anyone who knows me will attest to this. I don’t care to carry or cuddle anyone’s baby, I generally don’t find babies cute – I mean, they have to be exceptionally cute or I have to be completely biased towards the child or their parents to feel that way towards the sprog. To date, I only find my brother and sister-in-law’s children cute. I even cringe at the word ‘cute’ sometimes, and certainly I would never ever describe a child as ‘adorable’. Why should I adore a child who hasn’t done anything to prove him or herself beyond merely existing? And it wasn’t even their choice to exist, they haven’t done a thing yet to elicit my adoration! Those baby products commercials where the mother either kisses or pats the baby’s bottom? I’m like, “Why?” All I think about is pooey nappies and up-chuck. No thanks! … I’ve never heard the tick-tock of that biological clock. I’ve never felt a tug at my womb (ugh) at the sight of other women pushing their strollers or dragging their rugrats along as they kick and scream that they’re not ready to leave the playground.
Besides not feeling broody, these days, I also no longer feel angry and irritable when people carry on about me wasting my potential as a mother. A decade ago, I would’ve been annoyed, but now… These days, I listen politely and I might even vaguely nod my head in agreement. If I’m feeling slightly playful, I might also promise to think about it. On the days that I’m feeling downright devilish, I go so far as to promise that I’ll get on to it right away (wink, wink!). And people generally sigh with relief at having been able to persuade me, to make me come to my senses, to nudge me not quite so subtly towards what they see as my rightful and ultimate role/destiny.
I got all this from an old (we met when I was 17) friend recently when I caught up for lunch with her in Perth. Over post-lunch coffee, she held back tears as she explained how her daughter was the best thing in her life, and I had to have a baby NOW, and she just had to tell me this – before it was too late for me! – and she was so glad to have had the opportunity to say all this to me that day.
Tears. They don’t persuade me any more than a soft-focus image of a baby’s bottom does. The End.