I hate stories that bang on about the tick-tocking time bomb that is women’s biological clocks, because we’ve all selfishly decided to wait to find someone we actually love and respect before having kids, if we even want them in the first place. (Do you get them much in the US, because the magazines/papers/my mother here are ALL OVER IT?).
Anyway, despite vowing to ban the term biological clock from the UK site, I’m writing this anyway. Mainly because my BC (arrgh) appears to be broken and going backward. Which does sound suspiciously like something that would happen to me.
My sister was born when I was 13 -- which is basically the point when some hormone-filled young girls are abandoning their dolls, but aren’t quite sure what else they want to fill their time with. I was able to fill the time between Barbie and drinking and experimental fumblings with boys with A REAL LIFE DOLL.
My mum (mom? I'm trying it out...) worked full time and was back in the office six weeks after my sister was born, so that summer I spent a lot of time helping my dad out. I fed my sister, changed her, bathed her, took her out when dad started to get the 10,000 yard stare of total despair (which didn’t happen very often; she was a pretty good baby).
By the time I left to go to university, which coincided with her starting school, you could leave me in charge of any baby, toddler or small child and I’d have a fairly good idea what to do with them. I also really loved children, so didn’t question the fact that I’d have a couple of my own at some point, and would do a good job with them.
In my early twenties I was still very into the babies. When my first boss had a kid, I was all over it, trekking from one end of London to another to babysit whenever she needed it, cooing over him continuously when she bought him into the office. In fact, it was probably a bit creepy. And then a couple of my other friends had kids, and again I was the most supportive, possibly a bit overbearing, friend a new mother who probably just wants to be LEFT THE HELL ALONE could ask for.
So, when my lovely friend Hannah popped a kid out a few weeks ago, and I went to visit, I was expecting to come away feeling massively broody and lamenting my single status. A couple more of my friends are having babies this summer, so I was fully prepared for the onslaught of envy and baby obsession it was going to bring. Actually? I felt nothing, other than a vague sense of relief that I was hopping straight back to my own life in an hour’s time.
And this was a very cute, chilled-out baby. She even snored a bit as she slept in my arms, which, by rights, should have sent my ovaries spiraling out of control. My friend seemed amazingly happy too -- albeit more tired than anyone has ever been in the history of the universe. I just felt…nothing.
It's not that I hate other people's kids or resent my friends procreating. I actually love meeting and hearing about other people's children, a la Emily. It's just that the urge to do it myself seems to be receding into the background.
I know that I’m not ready for a child of my own. But is this a sign that I will never want one? Maybe. Or maybe my biological urging to have a child has been and gone and this is all a sign that I’m going through an early menopause? And…panic attack.
It’s a moot point right now anyway, as there’s no-one out there even slightly interested in ensuring the survival of the human race with me. But if that never happens, at some point I’m going to have to decide if I want to just go ahead and do it on my own anyway. And for the first time in my life, I’m not sure which way that decision would go.