Recently, my life has filled with babies. Everyone I know seems to be popping one out or thinking about popping one out or worrying about whether they can pop one out or not. My friendship group gets 1 then 2 then 6 in a flurry of bonking. Dinner becomes drinks. Drinks becomes brunch. Brunch becomes can you just hold him for a sec whilst I run to the loo and the next thing you know he’s smeared egg in your hair and shoved your phone down his trousers.
For a long time I felt strangely numb to the prospect of motherhood. I wasn’t at all sure if I wanted one of these loud, demanding micro humans. They seemed like muggers except instead of nicking your wallet or your phone they wanted your life. Stick ‘em up punk – gimme everything you’ve got for the next 50 years.
Children are so time-consuming. When they’re young they need you constantly. Life is one long parade of burping and changing and jiggling and cooing and pooing, like Groundhog Day for toddlers. Then they get older and they want you constantly. Look at this! Look at me! Look at my drawing! Look at my knee! They’re dictators winsomely disguised as endearing small humans: Mao in a pair of fetching dungarees; Putin in a twirly dress.
The process for getting one is chilling too. I hear terrible whispers. Whispers about intolerable labours, raw nipples, loose bladders, chronic back pain, hypertension, bone deficiencies, wonky bottoms, flappy bottoms, broken bottoms, bottoms that will never be the same again. In my head these women are just random collections of body parts, loosely cobbled together with surgical tape, oozing into their carpets. It sounds horrific. What kind of love could make such a thing tolerable? “I love you, now may I rub this sandpaper repeatedly over your nipples?”
And yet despite all of this, despite the pain and the sacrifices and the lifetime of picking egg out of your hair, I think I’d like a family. Because the truth is, I love children. I can’t imagine a life without them. If babies are dictators then I’ll be a willing participant in this autocracy. Take my money, my rights, my love and my life. Show me to my cell and I’ll gladly throw away the key. The only question then is, is there room in this picture for the Thai?
Because it’s not just your body that a baby has the capacity to ruin. A baby can batter your relationship too. It can haemorrhage goodwill, suckle you dry and leave your partner to pick over the bones for what’s left of you. Every irritant, every gripe can appear manifold through bloodshot eyes. To have a hope of surviving you have to love your partner to the ends of the earth and even then it might not be far enough.
It’s a big question to ask after 3 months of dating and I’m not sure if I have the answer just yet. One thing I do know though. If the Thai and I do ever have a family, I hope to god she’s willing to carry – or adopt.
*gives bottom a loving pat*