They aren’t kidding when they talk about biological clocks are they? Jeez. I think I’ve got a biological timebomb ready to go off.
I’ve reached the age at which I am surrounded by friends with babies, expecting babies or planning for babies and it’s making me think about babies.
A couple of years ago, the idea of buying a house and having a Career rather than a job was the blowing my tiny little mind and now, suddenly, out of nowhere, I’m having serious thoughts about when the best time to try for children is. Not even whether to have children, no… when’s the best time to do it.
It’s a funny thing, this whole being an adult malarkey. I know many people who have had more than one child accidentally and I know a couple of people who have struggled with conception. Suddenly, when the idea of children becomes a real probability, there comes a great flood of
‘Will I be able to have children? What if I can’t? What if I fuck up the little blighters somehow? What the hell will I do if I ever have to deal with those awful bloody women at the school-gates? What if I birth an extroverted sports star?’
No wonder pregnancy seems to be such a minefield of emotional self-assessment for some. There’s an unbelievable pressure to squish into a little Pinterest mummy shape. If you’re someone who hasn’t always been comfortable in the standard models of what a woman should apparently be, then fitting into the ‘glowing motherhood’ box isn’t going to come naturally either.
For a woman having a baby, pregnancy and childbirth are massively disrupting in a way that they just aren’t for the partner in the equation, whatever flavour the non-pregnant individual comes in. You’re the one with a tenant for roughly 9 months, the one who gets kicked from the inside and stretched into odd shapes. You’re the one who has to get the smaller person inside you, outside of you through a not massively accommodating exit. You’re the one who naturally produces sustaining foodstuff from your frontal funbags (yeah, funbags) and who is basically sloshing about in all kinds of hormonal soup for months and months.
I’m painting it as a beautifully magical time, aren’t I?
You’re the one who has a life growing inside of you, who is physically connected to the child that you both create. You’re the one who looks that child in their eyes and knows that you’d do anything for them, regardless of the squeezing and tearing and squashing and aching. Your partner gets to love and sacrifice and support and create but, sorry, Mum gets a head-start on the bonding as far as I can tell. It’s difficult to imagine what it must be like for (heteronormative family unit alert) the man in this equation, what it feels like to be thinking about having children and not be the one with the hormonal ticking clock or the initial physical choices to make. I’ll have to try asking James what he thinks in a way that doesn’t make his eyes go very round.
It’s an interest set of thoughts to be having as someone who a) is massively NOT pregnant b) PCOS riddled and c) about to start my training as a bloody midwife.
I’m just finishing a fantastic book all about the history of Birth and all of the gender politics that go along with the process of childbirth. Whilst I’m unlikely to be a patchouli huffing, lotus envisioning, doula loving birther… I am already extremely pro natural birth wherever possible and the medicalisation of it all seems like overkill to me. I have a sneaky suspicion that although I’m sure that I’m going to love the need for knowledge and Proper Medical Training that comes with the more acute hospital-based care, it’s the home births and community midwifery that will really get me. I’m much fluffier than I like to think I am.
So yeah, ramble ramble. I’m about to be up to my elbows in baby stuff, some of my favourite people are breeding, the kitten is thriving and the guinea pigs aren’t dead. It’s lucky that I’ve got a year and half of intense university and clinical training coming up… I can legitimately delay any action for at least that long. Still, if there should happen to be triplets… Boris, Morris and Doris it is.
Oh and as far as fertility advice, I can’t think of any better
‘Mummy… where do babies come from’
‘Well let me tell you about the birds, bees and bibliophiles…’