Tagline (to replace the title box which is just not behaving this week)
The Art of ProcreNOPEtion
This week has been a joyous week Readers. You will, I’m sure, be pleased to find out that a new baby has joined the TMM clan and I am once again an auntie-in-law (fourth times a charm). TMM’s sister Jenbob masterfully birthed a whopper of a tot (9lb 13!) who is healthy, happy and has possibly the best cheeks I have ever seen in my entire life.
We actually went to see her the day before at TMM’s parents house, whilst she was just there having the most casual attitude to having contractions ever and I was sort of abstractly terrified about being so close to someone who was literally about to pop. She is actually some kind of magical goddess and I won’t hear a word said otherwise; just watching her throw Thea (her firstborn) about as directed (Thea is very knowledgeable about what she wants) whilst going through what looked to be some pretty sore spasms was kind of mind blowing. Pregnant women in general are pretty awe inspiring to me (their bones actually move apart like they’re some kind of biological Transformers, WHAT EVEN IS THAT) and watching them just go about their daily lives being awesome and huge and glowy is immensely pleasing for me.
It’s strange though (and my description of them as some kind of zoo animal might make a tad more sense now), because I don’t plan on ever joining their ranks and having children of my own; I don’t think I ever have. I don’t remember being into dolls or the like when I was little – I very much preferred Lego, hot wheels cars and believed, much as I do now, that the plastic babies with bodily functions were just obscene. Indeed, the only baby name I ever considered was Helmclough and perhaps the my reasons for abstaining are becoming clearer, are they not?
Truthfully though, it was always just a kind of far off concern when I was younger, and I assumed that one grew into one’s urge for maternity. But the general feeling of Nopeness has never really gone away, despite the age limit getting closer and closer and the older I get, the more I realise that this seems to be a Hard Pass for me. People keep telling me that it will change and my urge to Mum Up will blossom from within, but to be honest I find it more likely that my insistence against them will last out far longer than any socially accepted conventions, if only because I secretly love to be contrary. Children have just never really appealed to me. There seem to be countless reasons to leave the whole notion to someone else, one of the biggies being because they are a lot of responsibility and I can’t be trusted to feed myself if left unattended for three days, never mind look after a helpless human being for 16 years+. There is a huge impetus to not Screw Them Up, and I don’t think I am able to keep myself in check, nevermind be one of the major players in creating a brand new, non-psychopathic, fully functioning person in their own right. That is a craft project that, being the lowkey perfectionist that I am, I don’t think there are enough YouTube tutorials to make me good at.
It’s a commitment though, to something that is so much bigger than you and bring with it just so many terrifying consequences. Babies are simultaneously horribly fragile and weirdly resilient. Like one awkwardly placed head squish and you’ve caused massive lasting mental trauma (thanks for that fun phobia, Grapes of Wrath) but you can chuck them in a swimming pool or dribble them like a basketball and they’re fine (disclaimer, I do not intentionally bounce babies, or leave them unattended in large bodies of water, but you get what I’m saying). They’re a contraction in terms, and it stresses me that they start off so helpless when giraffes can walk within minutes, yet end up being the top of the food chain (and giraffes are like, a third, of the way down). Their entire existence boils down to your ability to look after them, and that doesnt go away when they can dress themselves. I still rely on my parents for so much now, and I am a supposedly fully functioning grown up. That is just not the kind of long term promise I can give to someone, especially someone who just popped into existence at my insistence.
I am also super duuuuper lazy, and in no way have enough upper body strength to carry a small person either inside or outside my womb. Whilst visiting Jenbob and the clan, Thea demanded I watch the Wiggles with her and she not only pulled me round the room, she played me for a sucker and stole my glasses like some kind of back room card shark. Distressingly, not only did she con me well enough to steal them directly off my face (the toy phone was for me and as I leant down to answer it, her grabby hands were there) she also had a fierce little grasp and I couldn’t actually pry them off her and was seconds away from just giving up and accepting my new blurry outlook on life. Thankfully they were intercepted and returned to me, but if I can’t outwit or outweigh a not-quite two year old, I really don’t think I should be considering one of my own.
It did make me wonder though, in a way I don’t actually think I’ve really pondered before, if I’ll regret never being pregnant. It’s something my body is primed for but my brain is not. I just don’t appear have the internal ticking time bomb of missed motherhood opportunites that seems to be rife in 20+ year old women. I’m repeatedly told it will happen but at 27, I’m beginning to suspect I missed the memo. It does seem to be a shame because I have the pelvic floor muscles of an absolute beast and what I’m told by the smear nurse is an unusually narrow vagina, so I imagine the whole area would bounce back if nothing else, but what they hey. I think it’s just one of those distant regrets that will pepper my life, the overshadowing fear being stronger than any lingering curiosity. As someone pointed out to me, once it’s in there, it has to come out one way or another, and the actual act of giving birth makes my ribcage constrict. Just knock me unconscious and take it out through the sunroof.
I’ve never seen motherhood as the goal though, nor as something that will truly make me a women. There’s a huge social undercurrent, a shared subconscious psyche, that a woman is there to procreate, and on an evolutionary level I get it, but the world has changed and it’s not the same anymore. I am confident enough in my womanhood to not believe that my not having a baby is a waste and I’m happy to repeat that to anyone who says otherwise. I am lucky enough to be alive in a time where it is my choice, and I’m exercising my right.
Obviously though, it takes two to tango (or not tango as the case may be) and I am lucky enough to be in a relationship with someone who is happy with this. We’ve talked about it quite often; it routinely comes up whenever we’re faced with children, and TMM has said he’s happy with it just being the two of us for the foreseeable. I’m not 100% sure if this was a decision he would make for himself in another situation, and I do occasionally wonder if he will resent me for it eventually, but he has never been anything but supportive and agreeable with the whole shebang. It is a shame, if only because I am pretty convinced that if anyone could take mantle for world’s best dad, it would be him, but he’s doing well on the uncle-ing front and I think he’s getting his fill of chubby cheeks and tiny hands (he does so love the tiny grabby hands) from our various nieces and nephews.
It doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate them though (it possibly makes me love them all the more, knowing I can fill them full of sugar, shake them and give them back before returning to my quiet home, full of dangerously sharp and fragile nickknacks (Thea unerring finds all our pen knives, for we have many, and appears suddenly appears round corners like a tiny Wolverine). The idea of them pleases me greatly, and I am more than happy to be cool aunt who spoils them rotten and teaches them all the best swear words. Though quite how happy various parents will be after reading of my intentions is yet to be decided…