A few weeks ago I went to my mum’s and we talked about the upcoming hospital appointment. She brought up the fact that A would be having that baby and not me and asked whether I’d have the next one or if A can’t have it, would I instead? I told her that although I desperately want a child I just don’t have any desire to actually carry it.
One thing she said is that I’d regret it if I didn’t. That actually giving birth is an amazing experience and helps you to bond with the baby. That going through the pain of childbirth is rewarding and a positive experience.
Of course A and I have talked about this lots and I’ve worried about it. Not that I wouldn’t bond with the baby, I just can’t imagine that, but that A would feel like it’s more her child than mine or that I’d feel like a ‘lesser mum’, if that makes sense. I couldn’t help getting upset at what she said. I know mums only have your best interests at heart and that she was being realistic and asking questions that we had already discussed but I think what hurt was the idea that someone else might think that I was less of a mum than Alison. Truthfully, I don’t think my mum actually thinks that and I’m sure that when the baby is born I won’t either but it’s something that does worry me.
My mum also worries that the baby might be a boy and the absence of a father figure could cause problems. That’s also something I’ve considered. I have absolutely no clue when it comes to men and was raised with one sister in a household which was full of strong women, with my Nan being a major influence on me. I am sure there are manly things that I know nothing about. I just don’t know what they are. As Donald Rumsfeld so succinctly put there are unknown unknowns. They are probably related to foreskin or urinals. Or wanking.
A has two brothers. While my sister and I were learning every word to Hairspray off by heart and making rose-petal perfume, she was fighting in the backyard and playing with action figures so she isn’t fazed by it. I also really like a lot of my friends boyfriends who are great role models and think that my dad has always secretly longed for a son. Preferably one who drinks John Smiths, reads the Racing Post and will sit smoking in the armchair with him whilst watching cricket. Hopefully it’ll be enough for them to have men we know actively involved in his life. Failing that there’s always school and Nuts magazine.
Part of my mum’s reservations applies to single mums (those who’ve never known a father) but I totally disagree that their sons are more likely to go off the rails when they’re older. I know TONS of women who have brought lads up alone and they are sensitive, well-behaved, lovely kids. As my friend Steph says, they can do typically ‘male’ activities with women too. Our friend Paula can’t wait to be ‘Uncle Paul’ and have someone (boy or girl) to go to Anfield with her and play footie in the park. And they may be a boy who isn’t interested in football and prefers to play with Barbies and lip-synch to Hairspray, which will also be fine.
That night I phoned A, a little bit tearful, and told her all this. She was lovely and said, ‘ Look. If you’re really worried about all this then why don’t you have the baby? Because I’m not worried in the slightest and I know that we will both be the mums and that child will love us both equally and I am not in the slightest bit bothered who gives birth.’
I love that I have the calmest, most reassuring girlfriend ever. I thought seriously about it for, um, a minute and came to the conclusion that, no, I really don’t want to have the baby. And I’m going to take the advice of my heavily pregnant friend Julie who said, ‘Either way, one of you’ve got to do so it get over it’.