It’s that time of year where we all start to think about what the future will bring. And for many of the people I know, the future, or at least 2015, will revolve mainly around young babies –having them, congratulating them on first steps or boasting about their bowel movements on social media “OMG! Tia’s just been on the potty! – Feeling proud :)”
Now don’t get me wrong I’m not hating on people or friends that have kids; you’re proud and you should be, you’ve created a life and have so far managed to nurture it and care for it. That said, those statuses are really annoying.
It’s just: I haven’t. And at this point in my life I don’t want to – I know I want to have kids in this decade(ish) but not right now. To be totally honest, I don’t want a child right now because, other than the obvious practical/financial reasons and my desire to pursue other things first, I feel I don’t know enough about them.
When people I know have babies, I am genuinely happy for them but the actual going and visiting fills me with dread. I can coo over a Moses basket with ease, but sooner or later someone will say the dreaded, inevitable line “Do you want a cuddle?”
No. I certainly do not. This tiny bundle of joy is exactly that, a tiny, fragile being that embodies all of your hopes, dreams and a good portion of your emotions. The possibility that something could go wrong, or god forbid I could drop him/her is just too much pressure. Then there is always the second fear, what do you do if the baby cries?
If you’re a man, chances are people will just find it funny or cute as you try to pass the child on quicker than a hot potato. However if you are a twenty-something woman, there is always that awkward pause when people assume you can handle this. The minute or so where you jig the baby about, the baby screams more, you silently cry on the inside and start re-evaluating your life plan.
You play the germ-card. Can’t they see you are full of a cold? That this is all just clever make-up?
When that doesn’t work, you have to hold the baby. You have too, saying no is about as viable an option as commenting on how little Ethan looks suspiciously like that chap you guys met on a night out 9 months ago.
To a person with no kids, that cuddle is also symbolises the start of the end *sob*. I want to be a good friend and be supportive, I do truly. I want to see your little one grow and join in the fun. But when getting the girls together for a coffee turns into hour long chats about which brand of nappies is best – they become less and less appealing. Not because I’m selfish or no longer care about you and your child.
It’s because I have nothing to contribute; I can’t offer opinions on optimum temperatures or correct weaning ages. When every conversation revolves around a topic you know nothing about its disheartening.
When get togethers start to be at kids play centres it’s just plain awkward. I want to see you, and I’m interested in your child but it’s hard to be the weird woman at the FunZone with no kid and little say in the conversation. FYI it’s also no fun to receive pitying glances, as the talk turns to the (apparently tragic) fact I have a boyfriend, I’m in my mid-twenties but I don’t have a child or any immediate plans for one.
Re-reading that last paragraph I can see that it could probably come across as being amazingly self-centred. It might be. But the same can probably be said from new-parent’s perspective. When you have something as precious as a child my new shoes, or latest career saga probably seems insignificant in comparison.
So if you’re having a baby in 2015 don’t feel too bad if child-free friends suddenly drift away. They are, in all likelihood trying to resist it as much as you are, but they feel out of their depth and possibly fairly removed from your new life.
And if you’re feeling bad about ‘ditching’ a friend you no longer have anything in common with… don’t. These things happen. And any road, the baby is only a mere 5 years off school – and who knows, you may have your own by then.
Just whatever you do, don’t ask me to hold the baby.