A good friend of mine phoned me at the weekend with the surprising news that she may be pregnant. My immediate response was to get all excited and be so chuffed for her. I know that I am totally biased about the whole thing and have been crossing all my fingers and toes ever since I heard. She’s probably wandering around thinking ‘oh my god’, as it wasn’t in her ‘plans for life’ at all, but at the moment I’m excited enough for the two of us!
Then I wondered, how come am I so biased? I spent 16 yrs, totally at peace with the idea that I couldn’t have children, so I’m sure it’s possible to have a ‘complete’ life without them. Yes, I’m pretty besotted now, but I do see the downsides: the lack of sleep, gunk on your clothes, financial requirements, worries, worries and more worries, guilt, a few more worries, baby brain, oh the list goes on.
So many parents do the same thing, and seem to want everyone else to have kids too. I remember when we moved into our first house on a new estate full of newly married couples there was a general pattern; lots of encouragement to get pregnant like the rest of them, followed by a jokey ‘now your in for it’ response once they had fallen for the idea. Clearly, it wasn’t to be for me at the time, so we had dogs, and for a while I was definitely looking like I might one day turn into one of those mad old women with tonnes of dogs and cats!
Is it because we want our mates to be in it with us? Yep, I can see that there might be a bit of that in there. Perhaps we want to share it. But it can so often go ‘wrong’ for people, so we might be suggesting that they try it too, and it will go all pear shaped for them. I suspect that the fact that I so surprisingly fell pregnant and then loved being a Mum is how come I ended up being ‘The Mummy Whisperer’, as my heart goes out to Mums who feel frantic, stressed or distant from their children.
But I look at her life, and I know that she can totally manage all the downsides (mind you the dry clean only stuff might need to be put away for a while), and that she will end up with someone that will love her so completely. I can help her navigate the dips and turns. So what’s not to love?
I love the fact that you totally get ‘a clear purpose’ when you have a baby. I had my suspicions about my friend a long time ago after a conversation about what she was going to do with her life, and there was such a big gap. I mentioned that this is when many women get pregnant and she asked me if I thought that she might make that sort of decision suddenly out of character. I totally lied and said ‘No, no, it’s not for you’, in fact with huge suspicions that it might just be perfect for her, but I didn’t want to scare the shit out of her!
Curly headed boy taught me how to BE. First he forced me to BE, because he wanted to be held permanently for 3 months and breast fed for hours on end. Then he taught me to enjoy it, and to make sure that there is always a little time in my day where it’s not about the DO, but just about the BE.
Then he taught me so much about people. I have spent thousands on learning about human behaviour, and although children might be expensive, he was a hell of a lot cheaper. He nagged me for ages to get pregnant again, which was a really good idea, and so along came Little Dimples. She has taught me the value of time. Seriously, I value every 5 minutes now. I totally know whats at the top of my priority list, which is something that people have to search for in the personal development world for years (they call it ‘Values’). Everything else has been gradually, and in some cases unceremoniously dumped.
My mate is going to be the best Mummy ever. She’s gorgeous, independent, successful and clever. She’s going to be able to teach that little mite all sorts of things about life, people, health, finances, and success. She’s already got herself sorted financially, so there wont be the stress of working full time with a baby, she’s just got to learn to look after herself a little more. But if she doesn’t that baby will make her stop and look after herself, so she’s definitely going to learn. Oooh, I’m all excited again!
Do you get excited about your friends or encourage them to have children too? Why do you think you do it?