In life there are many momentous occasions that signify milestones in our lives. Weddings, funerals and the birth of a child are just a few such examples. I recently attended the baby shower of a friend who’ll be bringing a bundle of joy into the world in August.
While sitting there watching the celebration, surrounded by crying babies and the pitter-patter of small feet I couldn’t help but ponder whether parenthood would one day befall me and whether I even wanted any children of my own.
My husband and I have been asked many times whether we have considered having children. Quite a queer question if you think about it; after all we can’t have kids the natural way (but believe me we try).
Realistically, if we do want little brats we would either have to adopt or make use of a surrogate. (The plus side of using a surrogate is that we can have a child that’s in part biologically ours without having to ruin either one of our figures.)
The decision to have children is additionally a complex one for us gay folk as it entails loads of red tape and paperwork; just thinking about the lawyers, the legal agreements and assessments by adoption and surrogacy agencies. It’s quite a different story for our heterosexual counterparts who merely have to have a night of marital bliss to ensure that there’s a bun baking in the oven.
The drive behind having children also seems to differ between gay and straight people. I’ve often heard that once a woman reaches a certain age her biological clock “starts ticking”. This is a concept I find particularly amusing: Is there really some kind of biological deadline for a woman, by which she must accomplish certain things or she’ll simply expire like bad milk?
In my social circle of women this deadline for having children appears to be between the magical ages of 30 and 40. After that they seem to give up on their eggs and the next major biological milestone to look forward to is the dreaded menopause.
“…what really concerns me is the fact that a child does not come with a comprehensive instruction manual…”
When it comes to my straight male friends I’ve not come across a single one that’s moaned and bitched about their biological clocks. Straight men, in my experience, are usually limited to two emotions when it comes to procreation; hungry and horny! So if he doesn’t have an erection, girls, please make him a sandwich.
As for me…Well, I have to be honest: children simply scare me. I have never been good with small kids and they rather make me nervous. As they look at me with those over-sized eyes I can swear they’re identifying my every weakness; scheming how far they can probe me before I crack.
The minute a baby is handed to me it will usually do one of two things – cry hysterically or throw up; in fact usually both will happen. What makes this worse is when the proud mother coos “ah… she likes you”. This while I stand there covered in baby spit with the child turning a lurid red from screaming.
Hubby on the other hand is great with kids and he can easily command their respect. When he says “no” children tend to listen. When I say “no” the complete opposite happens and what was rowdy behaviour invariably turns into complete and utter chaos. It’s at times like these that I’m sure that my biological procreation clock, should I have one, is set firmly to “never”.
I don’t doubt that children truly are a blessing. But what really concerns me is the fact that a child does not come with a comprehensive instruction manual. And, worst of all, if they break you can’t take them back and ask for a refund. It’s a truly lifelong investment and not a cheap one at that.
Children can be the source of not just great joy but also considerable headaches. Having been a tremendously difficult child to raise I distinctly remember, while I was having one of my classic tantrums during puberty, my mother yelling me that one day I would have children of my own and boy, payback was going to be a real bitch.
Whether those words influenced my current position of not wanting children, I’m not sure. But, if and when I do raise kids of my own, I’m sure many of my mother’s words of wisdom and advice will come back to haunt me. Her favourite being: “I gave life to you and I can take it away!”
With the majority of our friends, of a certain age, contemplating having children, trying to fall pregnant or already being “with child” I personally feel no particular rush to get knocked-up or to knock-up hubby. And, we won’t be renting a womb or searching the continent for an orphaned child just yet.
For now we’re quite content being Fairy Godparents and knowing that when our godchildren become difficult we’re able to return them home to their parents. That’s not to say we have permanently closed the door to parenthood… Check in with us again when we’re forty.