Review 2005

June Gidley

I was ironing at the time. I wish I could say that I was striding across moorland, shouldering into a gale and it hit me teetering on the brink of nowhere, but sadly I was making steady progress across a duvet cover. No matter. I may not know what I really want out of life - for two years now I have been fighting against a job which bores me, a company which hates its employees and I live in an area of the country for which I have nothing but contempt - but I am a firm believer in knowing what you don't want so you don?t end up further in the shit. And I will not have children.

It came to me out of nowhere, like a name which suddenly and finally comes to you for which you had been struggling earlier in the day. But there it was, and for the first time in a very long time indeed I felt as if I had made an entirely constructive decision. I will not have children. Not because there is something physically wrong with me, I doubt there is, a doctor once said I was the healthiest person he had ever clapped eyes on, but because I do not want them.

I have said for years I wouldn't have them but over the last five or so years I suppose I had begun to think that I probably would despite all the evidence that this would be a disastrous idea.

Why not though? I am certainly a responsible enough member of society to raise another human being and would probably do it a damn sight better than some of the pram-pushing lowlife you see out and about. You want reasons? Here are a few.

I don't like children - Parents always think this is not possible. Trust me, it is. Babies in particular cause my system to go into lock-down and I have to vacate the area as soon as possible. If someone even shows me a copy of a scan I am struck dumb. Do you recall in Sex and the City when Miranda 'fakes a sonogram'? That's me. I don't know what to say or how to react because I AM NOT INTERESTED. My job as a reporter requires me to summon up interest in all manner of rubbish (planning enquiries, charity events, bins not being emptied), outside of work this is just too much of an ask for me.

I don't want to be poor - Raising a child is not a cheap business and now it carries on until they finish university, over two decades of financial grief. I am 31 and I don't even own my own home, how could I have a child? If you really want to lose that much cash put it all on the three-legged donkey in next year's National or burn a pile of cash. It's easier and there are no sleepless nights.

Hassle - There is much I don't not like about my current situation. However, not a single thing could be improved by a baby. I don't want to be doing piles of extra washing, I don't want to be woken up in the middle of the night, I don't want to spend all my time sat in other people's houses where you have gone so they can 'see the baby', I want to be able to just walk out of the house to buy the paper and not have to take mountains of crap with me. The list goes on and on and on and sodding on.

Parents - I do not want to turn in to one of these people. I have never thought that the world owes be a big favour and that seems to be pre-requisite numero uno. Likewise I fully understand that shoving a pushchair into the back of someone else's heels REALLY hurts and it seems like you lose the ability to see this.

I fear physical change - Shallow? Probably, but it's true. I can't help wanting to keep my tits where they are for as long as I can.

Psychiatric stability - I read an article earlier this year on post-natal psychosis. This is the big daddy of post-natal depression, which is patronisingly referred to as the 'baby blues'. I am a prime candidate for post-natal psychosis, this is where you go AWOL after shutting your baby in the freezer. You actually lose your mind. And I would.

That's five. There are more. The realisation came to me on a Sunday afternoon and when I left the house for work the next morning I really felt as If I was starting the next period of my life and the path for the rest of the journey had been made a hell of a lot clearer. But truths only become truer when you tell people. So, please someone explain to me why is it that when you say 'I don't want children' everyone thinks you are being funny at best or, at worse, they assume you are saying it to just get a reaction? If I was crowing about wanting four kids everyone would think this was just dandy. I have put much more thought into not wanting children than someone who finds herself knocked up through sheer idiocy yet, somehow, I am not to be taken seriously. Thank you society, I'll just carry on paying my taxes and weathering your pitying glances. Forever.

For an introduction and list of contributors to Review 2005, follow this link.

2 comments:

  1. Well said! I totally agree.

    I saw a family on GMTV this morning who had 15 kids - they had to start their Christmas shopping in January. For Christmas they were hoping to get pregnant again. Is there any further proof needed that kids warp your sense of perspective?

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  2. My sister started breeding last year and I came to the conclusion that it's vitally important that someone close to the kids, namely me, don't breed. Parenting turns you weird and the children need someone sane around them.

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