I have no idea how to hold a baby. They’ve always scared me so I’ve just done a pretty good job in avoiding them so far.
I refused to go near my nephew until he turned 3 and started to seem like less of a dropping hazard and more of a liability and therefore slightly easier handle. But now he’s 14 years old, easily one of my favourite family members and sends me memes I’ve already seen regularly.
- My maternal instincts towards him (that every woman should supposedly have) are zero to none.
I don’t know if this is due to my own Mother’s stringent parenting approach and her reluctancy to humour the damsel in distress narrative or because we shouldn’t generalise every single woman on the planet to want the same thing from life – a baby.
A baby, preferably with a husband because having one out of wedlock will lead to becoming a social pariah and society referring to your sprog as a bastard like in Peaky Blinders, which was set in 1919.
On a brighter note, the man in question will be totally fine and not expected to deal with the consequences of his actions at all.
This is probably one of the oldest double standards in the patriarchy, especially the bit where the associated fine print gives political leaders (without vagina’s) the authority to implement laws and restrictions over what (cis, trans and other) women can and cannot do with their bodies.
On a surface level the laws, restrictions and campaigns aim to preserve the sanctity of life but when you look below the belt, it comes across as a manipulative way to dismiss freedom of choice and police women’s bodies.
But don’t you sometimes wonder if this would be the case if men could get pregnant?
The self-deprecating ‘just’ in ‘i’m just a Dad’ wouldn’t exist and the title; stay-at-home-Father would be celebrated as a full-blown profession.
But also, time, money and resources would be put towards creating a contraceptive pill that doesn’t make you feel like you have acute depression.
Abortions would be handed out for free with a complimentary Xanax or homegrown weed for your trouble and Trump would tweet about freedom of choice and men’s rights to their own body’s daily.
Although, in this paradox, two things would stay intact: firstly society’s habit of brushing aside the actions of badly behaved men with a classic ‘boys will be boys.’
Secondly, expecting girls to take sole responsibility and quietly accept the consequences of a boy’s actions throughout their pre-teen and teenage years but then celebrating them for being ‘mature’ once they reach their early 20s.
As if it wasn’t the years of double standards and trauma that paved the way in creating our heightened maturity levels?
Are women naturally more caring or is this just an enforced gender stereotype we’ve all spent centuries adapting too?
Our society relies on gender norms to ensure that a regulated decorum is followed throughout the world. (Excluding societies that are yet to discover WIFI).
Do even the most reluctant of women eventually have an epiphany that releases all of their maternal instincts that she always supposedly had?
But if everyone has an epiphany about the same thing, it no longer seems like an epiphany and more like mass manipulation.
Do you think our Mothers were actually ready to have a baby or were they just pushing 30 and got tired of everyone questioning their fertility as if these are appropriate grounds to push a watermelon out of your vagina and be its primary carer till it’s 18?
To be honest, I think I’ve felt more maternal towards a dog that I am 100% sure I can return to the owners once it’s done a shit than an actual baby with the same contract.
I’m not an anti-natalist, I think it’s important to celebrate and support Mother’s but I also think it’s important to shift the narrative by normalising the idea that a baby might not be end game for every woman.
Especially if there is potential for them to turn out like Raphael Samuel, a Mumbai-based businessman who sued his parents for giving birth to him without his consent and he argues that he was unleashed into an unwarranted amount of suffering.
Although there is an element of truth in his (slightly flawed) belief system because on some days, I do see where he is coming from.
Everyone always says we need to make the world a better place for our children. But one of the best ways to achieve this is by focusing our attention towards the children living below the poverty line right now, and removing the stigma often associated with other viable avenues such as adoption, fostering and surrogacy (unless it’s a dodgy black market deal).
But also can we normalise the idea that some women are content in being the cool aunt with the questionable amount of money who makes a point to start day drinking as soon as the afternoon school run starts.