Tag Archives: fate

When A Child Is Born

Oh shit. This is a fucking, arsing tit-wank of a disaster. And I swear I’m not just casually swearing for no good reason. No, I’m not pregnant but I have come to a realisation…breathe… I have realised that I would like to have a child. Or maybe even, inshallah, children. Fuckity fuck balls bollocks. I don’t even know how to boil an egg, let alone how to hatch one…

I thought I had cleverly by-passed this strange ancient tribal maternalism which most women seem to possess. Although I have never strongly not wanted (is that a double negative?) a child I have always been one of the ‘undecideds’ among us. Not bothered either way. If I find the love of my life and it just happens, so be it. But if I don’t and it doesn’t, so be it also.

But suddenly – on the rapid approach to my 36th year – I feel like the crocodile from Peter Pan, not only because my skin is so much rougher than it used to be but because there is a constant tick-tock coming from my stomach reminding me that I am woman and woman make child.

So, how do you make a baby? No, I know HOW you make a baby, but HOW do you make a baby? It may be hard to believe but I am actually a romantic, and would never go out to find a penis for impregnation, or go to a sperm bank…call me old fashioned but I would like to make a baby out of love and raise it with someone I love in a house with a white picket fence, with twee bunting hanging about. After half an hour with my baby-raising friends however, I usually want to hang myself with said bunting but still, I hold on to the belief that this is still possible in the modern world, despite evidence to the contrary, and am not ready to give up hope just yet.

I have a bit of time (not loads, but a bit) so it could still happen naturally, but it is such a huge unknown it almost doesn’t bear thinking about – Will I be able to conceive? Will he? Will I carry to term? Will I like it? Will it like me? Will it be ugly? Will I be a good Mother? (I think I answered that in the previous question) – it makes my head explode every time I try to think about it. Maybe this is why it has started seeping into my dreams…the other night I dreamed I was heavily pregnant but nobody believed me, they just thought it was trapped wind. That is until I went into labour in the street and all my friends gathered round, so excited to share in my joy, and in that moment I could finally understand the joy they have been experiencing over the last few years as they have had their kids, and it was bloody beautiful. I don’t know what happened next because I woke myself up with an enormous trump but it was a good dream, I think.

On the day I was born, in January 1977, ‘When A Child Is Born’ by Johnnie Mathis was number one in the Hit Parade so I have always identified with Jesus Christ – he was a Capricorn too you know. Like Jesus, the story of my birth has been told every year, but not by the world, just by my Mum and Dad. There was nothing particularly miraculous about it…it was snowing, but it was January so… I think they like to tell it because it was the day their world(s) changed. Not bigging myself up here, and my Mum had already had my amazing sisters years earlier so her world had already been changed, but it seems to me that the story is important to them not just because it was the day I was born, but because it was the day their old lives died. Having children changes your world. Fact.

I know there are all sorts of obstacles and it is entirely possible that my world will never change in this way so on my sane days I am quite philosophical about the whole thing but it saddens me that it might not, in the same way it saddens me that if it does, the child(ren) may never get to know their wonderful, crazy Granny or any of my amazing family in the same way I do because, let’s face it, none of us are getting any younger. In a weird way I think accepting this fact and the lack of control we ultimately possess is all part of the growing up you need to do to raise a child or accept that you might not. Accepting that there is danger and pain in the world, that you can’t fix everything, that life isn’t always one big party, that with great joy (and power, come to think of it) comes great responsibility.

So, I’m not prepared to give up just yet, if only because I really don’t want to be the old lush in the corner, about whom everyone smugly (if slightly jealously) comments “Isn’t Auntie Janey funny because she’s drunk/hungover again?” and I will continue to hope. But you know what? Whatever direction life takes me in, all I will say is: so be it.

When A Child Is Born


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Nobody Expects The Spanish Inquisition

The 1998 film Sliding Doors deals with the concept of what happens when you make a decision so small it is imperceptible to you, but it changes your life forever. In Gwynie’s case it was whether to run for the tube or not, and we were able to see the consequences of both decisions, but in the real world we’re not lucky enough to find out what might have been, in real life we just have to suck it up – shit happens.

I am fascinated by this notion, along with that of knowing what the world would be like without me (thanks to ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ – but don’t worry, I have no delusions that I would be as missed as George Bailey), and, finally, the morbid desire to witness my own funeral. There’s something about these impossible scenarios which draw us in – probably because of our lack of control over them.

On the radio the other day I heard a guy called Matthew Childs who was a few seats away from the bomber on the Edgware Road train on 7th July 2005. He wasn’t supposed to be on that train. He had missed his stop, got off at Edgware Road to travel back one stop and ran to catch that fateful train, just making it. Unusually he sat down for one stop, and was therefore protected from the blast by the glass panel. A seemingly innocuous sequence of events which changed the course of that man’s life forever. His world turned on a knife edge. I’m sure many people have an ‘I was almost there’ story, but here’s mine. I was working in Baker Street at the time and as usual was running late for work. By the time I tried to get on the tube it was closed and no-one was saying anything. I finally got on a bus which was then stopped and evacuated, still with no-one knowing what was going on – all mobile phone reception had been suspended due to fear of another attack.  I finally got to work and was shattered by what had happened. I soon realised that, had I not been late I would have been travelling on that train, or one near it at 8.50am, when the bomb exploded. Good job I’m a lazy bitch. At the time I didn’t really think about it, but the older I get the more random and unpredictable the world seems and the more frightened I become of what can happen when you are least expecting it. Not long after 7/7 I was in the office when a colleague, and friend, received a phone call with the news of her father’s sudden death. In seconds she went from laughing about who was making the tea to screaming, crumpled on the floor crying. Not long afterwards she moved home to be closer to her remaining family. After Matthew Childs’s recovery, he was inspired to leave a career in advertising and become a gardener, something he had always dreamed of doing, but never had the balls…and now he has a garden on display at Hampton Court. What is inspiring about life is how people consistently make good things out of shit things, hope and a desire to live fully outweighing any setbacks.

I don’t believe in God or Karma, I don’t believe that if you are a good person good things will happen to you as quite obviously this isn’t true, some of the kindest people I know have had the shittiest luck imaginable but I am fascinated by what you might call chance or fate or destiny. I do think if something is going to happen there is nothing you can do to change it, and this implies, at least in part, that I believe in fate. The moment I put my mobile phone in my back pocket that one time (here we go again) the phone was going to be taken, there was nothing I could do to prevent that. Deciding not to go away this weekend, allowed me to be in a certain place at a certain time where I was verbally abused in the middle of the street (more of that another time). But I was meant to be at both these events, I couldn’t have been anywhere else so what is the point in saying what if?

Sure, I am a big believer in making things happen, making your own luck, striving towards your future, but you only have control over the smallest of life’s problems. When it comes to the bigger things we just have to take the hand we’re dealt and make the most of it. Whatever happens, we only get one chance.

Although no good deed goes unpunished, it is much nicer to be nice than to be mean. So I will always look on the bright side of life because nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition but equally, and more importantly – if I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again;

“No man is a failure, who has friends.”
–  Clarence – Angel, Second Class.