Jo rang me, one lovely Sunday afternoon, from the bus-stop. The sobbing that proceeded, from the moment she heard my voice, came from deep inside and took ten minutes to calm. The party she’d attended was chock full of what Bridget Jones would (cleverly) call ‘smug marrieds’, couples glowing with adoration for each other and their ‘darling’ offspring. Glowing so damn much that it spilled over to the inevitable, dreaded line of questioning that some single, childless women in the latter half of their thirties and beyond fear. I hate that conversation. I hate it even more when there is a vague sort of smug underpinning to the query, one that leaves one person feeling happy and the other – sensible, grown-up and with a big smart lawyers job - crying at a bus-stop on a beautiful afternoon.
I was left wondering why people are so thoughtless. Smug bastards.
I have never imagined myself as a mother. Not for me the romantic dream of getting married and having a bunch of small people that resemble me. My dolls never enacted a single wedding ceremony and, though I did briefly at twelve flirt with the idea of a glamorous pop-star marriage to a member of Duran Duran, the thought of either hasn’t grabbed me since.
Why is it so damn fashionable to have children? What on earth possesses normally rational people who are lucky enough to have children to pity – I have been pitied on more than one occasion – those who, either by choice or circumstance, do not?
My name is Lucy, I'm in the latter half of my thirties and, ordinarily, I write about food here. The fact that I am both a little, well, on the curvy-side shall we say, and in my late thirties means that I am asked more often than I like if I am pregnant. For the record, I am not.
I feel that I should disclose here that I do in fact have children in my life to avoid any confusion, but I must add that they are not mine. I like them both enormously, both are in fact well into their teens and very good-looking, well-mannered young men, but I'm exceedingly glad that they came ready-made. Plus their mum (with whom I share a surprisingly good relationship) takes them for half of the week, which makes things very nice for us all, thank you.
I also have a small scruffy dog which I do not, thankfully, treat as my child.