I’m sorry you didn’t get the chance to be born and carry on the family line. You might have been funny and warm like your potential dad, Bob, or ditzy and slightly neurotic like your potential mum, Sharon, but we’ll never know. You see, I never felt particularly broody. Other women would drool over babies, but although I agreed they were cute I didn’t feel that I must have one. Whenever I held someone else’s baby they always cried, as if sensing they were being cradled by a novice.
Now it’s too late. I am entering the perimenopause, you see. My child-bearing years are nearly at an end and Bob and I are too set in our ways now.
Even if I decided to try to beat my biological clock and gave birth to you in nine months time, in September 2015, by the time you were 20 I would be 69. I’m too old to start changing dirty nappies and have sleepless nights. I’m already looking forward to my retirement and unfortunately the picture I have doesn’t include you.
I can hear you asking why we didn’t give you life and it’s hard to explain. Some people would say we are selfish, wanting a big house or smart car, instead of spending money on pushchairs and swimming lessons, but that’s not exactly true. We didn’t deliberately set out not have you but we didn’t have the burning desire other people seemed to have to procreate. We never sat down to talk it through and decided. We were enjoying our lives too much, so maybe there is an element of selfishness.
Yet I do think some people have a child just because it’s expected of them, without really stopping to think what it all means.
I would have worried myself to death about you. I did mention I was neurotic! I would have wanted you to be happy with lots of friends and if anyone had hurt you I would have wanted to kill them. So maybe, subconsciously, not having you was one less thing to worry about.
Do I have regrets? I’m sorry to be blunt but not many. I enjoy my lie-ins and I don’t feel jealous of parents who get up early on Saturday mornings to cheer their offspring on the sidelines of a football match in the rain or to put on their taxi hat and ferry them from dancing to riding lessons.
If on a Friday or Saturday night we suddenly feel like going out, then we can do so without having to think about babysitters. We can go to posh, non-child friendly restaurants, not a climbing frame or crèche in sight, just fine wine and fancy glassware. We also love to travel and can go anywhere we like, without having to think about what there is for the kids to do. There’s just me and Bob and we can have “quiet time” when I read a book and he watches TV or plays his computer games (maybe having one big kid was enough? Only joking, Bob!).
It would seem weird having anyone else around.
I never really relished the thought of giving birth either. All that pain, blood and gore. I pass out whenever I have to give a sample of blood. The idea of forceps and episiotomies make me want to retch.
Shabob – at least I’ve given you a name, after Bob and me – I do occasionally wonder what you would have been like. Especially because I have been researching my family tree and find it fascinating that all these people with their traits, personalities, lives, genes have led to me. It makes me a little sad that no one will ever look me up, as this is the end of the line. But I don’t think that is a strong enough reason on its own to give birth to you. Although if someone had made that decision further back, I wouldn’t be here to write this letter – a sobering thought.
So I’m sorry, the biological clock is close to midnight and you won’t be born at all. But I still think of you with a little fondness.