It's Christmas time, and just like baby Jesus arrived at the end of December all those centuries ago, so are my new nieces or nephews. Both my sisters are heavily pregnant and about to pop any day now. I'm excited, tense, and also a bit annoyed – not with them, with all the idiots. We'll come to the idiots in a minute. I'm excited because I'm about to be an aunt all over again, and I'm already doing a super job with my (about to be) three-year old niece. She comes to my place for sleepovers where we watch Sofia the First, and older Disney films I try to get her to like. I go to hers to babysit, and sometimes pick her up from nursery. We also FaceTime at least once a week; one time she told me to "come out of the picture and play with her" – awww! Getting two more little people to do this with fills me with joy, and I cannot wait until the day when they all stay at mine at the same time, where they will declare in mutual agreement that I am the best aunt of all time.
I'm also tense because it's not been a road without rockiness, their pregnancies I mean. Sometimes things can be going swimmingly and then apparently I'll have said the wrong thing and feel their wrath. It's also happened to me with friends who have been pregnant, apparently being in this condition makes you super sensitive and paranoid, although with an amazing glowing complexion – so it's ups and downs. I can't wait for that to be over, as my sisters are both smart, funny women (normally) that you can have a laugh with. They're at a stage where they're both extremely tired and feeling uncomfortable, especially the sister who already has a toddler, yeah she's not having the best of times. It will be a relief for everyone once the babies are here – though of course it's not going to be easy for the new mums.
I won't miss the idiots that keep asking me if I'm bothered about both my sisters being pregnant and not me. It's not something they planned on ("synchronise cycles!"), it's a big coincidence that I'm sure happens in families all over the world. It's been great that they've been able to compare notes and have lots of pregnancy chat together, and their kids will grow up as cousins pretty much the same age, just days apart. If I were someone who wants to have children at this stage in my life it might be a problem, but the thought is so alien to me that jealousy has not even been in my top one hundred emotions of the past nine months. Pity maybe, motherhood looks likes a whole heap of work, worry – for the wellbeing of my sisters and their children, not for me, and of course that selfish excitement for me and my aunty-ness. But envy? Nope. I don't mind telling you that I'm not bothered about ever having children, and reserve my right to change my mind at any time. Right now I'm more excited about getting myself a literary agent and writing my book, and that sums me up.
People really don't believe me though, some think that childless women are LIARS and of course they want babies, that's the point of women, right? Jennifer Aniston has become our spokesperson (thanks, Jen), and speaks out about how the media have framed her as the unhappy non-mother, in denial each time she says she doesn't want kids, and writing her story for her as the woman who has everything except the one thing she doesn't. Not Brad – babies. They always compare her to her Friends co-stars Courtney Cox and Lisa Kudrow who both have kids, even though that show ended a bajillion years ago and she's worked with numerous people since. It's worse for me because the two women I'm compared to aren't my colleagues from a sitcom, they're my sisters. Just because we came from the same womb and all grew up together, some people think we should all want the same things and be doing them at the same time. When my younger sister got engaged before me, a friend, who come to think of it is someone I meet for cocktails a whole lot less now, asked me without irony if I was upset about this. Hate to break it to you lady, womenfolk of the same family don't have to get married and have kids in age-order, it's really up to the individual what they do and when.
It amazes me how many seemingly intelligent and (what I had considered to be) normal people have said things along the lines of, oh that must be hard for you, both your sisters being pregnant. I find it hilarious that people can let their weird inner thoughts spill out like that, but that's because I don't care about having children. Imagine if you said something like that to a woman who was desperate to be a mother? I'd imagine it would be horrible, but it's also not great realising that colleague/friend/family member of yours is a twit who could come out with something like that anyway. What I'm saying is – can you not. Just keep all your thoughts about women and babies to yourself, they're bound to upset someone, and really – someone's parental status is no business but theirs.
Just like it's way more acceptable to be a single parent these days, or a gay one, one day it will be acceptable to be a childless woman without people thinking you're:
b.) in denial
c.) in some way mentally or physically not right to not want children
d.) a sad, selfish person who should go and live alone somewhere, maybe in that town in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang where children are banned
Until then, I'll just enjoy my offspring-free life (it's so good, thanks), and occasionally wander into responsibility-land when I'm looking after my nieces and nephews. I'm also sitting by the phone waiting for labour news, the birth kind, and accepting the possibility of one of them bursting out on Christmas Day just as we're all sitting down to dinner. I will put down my prosecco and help out, promise.