There are three kinds of babies in my life right now; babies that make me happy, babies that make me miserable, and possible babies that aren’t around yet. I’m reached an age at which the people I spend time with are spawning. We’re all in our 30s and they’re settling down. Being this age also means my own biology is kicking in and making me think seriously about whether I want to be a mum one day.
Some of my closest friends have their own little ones now. It’s brought me so much joy being part of their lives. In particular, a very good friend had her first around the same time I had my breakdown. I was on leave from work and they lived close by, so we spent a lot of time together. I loved seeing him change almost daily, helping my friend out and of course having loads of cuddles with him. That was great therapy.
Now my wife and I also have a tiny niece. She’s 5 months old and full of giggles and mischief. We don’t get to see her an awful lot, as my brother-in-law lives a 4 hour drive away, but they send us photos and videos almost every day. This weekend we’re travelling to spend a few days with them and I am very much looking forward to seeing her in the flesh again.
Unfortunately there are a few of these too. We had a niece four years ago who was taken into care and adopted. That’s a long and depressing story, but the upshot is we don’t get to ever see her again. There was another one, this time by a different sibling, who didn’t get to ever arrive in this world. My sister had a termination and that was awful for all of us. I wrote a letter to that baby here.
Now there’s an imminently arriving nephew. He’s due in a week. He’s the offspring of my abuser so it’s hard for me to feel anything good about him. I don’t hate the baby, because none of it is his fault. I want him to be born safely and to be healthy. Because god knows he’s going to have enough to deal with as he grows up. But I am full of horrible and complex feelings about him.
I hate that my brother has been allowed the gift of a child. I hate his wife for still wanting to start a family with him after learning what he’s done to me. I loathe that my family are all so happy for him and that they’re looking forward to having this child in their lives. That makes me angry, and actually a bit jealous too. Because I can’t give them anything to be happy about.
My wife and I have only ever talked in passing about having children. Obviously we don’t have the right ingredients to make one ourselves anyway. That has unsurprisingly taken any irrationality or spontaneity out of the decision making process. But since we’ve both moved into our fourth decade on this planet, we’ve been talking more seriously about whether we should have kids.
I’m not keen on the idea of adoption. That might sound selfish, but I believe having children is usually driven by fairly selfish motivations anyway. I just feel like I already have enough of my own trauma to deal with, without taking on a child who will have more than likely been traumatised by something too. I’d like to be noble about it, but I can’t.
I also resent that people (normally straight people) tell me my wife and I should adopt, or that we would be the perfect people to take in an unwanted child. That pisses me off because it insinuates that gay people should adopt, that it’s the right way for us to have children. Like there should be a different set of rules if you’re gay.
So that leaves us with the option of fertility treatment. And if we want the best chance of success, we can’t wait around too long.
There’s a great deal to think about. But I am trying to think rationally, and to focus on the little ones in my life that bring me joy. Maybe that will help me navigate through what will be a tough time when my brother’s baby arrives.
Photo: Fimb, Creative Commons.