Accompanying video: ‘Babies’ – Directed by Thomas Balmès. (2010)
I don’t know what it is, maybe it’s the unconscious ticking of my feminine body clock, the pregnancy and baby photos greeting me on Facebook everyday, or the quiet longing I have for my nieces and my own family while I’m in a foreign country… but I’m experiencing a strange and irrational desire to procreate. Of course for important and obvious reasons it’s not for me at the current time, but when I see a baby or a small child, something makes me want to cuddle it – and I can’t explain why.
When greeting a newborn baby five years ago I remember having to actively think of obvious comments to make about the baby to disguise my surprise at how much it resembled my idea of an alien.
“Oh wow, isn’t it tiny… um… look at those little hands… um…..” ET phone home. “aw, it looks like it’s smiling” My goodness that head is disproportionately huge compared to its body “such cute fingers” but where is its neck, what did you do with it’s neck! It’s like a magic trick, the poor baby goes from torso to giant head. “aw it’s bald” oh, probably shouldn’t have said that one. Gosh, what’s that smell, oh no… “I’m just going to go get something to drink, want anything?” run run!
Now it’s not like that, not like that at all. Maybe it’s similar to “beer goggles”, but it seems that some of us wake up one day and suddenly find babies to be cute. When I see a pregnant woman now, I feel like she is sacred or something. I envision everyone making way for her on the street and applauding (cue a musical number where everyone breaks into dancing and singing). I just want to shower them (parents) with love and praise and congratulate them for all the sacrifices they are making (and presumably will go on to make) for the benefit of someone else. My sister is one of these odd people, a parent, who gives so incredibly much of themselves for their children, she’s an incredible mother who operates on close to no sleep (years in a row), orientates every activity of her day around her children with barely any time to herself, and she makes life fun and wonderful for my nieces (seriously, some of the cutest and happiest toddlers you can imagine).
From spending time with my nieces and their fantastic parents I’m overcome with the reality of what being a parent is really like, and quite frankly it looks like the hardest job in the world. It’s broken sleep, crying, nappies, feeding, teaching, entertaining, mediating – it’s none-stop. So I can certainly understand why it’s not for everyone, it requires so much energy and let’s be realistic, a heck of a lot of money too (plus there is always the concern with overpopulation issues).
For those are who do want to have babies one day, when is the ideal time? Is there such a thing as too old? It seems that ultimately couples want to be young enough to cope with the physical demands, both in terms of fertility and child birth as well as keeping up with the children as they grow without feeling like grandparents. But then i’d assume a level of maturity is also necessary in order to be emotionally ready for children, financially prepared, and in a stable and loving long-term relationship (although many have shown that this is not essential).
So where is the happy medium between too old and too young to raise children (if there is one)?
Also for those childless friends of mine reading this, are babies getting cuter as you get older too, or is it just me?
I’d be keen to hear your thoughts.