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Charli Morgan

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Tick-Tocked off by the Biological Clock

Posted: 31/10/2011 22:00

I hate babies. They look like confused Michael Stipes, or the sort of things you'd hang in the back garden to scare away badgers.

They're expensive bags of crying flesh which expel bodily fluids, leave your stomach looking like a London tube map, drain your fun bags and bank account and leave you with such sparse social time, your only topic of conversation is the contents of their Pampers.

At least that's what I used to say throughout my 20s, when my uterus recoiled whenever a colleague brought their newborn to the office and the fellow women gathered around to excitedly prod its sticky cheeks and dab its milky vomit behind their ears.

Other womenfolk looked upon me with a winning combination of fear and pity; ruffled my hair, shook their heads and tutted: "Silly girl. Just you wait until your biological clock kicks in. Then you'll be one of us."

So imagine my horror when my body decided to be brilliantly predictable and make an enormous dick of its owner, by deciding it's keen as mustard to join the cluckers. It was one thing when I devoutly spurned olives and then made a monumental Queen Green U-turn for them out-of-the-blue, but this mutiny against myself took the biscuit and every other fattening snack.

I've watched One Born Every Minute, and childbirth doesn't look like a barrel of LOLZ - unless you're the viewer, in which case it's hilarious watching the boss-eyed mums-to-be baring their clenched teeth and violent nethers to the cameras, while vowing to remove their partners' tallywhackers as soon as their hands aren't occupied with karate-chopping the midwife and clamping the nitrous oxide valve to their chops.

Yet this hasn't put me off, which is quite extraordinary because I've also watched The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which is infinitely less bloody and violent, but has definitely put me off fraternising with chainsaw-wielding killers and grave-robbing cannibals.

I even remained unperturbed by my move to the smug, pregnant capital of the world, Hampstead, where prams and pregnant tums came at me from every darkened corner of the highstreet, like a David Lynch movie scene. Instead, it made me vow to out-yummy all the mummies and NEVER call my child Tarquin.

But my clients needn't paste pictures of Maggie Thatcher, excrement and my family onto my bedroom ceiling, because I won't be dropping a sprog for many, many moons. And one of the main reasons for this - apart from a penchant for pickling my liver and spooning a Dominos pizza the following day - is because Blighty makes it a right old pickle for women like me.

If I was on benefits, I'd have a bowl bulging with fruits from my loins and a free nest, for my troubles. Likewise, if I was a double-barrled posho, I'd have Jaspers and Hermiones coming out of every orifice, before you could say "sun-blushed tomato."

But alas, for those of us who have worked our bloomers off to have a career which we love and is pretty necessary for the whole keeping-a-child-alive thing, baby-making is tricky.

The chaps can knock people up all over the shop, straighten their ties and return to the office. But women have to worry about time off, cover, going part-time, sacrificing or down-grading their careers and being replaced or demoted as soon as their belly buttons pop out.

A friend returned from her honeymoon to find a nubile, young girl was being secretly trained for her job, as her role was gradually scaled-back to pre-empt a possible baby. Likewise, women of a certain age make potential employers sweaty of palm. Many privately confess they would employ a man over a woman in the same job, because maternity leave and all the other bother is irksome and expensive.

Various magazines we work with are full of 30-something up-the-duffers, bouncing around the photocopier like Space Hoppers. It's a lovely thing, but dreadfully expensive and consequently, rather rare.

And I'm not setting my bra ablaze or busting busy balls, I'm just lamenting the fact that humankind has managed to split the atom and invent Stephen Fry, but has thus far failed to fix this biological Rubik's Cube.

Many of my female friends have a similar whine, over our wines, about the very rich and very poor populating the country, while we middling types pay their taxes and remain sprogless.

And there's a combined sense of happiness, envy and abandonment whenever a female chum leaves our ne'er-do-well circle, to get mumsy; akin to the feeling you get when the friends who chilled their nipples off smoking outside with you, decide to pack it in - you know it's better for them, but somehow feel left behind, smoking alone in the chilly night. And most of these women - without minted chaps - are now very happy, but facing knotty decisions about going part-time or changing careers.

But new mums out there needn't pack their mace in my company, because I'm still happy to be a reprobate and stick my fingers in my ears to drown out the tick-tocking until a cunning plan is found for us middle women.

It's nobody's fault, apart from Mother Nature, who made a deeply unsisterly move by stuffing reproductive gubbins inside women.

 

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