Friday, 2 December 2011

"IMPREGNATE ME": A post title which may surprise my boyfriend

I am getting ridiculously broody, you guys. My gentleman friend's niece has just turned two, a dear friend gave birth and then left this hemisphere over the summer, and my new boss keeps showing me pictures of her delectable children: baby fever! I have it! (Sample conversation with gentleman friend: "Babies! Let's have some! They're only, like, this big, we could easily fit one in your kitchen, for example." "Uh... huh. You do remember you're unemployed? What would we feed it with?" "BREAST MILK IS FREE!")

Preposterous "IMPREGNATE ME" conversations aside, I am, on a more sensible level, aware that I am not quite stable enough - financially or mentally - to make with the babies quite yet. Sharing this observation in two separate conversations with my Dear Old Mum on the one hand, and Gay Best Friend on the other, led to some interesting responses.

D.O.M. said, essentially, you will never be rich enough to have kids: there is no level where you can buy absolutely everything they could possibly want or need. But if you and your partner both have a steady income, money isn't a reason not to have kids, if you want to have them.

G.B.F. said that my moderate depression shouldn't have to be a reason not to have children: with the right combination of medication, talky talky therapy and support, The Dreaded Mind-Doom in no way disqualifies someone from raising children if they want to.

For reference, D.O.M. has been poor for most of her life, but has never been mad. G.B.F. is long-term-mad, but has never been poor.

I know! Had I ever thought about it before, I would have predicted it the other way around: that people who have actually experienced particular forms of hardship, disability or oppression would be more likely to see them as a stumbling block in life, and have less understanding of how difficulties that they've never experienced could make strenuous lifestyle choices like GROWING AND RAISING AN ENTIRE NEW PERSON slightly less easy.

But on reflection, it makes perfect sense. If an undepressed person reads a definition of the condition, they probably think, "anhedonia. Exhaustion. Feelings of worthlessness. HOW DO THESE PEOPLE MAKE IT OUT OF BED IN THE MORNING?" And a rich person, looking at my life, would quite likely think, "How is it even possible to feed YOURSELF in London on but £18,000 a year, let alone you and mini-you?"

And, not to say that life as a depressed person on a lowish wage living in one of the most expensive cities in the world is a total doddle full of daisies and mental rainbows, but hey: it's possible. It's even fun, most of the time. Because I live with these things every day, I know that they're not insurmountable, the way they might look to the uninitiated.

This isn't something I come across very often: because my disabilities are invisible, it's usually the flip-side; the desperate quest to convince doubters that no, seriously, I know I look Fit And Healthy but I feel like I'm dying right now. This particular brand of barrier - convincing others that dude, I'm disabled, I'm not incapable is just as insidious, especially when it's in your own head.

If I'd decided to postpone all major decisions and life landmarks until some distant future when I'm "Fine" (and, honestly, I have no idea what that would even look like) I wouldn't even have finished school, let alone the rest of my education; still less some of the best things that have happened in the last five years - work, boyfriend, volunteering. All of which have been unimaginably important in getting better. Not in getting fixed - I don't think my disabilities are ultimately fixable - but in learning to manage them, learning to live a full and happy life with them.

In conclusion: babygrows.


  1. This is an awesome post, full of things I think but am incapable of putting into words (though possibly should wait for a couple of years yet...!) Here is a solemn promise for the cutest damn babygrow you've ever seen to be sent your way - to be cashed in on when appropriate! xx

  2. Hooray, thank you! The minute I'm knocked up I'm taking you up on that promise. And thank you for reading, you totally just made my day. xx