My sister has just given birth. I'm an auntie again! I'm also
afraid that at all the get-togethers I'll be cast as the Patty to
my sister's Marge.
When the womenfolk gather in the kitchen at parties, talking in
hushed tones about the birth, I feel a little excluded. "You have
NO idea", they'll say as they take another swig of Chardonnay. I
did once stand on a piece of Lego in my stocking feet, so I do know
something about pain.
I get the feeling that some people feel sorry for me; I'm 'the
poor barren aunt'. They probably picture me kneeling down in my
unfertile garden, in full 'Platoon Pose', clutching dead Basil and
crying, "Why. Will. Nothing. Grow."
Being a lesbian and having kids are not mutually exclusive. Still
many people, outside my North London bubble, don't entertain the
thought that I could choose to have children. "You'll be next!",
they say to my niece's other (straight) aunts as they shoot me a
look that says, "You'll be lucky!"
"Wouldn't you have liked children?" others ask, past tense, as if
I had to make a Sophie's choice between The Candy Bar and
Motherhood. Do they really think I've given up my womb, letting it
wither away like a dried porcini mushroom, in favour of 2 for 1
My mum will make well-meaning excuses on my behalf like, "She has
her cats". She says it in such a serious tone, that it sounds less
like domestic pet ownership, and more like a vocation. People
probably think my girlfriend and I are the lesbian Siegfried &
One Christmas, my dad grabbed the Conran Turkey baster by the
ball, and stole himself to ask, "Should I expect grandchildren?"
Turned out he'd been reading The Daily Mail again. After a very
pregnant pause he said, "Because it does happen, you know", before
dropping the baster and mentally reaching for the mind
Some people, however, are interested in the 'ins and outs' of how
my girlfriend and I would make a baby. They ambush me at the buffet
for a blow-by-blow account. "But you can," nod, nod, "have
children?", wink wink. To those people I just want to say, "Look
buddy, we only just met. I'm not giving you the birds and the birds
speech. Eat your quiche and use your imagination."