The Big Issue : Edition 549
THEBIGISSUE.ORG.AU 3 – 16 NOV 2017 13 PHOTOSBYJAMESBRAUND I REMEMBER A week, some 15 years ago, when I was sincerely broody. My biological clock alarmed, jizzing hormones like a garden sprinkler, and triggered a deep, temporary ache to have a baby. I was desolate for a good 10 days; I had no partner, ageing eggs and zero aspiration to be a single mother. My theory, being adopted, was that though relationships can fizzle, a baby should at least be conceived in love and hope, soaked, as it were, in “yay” from the first cell division onwards. Just like I hadn’t been. It passed. I was diffident about motherhood, figured I’d think about it when I got into “that kind of relationship”. But I never did, because I didn’t prioritise children, and spent my fertile years throwing myself at self-involved ne’er do wells. Mea culpa. If you were on the scene between 1989 and 2009, unconventionally hot, a bit good at something, and not into me that much, I was all over you like mud at ConFest. Reproducing was on a vague to-do list, written in pencil somewhere under “Move to New York?” and “Get a dog?” I’ve also never got a dog. Way too much commitment. The upshot is that pregnancy isn’t a sore spot. Which is handy, because once in a while a stranger, to date always a female, will approach, regard my belly with soft eyes, and enquire how far along I am. Which is arresting because a) I’m in my fifties, and b) don’t look pregnant. At all or ever. I have a small tummy that you can ascribe to middle-age, love of cheese or being a woman, but it is a long bow through rose-tinted glasses to give me a once-over and conclude, immediately and definitively, let’s look at the odds on Sportsbet, totally knocked up. Because, as a woman, you’d not ask another woman how her pregnancy were going unless you were sure, right? Really sure. And even then, just don’t. It’s Russian roulette. A few years back, queuing for bagels at Glick’s bakery on a bustling Friday. Waiting » Fiona Scott-Norman (@FScottNorman) is a writer and comedian who does not have a bagel in the oven. FIONA Don’t Call Me Baby “If you were on the scene between 1989 and 2009, unconventially hot, a bit good at something, and not into me that much, I was all over you like mud at ConFest.” in line I was startled to find an aged Jewish lady with her hand on my stomach, and, I presume, a guide dog waiting outside. “It is your first?” “What? No. It’s a cheese baby.” “Still, you’ve got plenty of time.” Pause, while I check my surrounds for a hidden camera. “But the important thing. You’re married?” “No. Um. I do have a nice boyfriend.” “Well,” she said, raising her hands and shrugging, “who gets married these days?” Clearly bats, and thanks for the dine- out anecdote. But I’m not most women. For many, it’s a minefield. One close friend is devastated she won’t have a child. Two more have shifted their waning hopes onto fostering. Another lost her second child after he was born prem. I know three ace twenty-something gals who have endometriosis and polycystic ovaries; barring some kind of serendipitous Marvel Universe-style accident at a nuclear reactor, they’re infertile. Do not ask these women if they’re pregnant. Or these. The women who are a bit tubby. Or feel tubby. Or are pregnant and feel tubby. Or haven’t lost their baby weight. Or have bloating from endo. Or are pregnant and about to have a termination. Or are pregnant but something’s wrong. Or are on IVF. Or like their business private. Or don’t want strangers touching their stomach. There is no win here. My boyfriend had a lovely take. “She just wanted to share in your happiness, honey.” He’s a keeper. Shame it’s too late for us to have children.