It didn’t take long: less than an hour, actually. Twenty minutes after we said our “I dos” I suddenly realised I’d made a big mistake. Not marrying the man I love, not that, but foolishly picking up a friend’s baby and giving him a cuddle. BIG mistake.
I’d never felt the full force of fifty pairs of eyes on me before, quickly followed by nudges and smiles as he cooed in my arms. The pressure was on. ‘You’ll be next’, said one wedding goer. ‘It suits you,’ said another. I awkwardly laughed, partly to muffle the sound of my ovaries groaning. Why was there suddenly an expectation? The clock, evidently, was set. Time was ticking.
As far as the media is concerned, it’s ticking for Eva Longoria, too. She had barely set one foot off the honeymoon jet from Thailand before she was asked whether she was going to have kids this week. ‘Who knows!’ she replied. ‘One thing at a time.’
Will her groom get asked the same question? I’m guessing not. When it comes to baby making, it seems to be a question mark only a woman can answer - and so we keep answering it, again and again. But wait, there’s another question screaming to be asked: since when did our uteri become public debate?
Because here’s the thing - it’s never a simple question - and it can be loaded with undercurrents of emotions you couldn’t possibly begin to predict. A quick aside at a garden barbeque because the weather has already been mentioned is (and I’m guessing here – so sue me) quite probably the last question any woman wants to answer in an awkward queue for her burger.
The decision to start a family is complex and personal and nobody else’s business. Eva Longoria shouldn’t be expected to declare her intentions to procreate any more than I should – or anyone else out there. It shouldn’t be up for public debate – and it shouldn’t be headline fodder.
Let me put it this way: Jennifer Aniston shouldn’t have to turn up to a chat show (Conan O’Brien, 2013) with a box of eggs to make a point. ‘Everyone's talking about my eggs, well I’m giving them to you,’ she deadpanned. It got the laughs. Her eggs still sell papers.
As Chrissy Teigen said in 2015: ‘who knows what somebody is going through. Who knows if somebody is struggling to have children?’
Picking up from here, who knows whether a woman even desires kids? Many don’t. Some are waiting to find the right partner; others are struggling financially. Most of us don’t wake up one morning and make that big decision, job done. And, even if we did, are we obligated to talk about it over the photocopier at work?
I'm now humming Salt-n-Pepa. It's none of your business!