elliotweb2Following on from the last entry. Of course, we also like talking about babies. While certain members of the broadsheet press (see Observer Woman last week), apparently suffering from terminal lack of empathy, might find this irredeemably dull and offensive, we like talking about babies because having a baby is a completely life-changing experience and frankly, it’d be weird if we didn’t ever talk about it to our friends. Especially within the first few months, when your world is turned completely upside down.

To couch it in terms that such journos might understand, imagine if you had a really important new job, and didn’t discuss it at great length with your bezzy mates. Or were in a terrible car accident. Or fell head over heels in love with a fantastic guy. Or, I don’t know, you went to a really, really GREAT bar (at last, a comparison they might understand). They might think you weren’t really their friend anymore, that you didn’t want to share the important details of your life. And if your pals seemed unbelievably bored by the details of your amazing new job or boyfriend, perhaps even slagged off the fact you’d talked about it a little bit too much, say, in a newspaper column, you might then reassess that friendship. Possibly. Or just think they were incredibly self-obsessed and not-very-nice people.

To be clear: Just because we are mothers and talk about our babies to a greater or lesser extent, doesn’t mean we have all transformed into brain-dead, lactating cows with no outside interests. Even we get bored by other mothers talking about babies sometimes. Guess what? Some people are just boring, parents or not.

And the thing is – we truly don’t care if our own friends have children or not. If we get on with someone, we get on with them, regardless of our progeny. OK, if they do have kids, we might have extra common ground in this particular area, but if they don’t, we have plenty of other stuff we’d love to talk about as well. Remember, we do know what it’s like on the other side – we didn’t actually have children for the vast majority of our life thus far.

And on the subjects of baby websites. Of course, there are all sorts of websites dedicated to babies and motherhood, some of them catering to the kind of ordinary mother you’d never perhaps want to be. Big deal. There are also plenty of websites variously dedicated to music, literature, automobiles, hardcore porn and lots of other subjects you might or might not be interested in. No-one’s forcing you to read them if they’re not aimed at you. Complaining about the fact they exist is akin to complaining that not everyone in the human race fits your criterion for being a worthwhile, interesting person. I don’t like canoeing, should I then complain that someone on a canoeing forum made a comment that I didn’t quite relate to?

By the way, we’re the first to admit that the media seems a bit too obsessed by babies, and fertility stories and older mothers and ‘can-wimmin-have-it-all debates’ these days. Is that our fault? Or is it, I don’t know, partly the fault of newspaper journalists like them who endlessly commission these features and force the issues down our throats so that we’re left in a cycle of endless maternal navel-gazing?

Perhaps the fact that these childless-by-choice female journos are sensitive about the fact that everybody seems so baby-obsessed is simply a) A function of their age – most of their friends inevitably have kids now. Get over it. b) Made worse by the industry they work in, as described above. c) The fact that secretly they are haunted by whether or not they’ve really made the right choice. We sympathise with this as they wouldn’t be human if they weren’t. But our real sympathies lie not with them but the women who would desperately like children and can’t, but also have to put up with the endless baby talk in our culture. For them it’s not merely dull – it’s painful.

Anyway, on the evidence of it all, seems like these journalists are even more baby obsessed than we are.

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