Bonjour tristesse


I should be so happy right now. I have found Rufus, the kind of man who would (and has) spent an hour gluing together a little ceramic lilypad I had been dragging around the world for years, just because he could see my sadness when a clumsy friend flicked it off a windowsill and shattered it into too many pieces to count. I am happy with him in a way I have never been.

I have the job I always dreamed of. I am, even as I write this, in a foreign and exotic country meeting with opinion makers on the left and right, and will in the morning sit down with the president himself.

I am healthy, my family is more or less happy and healthy. My friends are mostly happy and healthy.

But I’m not happy. I’m sad sad sad. And I’m panicky and full of fear. I so want a baby. And as I sat reading a novel today, “One Day” by David Nicholls, I found myself welling up with tears. The book is about two friends who love each other at the tail end of university and then their painful stumbling progress through life. So far I am only up to their late-20s, but when the female character talks about the actual physical pain of loneliness and takes pleasure in the idea that she has furniture and her own water carafe and then works up her courage to go out on a dud date I just couldn’t help it. In a cafe, to the tune of  yet another Godforsaken pan pipes medley, I sat biting my lip to hold the tears back as I thought: “I want a baby”. I’ve been through all of that – the years traveling, working my way up, going on awful dates, feeling like there was no place for me in the world at times. And now I am through it and I want a baby! I want a baby and a family of my own. I want to raise a child with Rufus and share our life.

Everything would be alright if I had a baby. Rufus and I would be our own little family. Having had a baby, I would not be filled with the fear I may never be able to have one. I could get started on this great chapter in life and be more focused on work, on all the other bits of life that feel lately like they are falling apart. Mothers reading this will no doubt think I’m a fool; that having a baby is no picnic, that it can strip the romance out of your relationship, take away your social life, limit horizons and all that. I think other women in my place must feel like me though, and keep plugging away, because really, what else can a person do? It’s tiring and saddening and maddening and I want it to be over.

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