Boy meets girl. Girl likes boy. Boy and girl love everything about each other, “it’s like we’re soulmates”. They shack up and he says “don’t ever change”. It’s cos he loves everything about her, he says. Girl feels smug and happy to have found her other half. Now life can really begin.
Life is one big honeymoon. Boy can’t do enough to spoil his favourite girl and girl is overjoyed he feels this way. It’s early days but he/she is the one. She is looking forward to meeting his friends. They’re a nice bunch, most are married and they all seem to get along. Except.. Whenever there’s a big night out, the wives always stay at home. Boy says to girl “sshh, don’t tell any of the WAGS, they wouldn’t like it if they knew you were coming.” Girl feels privileged but also a little bit wrong. “But why can’t they come?” Well.. “Cos they’re a bunch of lushes and I do not want to talk about children when we’ve had a few. Anyway, you’re different, Pixie.” Girl thinks this has not cleared the matter for her. Boy also has two children from a previous relationship. Why would he not want to talk about his children?
“It’s funny,” he carries on, “I still have all my friends from uni, we even moved to the same area to be together afterwards, but the other day, I asked Kay who the bridesmaid in her wedding pics was,” rolls his eyes, licks the cigarette paper “it was someone she hasn’t spoken to in 15 years. I mean, this person was a bridesmaid at her wedding! I’ve asked the other girls too, none of them are in touch with their old friends anymore”. Girl didn’t have to think very hard before she responded, “they’re mothers now. They don’t have the choice”. Boy goes all soft focus, the cogs ticking away in his head.. “I never thought of it like that before,” he says.
“No, you just thought they weren’t very nice people!”
Women go through their first physical and mental transformation as young girls. Sure, boys go through puberty too, they change physically to become bigger and stronger. In comparison, they evolve rather than transform. For a girl, once she begins her period and physically begins to resemble a woman, she is no longer the same person. There are certain expectations of her. She is on course to fulfilling her biological destiny and if, for whatever reason, she decides it is not for her; society will frown upon and call her barren. Or butch. Just plainly, unnatural. Men, on the other hand can leave it as long as they like. For some, becoming a father means they’ll have to do some overtime and working as hard as they do, it’s only fair they rally the boys and blow off some steam come the weekend.
“You said you’d be in this weekend”, girl says dejectedly. Boy flares his nostrils and avoids looking her in the eyes.
“What is this? I thought you were happy with me spending time with the boys?”
Girl thinks hard of what to say next, she wouldn’t want to be accused of being a nag.
“I just thought we could spend some time together.” He starts pacing, pretending to look for his keys. He doesn’t like this creeping feeling of neediness. What is it with women?
“Look, I told you in the beginning, this is the way I live my life. I told you I wouldn’t change, but YOU have.” Girl feels guilty but also angry. She’d dreamed of one day finding the one. They would spend every second together because she thought that was what it would be like to be in love. Boy was almost 35; surely he’d had enough of the boys by now?
“Fine,” she says. “I’ll find something else to do.” Boy sulkily brushes past her and gathers his things together.
”Go where you like but don’t hang out with that tosser I don’t like and don’t wear that dress you bought yesterday, it makes you look like a tart.” Girl sinks a bit deeper.
When two people come together, they do because of the love they feel for each other. Most people have an idea of what they want from a relationship, most people want commitment and to be part of a unit. Relationships have a natural progression. When most women become mothers, they will never be the same again. They can never go back to the time just before they got pregnant. This is also true of women who do not carry full term. Something fundamental changes in their perspective on life, be it the combination of hormones and stress or a spiritual awakening and connection with creation, life is not just about having fun. It is about nurturing and selflessness. She is no longer number 1, she is 1 of 2. Old university mates will never be forgotten, bridesmaids are etched in our hearts but the screaming, pooping, and feeding is current and constant.
How involved the father is, is entirely down to how committed he is. There are fathers who bathe their children, mop the sick up, read them a story and put them to bed. They enjoy their children’s company and don’t call it babysitting. But there are many others who become violent when mothers are at their most vulnerable. “She made me do it with her whinging, moaning, nagging, trouble-making”. Pregnancy is not a walk in the park! Expect tears.
“I’m still the same person I’ve always been. I’ll never change.”
More fool you.