Everywhere I turn at the moment there appears to be a plethora of pregnancies. Cynics might attribute this to the demographic of my workplace, given that there is an abundance of women who are in that stage of life; personally I think it is testament to my own fecundity. Not that I mean I am myself directly responsible for any of the pregnancies, simply that I am so preternaturally virile that just being in my proximity is sufficient to set the wheels of propagation in motion. I see myself as a latterday fertility totem, to whom those hoping to conceive can pay tribute in the knowledge that my aura of fruitfulness will bring joy upon their household.
Ahem. Seeing so many engorged forms has had a surprising effect on me. Not, as you might imagine for a man so in awe of his children, the desire to have more. On the contrary, the overwhelming sensation is one of pity for those about to embark on this most important of life’s journeys. These poor saps have no idea how physically and mentally exhausting the route they have chosen will prove to be. If we knew in advance, if we really understood, almost none of us would do it. The burdens of parenthood are numerous and onerous, this we know, but the sheer overwhelming relentlessness of it is hard to comprehend when you are accustomed to having time, money and space for yourself. You really can’t imagine yourself getting to a position where you don’t have the energy to go to the cinema, or out for a drink, or anything other than slump on the sofa.
My youngest (the new Messiah, possibly) is barely three and yet already I feel like a massive weight has been lifted, just because we no longer have to take nappies and wipes and bottles and a change of clothes and a pushchair and four hundred other essential items with us every time we leave the house. What a pity that this brief period of relative calm is going to be shattered in less than 18 months as his eldest brother becomes a teenager.
It all reminds me that I was never really supposed to have kids. Me and my