Some eighteen years ago, I was diagnosed with Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome, now commonly referred to as PCOS. The young Doctor that told me this, on behalf of the Consultant who I was apparently 'under the care of', threw the words at me across the desk, told me nothing else and was reluctant to answer my questions. These days, I understand things are slightly improved, although I still wonder how many people actually ever see the Consultant! This off hand young Doctor told me in as rude and uncaring a way as he could muster that I had 'these ovaries' because I hadn't looked after myself and was overweight, and all it really meant was that I'd take up more NHS time because I may need fertility treatment. Nice. I got over it; I've been 'overweight' all my life. And he was right, as soon as I was told that I might be infertile, I wanted a baby! Eighteen months of medical interference followed. Mr Dunnit and I then decided that we'd put up with a life of foreign holidays and good jobs and nice cars and pension payments rather than endure any more. (You know, the standard consolation prizes that everyone offers after you've been married for 9 years and haven't had any children). It was grim and lots of stronger people than I can explain it. Less than six months later, oddly, after a bracing trip to North Yorkshire, I was pregnant. My baby is 16 years old today. Miss Dunnit, like all babies, is a miracle and like all babies, is a dream come true. And like all babies, she changed our lives. The world is a very different place through her eyes and I revel in her perceptions. I also revel in our friendship - indeed I treasure it. Especially since she hitched her star to a boyfriend's wagon and isn't all mine anymore.
We get a lot of enquiries and questions about having an only child. It's simple - we have one because that's what we've had! Over the last 16 years I have recognised a small swell of opinion that disapproves more of 'only child' families than the old disapproval of couples who opt not to have children at all..how the world turns, and how odd. Why does it matter? I don't know.
Oh and the life of foreign holidays, good jobs, nice cars and pension payments? We've had them, got them and made them. They are worth what we enjoy from them. Except the pensions. Don't expect to inherit, Miss Dunnit. Oh, and Happy Birthday Darling.