Wow. Just… Wow. This has been clogging up my Twitter and Facebook feeds today so I thought I’d blog it in case it hasn’t been clogging up yours. It’s beautiful and by Liz Jones, that woman who was a bit leftfield about the death of Jo Yeates.
Liz Jones: Childless but has a cat, who seems to have ripped her trousers to shreds.
Liz Jones in:
The craving for a baby that drives women to the ultimate deception
Anyone who meets me, or reads what I write, would think I don’t like children and never wanted to be a mother. Indeed, for most of my adult life, having a child was the furthest thing from my mind.
I wanted a career, freedom, a nice house and to keep my figure. As a feminist, I looked down on mumsy types.
Yes, because us feminists judge the choices that women make, that’s what equal rights is all about.
But when I was in my late 30s, I decided that if I didn’t get pregnant soon then it might never happen. I had also reached a point in my life where I wanted to settle down with a man, and though my boyfriend at that time was wildly unsuitable, I thought that I could change him.
If he was unsuitable, why bother? Oh never mind, it gets better:
Shall I list the ways in which we were a mismatch?
Yes, please do!
He lived with his parents before he moved in with me, and earned very little money. I was working on a newspaper and was fiercely ambitious. He was laid-back, I am not. I was ready for a baby, he wasn’t.
So he was poor, laid back, and honest about what he wanted out of life? What a prick.
And yet I wanted to hang on to Trevor. I thought that if we split up I might not get a replacement boyfriend in time to use my rapidly dwindling egg supply.
Trevor had never given me what I wanted from a relationship. At first, he wouldn’t even have sex with me. Then, finally, when he moved into my flat (probably more out of a desire to be able to walk to work than any real love for me) we started a physical relationship.
What? Hold on. What? Worried about your rapidly dwindling egg supply but only started a physical relationship after moving in together? Isn’t sex usually an integral part of being boyfriend and girlfriend for most people before you get to the commitment stage of moving in together?
He was still very cautious, though. He refused to believe I was on the Pill, and insisted we use a condom for every moment of our intimate contact.
‘I don’t trust you,’ he said, muttering something about women claiming to want a career, but underneath wanting to start a family.
Sounds like a sensible man. I have visions of him putting condoms on all his fingers and doing ‘jazz hands’ and then affectionately referring to it in a sleazy voice as “intimate contact, mmm”.
I called his bluff and told him there was no way I would want a baby with him, given he didn’t earn any money.
Liz, that’s not a very nice thing to say to someone.
Yet the truth was, I had hatched a plan that many will doubtless find shocking.
Because he wouldn’t give me what I wanted, I decided to steal it from him. I resolved to steal his sperm from him in the middle of the night. I thought it was my right, given that he was living with me and I had bought him many, many M&S ready meals.
Ed: Upon re-reading, I can’t believe I’ve only just missed this bit. I know SO MANY PEOPLE who would happily trade in their sperm for M&S ready meals, those things don’t come cheap, so to speak.
The ‘theft’ itself was alarmingly easy to carry out. One night, after sex, I took the used condom and, in the privacy of the bathroom, I did what I had to do. Bingo.
EUW STEP AWAY FROM THE TURKEY BASTER! I think my favourite part of this paragraph is “I did what I had to do” because right now my brain is racing thinking of all the possible things she did with the used condom. I can think of seven things, all of them gross. Eight things. Euw.
I don’t understand why more men aren’t wise to this risk — maybe sex addles their brain. So let me offer a warning to men wishing to avoid any chance of unwanted fatherhood: if a woman disappears to the loo immediately after sex, I suggest you find out exactly what she is up to.
Oh man. This is great stuff. Is she doing a wee to flush the internal piping to mitigate the risk of cystitis, a big poo, or is she stealing recently ejaculated sperm to impregnate herself? You will never trust your ‘feminist’ girlfriend again. Why aren’t men more wise to this risk?
As it turned out, my attempts to get pregnant by Trevor failed, and shortly afterwards he and I split up.
Obviously, I’m no expert, but I think she was doing it wrong.
But my dreams of motherhood persisted, and I resorted to similarly secretive methods to conceive in my next relationship. And given that I was in my early 40s by then, this was an even more urgent situation.
At least on this occasion we were married, which you might think would — should — give a woman every right to want to start a family. But my husband was 14 years younger than me, and he had told me he was not ready for children.
But I didn’t listen. All I heard was my own ticking clock, not his reasonable desire to be allowed to grow up himself first.
Of course, not every woman in my position would resort to extreme measures. But I do believe that any man who moves in with a woman in her late 30s or early 40s should take it as read that she will want to use them to procreate, by fair means or foul, no matter how much she protests otherwise.
Seriously. No. Let’s everyone just calm the fuck down.
A 2001 survey revealed that 42 per cent of women would lie about using contraception in order to get pregnant in spite of their partners’ wishes.
What survey? 42 per cent of women from what demographics? From which mental institutions?
Perhaps my husband should never have married me if he didn’t feel ready for a family. Perhaps I should never have married him. There are always two sides to every dispute, but I think the words I flung at him when we eventually broke up were: ‘You stole my last child-bearing years from me! ’
Perhaps if she’d been honest about wanting children from the get-go, she wouldn’t have had a string of relationships with people who are quite open about the fact they do not want children.
My own attempts at being a ‘sperm stealer’ failed. But there are plenty more like me who are willing to give it a try.
Among my circle, many girlfriends have told me how they have tricked their boyfriend or fiancé or husband. One found herself childless in her 40s, so she lied to a very new boyfriend that she was on the Pill. He is now in a new relationship having to pay support for a child he never sees.
Another friend was engaged but her fiancé walked out on her. She is 39, and told me she was hoping she was pregnant ‘so he would have to come back’. Yet men remain in blissful ignorance of such tactics.
Eek! Her friends sound like horrible selfish self-centred arseholes!
I spoke to several men before writing this article. One, in his mid-30s, has just got engaged to a woman who is 39. He told me he is not yet thinking about starting a family, as he is self-employed and worried about the recession. They also live 45 miles apart, each in their own flat.
He told me he wants to wait until they have a house together, and for his business to become established.
I bet his fiancée will be pregnant within the year.
That’s why I believe men should be much more wary. Too many of them underestimate women; too many of them muddle along, swept up in the beady-eyed focus of the prospective middle-aged mum.
And the lengths these women are willing to go to make my half-baked attempts seem amateur. One tells me she used secret hormone injections to make herself more fertile; another uses a clandestine ovulating chart kept in the tea towel drawer (a place she knows her husband never looks in).
There is an app for this. It’s not clandestine, it’s fascinating. It shows your fertility cycle in a useful graph and has flowers on the days that you’re most fertile. It’s great.
I spoke to another friend over the summer who told me she was trying to get pregnant with her fiancé. She said: ‘I really want a year off work. I might even go part-time after that, maybe two days a week. He will just have to work harder.’
Liz Jones’ friends sound like morons.
It reminded me of the time when I asked my now ex-husband whether he was dating again. ‘No, not really,’ he replied. ‘I don’t want to get some woman pregnant, find out she’s a cow, and spend the rest of my life shackled to her.’
Callous? Yes, but given the way some women behave in their quest for motherhood, not totally unjustified.
Err… not ‘some women’ dear, that was you, that was.
So when is a woman most likely to become a sperm-snatcher? If her career is not panning out exactly as she thought it would. If she is 37 or over and childless. If she worries the man might walk out on her. I believe these are the women who are most likely to be panicked into making the decision to get pregnant in whatever way they can.
No, I think you just described yourself and assumed that everyone else is the same. We’re not.
Women today are used to getting what they want; they believe that ‘having it all’ is their right, not a privilege. Women no longer think merely being ‘married’ to their work is in any way satisfactory. Life without a child is seen as a failure.
Umm…. no it really isn’t. It’s a choice, and for some women it’s a choice they’re pretty happy about.
‘Neither of the men knew about my subterfuge. I imagine both will be furious when they read this piece. I still have days now when I wished the sperm-theft had worked; that I had a daughter or son my husband felt compelled to visit’
Argh! This is probably the scariest thing I’ve ever read. Fuck having children because of the joy they bring, the cups of tea they can make, the entertainment factor at Christmas parties, use them to keep a leash on your exes, yes. NO LIZ JONES, NO.
I am resigned to my own childless state now I am in my 50s. What I have learned, though, is that it would have been better to have been honest with my exes about my desire to be a mother.
And therein lies the rub.
Not, I’m ashamed to say, because I think I’d be a particularly good mum, but because our relationship would not have been a complete waste of time, with nothing to show for it but bad memories and a shared cat.
Good, I don’t agree you’d make a particularly good mum either. Fact is I’m glad you never had a child.
Of course, I realise not all women are willing to take such drastic action as me, but I suspect many resort to more subtle means.
A friend in the U.S., who is six months pregnant, has just responded via email with her thoughts on the subject.
I know her relationship with her boyfriend is volatile, so I asked her whether the pregnancy was a joint decision.
‘Well, it was joint, yes. I think so. You have to remember that no man will ever think he is ready for a family. Sometimes you have to push.’
‘Did you steal his sperm?’ I asked.
‘Not in the way you described, no, that’s disgusting. But I stopped taking the Pill, mainly because it was making me fat and moody.’
Finally, one of her mates talks some sense: “No, that’s disgusting.” Yes!
I didn’t reply that I wonder how her boyfriend will feel in a year’s time, when she is fatter and moodier. No matter how urgent that yearning for a child, deception is surely no way to embark on parenthood.
Ooh would you like a saucer of milk to go with that?
We are always debating a woman’s right to her own body and her own destiny, but what about a man’s right to his body, and to his future?
If there are any men out there even contemplating getting close to a woman in her late 30s or early 40s, I suggest you tread very carefully.
She might be the woman for you; she might be totally honest if she says she doesn’t want to rush into motherhood But she might also be a duplicitous creature willing to go to any lengths to fulfil her dreams of having a family.
So there it is in all its gory wonderment. If she was so wealthy and wanted kids so bad, why didn’t she just go to a sperm bank? That way she wouldn’t have to lie to the boyfriend who didn’t trust her or want to have sex with her. I don’t really understand stuff like this, perhaps because I’m 25 and that biological clock isn’t ticking for me at the moment. Maybe one day it will, I’ve got the next 10-20 years to find out, but in the mean time I’m always going to be really honest with the people I form relationships with. Not that I’m an expert or anything, but as a rule of thumb, I tend to be honest and open with the people I like and respect enough in order to form relationships with them.
And I also wouldn’t consider moving in with someone I hadn’t already had sex with, but that might just be me.