The Sunday Times column: I have discovered the ultimate contraceptive. It’s called a ‘toddler’


Until now, having a child has appealed to me about as much as leprosy. Perhaps even less — at least there is intellectual intrigue with leprosy. Still, I move into my friend’s house, take one look at her chubby, good-tempered, angelic toddler, and think maybe I have always been wrong. I want one of those!

It would be a mini-me — the ultimate narcissistic accessory. I could dress it like an Eskimo, get it a column and use it to test out my theory that gender is socially constructed. With a kid, I would have an excuse to go to the Natural History Museum’s Dino Snores nights.

In such fantasies the child is me, but cuter and brighter. But I am not jealous, because mums are less selfish like that. Meanwhile I, too, morph — into Elle Macpherson, a Timotei-haired yummy mummy, gym-fit from the school run and gangly-slim from “running around after the kids”.

I entertain such vague wouldn’t-a-baby-be-nice thoughts in front of The Boy, who initiates a serious discussion about my contraception. MY contraception. Get that. This has always irritated me — that, on one hand, women are portrayed as baby-hungry mumzillas, desperate to get knocked up; and on the other, we are expected to police our own fertility. It’s a nonsensical paradox, like leaving an alcoholic in charge of the bar.

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