You hear that all the time at this time of year. ‘Christmas is for the kids,’ as the adults load a 3 for 2 bargain offer of beers into the already overburdened trolley. ‘Yeah, lovely to see their little faces light up on Christmas morning!’ My face would light up too if I were nine years old and had just been given a 400 quid smartphone. It would light up now, to be honest.
‘It’s a time for family, innit? All the children having a good time, running round, having a ball.’ Well spare a thought for the people who don’t have children, especially those who would like them but can’t have them. Every cheery smiley child (childless couples never refer to ‘kids’) that we are forced to witness on television, or at friends’ houses, or at family gatherings, every single one turns a small knife in the wound of loss.
We don’t resent other people having children, not in the strictest sense, since we don’t want those people to be deprived of them. But do try to remember that involuntarily not having children is an extraordinarily painful experience. Every time you tell us that somebody we know is pregnant again, we try to smile and be happy, and the pit opens at our feet again.
So please, at this time of year, just think a bit about ‘It’s for the kiddies innit?’ Because it’s not. It’s a celebration of full on hedonism, and one-upmanship.
One last thing I must ask. If a couple you know is childless, and you know they want children, don’t, just don’t ever, ask if they’re ‘still trying.’ It’s incredibly intrusive, not a little prurient, and carries overtones of ‘Hahaha, we’re better than you are. We’ve got children.’
Have a happy Christmas. Don’t forget. ‘It’s for the kiddies innit?’