I became an Auntie almost a year ago, in July 2008. At the time I was going through a bit of a rough patch. I can remember crystal clear when my Mum rang me to say 'hello Auntie Katy!' Al the darkness lifted and I knew that I had someone special to keep fighting for, who would hopefully look up to me when he grew up, and who I had to set a good example to.

It's struck me recently, but I guess I've always known, that the issue of having kids affects everyone. I was discussing this the other day with a friend who has a baby. I am the youngest of 2 children and my sister never knew her Dad. 10 years later my Dad met my Mum, they got married, had me, and ever since I can rememeber my sister called him Dad. Although techncially people could say we are half sisters, if you do I'll kill you! We are sisters through and through.

It's funny, when I was a teenager, I always used to think I'd be married with kids by the time I was 25. I'm 27 now. Those ideals are so far removed now from both anything that resembles my life and anything I want in the future. I am the happiest I've ever been. Don't want to jinx things but it's true. Other things have become a priority - my career, becoming finacially secure - I'm getting there- travel, a good social life.

I think last year was the first time since I turned 18 that someone I was really close to had a baby. I was so happy the moment I found out I was going to be an Auntie. I was speechless which, as anyone who knows me well is aware of, doesn't happen often. Soon after that I moved away from my family, so didn't get to spend a lot of time with my sister when she was pregnant. She's always been super skinny and needless to say, she didn't put on much weight while she was pregnant. Nonetheless she lost the baby weight slowly as she's had a c-section and even I was surprised that she wasn't one of those women who ends up leaving hospital in their size 10 jeans. She always looks great anyway and I was fuming inside when one -unattractive overweight- person said to her while I was clearly pushing my nephew behind her 'oh I didn't realise you'd already had the baby...'

I've suffered with digestive problems or years which, thankfully, are now under control but sometimes leave me with a very bloated stomach. I am naturally petite all over and on a couple of occasions people have said 'how far are you' or 'when's your baby due?' The ground could have swallowed me up. It's enough to give a person an eating disorder. I NEVER ask a woman if she is pregnant because of this, even if she is clearly about to pop. I have stored a number of witty retorts in my head now including '9 months after I get pregnant' or 'when's yours due?!'

Some of my friends have had miscarriages or even abortions. I can't begin to understand how that feels but I think those sorts of experiences are the type that benefit from counselling. Abortion is too much of a controversial topic for me to discuss it fully without experience of it, but I do think women should have the right to choose, and I feel it's better not to bring a baby into the world at all than have one that ends up being abused or negected- just look at baby P.

One thing I have noticed since my nephew is born, maybe because I spent the first 7 months of his life with him most days, is people asking me not IF but WHEN I am going to have a baby. This drives me mad! It's such a personal question that I would never dream of asking anybody else. I've asked married friends of mine their experiences, and they say that people automatically ask them when they are going to have kids, even complete strangers. Maybe these people are rude, maybe we have no taboos in what we can ask people anymore, but I really don't get why people see it as their business to ask a woman if/when she is going to get married and have kids. It seems a bit of an outdated question. This is the 21st Century.

Around 10 of my friends have got married in the last 3 years. I've been to 3 of the weddings. All were completely different. One was a small affair. The other was a big traditional wedding, and the other was a pagan wedding. At least 3 of my friends are getting married this year. I have got into the habit now of buying posh frocks every January in the Monsoon sale. You just know that if you wait until nearer the time you won't be able to find anything that's 'just right.' The other weddings I haven't had the time or the money to go, or I felt I was invited just to make up numbers.

Going to weddings is an expensive affair! There's the oufit, travel, possibly staying overnight, the alcohol you drink on the day, and a present. The first wedding I went to the total cost was around £200. Thats's a lot of money for a day when you could get 1-2 weeks abroad for that on a good deal. Don't get me wrong, I cherished the experiences of the days and, the wedding of the friend I've always known since I was 5 was one of the best days of my life - I felt honoured to be there to share her special day with her. I held back tears as she said her vows, as it brought back so many happy childhood memories, of playing with the net curtains in her dressing up box when we were little.

So the inevitable question then - am I going to get married and have kids one day? The answer is I honestly don't know. At the moment those things aren't important to me and, to be perfectly honest, I don't think they ever will be. I'm not religious so wouldn't get married for those reasons. I just think so mnay people make a joke out of marriage and don't think enough before getting hitched- just look at the divorce rates in Brtain. I 100% respect my friends that are married and think it will work for them, but I have never been one to do the conventional thing.

As for kids who knows? I always say to people who ask me, I don't have a crystal ball. I'm going to share something now that most people who know me aren't aware of, and I know a blog is a strange way to get it out there, but it's too hard to say it out loud. I don't think I can have kids. There I said it. About 4 years ago I had a lot of 'women's problems' and was told by a Dr that it's likely my fertility was affected. Since the more recent health scare, I have been told it may mean that something in my blood would give me a 50% chance of miscarrying if I ever became pregnant, as something in the blood attacks a foetus. Although this is a huge life changing thing I have had a few years to deal with it. I suppose I feel less of a woman if it turns out I definitely can't have kids. That's the thing women were created for isn't it? I haven't told many people because I suppose I feel ashamed. I know it's ridiculous but there is so much pressure on women to have it all it's impossible not to be affected.

I just feel blessed to have the most beautiful nephew in the world and, for me, that's enough. So people of the world, stop asking women when/if/why not they are going to get married and have babies. If they are, they'll tell you in their own time!


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