Do you know what really annoys me? (Apart, that is, from all the other things that really annoy me?) Go on, have a guess… Finished trying? Well, today, Matthew, it’s twee maternity T-shirts with rubbish slogans.
You know the sort I mean: Does my bump look big in this?, Under construction and, of course, the classic Baby on board. God, I feel furious just thinking about them. I hate, hate, hate them. Whose idea was this? Hey, let’s make a joke about the whole idea of “pregnant woman as mere vessel”! Hey, let’s not. Let’s just not.
Back when I was pregnant I never wore T-shirts with slogans on. I wore nice, plain stuff I’d bought in a bundle off Ebay, which allowed me to concentrate my efforts, not on amusing others with comedy misogynist leisure wear, but on the serious business of daydreaming. I daydream a lot but I did it even more when I was expecting. The daydreams were sometimes about my future child but more often than not it was the usual crap about being famous. In my daydreams I’m always famous (no idea what for, but it’s none of this z-list bollocks. I have an as-yet undefined talent that everyone is in awe of, so they hang on my every word. I have masses of influence and never once appear in the Circle of Shame…).
Anyhow, where was I? I’m famous, see, and everyone takes loads of pictures of me. Now that I’m famous and pregnant, they take even more. And one day I decide to go out with my pregnant belly on show and on it I’ve written, in black eyeliner, “Pro-choice and proud”.* And everyone who sees it thinks “wow! That’s bold! That’s different! You can be pregnant AND pro-choice! She’s up the duff and still thinks of herself as a whole autonomous human being!” And this changes the mind of every anti-choicer on earth (yes, I know this is totally ridiculous. But it IS a daydream, remember).
Of course, this hasn’t happened in real life. At least, most of it hasn’t. I did in fact write “pro-choice” on my heavily pregnant belly and take a photograph, just for myself (actually, I took the photo in the mirror, so what I actually wrote was “eciohc-orp”, but it’s the thought that counts). The reason I did this was partly just because I’m a prat and always do stupid things with eyeliner when left to my own devices. But the other reason was that I never felt more pro-choice than when I was pregnant.
If anything, pregnancy radicalized my position on abortion. I have never had a pregnancy that wasn’t wanted, but I genuinely struggle to understand how anyone can go through a wanted pregnancy without thinking about what it must be like to go through this experience without the same desire. It must be a nightmare. Pregnancy is so extreme. It takes over your whole body. You need to preserve your sense of self and make your own choices. How must it feel to have someone tell you you can’t?
I’m writing this now because earlier today I failed miserably to attend the pro-choice / anti-SPUC protests I wrote about earlier in the week. I didn’t go because I didn’t know anyone attending my local one and would have been on my own with two small children in tow, one of whom was unwell. And I thought about the irony of this: the fact that I couldn’t stand up to anti-choicers for the simple reason that continuing with a pregnancy and having children is not the minor “inconvenience” they so often like to pretend. So then, being my idiotic self, I sent a tweet which came out all wrong: “Chickened out of going to prochoice protest alone with 2 kids. Wld’ve been doable if I’d aborted them like a ‘real’ prochoicer”. What a wanker, eh? There’s me trying to be all ironic and clever, when actually it looks like I’m saying I don’t think mothers are “real” pro-choicers in quite the way others are. Which obviously I don’t think at all. I’m a “real” pro-choicer, for starters (just one who failed to do her duty today).
Anyhow, this post is an apology. I hope I’ve done suitable penance by revealing what a complete idiot I am, what with my “being famous for some vague reason and hence changing the world” fantasies. Particularly on a day when I’ve done fuck all.
Lots of admiration and appreciation to everyone who showed the SPUCkers that people will stand up to them!
* I got this idea off a poster of Morrissey in the 1980s, looking well fit, with “Initiate me” scribbled on his lower abdomen. I’d link to it if I could find it. Perhaps I dreamt it. If so, that was unusually generous of my subconscious.