My Missing Mummy Gene

I am used to being the odd one out: first of my friends to leave school, get a job, leave home, get married, then divorced. At the age of 33, I am in the minority once again. I am the childless one. All but three of my close friends have children, and two of them are trying to get pregnant. I fall in love with their babies. I buy gifts, change nappies, listen to all the stories of sleepless nights and cracked nipples and I give the well-rehearsed smile when it’s suggested that :“You’ll be next”. But I won’t be. Having a child was never part of the plan.

I find it difficult to articulate why I don’t want kids to my friends; it’s hard to describe a deep-seated feeling that you’ve had for most of your life. Aged 19, I went to my GP and asked to be sterilised (he refused to even refer me to Gynaecology for at least ten years). If I do ever tell people I don’t want kids, I am told that one day I will grow out of the notion, the biological clock will start ticking and I’d better start making plans.Read More »

An Ode to the Audiobook


One of my earliest memories involves being read stories by my mother.  Raised in North America, she had the kind of sing-songy reading voice that is perfect for children’s literature.  We had a load of old Dr Seuss and Disney fairy tales sent over from my granny in the US that I loved listening to.  After a while we no longer needed the text, we both knew the stories off by heart.

I adored books, I devoured at least one a week as a child. I exhausted the local library, begging staff to order unobtainable titles from other sites and generally avoiding having to actually fork out any pocket money on a trip to Waterstones.  I wasn’t fussy about what I read either: teen fiction was quickly followed by crime and horror novels, I then became fascinated with biographies and later travel guides, plotting journeys across the globe from my tiny bedroom in Edinburgh.Read More »