'Lockdown made me realise I want to have a baby, even on my own'

As lockdown hit, Emily felt pretty content about her single life, but as it's gone on, she's realised she'd love a family around her

Emily has been inspired by a friend who has become a mother on her own
Emily has been inspired by a friend who has become a mother on her own Credit: Courtesy of Emily Maddick

The gulf between those who have children and those who do not has never felt more gaping than during lockdown. Initially, I felt secretly smug about my child-free status. I listened to tales of homeschooling horror and rampaging toddlers imprisoned in flats while I, residing at my mother’s house with a garden, had the luxury of endless ‘me-time’: reading, running, bingeing Netflix. But the novelty of doing nothing wears off quickly. While the pandemic has turned all our lives upside down, it’s also put into perspective the importance of love, connection, kindness and nurture. All the qualities key to being a good parent.

Now, as I find myself worryingly besotted with the family cat, I am beyond envious of friends with kids. To have this unique time watching their little ones learn and grow, despite the tantrums and tiredness, is a blessing. To be able to hug and kiss your children while the country social distances is something I crave viscerally.

I have always wanted to have children, but a combination of bad luck in love, a busy career and an attitude of, ‘It’ll happen one day,’ has got me to 39 without any. And I’ve never felt I wanted it enough to compromise my independence and do it alone – the prospect scared me. But these weeks have given me time to reflect, and with social distancing making dating even more difficult, I’ve changed my outlook.

I’ve also been inspired by a friend who has become a mother on her own, giving birth to a beautiful baby boy last month. Her journey affected me far more than I expected. Now I cannot imagine my future without becoming a mother. No, age is not on my side, and it may not happen, but I am giving myself five years to try (inspired by singer Natalie Imbruglia, who recently had a son on her own at 44). Whether in a relationship, with a friend or through a donor, I hope my future will include a child of my own.