There is a woman out there named Jessica who knew what she wanted, and what she wanted was a baby. So she advertised on Craigslist as follows: ‘Safe, bareback babymaking. I’m in my 30s & have given up on Messrs Right & Wrong. I want a baby.’
Craigslist is a website better known for second-hand goods.
The potential father needed to be over 5ft 9in, under 40 and prepared to take an STD test. He would also be required to have ‘a few days of frequent sex’.
Now, readers, you might think I would disapprove of such a move, that it was time for me to get out my ‘down with this sort of thing’ banner, but you would be wrong. This is the story of a modern family, but really it is not that modern at all.
Let’s consider this: Jessica makes no apology for her businesslike approach.
‘Our grandparents didn’t spend years and years cohabiting and watching boxsets,’ she says. ‘Starting a family was very much the goal of their endeavour.’
Exactly. Our grandparents did not waste their lives on long relationships in their thirties, cohabiting, or even more maddening, the ridiculous long engagement. They knew what they wanted: to get married and have a family.
Jessica was willing to skip the marriage bit because she knew she wanted a baby. But she wanted a committed father, not just a sperm donor, so it is very close to marriage in reality.
Jessica also says that many of her friends start families after falling ‘madly in love’ only to split up later in a cloud of angry recriminations. In other words, they never committed before having a baby, which is often a recipe for instability.
Jessica again: ‘I decided I could sacrifice romantic fulfilment as long as my child had two parents who loved and cared for them.’
And really, isn’t this sensible? Her first priority was to her child having two parents who loved and cared for it. She wanted to make sure she had a committed father to her child and made this decision not in the heady first flush of love, but in the cold light of day. More power to her.
Jessica got her man – Ross. But not before she rejected some unsuitable candidates. One such was someone who voted Leave. Jessica, being a Remainer, thought this was a deal-breaker. You might not agree with Jessica on this, dear reader, but what it tells us is that she wanted someone with a similar world view and value system as her own. For Jessica, parenting with someone who voted to leave the EU was not possible. This demonstrates how important it is to know what your other half believes and what his value system is before getting married and having children.
Jessica states this herself: ‘I just wanted to meet a good person with shared values.’ Very sensible, Jessica, very sensible indeed. If only every person thought this.
When Ross came along, they had different faiths, but agreed they wanted a ‘London approach’ to religion. ‘We agreed there was one God who loved pretty much everybody and we would want a child to be comfortable with people of any faith or no faith.’ Again, they are making sure they had similar values.
After a few dates, Jessica and Ross slept together, which these days means they are like something from an Austen novel. Jessica did indeed become pregnant and a romantic relationship developed. They moved in together one month before their daughter was born.
Ross is and has been very supportive – but then of course he knew what he wanted, Jessica never deceived him, they went on some dates before trying for a baby, and have a similar value system. They stand as good a chance of staying together as anyone else.
In an interview Jessica said she was surprised to have a baby and this loving relationship. I’m not that surprised. This is how it was done back in the day. OK, sure, they are missing the marriage part, but if both parties are financially independent this is less significant.
The couple have now been together just under a year and parents for two months. They are still discovering new things about each other. They have already discussed having another baby.
Jessica says she is pleased she went down an unconventional route to starting a family. ‘I don’t regret the advert,’ she says. What Jessica has done here is to find a good man who is committed to his child and they have agreed on certain fundamentals as to how this child will be raised. This is unconventional – because it is quite old-fashioned.
Finally, Jessica says: ‘I don’t think you can get what you want by sitting there patiently and waiting for it to land in your lap.’ She is absolutely right. If only more women were straight to the point, and stopped wasting their time on all the duds, like this guy who is not even thinking about kids because, you know, he is only 36 (only 36 . . . give me a break) then maybe many women and men would be a lot happier.