Let’s face it, most women will continue to have babies, the planet isn’t going to run out of new people, so it’s of no real use to the world for you to have a child. Quite the opposite, in fact. That shouldn’t stop you having one if you want one, of course – a cheery cry of ‘Yes – but my baby might grow up to be JESUS. Or EINSTEIN! Or JESUS EINSTEIN!’ is all the justification you need, if you actually want one. But it’s also worth remembering it’s not of vital use to you as a woman, either. Yes, you could learn thousands of interesting things about love, strength, faith, fear, human relationships, genetic loyalty and the effect of apricots on an immature digestive system. But I don’t think there’s a single lesson that motherhood has to offer that couldn’t be learned elsewhere. If you want to know what’s in motherhood for you, as a woman, then – in truth – it’s nothing you couldn’t get from, say, reading the 100 greatest books in human history; learning a foreign language well enough to argue in it; climbing hills; loving recklessly; sitting quietly, alone, in the dawn; drinking whisky with revolutionaries; learning to do close-hand magic; swimming in a river in winter; growing foxgloves, peas and roses; calling your mum; singing while you walk; being polite; and always, always helping strangers. No one has ever claimed for a moment that childless men have missed out on a vital aspect of their existence, and were the poorer, and crippled by it. Da Vinci, Van Gogh, Newton, Faraday, Plato, Aquinas, Beethoven, Handel, Kant, Hume. Jesus. They all seem to have managed quite well. Every woman who chooses – joyfully, thoughtfully, calmly, of their own free will and desire – not to have a child does womankind a massive favour in the long term. We need more women who are allowed to prove their worth as people; rather than being assessed merely for their potential to create new people. After all, half those new people we go on to create are also women – presumably themselves to be judged, in their futures, for not making new people. And so it will go on, and on … Whilst motherhood is an incredible vocation, it has no more inherent worth than a childless woman simply being who she is, to the utmost of her capabilities. To think otherwise betrays a belief that being a thinking, creative, productive and fulfilled woman is, somehow, not enough. That no action will ever be the equal of giving birth. Let me tell you, however momentous being a mother has been for me, I’ve walked around exhibitions of Coco Chanel’s life-work, and it looked a lot more impressive, to be honest. I think it’s important to confess this. If you’re insanely talented and not at all broody, why not just go and have more fun? As I’m sure we’re all aware by now, there really are no prizes for drudgery. Jesus is not keeping a note of every tiny arse you’ve wiped in Jesus’s Big Jotter of Martyrdom. And if you’re a nerdy girl, you’ve read enough books and seen enough films to know that being on a mission, saving the world, trying to get the band back together, or just putting on a play, right here, in a barn, really is a life well lived. Batman doesn’t want a baby in order to feel he’s ‘done everything’. He’s just saved Gotham again! If this means that Batman must be a feminist role model above, say, Nicola Horlick, then so be it. Feminism needs Zero Tolerance over baby angst. In the 21st century, it can’t be about who we might make, and what they might do, any more. It has to be about who we are, and what we’re going to do.