Image credit: PM Julia Gillard and Treasurer Wayne Swan holding some babies.
You know when you pick up someone’s baby you have that pleasedon’tcrypleasedon’tcry chant running through your head? I don’t feel it quite so much now that I have babies of my own and I’ve had the opportunity instead to demoralise others with my babies and their separation anxieties. But I remember when I didn’t have children and I had dared to enter my thirties in that fancy free state and it led to everybody always wondering aloud about my reproductive plans. I tensed up at the mere sight of a baby. Not because I didn’t like them but because I knew it could set off yet another round of merciless teasing and fresh speculation about my cluckiness. And if I was incautious enough to hold that baby, and then it cried in my arms? Oh, the jokes that would follow from that.
Well, imagine you are Australia’s first female Prime Minister and your choice not to have children is much discussed, and there you are on the election trail about to do the traditional campaign stunt for the first time where you kiss some stranger’s baby with all the cameras rolling.. how much pressure are you feeling when you pick that baby up? Pleasedon’tcrypleasedon’tcrypleasedon’tcry.