They say that dogs can smell cynophobia (that’s the fear of dogs). It’s why dogs will tend to make a beeline for people who are scared of them.

Well, I think babies can smell broodiness. I know this because I am really quite broody. And these little bundles of joy see me coming. I’m surrounded by them. Their little eyes piercing my heart. For some reason, on buses and trains, the radiant new mums tend to gravitate towards me. Their babies and toddlers will inevitably smile at me, or point their chubby fingers at me. I’ll try to hide from them; bury myself in a book. But I can’t concentrate when their little eyes are looking at me. Man, they are so cute!

I want one. To be honest, I want four.

But I’m 28 and single. Even if I met The One today, it will be months, if not years, before I’m holding my own little one.

Sometimes the broodiness is overpowering. It’s as if I can feel this ache in my womb. This hollow, emptiness which is all-consuming.

I love babies. I love that new-to-this-world smell, the feel of their soft hair. The way they hold onto your neck when you’re carrying them. The way they wrap their little fingers around yours. I love their chubby cheeks and their button noses.

If a baby is in the same room as me, I can’t concentrate. I find myself drawn towards them. As soon as my church service draws to a close, I’m up and out of my seat, on the lookout for a baby to hold. And there are plenty of them to choose from. But I fear that my over-broodiness will see me shunned like the creepy Child Catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

What’s this broodiness about anyway?

I’ve always believed that it’s an inevitable side-effect of being a woman. It’s natural to long for children. Surely it’s down to the hormones. A quick Google search and there’s little evidence that that’s the case. Most scientific studies on broodiness focus on chickens anyway.

So is it all in my mind? Or when I’m feeling broody, am I really just coveting what I don’t have? Am I succumbing to a consumer culture which says that a baby is this season’s must-have accessory? As an ambitious 21st century woman, do I crave a baby because this baby will show that I’m successful? That I’m a winner? That I’m with it? That I’m fertile? Will it be a stamp to show that someone loved me enough to make one with me?

I think I have an idealistic view of motherhood. Yes, lots of my friends are yummy mummies, but I’m spared from their experiences of poop and sleepless nights. I’m spared the pain that often accompanies the quest to conceive these children. All I see are loving little cherubs who just want their mums. I can’t imagine anything more heart-warming than a baby looking up at you and knowing that you’re their mother, that you’re their food, their carer – the most important thing in the world to them.

Scary as it must be, I long for that.

And this is a good thing.

The Bible says that children are a blessing from God. The psalmist writes: “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth.” Adam and Eve are told to “be fruitful and multiply”.

But this is not my story yet. I’m currently living a great one and thankful for all the other blessings that God’s lavished on me. I trust in His plan for my life. I trust that he feels the pangs and that he hears my longing. I pray that one day he’ll provide me with a great man to make these beautiful children with.

But until then, I’m thankful for the friends who let me borrow theirs.

Image by Milan Jurek, stock.xchng images.

Written by Chine McDonald // Follow Chine on  Twitter //  Am I Beautiful?

Chine McDonald is author of ‘Am I Beautiful?’ a book exploring body image and faith. She has been Head of Christian Influence & Engagement at WVUK since March 2017. Prior to that, she was Director of Communications & Membership at the Evangelical Alliance and part of the group that formed threads. Chine studied Theology & Religious Studies at Cambridge University before becoming a journalist. She is also a writer, speaker and broadcaster and a trustee of charities: Greenbelt, Church & Media Network, Greenbelt Festival and the Sophia Network, which equips women in leadership in the Church.

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