Rediscovering the 'Me' in 'Mumeeeeeee'

'I have always thought that there is no more fruitful source of family discontent than a housewife’s badly-cooked dinners and untidy ways'. (Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management, 1861)

October 9, 2009

Baby on Board

A sorry tale of a pregnancy low point, inspired by A Mother's Secrets

A week after I discovered I was pregnant, I decided to pop into Mothercare – the panacea for all things baby. I had, of course, been in here before to buy presents for nieces, nephews and off-spring of various friends, but now I was here for myself, because I was PREGNANT and the shop suddenly looked entirely different.

I really only wanted to buy a book on pregnancy but of course found myself browsing around the entire shop, taking in all the baby paraphenelia which we would need in the not too distant future. There was all the obvious big stuff like cots, buggies and car seats – I couldn’t believe how many shelves of car seats there were!

Then I found the maternity clothes which all looked massive and over-patterned so decided to move on to the cutest part of the shop – the baby clothes. I stood in awe of the tiny little vests, coats and soft shoes and picked up a couple of adorable soft toys, still in disbelief that we were going to need all these things.

Slightly freaked out already by the sheer amount of things in this shop and the unappealing maternity jeans, I then came across an aisle of maternity bras, disposable knickers, breast pumps and other bizarre looking equipment which I had no idea even existed, let alone know what it was for.

I felt totally out of my depth; in an 'other world' of which I knew very little and which my gymkhana rosette, netball medal, 9 O'Levels, 3 A'Levels, BA (Hons) degree, a year in Australia, a London Marathon and 11 years of work experience had not helped prepare me for at all.

I felt like a complete fraud or some kind of freak who spends their day meandering around baby shops as a result of some terrible tragedy in their past. I wanted a sign saying 'I'm pregnant' or a big bump like all the other women in the shop; I wanted to know what Almond Oil could possibly be used for, why there were 18 different types of bottle teets and I wanted to talk knowingly to an assistant about the benefits of a three versus a four-wheeler buggy.

Instead, I self-consciously picked up a book titled ‘Pregnancy & Childbirth’ which seemed to cover everything (although in hindsight it did look like it was produced in the 1970's) and paid the assistant who barely acknowledged me, let alone offer her congratulations on my ‘condition’.

In fact, she seemed to be completely disinterested in my reasons for buying this book which, I would have thought was pretty bloody obvious. I resisted the temptation to shout across the counter, "I'M PREGNANT YOU IGNORANT COW!", and wandered back home to read about the possible damage I had done to my unborn child by eating blue cheese a few days ago.



  1. The first pregnancy is certainly bewildering!

  2. I remember how that was. I was so clueless. ^_^

  3. I remember that, too. You brought it all back there. We went to a book fair and looked for books of baby names, worried that anyone would spot us because we hadn't told anyone yet. I kept going scarlet in the face.

  4. That early pregnancy bit is weird isn't it? You sort of want people to know, but you don't want them to know either. To be honest I'm still baffled by some of the baby paraphenalia.

  5. It was the brick sized maternity towels that freaked me out. I won't need those, I thought.....

  6. Doesn't matter what you did before kids the reality first time round you just can't prepare for. I remember having a total panic attack during my first trip to Mothercare and left with nothing so well done for leaving with what you went in for! Claire x

  7. We all want to call someone an ignorant cow at some point during those first few months of hormone overload. And you're right, nothing can prepare you for THE most important job in the world. We just have to muddle our way through, feeling inadequate most of the time. Doesn't that suck? lol

  8. (Seemingly) Uncharted waters are always scary. Very well-captured sense to this piece. You put the reader right into the head of this new mother-to-be.

    Very well done.

  9. I got freaked out walking round mother care for the first time.. I was so confused on why there were all these different sized cots and sheets.. and what the hell were disposable maternity pants?

  10. The bewilderment came out very well in this piece.
    I have no first hand experience, but it remind sme very much of some of my friends before they had their first!

  11. HA! I know exactly how you/your character feels. Just wait till that baby gets here. I remember staring at my son lying in that plastic basinet about an hour after I had him and thinking, "What the hell am I going to do with THAT."

    Luckily I figured it out. He's eleven. I think since I made it this far, the chances are that I will be ok... maybe ;-)

    Great story,

  12. Thanks a lot for your contribution, I recognise the feelings I had when I was expecting for the first time and how overwhelmed I felt when I saw the array of stuff available for babies!
    Thanks again x

  13. I wanted a maternity top that said "Don't tell me your horror stories" ....

    Nice job on mixing the wonder with the bewilderment.
    Karen :0)

  14. So, it would seem that we have all felt more than a little panicked by the stacked shelves of baby stuff. Thank you all, lovely people, for you comments. As always, much appreciated and enjoyed by me.

    Thanks again to Peggy at Perfectly Happy Mum (A Mothers Secrets), for pushing the envelope and encouraging us to look into the less than rosy side of pregnancy.

  15. Disposable underwear? O.o nevermind. I don't want to know.

    Great post, you really do captivate the confusion/wonder very well.


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