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.