What happens when you're 37, almost infertile, in a new relationship and you go and get pregnant by accident?
This week: Childcare, maternity leave and piles.
It's been a week of shock, horror and awe, mostly all at the same time. I've been so overcome with emotion it's rendered me imbecilic on more than one occasion. Tie up my shoe laces? Can't remember how. Feed the cat? Do we have a cat, then? Feed myself? Can't be bothered.
First off, I'm shocked at just how expensive it is to get decent childcare. Forget decent childcare, it's expensive to get any childcare. The local nursery that has been recommended to me charges £66 per day for babies. Does that sound expensive to anyone else?
We roughly worked out that I'd have to earn £22k a year just to break even. I mean, it's do-able, especially if you have a namby-pamby media job in London town. But what if you're a single mum trying to get back into work? It's just not do-able, surely?
It was fairly good news to hear yesterday that dads will soon be able to share the maternity leave if mums choose to go back to work after the first six months. But, dad will only get three months at statutory and then three months unpaid, which doesn't seem quite right. There's just no way we could afford to do that, which is a shame as I know my other half would love to spend some time with his son.
Why can't dads get at least three months from their employers at a percentage of their salaries?
So, I'm now shocked too, to add to the feelings of horror that have been slowly building since the arrival of a dreaded pregnancy symptom - our friend the haemorrhoid. My wonderfully supportive chap offered to administer the haemorrhoid cream for me, but that only served to deepen the despair. I am now going to bed in big knickers, a supportive belly band, creamed to the max and packed around with cushions. He'd only moved in three weeks before we got pregnant, for God's sake. He doesn't deserve this!
It's not all been..uhm...bad though. We had a lovely couple of hours at a party for our midwives practice, which has been going for 10 years. It was well attended by mums, dads, babies and children who had been served by the practice. It was so reassuring and sweet to see all of these local families celebrating the mind-blowing experience of birth and having kids.
I felt most in awe at the very pregnant lady who looked like she had an eight-year-old tucked under her jumper. "How pregnant is that lady." I whispered to my midwife, anxiously. "Very pregnant, and it's twins," came the answer. I'd have been relieved to have left it there, but oh no, on went the midwife: "Giving birth is very, very painful and when you're pushing out it will feel as though you're on fire. The good thing is you know that the stretching, burning, never felt pain like it in your life pushing bit will be over in ten to twenty minutes or so, and normally you have two or three years to get over it before doing it again. That lady will have 20 minutes before it's pushing time again."
The midwife was smiling still at the end of this. I didn't know whether to feel shocked, horrified or totally in awe. If it was me, there'd only be one word on my mind; epidural.