Dumped when pregnant and facing motherhood alone, follow mum-to-be Farah Ishaq's bumpy journey to motherhood. This week she wonders what on earth are muslin squares?
I'm starting to feel out of my depth. My depressive insomnia is really bad and the only cure for it is to write out my worries and endless to-do on my computer at 2am, 3am and 4am.
I have to confess: I've never been much of a shopper. I'm just not that kind of girl. I just about cope popping in to shops to buy the essentials. Shopping bores me. While I might covet and horde postcards, stationary and notebooks, I just can't get excited about shoes or clothes for myself, let alone a looming baby. Perhaps I'm in denial?
Since becoming pregnant, I've constantly had people asking if I've got this or that. To me it all seems a little over the top? To be honest I haven't even started looking. I'm also short of spare cash, so practicality rules the head too.
But in moment of vague holy cow I might just have to lever my head out of the sand productiveness, I've actually made a relevant list this week. Wow. Three short sharp shock official baby shopping lists. One is for stuff I need for the house (crib, mattress, bedding), one for travel (pram, car seat, accessories) and one for feeding and cleaning up (nappies, wipes, sterilizers, washing powders). That's it.
Which brings me to items like muslin squares and breast pads – what on earth are they for? Isn't muslin something that was used in Victorian-era cooking? What good is it for winding a baby? If they are so great, why don't we use them in normal non-baby life? Why are people who get pregnant just expected to automatically know what this stuff is?
Ditto the difference between a crib and a cot. Ditto the alien jargon associated with prams. Ditto nappy sizes. How do I know how big her bum will be? It's like a foreign language to me. And one that doesn't come with a dictionary.
After firing out a few emails, I've accidentally sourced a 'fancy' pram/buggy/car system and a crib from friends for very little money and even more generously, I have been donated sacks of amazing new and barely worn clothes that will last her (I think - I don't understand how some items that are labelled 'newborn' look bigger than those that state 3-6 months.
By my reckoning I can do all of the rest of the baby purchasing in a 30 minute online shop at Boots, Sainsbury's and Mothercare and get everything delivered on the same day. That's everything done in a day, avoiding all superflousness I hope. Why would I need a video monitor in my 2 up 2 down house or a bin especially to wrap nappies? What's wrong with the normal bin?
Am I being naïve? Have I missed something crucial? How much research is 'normal'? Some friends appear to be shopping and planning from the get go. It all 'seems' pretty straightforward to me. Why am I not interested in what 'outfit' I want her to wear on the way home from the hospital? Surely no one is going to see her...