Sometimes I don't want them to touch me. Not, like, not EVER. But there are some times - a moment, a minute, an hour - when I really think I'll just take leave of my sanity if someone touches me. I think breastfeeding has a lot to do with this.
As an educated woman, I was fervent on being a success, earning my own money, whilst maintaining a good level of health, fitness, an active social life and when the time was right - we'd decide when to start a family, where we would both play an equal role as co-parents. I realise now that this was an unrealistic expectation.
The pre-labour cramps, unbelievable pelvic pressure and lack of sleep that has dominated the last two weeks, is only overpowered by the intense excitement that I feel toward meeting the little person that has made my body his home for most of the past year.
I'm extremely blessed to be the mother of a wonderful, exuberant and thriving two-year-old and (in common with mothers everywhere) I'm doing the best I can for my daughter to ensure she has a happy childhood, and a safe and secure future. Sometimes that's OK, but often the journalist will prod, looking for an angle, "How do you deal with the negative view of older parents?"
Whenever we grow too exhausted to beat ourselves up with obligatory innate society-taught mummy guilt, we can be certain Another Mother will do it for us. My childless non-pregnant peers don't, nor do men. It's women with at least one kid.
There are many circumstances that affect whether a woman decides to end a pregnancy which we simply can't change. We can't conjure up the financial security she wants before she brings a child into the world, however important the campaign for secure maternity benefits and high quality, affordable childcare.
As we move in to spring all eyes will be on the blossoming bumps of these A-list mums-to-be and, more specifically, what they are wearing. I've said this before but I'm a firm believer that being pregnant is no reason to take a back seat in the style stakes.
In what can often feel like a mummy-centric world, it can be very hard for women who don't have children and particularly those who want them and are childless by circumstance. Maybe they haven't met the right person. Maybe, like me, they've struggled to conceive. But statistics suggest that up to 25% of women currently in their thirties and forties won't have children.
Whilst the ability to access a wealth of information online should provide peace of mind for mums-to-be, the array of different sources available, all too often offering conflicting information, means that the internet may well be more of a hindrance than a help in this case, and bad advice is of particular concern when people are reading up on matters related to health.
I genuinely think that I was as excited about Becky and Neil expecting Niamh as I was when Carolyn was expecting Anna and Iris. And I don't mean that in a dismissive way about my girls. I love them completely. But I remember Becky telling us that she was pregnant and it was incredible.
Pregnancy is supposed to be the most wonderful time of a woman's life. I, however, liken the condition to that of being invaded by a parasite. Reading that sentence back to myself makes me feel like a terrible person. And very worried that there is something wrong with me. This is me sharing my dirty secret via my laptop: I don't ever want to be a mother.
Harriet Laura Amy Leah was born at 37 weeks on 16th November 2012 by c-section. "She was laying very awkwardly" explains her mum Zena, "doing the splits and her cord was presenting, had my waters gone the cord would have been the first thing out and she would have most probably suffocated"
Some people clam up, shut down and do not know how to speak as they struggle to heal and come to terms with the unexpected. Others go into denial and carry on with what they believe is normal. Some people who think they are helping, try to fix the situation for the person going through the difficult time.
The latest scientific research is now starting to indicate that if the baby is not properly seeded with the mother's own bacteria at birth, then the baby's microbiome, in the words of Rodney R Dietert, Professor of Immunotoxicology at Cornell University, is left "incomplete". Consequently, that baby's immune system may never develop to its full potential, leaving that infant with an increased risk of developing one or more serious diseases later in life.
I had heard that women in their third trimester get emotional, only the other day I sprayed my face with too much fake tan and burst into tears (looking back THAT, was funny) but no one warned me of the gut wrenching, heart smashing 'end of an era' come down that I spent the weekend with.
Many of my clients are traumatised by their previous experiences of birth and will not return to the NHS. Some of my clients have 'risk factors' that other midwives insurances would not allow them to provide care. Some of my clients would choose to birth alone if they could not have a midwife who was able to support them.