Some close friends have recently announced their first pregnancy and I couldn't be more thrilled that they will soon be subject to the sleepless nights and crippling anxiety that we have to live with every single day.
Perhaps most excitingly, I now get to become that person who, having managed to navigate nine months of pregnancy and eight months of parenthood, now feels entitled to share helpful [patronising] advice [guesswork] to anyone who'll pretend to listen.
So, for anyone out there who's expecting, here's what to really expect....
The Endless Worry
You spend twelve weeks waiting to reach your first scan milestone, after which you can relax a little, right? WRONG. You have condemned yourself to a perpetual state of anxiety. Welcome to a world of pointlessly Googling things like 'can hopscotch harm your unborn baby' and 'should I be worried if my farts smell of juniper berries.'
Get Your Downstairs Affairs In Order
Once that belly starts to balloon, you will no longer have sight of- or easy access to- your vagina. Undertake judicious pruning now, or else several months down the line you will be faced with an overgrown lady garden that even the Ground Force team would balk at.
Midwives are AMAZING, but they will confuse the hell out of you. If you had an infinite number of midwives with an infinite number of typewriters, you wouldn't get the complete works of Shakespeare. They wouldn't even be able to agree on whether 'to be or not to be' was the question.
"WOW. You're Glowing"
People will say this to you, largely because they have to say something and it is more polite than "Good Lord. You're bloated."
Pregnancy does odd things to your appetite. Like watching Miley Cyrus licking a sledgehammer and thinking "ooh, I could go a massive metal lollipop about now too". My personal cravings were unpasteurised cheese, red wine and wanting to dissolve my husband in a bath of lime whenever he coughed annoyingly.
Going To The Toilet
You're going to go to the bathroom A LOT. You may feel a little annoyed by how frequently. Enjoy it while you can. Not only will you soon not be able to pee alone, but you will have so little bladder control, the toilet is going to be an optional extra when you do.
You Get Boobs! They Get Hurty!
For anyone with fun-size fun-bags like mine, suddenly having a pair of norks that could grace the cover of 'Uneven Big Ones Weekly' is a time of great celebration. But then comes the tenderness. Before long they are merely pendulous sacks of pain and discomfort. You will find yourself walking to Rigby and Peller (even though it is a hundred miles from where you live) and asking for a bra to be woven by Himalayan silkworms. On you. As you stand there. You will walk away having spent a fortune, only to go up a cup size an hour later.
You will be digitally probed more often than a ventriloquist's dummy at a car boot sale. The first few times you may feel some embarrassment, but this can be easily offset by theatrically raising your eyebrows, turning your head and shouting "gottle o' gear, gottle o' gear".
Pregnancy hormones are a fickle mistress. One minute you're weeping like an angry blister, the next you're weeping like a vegetarian in a butcher's shop. Don't panic! This seldom continues for long. As soon as the baby arrives, the full-blown sobbing can begin.
Writing Your Birthing Plan
By all means visualise your ideal birth, but it is probably pointless. We went for a tour of the natural birthing suites at our local hospital. It would have been more instructive to have taken a tour of the local abattoir. Or a farm during lambing season.
You will think that you are exhausted. You will be wrong, but it will take you several more months to fully appreciate by how much.
Guessing The Sex
You will get bored of people asking "do you know the sex?" Why not answer with something like "the hubby thinks it was the time we were drunk at a friend's wedding, but I'm pretty certain we only dry humped before falling asleep." They won't ask again.