"Ooh. Have you got the nursery ready yet?" comes the inevitable question. "Ummm....aah...still doing the spare room," is the stock response.
"I bet you've bought loads of nice things though!", again, the dithering. The truth is, at 34 weeks' pregnant with my first child something is stopping me from making the leap from, "We'll see how it all goes" to, "Oh my goodness we're actually doing this, we'd better get sorted".
So, while I have been more than happy to accept gifts from other people and to make far-fetched plans in my head and with my partner, the idea of actually buying something for a baby that isn't even born yet makes me somehow uneasy.
I'm not remotely superstitious and I have had (touch wood – ok so maybe I am a bit) a good pregnancy so far and this is my first child and first pregnancy but the idea of actually committing my whole heart (and wallet) to the life growing inside me is actually somehow terrifying.
Don't get me wrong, I look at baby clothes and I look at teddy bears and dolls, thinking, "wouldn't it be nice to buy something like that for MY baby one day?" but when it comes to actually going through with it I just can't.
I leaf through baby catalogues, pointing at things I'd like, but doing nothing about it. I'd love nothing more than items in the nursery with our baby's name (already chosen and set in stone) on them but that seems even worse, somehow. What if, despite medical assurance to the contrary, she actually comes out a he? What if she's, well, it just doesn't bear thinking about.
Today I had occasion to visit a leading baby retailer's factory store (for work) and I stopped off in its shop afterwards. I wandered around aimlessly, picking up all manner of cute items and putting them down again. I was surrounded by seemingly newly-pregnant couples choosing teddy bears, bouncers and moses baskets. Some of them probably looked at my enormous bump and assumed I was getting last-minute essentials or, more likely, looked at me in pity at my lack of planning. I left the store with nothing in the end, promising myself that I'd come back in a couple of weeks.
Both my partner and I have been the same when it comes to the nursery too. We've spent months prevaricating about moving everything into the spare room (which will now become my office) even though it's little more than a two-hour job. The cot is bought (we got it a few days ago) but it stands ominously in the hall in its anonymous cardboard box waiting to be carried upstairs and erected.
A friend's mother has made us a beautiful quilt which will undoubtedly look lovely in it but I'm beggared if I am going to check out that theory until I have a real, live screaming baby to try it out with.
Call me a freak but the idea of having a perfectly preserved nursery with no baby in it – like something from Great Expectations – just weirds me out. What am I supposed to do, go in there every day, inhale the scent of nappies and stroke the soft babygros imagining my sweet one on my breast with a happy tear running down my cheek?
I can't be alone in this, can I? But maybe I am. A friend of mine, just four months' pregnant, has already furnished her nursery, bought essential newborn items and planned her babyshower. She's even started offering me things in case I don't have them yet.
But I still think I'd rather be running around like a blue-arsed fly at the last minute cursing my partner for not being better prepared and blaming him for it all.
Which is undoubtedly what will happen.
Did you leave everything to the last minute or did you start decorating and buying essentials as soon as you were pregnant?