What pregnancy does to your body isn't a secret. It's hard to conceal a swelling stomach, and I can't be the only mum whose breasts leaked in Tescos. My belly expanded, but so did my fingers, and I pulled off my wedding ring a few weeks before birth only to find I couldn't get it back again.
A friend of mine has just had her baby. She's knackered, milky, blissed out, and then knackered again. Our beloved NHS got her baby out safely - gosh, how easy it is to forget that no matter how tough a labour experience we have, we are so very lucky.
I had some lovely feedback from my mum on one of my first published pieces. "It's terribly good darling, but isn't it a bit... well... sweary?!" Well, yes it is. And it seems I'm in excellent company as research shows that women are more likely to drop the F-bomb than men.
I'm SO lucky to still have my parents - they are both still around in body and mind, although living three hours away gets them out of babysitting. The boys adore them, Grandpa kicks a ball and Granny does loads of cuddles and the occasional scary look, and it's a mutually appreciative relationship.
If you are a control freak, don't have kids. If you have perfectionist tendencies, keep the condoms on the bedside table. If you've Marie Kondo-ed your knicker drawer and, like Beckham, line up the cans in your cupboards so it all looks perfect, then for goodness sake don't allow sticky-fingered monsters into your life.
For baby number two, everyone is too busy with their own kids to tell you what it's like. I'd tell my mates that it's really, really tough, only I've got to put a wash on and go to the supermarket. When we catch up, we are beyond talking about pooey nappies and sleepless nights, and instead debate <em>Love Island</em> and where does the best holiday babysitting service.
The questions I'm asking are multiple. Where has this fantastic, empowering advice gone? Is Ask.fm the new equivalent? Please, no! How do we encourage our teens to keep their pants on 'til they are ready, and to like themselves enough to make good choices? What lies in wait for our beautiful, tiny babies, who will grow into awkward, spotty teenagers?
<img alt="mum bod" src="http://i.huffpost.com/gen/5313374/original.jpg" width="300" height="35" />
Everything feels different after you birth a baby. Your boobs swell, your tummy sinks, and in my case, my most intimate area was incredibly sore. I couldn't sit down without a rubber ring, and moving at night to collect my mewling baby for a breastfeed was agony.
Twice over the summer, two awesome, ambitious and strong women have said to me, "I'm not a feminist, but..." They didn't get to finish their sentences (sorry guys) because I immediately leapt on them. My husband did his best eye-roll - he's heard it all before - as I explained, slightly hysterically, that feminism just means equality.
In the olden days, I'd be so excited about the prospect of an extra day out of the office. It would inevitably be spent in a pub, or if the sun came out, in a pub garden. I'd sleep, drink, party and repeat. Then along came the kids and a huge overdraft from two maternity leaves.
So many words exist, but some are sexual, crude, rude or gross. They had this problem in Sweden, so they coined a new word for it. In 2000 they came up with <em>snippa</em> as a female equivalent to <em>snopp</em> and it entered the dictionary six years later.
They've been your friends forever. Don't write them off because they are the link to your past, to dancing on tables, to uni finals, to first loves and inappropriate crushes. Sure, you'll dance on tables with your new mum mates (at some point).
Ok, so some of this might not feel like small stuff, but I promise you it is. If little Jemima finds your secret stash of Jaffa Cakes and eats them all, aged 14 months, it doesn't condemn her to a life of obesity. If all the other newborns from your NCT class sleep in their cots from day one, and yours doesn't, it doesn't mean they'll still be sleeping in your bed aged 19.
Our thoughtful friends asked us if we wanted to bring our kids to their wedding. Most of their friends are child-free, so they didn't care either way about upping the numbers by two. I think they were a little shocked by our vehement negative response.
Honestly, I'm sick of it. The praise heaped on my husband for being such a super dad. When did he use his vagina to bring life to the world? When did he scoop baby puke out of his cleavage? Does he know where the kids' swimming stuff is? Or the details of their vaccination schedule?
Let me tell you. It isn't good. Nothing good happens before 7am (similar to my rule of parties in my twenties - nothing good happens after 2am. Go home at 2am. If I'm up at 2am now it is for very different reasons. Rarely featuring tequila.)
17/04/2017 21:39 BST
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