The Blog

Top Ten Fears of Impending Motherhood

There's no maternity leave in comedy. Well, there is, but the fear is it could be indefinite, and it's most certainly unpaid. The majority of industry people have been great, but I have had the occasional 'Oh, you're pregnant? OK bye, loser!' moments.

Every mother-to-be has their own list of fears to tackle. And since a problem blogged is a problem shared, here goes:

1. You'll never work in this town again.

There's no maternity leave in comedy. Well, there is, but the fear is it could be indefinite, and it's most certainly unpaid. The majority of industry people have been great, but I have had the occasional 'Oh, you're pregnant? OK bye, loser!' moments. Not to mention screwing up my last spot at The Comedy Store because I was in the barfing phase of the first trimester, but couldn't yet reveal the news. I'm just proud I didn't spray the owner's polyester shirt with vom during 'feedback time'. Or maybe I wish I had.

Also I've had to say no to gigs which feel 'too far away' because I don't really want my waters to break in Penzance. BTW, why is it 'waters' in the UK and just 'water' in the US? I suppose it sounds more nautical, which IS delightful. I thought it was enough that I've started saying 'maths' but now, 'waters?' And when I sing the alphabet song to this kid, I have to end with ZED. It doesn't rhyme, it just doesn't rhyme at all. It's a jolting end to a song. But that's what I have to say. I'm already anxious about that and the effect it will have on both of us.

But the real fear isn't how the 'industry' will treat me, let's face it: it's that I won't have enough brain cells left to create anything more than banana bread, and just enough motivation to go to baby swim class on Tuesdays. Also, I need a good joke in case my breasts leak while I'm on stage.

2. Being awake for BBC Breakfast every day.

Still being up for the 6am breakfast show used to be a unique event which showed I had either a. returned really, really late from an away gig and hadn't gone to bed yet, or b. was buzzed from writing late into the night and couldn't sleep or c. had stayed up 'partying'. Note: c. was becoming very rare as of late, I'm actually ashamed to even include it, but you know, rule of threes. But I have always been able to make up for sleep in my life. I remember a new mother telling me that the sleep deprivation was like wartime torture. Which is already how I feel about some of the segments on BBC Breakfast. At least I'm used to being in pajamas for most of the day.

3. I've made something which is actually going to eat more often than I do.

I stopped buying basil plants a long time ago because I just couldn't get the watering responsibilities nailed down and they would all wither and die. Babies eat all day, and I hope because the food is coming from my boobs and because babies have an in-built signalling mechanism it'll be OK (if my basil had learned to scream it may have survived long enough to adorn a few more pizzas). But the fear that I'll fail at the first hurdle and the baby will turn into a human raisin in the first few weeks is stark.

4. Nuclear war, and other stuff.

Not even South Korea is all that phased by the threat of nuclear war from their adorably stroppy northern neighbours. I used to pride myself in having a general lack of fear about the big threats in life, like nuclear war and flying with Ryanair. Suddenly it's not just me anymore so it's hard to say "meh, so I'll die." The realisation that I'm not only responsible for bringing this child up, but also for bringing them into an imperfect world is about as comforting as the thought of leaving it with Kim Jong-un for a playdate. I bet he keeps to good strict schedules though.

5. If my bump gets any bigger I'm going to split in half.

Accepting the physical alterations of pregnancy is both delightful (internal kicks and punches!) and confronting (Oh, the hair on your stomach grows like a Manpeach? Righteous.) Yeah, I said Manpeach.

6. Childbirth is going to split me in half.

When you start Googling "cases where woman didn't tear pushing out baby" this fear really comes to life.

7. People are dicks.

Being pregnant brings both the appreciation of the tender and poignant aspects of life (sunshine, puppies, repeat Facebook posts about the autistic kid who played high school basketball really well when they finally let him) and the ugly realisation that there are lots of dicks around. The thought that this little creature I've co-created will someday be taunted by someone, rejected in all the ways life rejects you, made to feel humiliated - it's enough to make me want to move to Alaska and home school. But then that's in range of North Korea's missiles AND the Palins and I'd rather the kid get bullied really.

8. I'll never get through another uninterrupted episode of Game of Thrones.

You know when you try to have a conversation with a new mother and it's like chatting to a talking doll which is programmed to say "oh, really?" and "wow!" at regular but nonsensical intervals? That's because babies demand every ounce of attention you've got. But you can't just OH REALLY and WOW at Game of Thrones. You just can't. I don't want to talk about it any more.

9. I'm going to become THAT mother.

The scary thing is, maybe "that mother" never set out to be that kind of mother, either. The kind who saves nail clippings, takes eight hour Andy Warhol style videos of the baby sleeping on their iPad and uploads to YouTube, and dresses her kid in Gucci. And lectures everyone about mercury levels in tuna on the bus. And starts to find Family Guy "really offensive".

10. I'll give birth to the Bad Seed.

Truth is, even as I write these things down and make light of them, I know I've got this. I'm ready. I want this more than I've wanted anything in my life. I've got a lot of love to give and I'm sure that levels of patience I never knew I had will follow. I already love the little octopus who squirms in my belly all day, and I can work a nappy like a champ. Yeah, I say nappy now. I have to. But my point is, this will be good and I know it. I actually can't wait.

But then... what if I attend to the nurture side like a champ, but the DNA combines in some sort of freak show manner (as may happen when Americans breed with the Welsh?) and I end up with Rosemary's Baby? No one wants to play with Rosemary's Baby, it's all evil and stuff. And you don't want a kid who's limited to plastic sporks for the rest of its life.

Ah well. If that happens - I'll have enough material for a great Edinburgh show in 2014 (if trouble getting a sitter) and fear number one will be eliminated. And they show Cheers at 6am too, so I've got viewing options. I can catch up on any pending seasons of Game of Thrones when the child is older and make sure they get into it too (five is about old enough, right?). I'll teach the child to use witty comebacks to people who are dicks, like "at least I'm not a dick, DICK." And I won't be 'that mother' because I can't afford and don't like Gucci clothes and nail clippings gross me out even if they're really little.

I haven't worked out what to do if I split in half giving birth but I trust the NHS will have some ideas.

Yeah, I've got this.