Babe: 3 years and 2 months
Babeling: due in less than 2 weeks

A whole herd of us have been pregnant together at my church’s women’s group. Week by week we swell up, one by one we disappear – and then return after a couple of weeks’ absence with a tiny infant in a car seat and a grandmother in tow. There are now two whole sofas dedicated to breastfeeding. The last but one has just disappeared and the last one is me.

I had been feeling ready for the birth. I’ve just read a book on Active Birth and it left me euphoric. I am a woman! With a uterus! Designed for the miraculous expulsion of babies! I will squat, pant, grunt and push this child into the world unaided, chew off the umbilical cord and probably eat the placenta. What pain? I will experience no pain – only power! Um – it was quite inspiring.

I expected the active birth class at the hospital to be the icing on the cake of my bullet proof attitude. They showed a standard antenatal video of a photogenic waterbirth without any blood or poo, and minus the sound, it would have been fine. It was just that towards the end this woman shouted ‘No no no I can’t do it!’ and it chilled my blood. It didn’t matter how much she cooed over the baby after the birth – all I could remember was the panic in her voice. I need to go back to the book again. (See how calmly I breathe: in through the nose, out softly through the mouth, too gently to blow out a candle, my cervix billowing open like a lotus flower.)

I think I’ve just finished the nesting phase. This took the form of an uncontrollable urge to finish the decorating in the hallway no matter what, and thanks to Ganny’s generous combination of childminding and painting, it’s done. I’ve had a whole month of extra energy for tying up all sorts of loose ends and now I am utterly exhausted.