Alcohol units: 1 gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
11pm. Was just heading out to work, late and insecure due to gorging on Golden Globes coverage when phone rang. Stupidly picked it up, thinking it might be Daniel/ Johnny Depp/ George Clooney or similar.
"What did mummy say! Take it out! Take it out of Constance's nose now and put it back in the potty! Grrr. Hate it when Magda does this.
If there is one Motherhood Resolution am determined to keep it is not to talk to the baby while I am on the telephone. My baby will just play quietly with her toys and not demandattention from me.
"Sorry, Bridget. I was just ringing to say don't eat it! Yakky! Poo! Anyway official congratulations! The secret's out! You wait, though: everyone's going to start giving you advice. Not me, of course, but they'll tell you all sorts of rubbish - don't eat goats' cheese, don't wear underwire bras
I gasped. "Underwire bras? Why not?"
"Oh, underwiring's disastrous for breast-feeding: crushes your ducts. You are wearing a sports bra at night, though, aren't you? Or you'll end up with one breast under each arm. And don't eat raw eggs."
"Why would I eat raw eggs?"
"Zabaglione? Steak tartare? But the only advice actually worth taking is not to lie down."
"Because your main artery to your brain goes through your back."
"But how can I not lie down?"
" I mean, not on your back. Otherwise it'll cut off the oxygen to your brain. Oh, and the other thing is, try and put your feet up or you'll get varicose veins. Woney spent too much time standing up and got varicose veins in her labia. Harry! Better go. Bye."
I slumped, traumatised. The phone rang again: my mother.
"Hello darling! Just ringing to see if you've heard about Angelina Jolly. She must be due about the same time as you.
"Mind you, you wouldn't know it to look at her, she's hardly put on any weight at all. Have you tried going swimming?"
Seconds after I got rid of her, Magda rang again. "The only other thing I was going to say is don't go swimming because it'll put strain on the uterus. Oh and if your hair starts falling out the best thing is to rub a tiny tiny bit of engine oil into your scalp."
I sank down, head in hands. Everything I used to care about was gone, or going: my figure, my sex life, my freedom, my hair.Was clearly going to end up sitting alone in flat with hair falling out, taking poo out of nose of baby with one breast under each arm and labial varicose veins. Impulsively I grabbed the phone and dialled.
"Shaz? It's Bridget. Are you and Jude going out tonight?"
There was silence at the other end: the same silence I used to emit when Magda called to see if she could come out with us and try, Smug Marriedly and in vain, to share in our debauched singleton fun.I bit my lip, tears pricking my eyelids. Just then the mobile rang.
I stared at both phones, confused: "Bridge. It's Shaz. We got cut off," said one.
"Oh, thank God."
"Never mind. So can I come out with you tonight?"
"Yess! We thought we'd lost you. See you in the Electric at 8."
Initial excitement at being in scruffy glamour of Portobello again was squelched by Shazzer crowing over survey saying parents were more likely to get depressed than childless people.
"You see?" she ranted gleefully. "All these years we've been brainwashed into thinking we were depressed because we haven't got children whereas in fact, we weren't depressed at all!"
"But, er, we were," said Jude.
"No. We just thought we were, because society made us believe we'd suffered an unbearable loss whereas in fact people like Ricky Gervais, who made a conscious decision not to have children, are not depressed at all."
"Hurrah!" I said. "Childless singletons! Hurrah!" Then realised that both Jude and Shazzer were staring rather pointedly at my stomach.
"Well maybe you only get depressed if you want to have children and can't," said Jude in a funny, strangled voice.
"Or if you're about to have children but don't have a husband, boyfriend or any money and are having a panic attack," I said.
"Jesus Christ," said Shazzer, "I'd better get some more drinks.""I can't," I said, glumly.
"You can," said Jude. "The government guidelines say you can drink two units twice a week."
"Really?" I said, brightening.
Mmmmmmm. Had forgotten how a glass of wine makes your troubles go away. Had also, however, forgotten how it makes you want another glass of wine and a packet of Silk Cut.
Was on the point of arguing myself into "one tiny puff won't hurt" when I heard a familiar voice.
"Bridget! Congratulations!" It was Janey the Jellyfisher.
"Oh my God, you're enormous. I thought you were only a few months.
You need to stop piling it on or you'll have a terrible delivery. That's not wine is it?"
"Yes," snarled Shazzer. "She's allowed four glasses a week."
"She's not!" said Janey "They've just discovered you can't drink any alcohol at all without harming the foetus. One glass and you've done it."
"Bridget!" It was Natasha, Mark's former girlfriend.
"I just heard your news. It's SO brilliant. God, that's not shellfish you're eating? It's full of mercury."
"Boy or a girl?" interrupted Janey.
"Er, don't know yet..."
"You mean you haven't had the scan? At your age? Magda thought Harry was a GIRL until she had hers and saw a penis inside her."Apparently Harry actually urinated in the womb."
Ugh. Normally nothing could be more charming than a penis inside one, but not belonging to one's own urinating child.
"Is that wine you're drinking, Jones?" a voice murmured into the back of my neck. Daniel! I started guiltily.
"It's all right Jones. It's been scientifically proved to be perfectly safe for the foetus as long as you sleep with the father immediately afterwards."'
Published: 19 January 2006