'Would you like some help to wipe that vomit from your top?’ I politely ask my friend as she winds her child non-stop. “Oh, I really shouldn’t worry,’ she says, ‘it’ll probably blend right in with the other patch of baby puke, the dribble, crumbs and gin.’ There are many ‘soon to be’ mothers here, radiant with rotund tums. As well as those who’ve popped sprogs out and are already experienced mums. Together, we are gathered to wish one such expectant friend farewell. She is on the cusp of her first foray into her own exhausting, sleepless hell. Meanwhile, a small squadron of cantankerous two year olds toddle aimlessly around. Our conversations left incomplete as one of them face plants on the ground. Cards and gifts are given generously. Sugary cupcakes and booze-free tipples consumed. A lady with a proud, protruding bump discusses the contents of her womb. Increasingly, it occurs to me how out of place I really am. The air is so thick with oestrogen, it could trigger ovulation in a man! I do attempt to natter with another of my good friends, but her child announces that he’s pooped himself and there our conversation ends. No, this is not the best environment for those in situations such as mine. For goodness sake, why did I neglect to bring some alcoholic wine? Swapping midwife stories, gender guessing, births, big breasts and pregnancy. I remain calmly composed despite my contrasting reality. Like new ships, they’re launched one by one into the next phase of their lives. Whilst I’m left wrestling with my own unexpected, not quite so nice, surprise. It’s not a competition, not a contest, tournament nor race, but next time I’m given ‘exciting’ baby news My smile may not be fixed so quickly into place. I am aware of the positives. Unlike my friends, I’m not covered in sick or poo. My favourite outfit is dribble free, not a hint of snot or baby goo. A stenchous whiff does not pervade the air, wherever I choose to roam. When I’ve had enough of noisy kids, I seek shelter in my tranquil, child-free home. But still this so called bright-side that I can quite clearly see, isn’t quite enough to completely outweigh my growing sad, despondency. Surrounded by these hormones, babies, buggies and bulbous bumps, it's another brutal, cruel and bitter blow that adds to my hidden anguish every month.