'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.
Excuse me, can I ask you, how you have your sex? I don't think that we're doing it right and it's making me feel quite vexed. I'd like to conduct a survey to uncover your toppest tips and find out if we're using them right (you know, all our jiggly bits!) I didn't pay much attention to biology back in school which really is quite unfortunate as now I can't have a clue at all. For if I were a genuine 'sexpert', I'm sure it wouldn't be such a struggle to pop another human out without getting in such a muddle. Everyone else seems to manage it. It's not a silly saga for the rest. So, what have we been doing wrong? We've been trying our very best. Maybe it's all about the angles or perhaps the temperature. Should we perform a special ritual before each jiggy-jiggy adventure? We use the correct biological bits. I've double checked, so I am sure and from the umpteen books I've read, we've run out of options to explore! So reader, that's why I need your help, to explain this confounded mystery. Answers on a postcard please. It would mean an awful a lot to me.
'I must use my core muscles. Just two minutes more.' I tell myself repeatedly whilst upside down on our bedroom floor. For stability I've wedged myself between the radiator and the door. It's quite a challenge admittedly and actually quite a bore. The top of my head's now throbbing and my muscles they now ache I try to cycle with more gusto, but my arms begin to shake. You must think, 'What's she up to? What a palaver, for goodness sake!' But I'm desperate and this could really work. There's an awful lot at stake. I visualise the Olympics, the champions whom I've seen who've persevered and mastered the perfect gymnastics routine. Their mental strength is astounding. They forge forward toward their dream. I'm inspired, but tired and starkers. Our 'Olympic games' are a bit obscene! Back to the frantic cycling. I pump my legs whilst still on my head. My husband looks over with pity, tucked up cosily on his side of our bed. All he can see are my legs akimbo, thankfully not my face that's beetroot red. I know he thinks all this is futile, although that's not what he's actually said. So I call out to him whilst puffing "Baby, this time it might really work!" I've always tried to remain positive, but it's humiliating. I feel an utter burk. I wish we could make love more spontaneously, be free to sleep, cuddle or go berserk. But behind the intimacy of our relationship, the pressures of duty and functionality lurk. All too often my fertile, ovulation window dictates our passionate habits. The looming shadow of obligation means we have to get at it like rabbits. Bleary eyed and numb with exhaustion, stressed by work and at the end of our wits, we summon the energy to get our jig on, not to lose faith in these fruity antics. During the first few years, there were candles, a little music and some fairy lights. I used to bother to shave my hairy legs, now they're enough to cause a fright! I used to be the epitome of Aphrodite. A temptress, transforming myself at night. Now I leave my thermal socks on to keep my feet warm and legs out of sight! You would certainly think that I'm crackers if you could see my butt in the air. Each month I'm clutching at fewer straws, seven years and still not getting anywhere. Perhaps it is sadly pointless, this often forced tragicomedy affair. But one day we might hit the jackpot and it'll be gymnastics that do get us there!