You are worried that you have turned into a frump with nothing to say for yourself. I know this because it has plagued you for all of your second pregnancy: the fear that your body and your brain are going to conspire against you and that you will turn into a clichéd harried housewife, bum wiping and sobbing your way through the day, still in your pyjamas at 4.30pm, wearing flip flops even though it’s now October because it’s less hassle than putting on real shoes.
You are scared that people will only want to talk to you about your baby, that, because you are technically on maternity leave from, well, nothing, they will assume you have lost all interest in arts, politics, culture and fashion.
You prod your post-baby body, wondering if the ‘helpful’ comments you received about it taking much longer to lose weight after the second one were true. When someone told you, after two years, they were still struggling and so just gave up, you wonder whether you should too. After all, you are now a mother to two under four, you might be trying to foist your writing on the world but, if you’re honest, you are mostly a stay at home mum, who feels like her pride is in the nappy bin because she does not contribute financially to the household. You feel self-indulgent and exhausted at the same time. You cannot envisage a future where you get back to being you.
I am here to give you a metaphorical kick up the arse. I want you to read this and acknowledge that things were hard for you this time round and that is OK. You are doing something valuable. Writing is your escape. It keeps your curiosity brimming. Take inspiration from the online network of mums that have been spawned by the Instagram age and continue to find humour and comfort in them. You may not be actual friends but they reassure you that you are not alone.
Remember your friends. Take compliments instead of being terribly British about them. Remember too that you camped at a festival, 34 weeks pregnant, and spent one day dressed as a bloody unicorn. Sure your bottom half encased in shiny silver leggings made you look a bit like a turkey drumstick, but so what? You have a drawer full of red lipsticks; no one has passed a law saying these cannot be worn to drop off your eldest at pre-school. If you have to make wardrobe adjustments for a while, do it. Look at all the lovely floral midi-dresses around. Your feet are not too fat for new shoes.
Get on with your writing (it’s what you got that new laptop for, right?). Sleep when you need to. Caffeinate. But for the sake of yourself and every other human you may come into contact with on a daily basis, remember this: you are worth more than you think.