She’s a mum of two, soon to be three. In part one of a new series, Becky Dickinson tries not to lose the plot, along with her keys and her iPhone. Someone get her a gin. Hang on, make that a coffee.
Unhusband is demanding a DNA test. It can’t possibly be his. We only did it once. And it was the wrong time of the month. And we were both knackered. And I went for a wee straight afterwards. So how can I possibly be pregnant – again? With number three. THREE!
Unhusband, in case you’re wondering, is the father of my children, not someone I picked up on one of those extra-marital dating sites. We do everything married couples do – like argue over money, his mother, and who’s most tired. But to the enduring disappointment of my parents, he still hasn’t made an honest woman out of me. And I still haven’t come up with a better title for him than Unhusband.
Our family currently consists of a five year old boy and a two year old girl, who I’ll call J and D to save embarrassment. Theirs, that is. Unhusband was hoping to keep it that way. But according to Clear Blue, J and D are soon to be joined by another sleep-robbing, overdraft-enhancing little treasure. Either that, or I’m seeing double.
What have I done? What have we done? I feel like a teenager who should have paid more attention in biology. Half the time I can barely cope with two children; a third may just push me into rehab. Yes, I know I always said I wanted three, but that was just my geriatric ovaries talking. It was also before D turned into a raving miniature teenager and started using the word ‘actually’ and saying ‘I’m not looking at you,’ instead of sitting on the naughty step, and before J learnt to navigate his way around my iPhone.
Yes, of course I love my kids to the moon and back (I can even quote gooey children’s literature). I’m just not sure I’m cut out for another baby, or more pressingly, if my thirty-ahem body is cut out for another pregnancy. My boobs are already staring at the floor, my muffin top is more of a Victoria sandwich, and my pelvic floors will probably be, well – on the floor – by time I’ve pushed another one out. Forget a vajazzle, I’ll be lucky if I escape without needing corrective surgery, or a subscription to Tena Lady.
Maybe I should have listened to Unhusband while he was waxing on about the benefits of a streamlined family – two parents, two kids, two car seats, too tired, too broke – blah, blah, blah. Though something about those two blue lines tells me it’s too late for hindsight. I won’t be needing that DNA test though, because unless I’m the Virgin Mary, it’s definitely Unhusband’s. The only other men I meet these days are the ones at the allotment, and it certainly isn’t any of theirs.
Fortunately, J and D embrace the news rather more gamely than their shell-shocked parents. ‘Baby Jesus, baby Jesus,’ squeals D, who has an unseasonable fixation with the Nativity story. J just wants to know how it got in there, a subject I’m not quite ready to expound upon.
At the first scan, D is still convinced I’m carrying the Messiah. The sonographer plugs a few measurements into the computer. ‘Oh, you’re due on December 25th,’ she chirps. I practically fall off the bed. This is a joke, right? She knows I’m an organisational failure when it comes to Christmas, and she’s winding me up. But no. It turns out D was onto something after all – unless I really am the Virgin Mary.
A Christmas baby means only one thing: this year I really will be more prepared. I know I say that every year – then miss the last post, lose the Sellotape and forget to buy Unhusband’s present. But this year I will be the perfect amalgamation of Kirsty Allsopp and Delia Smith, while blossoming under my Cath Kidston apron. I really will buy a turkey before they sell out, start Christmas shopping before the sales, and make a Christmas cake in October. Oh sod it, too late. I’ll just buy one.
As my bump swells, or rather erupts, I’m frequently asked when I’m due. The truth usually leads to the inevitable: ‘oh, was it planned?’ As clearly no woman in her right mind would aim to be wired up to a Tens machine while pulling a turkey out of the oven. I mean, why not just ask me if I had unprotected sex? If Unhusband and I got carried away in a rare flurry of passion? So much for family planning.
Anyway, it might not even arrive on time. J was early and D was late. Yet, somehow I just know the second I snap a Christmas cracker, my waters will break. I’ll end up in the local rag, grimacing through stitches and exhaustion. ‘No, I didn’t get to finish my Christmas dinner, but this is the best Christmas present I could have asked for.’ Meanwhile, my poor third child will be consigned to receiving one set of presents a year, and having what is basically a fairly pants birthday – no offence to baby Jesus. Oh, and if anyone else suggests naming it Mary, or Holly, or Noel, I may just string them up on the Christmas tree. Except that’s another thing I still need to buy, along with the Brussel sprouts and breast pads. Pass me a sherry.
At least I know what to get Unhusband this year. Note to self: don’t forget to book that vasectomy.
✽ Becky Dickinson will be back in the next issue, with a new instalment of Diary of a Mum – assuming she’s not in rehab by then. She also has some, erm, unusual plans for her placenta… it’s not for the faint hearted.
Illustrations by James Brown