Amanda Brunker: 'Listen to celebrity mothers before you give birth if you want to feel like a failure'
Published 28/06/2016 | 08:16
Are you pregnant for the first time? Yes? Well, whatever you do, don't buy Holly Willoughby's new baby book. You will only feel like a massive failure.
Don't get me wrong, Holly Willoughby is lovely. But I've gone right off her lately. She is too perfect. Not only is she a voluptuous blonde sex bomb. She's smart, funny, but most annoyingly of all, she, "Loves giving birth." SERIOUSLY?
In promoting her new tome, Truly Happy Baby - It Worked for Me, Holly has been very busy selling her idealistic world. Her newest son was, of course, "Perfect!"
Everything in Holly's world is perfect… lucky cow!
According to herself: "I have never felt more alive than after I had given birth… and I don't know what else compares to that. I love giving birth. I love being pregnant and I love having babies."
Merely typing those words brings me out in hives. Yes, I love being a mum. I am grateful for my two healthy children, but did I feel more alive than ever after I gave birth? Eh, no. I was shattered. I liken the experience more to being in a car crash. At times, I thought I was going to die. Too terrifying? Apologies. I've made my point. I'll stop the scaremongering.
In essence, I didn't love being pregnant either. I was uncomfortable and sick for most of my pregnancies. And I'm ever so happy to be out of the baby stage. I do, however, love watching my sons grow up. I'm raising adults that can go off into the world. I don't want to stifle my kids. I found the baby phase difficult. But then, neither of my boys were sleepers. Four years without more than three hours of broken sleep will ruin you. Trust me, I speak from experience.
Anyway, the point I want to make to mums-to-be, is: don't expect the Hollywood moment. Or should that be the Holly-Willoughby moment?
Yes, many of you will have that euphoric feeling when handed your baby for the first time. You will feel a rush of love as you look at your tiny bundle. And that is wonderful. But many women, just like me, don't. And that's okay. That doesn't mean you've failed. So don't put pressure on yourself. The love will come. For most of us mere mortals, it's a slow grow.
There are other celebrities who have also sold us a similar take on the birthing process. Davina McCall has spoken out about "loving" giving birth. Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bundchen even had the cheek to say childbirth "didn't hurt in the slightest".
And while I'm sure that was their reality, I just wish it was like that for every woman. Let's face it, if men had to give birth, they would have figured out a much better way to magic the children out.
With a worrying amount of women suffering with postnatal depression, it's important not to inflate mothers' expectations. Women like Holly will inevitably make us all feel like failures. But that doesn't mean we should hate her. Or hate ourselves either.
Like every fingerprint, each pregnancy, labour and child is different. We just have to accept our own mothering journey and take it day by day.
For the lucky ones, that will begin with a good night's sleep.