I read last week that it takes 18 months for the average mother to "feel like a woman again" after having a baby.
My daughter is now 19 months old, and it seems broadly true that it has taken that long to become a kind of artist’s impression of my old self, although I’m not sure about the rather creepy phrase “feel like a woman again”. Even in the weeks after she was born, I always felt like a woman: just a very tired, over-emotional woman who looked as if she had recently been released from a Victorian mental institution.
We hear an uncomfortable amount these days about celebrities, and their punishing regimes for getting back into nightclub-ready shape four weeks after giving birth. For those who prefer a lengthier recovery period, here is my recommended path. During pregnancy, eat all you like and growl at anyone who tries to take your food away. Post-birth, carry on exactly as before, because breast-feeding makes you extraordinarily hungry. After a year, suppress a frisson of unhappiness when you realise that you are barely lighter than just after you had the baby.
Then, one day, your baby will start bringing home communicable ailments from toddler groups for you: after two months of suffering varied strains of norovirus and head-colds, you will realise that you can fit back into your pre-pregnancy clothes. But don’t worry about being nightclub-ready: you’ll be too exhausted to care.